Ancient Mediterranean

I have a daily ritual of laying in the sun for ten minutes. During these ten minutes, I allow my mind a break from the day. I begin by releasing hold of anything that stresses me, and for whatever arises, I tuck it away to worry about later. As I breathe out, I send the worry away. That is how these ten minutes begin. As unwanted thoughts disappear, I replenish that space with an image of something that is beautiful to my mind—a meadow with spring flowers, a long warm beach, a damp redwood forest. I walk through these places and try to see how deeply I can experience them with only my imagination.

Maybe I'm weird.

  1-  Flickr , 2- Unknown, 3- Unknown

1- Flickr, 2- Unknown, 3- Unknown

But! It's pretty relaxing, and as I practice this daily, I find it becomes easier to hop over to these places in times that may be a bit less peaceful. Living in a city where there is traffic, many people, and a fair bit of perpetual chaos, it's nice to have some source for a reprieve. It's a way I practice patience.

As I lay in the sun today there was a breeze, and I caught the scent of our coastal trees. The aroma is deeply green, of sea fog and bay, cypress, and pine trees—with slight twists of citrus and sage. I have not been to the Mediterranean but we have a similar climate in this part of northern California, so my mind began walking around a coast in Greece.

Here I felt the midday sun, it warmed the dirt on stones of ancient ruins as I grazed my hand on them. I imagined the people who built these mathematically perfect columns and decided to top them with spirals and stone garlands of flowers. Did they notice the breeze as they labored, by hand and for years, to complete this architecture? Did they notice the way stones warmed from the sun feel alive? Did they walk down to the water and wonder about waves?

  1- Unknown, 2-  Flickr , 3-  Met

1- Unknown, 2- Flickr, 3- Met

Having a slight interest in jewelry, I tried to see what they wore. I discovered organic shapes formed by ancient hands still learning the alchemy of metals. There were stones, obtained by way of long dusty trade roads from India and Africa—how many stories they must have told of camel rides, gem traders, and landscapes along the way.

I became inspired by these thoughts; ideas for jewels and writing and art ran wild. The creative spirit was illuminated, a ten minutes in the sun well spent.

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
— John Masefield
 Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz, California

I woke up this morning with the first line of this poem running through my head, as if it began while I was still asleep. I did dream of the sea. I'm in a place in my life where I feel a continual need to cleanse. No, I do not take extra showers (we are in a major drought after all). I mean a cleanse of my spirit, a clean slate, tabula rasa as I learned for my first phrase in my first Latin class years ago. There is this urge—coming from where I know not—to purge, make room, get ready. I also do not know what I am to be making room for but I welcome its coming. Like the still sea before the next wave, I welcome the impending deluge.