To Sing with the Ravens….

“Forget about trying to compete with someone else. Create your own pathway. Create your own new vision.”
~ Herbie Hancock

As those of you who follow my Facebook page(s) may already know, I am beginning a new adventure in the mountains of northern New Mexico, where I’ve decided to stay for a while to sing with the ravens and dance with the coyotes. How long? Who knows? Maybe a month, maybe a year, maybe a lifetime. I’ve lived alone for most of the last 30 years and have always had a good sense of self, but these last three on the road solidified my determination for self-knowledge and thirst for continued discovery. I’d been aware of this resolve intrinsically for quite some time, but as I’d received dozens of invitations and agreed to do another Ride, I felt obligated to follow through. As time went on, however, I came to realize that this part of my long (so far, 3 years) trek is over – and I am to enjoy a new kind of journey … exploring where it will take me emotionally, physically, spiritually.

I truly believe that our Lives have many paths and trails, many roads and voyages we endeavour upon until our last heartbeat – and that final passage to whatever lies ahead. For most of us, our purpose changes over the course of time. No one part – or a previous direction – is “wrong”, but rather it is simply that we have an infinite number of gateways in our journey … and we enter these at different times of our lives. Some do have a singular path, an exclusive and unique purpose they are born into … no doubt true for many artists, scientists, priests and monks … but for me, I find the continual evolution both exciting and liberating. I have many passions and objectives that I’m looking forward to enjoying and fulfilling in the years ahead.

So, “here’s to” a new day and a new journey. Thank you all, once again, for having come along with me on the most amazing and wonderful “Ride” I could have ever imagined.  Be well, be happy, and as always … I’ll see you somewhere down the road.

With love,
Ravensong ❤

Scenes Along the Way…

if you move carefully
through the forest,
like the ones
in the old stories,
who could cross
a shimmering bed of leaves
without a sound,
you come
to a place
whose only task
is to trouble you
with tiny
but frightening requests,
conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.

~ excerpted from “Sometimes” by David Whyte

As I pack up and prepare for a new kind of journey, I thought it fun to re-post a short video I put together of some scenes from early on in the Ride. I cannot share it directly to this blog (unless I upgrade), so you will have to check it out via a YouTube link. It truly was such a delight to have been a part of these moments and lives, now almost three years ago … and I look forward to more adventures yet along this long road of Life. I hope you enjoy……

Video link: The Ride, Pt. I

All My Worldly Goods…

“Someone asked me yesterday, What was the happiest time of your life?
I said, What? The happiest time?
Why do you tie ‘time’ with ‘happiness’?
I am happiness.”
~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Just three more days to go, before a new journey begins as my horseless wagon and I hit the road westward to try out my wings in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Time for the final organizing and making-sure-it-all-fits before I start loading; a last load of laundry, a washing and waxing of Miss Gracie, and goodbye lunches and dinners with friends. All my worldly goods – all I own – now lie within those silver lines (and just 28″ high) on the floor of my spare room. You know, the truth-of-the-matter is we don’t need nearly as much as we think we do to be deeply and genuinely happy. No, not even close.

A Velveteen Goodbye…

“… all the knowledge gathered from your past has finally enabled you to arrive here with everything you need to begin the great work, no matter how old you are. It will take a long time;
it might take the rest of your life.”
~ Jonathan Carroll

Yesterday, Miss Gracie received another clean bill of health from my mechanic … the last one before our journey. And yesterday, I said my goodbyes to Lady Seneca. As I stood by her shores, the wonderful, wet scents of midsummer swirled ’round me … the waves were big, crashing as if ocean tides on the rocks. The gulls skreed, the herons winged their way home. The mallard couples watched their young as they learn to paddle. There is no doubt I will miss these green hills and temperamental waters, the changing of blues to greens to grays; and in many ways Geneva will always be home to my heart and soul … but there is also no doubt that it is time to strike out as my own ancestors did several hundred, and some even a thousand, years ago to find and explore new lands.

Later that afternoon, a providential moment told me all I needed to know: On the way home, I stopped at my Grandmother’s grave for one last “Goodbye.” As many of you know, she helped raise me for seven years and was the only stability I had in my young life. As I crouched by her gravestone, whispering my gratitude and farewell, tears began to sting my eyes … in that moment, I realized I’d never actually said goodbye before, though she has been gone since 1979 and I’d left – and returned – a few times. I thought I had, but I’d never truly let go in my heart. This time, 39 years later, it was different. And I knew it.

Standing up, I touched my lips to my fingers, blew a kiss and turned to go. Suddenly I saw a beautiful deep red rosebush in full bloom, just a few grave markers away. My Grandmother adored her roses … she had dozens of bushes, but most especially loved those flushed crimson ones. The ones with petals soft as velvet and a scent that lingers in one’s soul forever. She and I spent many hours caring for them when I was a child. We’d follow the horse trails, collecting the dried manure, we’d prune the bushes with love and conversation, and she’d often pick a prized bloom and gently float it in a crystal bowl to adorn our dining room table. It was her luxury. When I moved to NY in 2002, I’d promised that I would plant a rose bush at her grave … of course, I never got around to it. Time passes so quickly, and I was always too busy. But here, within a few dozen feet, stood this exquisite thicket of red. In all the times I’d visited that spot, I’d never seen it before. In deeply humble gratitude, I silently plucked two …

One for she. One for me. Thank you, Grandma.

