View from the bottom of the lavender fields
Yes, dear readers, I have fallen behind in my blogging again. And thank you to Lady North for emailing me to ask me if all is well. Yes, all is indeed well. My dad is holding his own with the usual ups and downs, and I’m still spending about half my time looking after him. I’m busy with work for clients and — you’ll be glad to hear — I’m working on Gaian Tarot art (more to come on that soon). With the arrival of Blessed Summer and warmer days, we’re spending a lot more time outdoors, away from keyboards and monitors and wireless connections.
I’ve been walking to the beach almost every day, and sometimes twice a day (morning and evening). I do my morning devotions and meditations there instead of at my altar. When I arrive at the beach these days, I have a threefold practice. First, it’s down to the water’s edge to cup the sea water and foam in my hands and anoint my brow: I am a mermaid daughter of Mama Ocean. Then to gather flat stones, feathers and shells to build cairns and wild altars as an expression of gratitude. And then — perhaps the most important — the quest for beach glass begins, as we mermaids never leave a beach until we find at least one piece of beach glass.
Somewhere in there I meditate to the sound of lapping waves and the flutter of wings. Sometimes I listen to guided meditations on my iPod. Sometimes I sit in silence. Often I find that two hours have gone by in the blink of an eye, and I hurry home to start my work day. Another reason, dear reader, I am behind in my blogging.
The beach I walk to each day is called Church Beach, because it’s behind the (duh) island church, a quaint white clapboard hundred-year-old building. Very New England. It still has a living congregation too. The church elders are gracious enough to allow islanders access to their beach as long as people are respectful of it. Parties don’t tend to take place there, which is one of the reasons it’s my favorite. It has always had a calm, meditative feel to it, ever since I was first introduced to it about ten years ago. Lately I’ve taken to calling it "Church of the Old Mermaids Beach" in honor of Kim Antieau’s novel in progress. One day last week, I sat at the water’s edge, crying my heart out over an upsetting situation. When I was done, the Old Mermaids’ voices came into my head: "Laugh or weep, we swim in your tears." And I cried some more, knowing I was not alone.
(We might wonder: are the Old Mermaids fiction, straight out of Kim’s imagination? I think not.)
This weekend is the third annual island Lavender Festival, held on a farm just up the hill from my house. Last year I vended artwork, had a grand time and did quite well with sales. This year I didn’t have the energy or enthusiasm to put together products to sell. So I decided just to enjoy the Festival. (Craig is the one working the festival this year, running the sound booth for the musicians. He’s performing, too.) Our festival isn’t a huge one like the ones in Sequim and elsewhere. It’s a small town gig and pretty dang charming. And you can’t beat the view.
So I wandered around and admired the vendors’ wares, chatted with friends and neighbors, listened to the music, worked a shift at the Community Land Trust booth, walked through the fragrant lavender fields (not yet quite in bloom), and watched as my young friend Chloe fell in love with a Celtic folk harp. I bought a beautiful silk painting / wall hanging of a great blue heron from my neighbor Karen, drank lots of lavender lemonade and hung out with the sound guy. A very mellow afternoon.
Chloe plays Stella’s big harp
Afterwards, our off-island friends who came out to the festival joined us at Heron House for a potluck BBQ. And did we ever feast. With an organic farmer, a co-op manager and at least one world-class cook among us, it was a meal fit for the god/dess in each of us. Much of the produce was island-grown and possibly picked that morning — snow peas, onions, broccoli, salad greens. Not to mention Deb’s island-famous mango salsa and Charlotte’s homemade organic rhubarb wine. Mmmmm.
After dinner, some folks made lavender wands while Craig the Multi-Instrumentalist serenaded us on Chloe’s new folk harp (after asking her permission, of course!). Suddenly, it was almost 10 PM, the sun was setting, the near-full moon was rising and there was a mad rush for the ferry. Suddenly the house was quiet. Craig and I tidied up the kitchen then cuddled on the sofa, feeling very full and very blessed indeed.