Zen Girl

Centering into the journey.

Archive for the tag “nature”

“You haven’t begun to think until you don’t know what to think.”

It seems to me that genuine thinking for oneself isn’t possible until every last bit of knowledge, every last thing we think we know, is gone.  We cannot have emptiness without first emptying, making room for the new.  To accept something as the Absolute just will not do, if one is committed to freedom. This freedom can be preceded by accepting nothing at all as the absolute truth or ultimate answer.  I’ve come to this:  I know absolutely nothing. Read more…

Burned Trees

Last night I went camping.   Our site was surrounded with grassy orchard type areas, boulderous mountains, and many, many skeletons of trees that had been burned in a forest fire a few years back.

I look upon burned trees not with sadness, but with awe.  In my eyes, they are beautiful.   There is just something about the way they look.  Strangely magnificent.  Dignified.  They are like monuments to their previous lives.  They are a homage to what they once were and to the new life that grows around them.  They gave their life to new life.  They were not sad to go.  They did not fight to stay.  They simply melted their life into the flames, giving their energy back to the universe so that something else may thrive in their place.  Just like all of life.  We live while others die, and we die so that others may live, continuing in this experience of moments through the eyes of one little part of the whole.

Back to the beginning.

I love the sound of quiet, when escaping into nature.  The cars disappear.  Horns aren’t being honked in anger and frustration. There’s no cement, no implanted trees, no advertisements.  There’s no crosswalks, no highways, no busy commutes.  There is simply you, and nature.  It’s no coincidence, I’m sure, that I feel so much more me, so much more real and present when I am surrounded only with what comes naturally on this Earth.  Our home.  I watch birds glide above the trees, listen to a waterfall, watch the flowers blow in the warm breeze.  I breath in the quiet, and it becomes me. Read more…

Blades of Grass

What strikes one will strike two,

and two into many,

the hands are of one,

the stars are of plenty, Read more…

Zen Mornings 12/3/2011


Today I learned that I do not feel like writing about yesterday, but instead about the hour-long walk about my neighborhood this early afternoon, with my dog Xander.

The Xander after an adventure

Giant Palms, strange desert succulents of translucent pinks and oranges glowed in the sun.  We began our journey under a bright but cloud ridden sky.  The clouds moved quickly by, swiftly shifting everything from gray to bright.  Within 5 minutes of our walk a giant, nearly all-sky encompassing, severely dark gray cloud was directly overhead!

The wind increased and the cloud grew darker as it neared, chilling the air.  Sun, light, warmth!  I concentrated on this for a moment and then released my mind into nothingness.  The sun held strong, but the cloud made itself known right along side it, giving everything it had despite the strong fight of the light.  Our adventure began.  So strange to see blue sky circling around the looming darkness, sublime!  Something lands on my head.  Little dark circles appear all around us.  Raining and sunny!  These moments are rare, and I felt a growing sense of appreciation to be caught outside in it.

I relish in this combination for a few moments, and then it began to rain harder, as the gray overtook the sun for a bit.  The wind picks up and my hair accumulates the chilly water droplets.  I put on my bright yellow hoodie, and thought to myself what an adventurous walk so far!  Xander shook out all of the accumulated water in his fur, looking quite pleased with himself afterwards.  What a site we must have been; a bright yellow thing topped with red hair, footed with heavy black boots, following brown, handsome and furry, in his bright orange bandana, him living in the smells and me with bright eyes and a grin on my face.

The rain slowed to a sprinkle with the dark cloud above us still covering the light of the sun.  We entered the tundra–Panorama Drive,  a loop of nice houses lining the edge of a cliff, with a mixture of grassy valleys, freeways, and mountains in the backdrop.  In this part of the neighborhood, cherry pickers lined the road, numbering one every three houses or so.  Clipped dead palm tree leaves covered the sidewalk in numerous areas, creating an obstacle course. Xander and I leaped and jumped and circled around the mess. The darkness encompassed everything, and the chilly sprinkling continued.

“Quite a mess!” A man outside his home yelled to me as he saw us bounce around the tree parts.  “Well, at least it’s not boring!” I smiled back at him and we continued on.  A few houses up ahead two smiling construction workers sat in a yard eating their lunch.  They gave Xander a few pats.  By this point the rain picked back up again.  They offered me a ‘good day’ and looked as bright and happy to be out in the rain as I was.  I breathed deeply, noting that familiar smell of warm rain on cement.  Xander and I continued on our adventure and by the time we reached the small park I often frequent to meditate, the rain left and the cloud began to break up, as the impending blue sky infiltrated its grasp and the beautiful day to follow settled into place.

The sun and our brisk pace warmed and dried us in a matter of moments, and I could once again remove my hoodie.  Sudden quiet and lack of cars surrounded me for a few blissful moments before we arrived at the main street of our neighborhood.  We passed quickly through to the other side, into a different neighborhood that we had not yet traversed by foot.  Smiles and bright eyes were everywhere as we made our way across the bustling street.  Such a weekend day as this always makes for lots of smiling souls.  The atmosphere was lively, yet calm, as we passed a small, busy cafe full of patrons enjoying brunch.

We followed the road we were on to a dead-end, and peered out over the edge into a deep, huge grassy and wooded valley– a jungle!  This jungle was surrounded by bustling mid-day freeways and miles of city.  I was struck by the stark difference, as a family collected behind me.  They peered out over the city, while I peered down into the jungle valley.  I smiled at them and beckoned the serene Xander to come along and continue our adventure back towards home.

We were definitely warm now, and the crisp breeze perfected the warm sun, complimenting each other with lovely balance as they tend to do during these Southern California late autumn afternoons.  We passed by an empty elementary school with many stand alone buildings just as my high school had.  I began to feel quite nostalgic and everything seemed strangely familiar.  We continued on, nearing an abandoned building that often intrigued me from afar.  It stood strangely awkward among its newer neighbors, looking solemn yet stable; stoic just as Xander had been moments prior.  The one step and large stoop led to an over-sized entry way, so boarded and painted over that it barely looks like an entrance anymore.  We stood in the vast green lawn and stared up at the strange building for a while–a very old library perhaps., of a tan color, pillars lining the sides, elaborate architecture around the entrance, flat-topped and rectangle in shape.  Strange feelings swept over me, though I contemplated staying and sitting on the stoop for a while.  I decided to continue home.

So much awaits you right in your own neighborhood.  Go  outside, see the sights, hear the sounds (or the quiet), smell the smells, feel the air–your feet can take you far.

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