To Dance with the Sea….

“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.” ~ Richard Bach

On Facebook, they call this day of the week “Throwback Thursday” and people generally post photos of themselves when they were young. But today – in the wake of my preparations for another Ride, another journey – there could not be a more perfect one for this particular Thursday to have fallen on. Two years ago on this day – on May 17th – I stood, feet planted in the icy cold wetness of the Pacific Ocean, foamy bubbles and black sand swirling around me, cobalt skies above, deep blue sea rhythmically pulsing for as far as the eyes could see. I was dancing with the Sea and the Earth. And I had done it … I’d done what so many thought was impossible or non-sensical. I’d meandered my way from one side of this country to the other … from one ocean to another. I’d touched the salty waters of both sides of this continent.

It was a journey that included over 50 stops, meeting and breaking bread with dozens of new – until then never-before-met – friends, laughing and crying and sharing stories; sleeping on beds and cots, in tents, trailers, apartments and mansions. It was a journey of new people, new cultures, new vistas and new loves. 26,000 miles of highway and dirt of every color worked their way onto the old ‘Silver Backpack’ … and I could have asked for no better traveling companion than that old Forester. RIP, sweetheart, you did well and deserve your rest.

I’ve now got a new-to-me vehicle, and I’ll be leaving NY on June 30th to set out on a new Ride, another meandering journey. I don’t know yet if I’ll make it to the Pacific again on this one, as I’m still putting together the agenda (though I do hope to do so at least one more time before my days here end), but that moment – that photo – will always bring a smile to my face as long as I live … and I’m looking forward to the dozens of smiling more moments to come in the months ahead. Life is such a wonderfully amazing and beautiful gift … one given to us to open and enjoy to the fullest. We CAN make our dreams come true, and we have those dreams for a reason. Simply, to fulfill. Like Nike used to say, just “Do it.”

Keep on riding everyone, and enjoy YOUR own, personal, amazingly beautiful ride…

Where the End is Another Beginning

“I will find new meaning in every joy and sorrow,
in that silence, I will hear the voice of spirit, and
freed from this world, I will see another world
where the end is another beginning.”

I don’t recall exactly when the feeling started – a malaise, almost. A feeling of discontent, disquiet, awkwardness, boredom. I don’t know when it started, as insidious as it was, but I do know it came to a head on that late April day … as I trudged out to the car on yet another cold, gray day, snow swirling, wind battering the naked trees, branches swaying in the reflection on my windows. I hurriedly tried to button my winter coat, fumbling in gloved hands and shivering as I got in the car – quickly shutting the door against the bitter wind … I was tired of it. On October 1st, or thereabouts, of the previous year, the sun had abandoned us – running away to some other galaxy, never to return. Or so it seemed. It was gone, done, over and out. And so was I.

But it was more than just the weather. A year ago, after my two-year, 26,000 mile journey meandering across this country, I’d returned to New York … to the place many generations of my ancestors had called home. To the lands they’d farmed and fished after their own adventure crossing the Atlantic on the Mayflower, as well as the dozens of others who came on the ships and planes that followed for 200 years. To the place I, myself, had called home for 15 years. But something happened somewhere along those 26,000 miles I drove … I was no longer the same person I was when I left. I’d been raised in a very artistic, open-minded and liberal environment – and grew to be the same as an adult – yet the myriad of cultures, vistas and people had broadened and expanded my horizons even further … far more than I ever anticipated. Two years of complete freedom to be who I was, without constraint of career or regional expectations, allowed me to grow in surprising ways. I was quite a different woman than I was on that day in June 2015 when I pulled out of my driveway … leaving friends, work and a home behind in the rural lands of Upstate NY. Yes, it was more than just the weather. I was coming to realize that I no longer “fit” in the place where I once thought I would stay forever … where I’d surmised was to be my final stop on ‘The Ride’.

It was a disconcerting revelation. Heartbreaking, in many ways. Dozens of generations had lived and died here; and fifteen years prior, I’d moved from the cities of Pennsylvania just to be among the ghosts of those ancestors. It – these lakes and farms – was in my blood. And indeed it was, but all these generations later, I guess you could say the blood was thin, and all was not – I was not – as once was, so long ago.

That evening, I stopped by the cemetery where my Grandmother lays. As I knelt at her gravestone, I quietly whispered to her of my unhappiness and how I felt guilty; after all, I’d come home just a year ago. I’d come back for the simple way. For the Amish and Mennonites, for the farmers and homemakers and teachers, for the hunters and mechanics. For the apple orchards and vineyards. I had come back to the place where I long ago promised I would return to stay. And now I wanted to leave. As I stood there, I closed my eyes and felt her warm gentle presence surround me, much as I did when she would hold me on her lap as a child.

“It was never your home,” she said. “It was mine. I loved it, and it was perfect for me. But it never was yours.”

I felt her smile. Where the end is yet another beginning. And at that moment I knew that I, too – like my ancestors who crossed the sea and began a life in an unknown and strange new continent – was about to set out to explore faraway places and discover a new land to call home. My home.