Sitting under the 4th install feeling blessed. The sun is warm, the grass tickles my bare feet, I sip tea and ponder our journeys progression. We have re-routed down into the central valley and are now hovering on the edge of the Bay Area. The winter stormy weather got the better of us, some part of me sees failure, expectations are a hard thing not to foster.
In Bend, Oregon we stayed with Nathanael’s family, the first meeting for me. The heavy snow of the past two weeks was holding on in piles along the sidewalk and in the form of grey cindered sludge at the edge of the road. We ventured up to Sparks Lake intending to hang bells. A special place for both of us as the first place we camped out together back in August when a vague intrigue brought me hitchhiking through Bend. As we climbed in altitude up the slope of Mount Bachelor the patchy snow became an even blanket. The road was blocked to the Lakes, the wind was fierce. I was wearing running shoes. We retreated back to town. Maybe a spring time visit was in order we told ourselves.
Walking through Drakes park in the dwindling afternoon light surrendering to the flow we came across a strikingly demure little cherry tree. She had a larger then life, sparky energy to her, ‘me me me’, she sang. We had just been discussing these ancient, iconic trees we had been working with so far and this young whipper snapper broke all the rules. We raced back to Ariel to fetch the bell babies. The composition was striking with the low lying sweep of a bow that seemed to reach out and up with such pride once festooned with the bells. Joggers ran by, dog walkers glanced over. It was interesting how little interaction was provoked in a city environment compared to the Orcas hang where all who passed by engaged in long conversation. As the dark fell the sky turned through a kalidescope of colours and the lake behind sparkled with reflected Christmas lights. The breeze picked up again starting, up a chorus of clamoring donging, our sign to move on.
We reached Mount Shasta after nightfall. Fitted with snow tires we changed up in Bend we were now traveling in all terrain Ariel and she skipped up the snowy slopes coming to an enforced halt at Bunny flats, the onward road blocked with a couple of feet of snow. The rain and wind was torrential and I imagining being washed away in snow melt. We parked up by the little national park shed, the one seemingly concrete thing providing me a strange comfort. We honored the new moon, setting intentions for releasing expectations, going with the flow and relaxing into the unplanned journey. We had skipped hanging at Crater Lake due to weather conditions and so I was processing a need to be in control of our path ahead and releasing that.
Tucked up in Ariel, the torrential rain sounds decreased in volume until we were treated to a heavy silence. ‘I just want to check something’, announced Nathanael, sticking his head out the side window. ‘yep, its snowing’. We were being slowly encased in sticky snow, I was assured we could still drive out through even three feet of snow, well, as long as it didn’t turn into ice. hmmmm. My tiredness helped in my surrender to our fate and we snuggled deeper under our new thrift store found Moose blanket. First light revealed a beautiful scene. Huge fir trees surrounded us. The road was invisible, snow continued to fall. Ariel was now a cosy igloo. We frolicked and gasped. The deep silence was soon interrupted by a roaring, speeding snow plow, helpfully coming to clear our path back down.
Crystal shopping, provision gathering, collecting spring water from the headwaters filled our day, ending the afternoon in the infamous Chai shop drinking superfood hot chocolate from our chalices. We pondered our options onwards. The eye of the storm was baring down on the Sierras, our supposed route, friends to drop in on where suddenly not around or unreachable. The cold weather was playing havoc with my body, hands and feet constantly numb. Bell hanging was the last thing i had wanted to do up in that snow, whilst me ego informed me how pathetic I was and how it would all be worth while with some beautiful snowy bell footage, pah! Luckily i have a wise friend and partner on my side to help me look at my need to always be the warrior, sitting in the metaphoric cloud of biting flies. The geese had been powerful messengers too, flying south all day, we were also migrating. No more hibernating, a message confirmed by the astute Chai shop man.
A rainy, windy trip down the I-5 brought us to this park outside of Vacaville. Pulling off the highway to sleep we woke to our first clear sunrise of the trip. We had both noticed the tree , the first place our eyes fell, up above on a grassy hillside. An old knarly oak, overlooking the bone dry lagoon. We clambered up, brewed up tea and oats and hang 11 bells each on the very ends of the low hanging branches which encircled the trunk. Sitting within was very powerful as the sounds truly encased and held. it was a glorious hang, with such a clear message to remember the reason for the journey, to refocus the intention for earth healing and for the waters return to these dry lands.