Finding refuge amongst the redwoods
Over time home became my place of refuge. This did not occur instantaneously. I don’t recall a beginning, as in a ‘this is when home becomes my refuge’ moment. It was more a felt sensation that came into being sometime in my mid thirties when I started living on my own, found the 12 steps, and began meditating. Refuge is not something I experienced growing up when home was a place where anger and punishment were predictable, and I was vigilant, fearful.
Today I live by myself… with myself. It’s been this way on and off for several years. This said, I am not alone. My companions, the photographs of Amma gracing the walls, as well as sculptures of the Buddha and Kuan Yin, transform this apartment into my place of refuge, one where I experience stillness and comfort. A place surrounded by trees, and birds that converse from pre-dawn to nightfall. Hummingbirds who recently have started hovering in front of the living room window, peering in as if to check and see if I am still here and okay. As days blur into each other a pair of mourning doves remind me of a new one beginning, and let me know they still don’t have a nest, and… “no, that tiny spot above the lamp fixture on the wall just won’t do!” They seem confused as they fly back and forth between the railing and the lamp. Or perhaps this is an echo of the frustration I experience at times due to constraints currently placed on my options of where to go.
Over these past weeks my home has expanded beyond its walls, beyond the balcony with the flowering pots, out to the redwoods standing tall just beyond my kitchen and living room windows. With each passing day I get a deeper sense that these trees and birds know, and grok what is happening to my life, and the lives of other humans during this time. Deep within I hear the redwoods calling out, tugging me to come and be comforted. To be tenderly held and rocked on their branches as they undulate gently in the breeze, like sail boats moored off the Capitola pier on a summer evening. One afternoon I walked towards these redwoods, allowing myself to be drawn into their space. I stood grounded in the center of their powerful vortex. Leaning into one of them I placed my forehead and palms softly, firmly, on the coarse bark and closed my eyes. Roots reached from the bottoms of my feet down into the earth, seeking and intertwining themselves with the roots of the redwoods, taking in their quiet strength, their resilience. Finding refuge in the stillness amongst these trees I rest in a place beyond time and space. There is only this, and this is home.
Posted in response to Amy’s invitation on Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #94: At Home
Thank you Amy for seeding this journey.