Well, in late Spring I started my apprenticeship at Quail Springs Permaculture Oasis in Cuyama (about an hour north of Ojai). I also made the apprenticeship count as an independent study on biogregionalism (living in and loving one place) for my PhD program. I enjoyed the Quail Springs life a lot...milking goats, herding animals, skinning rabbits, taking long hikes to watering sheds and peaks and ridges and creeks and spring sources,,,,and I also liked writing the papers on "dwelling in place." I finished the Spring semester there and earned high marks in all my classes (I had taken a poetry therapy class, drumming for peace and transformation class, black madonnas class, and womanist/feminist world view class). And then a week before I was supposed to go home (back to l.a.) my grandpa (papa) decided to stop dialysis, that is, he chose to let go, and I paused my apprenticeship to be with him in his last few hours. I sang and played a song on the guitar that he used to sing to me as a child, and he sang with me, recognized me, and I got a chance to say that he'd always be with me. It was perhaps the best case scenario of a loved one passing. I had spent so much good time with him the last 4 years or so, and I knew he loved me and that he knew I loved him. I've really felt his fire and yet "take it easy" spirit with me!
The rest of the summer up till now has been a lot of back and forth between family happenings and Quail Springs as well as the Abundant Table Farm in Oxnard with my sisterfriends. Family things can be tense and ever-fluxing (funerals, weddings, time with my mom who just finished her chemotherapy and time with my dad in his favorite pastime--movies, catching my brother when I can, planning new mexico adventures and canceling them, and moving my gram up to the bay area), and I've taken solace on "the land" as they say. In embracing my grieving, I've needed a lot of open space; the cities have been too much for me, and the Earth and trees and plants and mountains and canyons have been so calming.
Altogether, a strange summer of feeling, letting go, and really encountering my brokeness. I have this visual image of myself lying broken on the floor, future dissolving in front of me, a deep sense of missing those who are not physically around me, and yet a feeling that I am empowered and can rise up like a phoenix of sorts, choosing what pieces of on the floor are truly me and which ones I truly want to pick up. I'm wandering and wondering, and I feel this new level of freedom to just go and be and travel with what I can carry on back. I trust my family and close friends will be fine without me (of course, right??), and I also trust that they are with me in my heart as I go just as I am in their hearts. Old dreams of sailing around the world are coming up, and I feel these visions confirmed by old and new friends.
I'm up in the bay area again now, and I feel like I've been called here for an intense initiation as a woman-in touch with her ancestors- healer. Something about this area, the coast, Berkeley, Big Sur, and my school community. I have one more semester of course work, some of which will be up here in sf and some I will take online as I travel in the Mediterranean for September and October. I'm thankful to be back with my bay area allies/community and already feel myself relaxing. Oliver is with me this time, and we are staying with my good friends Jill, Peter, Lily, and Magnolia as I always do. I love staying with them.