I was evacuated from my home this weekend because of a large forest fire. My older, wilderness savvy cat was outside during the evacuation which meant he was on his own for several days. Once the evacuation lifted, I was able to locate a very thirsty Jack and reunite him with the 3 month old kitten sisters who have invaded his home. He got a big drink, eyeing the girls (but not growling) when they got too close to his water and then settling into his napping chair. He then tolerated the tiny Penelope watching him nap, but when she jumped down into his space he reached out and batted her away. I don’t think he does this boundary setting hard enough to hurt the kittens because they give him space for long enough to relax and then are right back to sniffing and trying to snuggle him. It made me happy to have things safe and back to normal…and I think Jack may have even been more tolerant of the boundary testing in appreciation of his return to comfort.
With all the rain in Northern California this year, the waterfalls are still going big and the trails are more rugged than before. The morning I hiked to Feather Falls I crossed several smaller falls on the trail and couldn’t avoid walking through the water at one point where it merged with the trail for a ways. It was lovely…verdant and splashy…lots of smiles and thinking how lucky I am to leave so near the forest. The rainbow in the main fall was particularly captivating and although it is a long, hot hike I am tempted to go back to play in the water above the fall.
…and then back at home I felt inspired to use up all the colors of dye powder I could find to breathe new life into some old clothes and linens. I didn’t have gloves (not that I would have remembered to wear them if I did) so my hands are rainbow as well. When I look at them typing away at work it brings me joy to remember all that soul refreshing free time I spent outside in nature and in my backyard letting my creativity run free.
I recently attended a workshop on embracing change. One of the takeaways was focusing on gratitude as a way to bring yourself back to the present. There was a little treasure chest full of rocks passed around to the participants. Most of the rocks were polished semi-precious stones in lovely colors, but I found the one that was obviously picked up from the beach to be particularly captivating because of how it has been worn down by the elements. Each time I look at it I think of something I am grateful for: meditation is often the first thing that comes to mind these days. But I also think of how elements of our lives wear on us in intricate ways that we can choose to see as beautiful even if we are raw and unpolished.
In the last several years I got busy with life and stopped listening to myself, stopped creating almost entirely, and paused dreaming in order to get better at basic survival. I did this consciously…deleted all my blog posts, closed my Etsy shop, and unplugged from Facebook…essentially becoming invisible to the outside world as well. Recently I began to hear my tiny voice calling me to create, calling me to adventure.
I took a mental health day from work soon after my voice returned and went to this amazing secret swimming spot…far enough off the beaten trail that my heart beat ferociously wondering if my car would make it down and then back up the primitive road to the trail head. I was the only person there that day. It was easier to hear my voice and reconnect with my myself on the trail, and while dipping my toes into the icy water and feeling the sun kiss my shoulders.
As I spend more time listening, my voice is getting stronger and I am re-awakening the part of me that is an artist.