Tag Archives: San Francisco Bay

Close or Far

When Jose and I visited the Grand Canyon we were admiring the Temple of Shiva, a mesa standing apart from the North Rim. In the late afternoon light the warm colors of the canyon were increasingly spectacular, and Shiva was shimmering in violet, rose and gold. After a few moments Jose went to read an info-graphic nearby, and came back to report that the Temple was over 9 miles away. Not only that, but the North Rim in general was 14 to 18 miles away. Our jaws dropped, minds boggled, and we were challenged to believe our eyes.

Temple of Shiva is the highest point on the horizon

NINE MILES? Really? We could see it so clearly!

One of the great pleasures of the west is the mind sensation of seeing over such vast spaces. It certainly draws visitors to the Canyon. I know I gloried in the many broad vistas we enjoyed in our travels. Even in crowded the Bay Area a trip across any of the bridges opened up into a soaring space. Our visit to Marin Highlands was literally dizzying for me.  I could swim, fly, soar and plunge in all that magnificent visual space.

click for larger version

I learned a new word from Astrologer Rob Brezhny in this week’s reading. He writes:

The German word *Fernweh* can be translated as “wanderlust.” Its literal meaning is “farsickness,” or “an ache for the distance.”

Now that I’m back in lush, forested Southern Maryland, I’m finding the intimate treed locations to be claustrophobic. I am grateful or the shade, I love the greens, the rustling sounds, the many, many birds. But I’m pining for the wide-open spaces where my mind’s eye can soar. I am so glad to be home, my lovely home and friends, yet I am experiencing farsickness, feeling it like a physical longing in my bones. I am aching for distance, pining for that vastness, that wilderness of a scale that swamps my ability to measure it.

Brezhny quotes poet Robert Haas:

We call it “longing” because desire is full of endless distances.

In the rest of my weekly reading the astrologer challenges me and other Scorpios to explore the yearning and the distance, and find ways to bridge the gulf. I know that I feel much more in possession of my citizenship of this vast country, having made this trip. I stayed connected to a close friend who was moving away, in fact deepened our relationship. Attending a business conference far from home, I cemented  relationships with colleagues and potential partners all across the country. I’ve spanned some great distances within myself, stretching to be connected to people in new ways.

And I am remembering how I carry those great spaces within myself. I can return to that canyon rim in my meditation and feel the sensation of awe that reminds me:

(I am large; I contain multitudes)

Now, where shall I go from here?

The Bay Area is Amazing

What more can I say? After our long journey across America in all its splendor, California’s Bay Area hardly disappoints. Jose’s new home is in Pleasant Hill, a dense suburb with rapid transit and all the comforts of American excess. The neighborhoods are more compact, the homes smaller than I’d expect with this level of affluence, and that’s grounding. It is a pleasant and convenient place.

Last night we drove in to the Oakland hills to visit friends. The route took us through and under some of those spectacular steep grassy hills that look like golden suede, or the hide of a Sharpei. Popping out on the western side, there is The Bay, shimmering like a mirror. Said friends have a complete urban farm that runs on solar power and collected rain water. On a small lot they grow fruits, veggies, flowers and herbs. I’m enjoying one of their luscious lemons in my water.

Today I got to visit the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland for a lovely lunch in their cafeteria, a browse in the bookstore. We peered into the large auditorium, dim and scented with years of devotion, then meditated in the temple, a tented garden where the flowering vines are working their way in, as if to receive blessings. What a beautiful place. Not just the surroundings but the pervasive aura, calm and loving.

Golden Gate Bridge

After the Ashram we set sail for the Marin Headlands, which took us on a magical tour over the Bay Bridge(s), across the Embarcadero, through some neighborhoods and onto the Golden Gate Bridge. I remembered how the first time I saw it I gasped “It’s RED!” I had assumed the bridge itself was golden.

San Francisco Bay

The topography of the Marin Headlands is mind boggling. Climbing up above the GGB gave me serious vertigo – the sensation that I was going to fall down, down, down.

I’ll leave the rest to pictures, and Josephine.

Friday evening, May 3rd

We’ve now been in Pleasant Hill terra firma for just a little over 48 hours. I oscillate between open-hearted wonder of being here, gratitude for sleeping in the same bed — for two nights now! —  and a certain anomie. I am not altogether rootless, and yet, it will take time to grow those roots that makes this home. So when I’m experiencing that not-here-yet, I have my free-floating fearful moments. They pass. They rerun, sometimes in dreams.

Today, open-hearted delight in taking Patrise to my beloved Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland for lunch, and after, a brief tour of the place. I was welcomed by Swami Siddhananda at the front desk, an old friend from years back. The very energy of the whole place welcomed me, as well as Patrise. I have arrived, I am home.
Our next destination was the Marin Headlands, where Patrise, Tango and I ritually touched the waters of the Left Coast. Connecting and grounding of another sort. After 10 days and 3,550 miles of patiently curling himself up in a small corner of the car, Tango –off leash — joyously galloped full speed up and down the beach, a bit shy of salt water, and ran and played with several other pups.
I have arrived. I am home. I will need to repeat that mantra more than once.
Tango and Patrise in the surf

We have completed our #coast2coast project. Touching the pacific, feeling its chill foam slosh around my legs, touching the salt to my lips, the mission is complete. The journey, however continues, with no less wonder.