Earth Magic on a Full Moon

From the Pitkin Mesa in Paonia, Colorado

Sometimes, when we want to grow spiritually, we must stretch ourselves. In my case, this meant a return visit to Colorado with my middle son, since the two of us did the same trip 12 years prior. That was 2 marriages back for me, and my son had only a driver’s permit. Since I now live in the city, and I live alone, I thought it might be soul-full to visit my cousin, his family and the gap-year environmental school that he runs. They live communally here and they live off the land. Another family lives with them in a house that was once a shed. Up the hill are a series of homes made of straw bales and mud, adobe style. The majority of the people I see here, young students, and mesa neighbors are well-educated and quite capable of American affluence; instead, they choose to live in a way I see as hardened and pure, rich with mountain views and gentle kindness. Hard living and brotherly love can bring out parts of me that seem important to know.

We spent our first few hours visiting, and getting to know each other all over again. On the porch, I sat on a duct taped leather loveseat, and our table was an Amazon box emptied of its delivered contents. There were dogs and chickens and small children and rabbits. I was delighted that my cousin’s wife made us mason jars of fresh mint alcohol-free Mojitos, in addition to slices of hard white cheddar and fat greek olives. Later on, grilled chickens they raised and vegies they grew.

Then we brought our things to the cabin out back where we would sleep, two bunk beds on a particle board floor. They had an outlet and ceiling light. Thank goodness. An outdoor kitchen with running water and a gas stove was just 20 feet away. My son slept under the stars as the cabin was about 80 degrees until the mountain air cooled around midnight. I just left the door wide open and hoped critters would leave me be.

The next morning, I made my own coffee in a press and walked down to see 7 people eating breakfast. It was Eggs Day. They dispersed to various tasks, my son and cousin building a donated yurt, and two students who lingered through the summer to be leaders in the fall were setting stones for a new entrance patio at our communal kitchen.

I did my morning yoga and went for a walk up the mesa. When I came to the top, it was hot and stoney and there were juniper trees and what looked like sage. A gold and black lizard scurried past. I looked back and saw the immense glory of the mountains, blue against a hot white sky. I would make my way back soon . We had big plans to swim in the ice cold irrigation ditch. I wondered if I should pee in the grass, braving anyone who may happen by, or venture into the murky and unpredictable outhouse. I wondered if my plastic bottle from the long road trip was offensive. I wondered if it was annoying to go sit inside their house. I wondered if the giant butterfly in my cabin was a guest or a permanent resident. I meandered past a woman breast feeding a baby, with nothing covering the breast she wasn’t using.

I heard natural, unassuming, music made only by hand. It suddenly seemed silly to use an eyebrow pencil. Or bother with a clean pair of socks. I ate some dehydrated ginger rolled in sugar. I thought about how my cats back home were royalty and how I feel guilty when they get their canned food an hour later than usual.

The knot in my shoulder released and I could bend my neck about 50% more than before I arrived. This world and its culture was fascinating and deeply humbling. I’m not sure I belong, but I like the idea that I could live here without having to be employed by any bureaucratic institution, if I was useful to these people, and if I was capable of behaving like a woman who knows her natural place in the world, kind, wise, willing to carry my own water, and more curious than afraid. Like a woman who could just stare at the full moon and feel the earth under her bare dirty feet, then go sleep on a simple sheet and never consider the alternative.

Why Online Dating is a Spiritual Experience: Part Four – Take the apple, Eve.

I’m no saint, and I always resonated far more with the defiance of Adam’s first love, Lilith. But let’s face it, even Eve was tempted to know more, and plucking fruit from the tree of knowledge was inevitable. According to biblical wisdom, not everyone wants to be submissive, nor blissfully ignorant!

My pursuit of finding love via an online dating site was in many ways my bitter fruit. At night I would lay awake and consider the bones of the dead. I was sincerely sad that I was unable to really love so many men who wanted to love me. I too felt the burn of rejections, even though I understood that these things are rarely personal. Chemistry was a wicked beast. I would stare at the ceiling and imagine this very specific love that I hoped would transcend the electrical wires and universal airwaves and land smack dab on my profile, the absolute result of divine power and an extra kick from my own earnest intentions.

He would be in many ways my twin. There would be sentences we didn’t have to finish and serendipitous events that made me gasp and sigh. We would often be content to watch Netflix and eat our dinner on the couch. We would play hard in the outdoors and always talk about what we were reading. There would be an incredible sense of safety and a comfort I had never known. Oh to be held in my sleep! I would not worry about my aging body or morning breath or foul moods because he would be blinded by his love, and I would finally experience a mutual devotion. He would be unique and emit an entire world of splendor. He would be devilishly witty and he would have all the strength that comes only with a person who had truly suffered, endured and rose from the ashes like an immortal god!

I was always nervous though, since I had in fact had that sort of love twice before (once in college and once in my late 40’s) and then later came to see that it wasn’t real. It was an illusion, and it was deeply painful to be ripped back to reality. Thus, I was doing my best to have faith and yet not be fooled again.

Then in early February, I met him. His name was Samuel.

Samuel and I met for the usual 40-minute coffee date. Three hours later, he walked me to my car and unexpectedly kissed me in the middle of broad daylight. I was stunned. But as I drove home, I found myself slowly forming a smile on my weary little face.

Sam was very smart, educated, undeniably handsome and tall. He was responsible and reliable and deeply committed to his community. He was cultured, well-traveled and had an interesting past. He lived in the city where I was moving in just a month’s time. And he was a writer.

We emailed long and intense exchanges then for almost two weeks. Sparks were flying! We agreed to have our second date the night after Valentine’s Day, to take the pressure off the holiday angst. He made me dinner.

At first I felt like a stranger again, but we warmed up and eventually began sharing lots of stories and opinions and shedding the strains of …well the strains of dating! Two people agree to face each other and try to form something that will be ultimate and profound. That is a lot. And I think we felt it all. But I truly liked him, what he stood for, the way he lived, how he moved and what he wore. He was really amazing!

Until he wasn’t.

I think this is where I would like to turn back the clock and insist that he stop talking. I would like to control the things that he shared so I could remain in this bliss a bit longer. My spiritual core understands that there was no way we wouldn’t always end up in the same spot – in the truth. Because truth is all humans really want in the end. And Sam chose to tell me the truth right then and there on the second date in his darling apartment.

It was dark, disturbing, traumatic.

I cannot even go there. You must understand. When a person shares these things, the most spiritual reply is to honor it by keeping it safe. And he trusted me to do that. What I can tell you is that some people, like Sam, have experienced some very traumatic things and they have to walk the earth with it. They have to get up every day and make their way and find some tricky way to be okay and to manage and to live.

But the one thing that can really get in the way of that coping and survival is the harsh reality of a romantic intimacy, where someone will demand a part of your heart that is mangled and protected.

We stumbled for another month. We pushed and pulled on the phone and through emails, only securing one more brunch in person. But Sam was unwilling to do what I felt was an honest and thorough look at his past. Some part of him began to shut down the moment I suggested there was work to be done. He never really let me back in. I moved into the city and invited him to visit. He muttered something about how the pandemic was just too much. He had expected me to live with his gaping open emotional wounds, the same wounds that destroyed his marriage, or I could just move along.

I chose the latter.