I was just outside singing to the moon.
A tattered patchwork quilt of silver clouds is thrown across the night sky, illuminated by a luminous pearl rising through the darkly woven lattice of trees. Strangely, for over a week now, I’ve had Joan Baez in my head, singing “The Moon’s A Harsh Mistress”. It’s an odd auditory memory and sound byte, and it seems the only way to download it from my brain is to sing it aloud (at least what I can remember of it).
“The Moon’s a harsh mistress… she’s hard to call your own…”
So I sang it to her as the shadowy trees listened, adding a few more bars and improvisations to the tune, and then let my baritone voice fall away into quietude. In the brightness of the night, the stars are invisible. I inhale a deep breath, letting the crisp, clean air fill my lungs. Standing outside, barefoot in the cool grass, I listen to the silence that surrounds me. The stillness of the witnessing trees, the absence of wind or breeze… a wordlessness both rich and deep, like a well of dark water. Opening my senses wide, I can ‘feel’ the mountain, tranquil and powerful, a presence in its own right… no less than the moon.
There is nothing more sacred than a mountain.
I remember reading that line in a beautiful book that I love—Wild Grace: Nature as Spiritual Path, by Eric Alan. Living on the upper, windward slopes of this dormant volcano, I’m inclined to agree. To the extent of my limited future vision, this is the last full moon that I will celebrate while dwelling on Haleakalā, ‘the house of the sun’, one of two very special mountains that uphold the roof of my heart and soul.
The cottage is full of boxes, all our household goods packed and wrapped. It’s a house that is empty and yet full at the same time. Odd… and yet strangely familiar. Moving Day is nearly a yearly event on our calendar. Once again, our painted gypsy wagon rolls on to a new location and campsite. Or sails on, rather (it would be terribly difficult to drive to O’ahu from Maui).
We are packed but the actual removal of goods—loading into large shipping crates and trucked to the port—was thwarted due to torrential rain, and a jammed schedule prevents the ‘removers’ from returning until Friday. Along with our two English Whippets and my partner’s young cousin (here for an extended stay, gods help me), I’m spending a few days in this empty but full house, camped out with the barest of essentials amid piles of boxes and wrapped furniture. Even the bed is wrapped and packed, so I am sleeping on a camping mat and bundled in a sleeping bag (Whippets piled on top, as they do).
With everything packaged in anonymous, look alike boxes, our meals these days are a decidedly simple affair. I’m making do in the kitchen with a couple of borrowed plates, cups and cutlery, and a single pan. Tonight’s supper was a warming miso soup, to which I added some organic tofu (soy is a rarity in this house), brown rice, local scallions and baby greens. A meal of utter simplicity that suited me perfectly (the cousin ate some pasta). Though I’m boiling water in a pan, I have my sky blue, infuser-style teapot that I carry on travels (I’ll wrap it up and stash it in my suitcase). A great many things I can go without but a decent ‘cuppa’ isn’t one of them. A proper cup of good tea (whether black, blue green, green, or white) is one of those (almost) essential pleasures that nourishes body and soul… a lovely pause in the day to take a deep breath and sit for a bit. With a bit of organic dark chocolate, I’ll be just fine, thank you.
As our departure from Maui looms imminent (Sunday), there is still a rather lengthy list of items to be done and logistics to navigate (car to ship; house cleaned; final errands; dogs & kennels & suitcases to the airport), but it feels relatively stress free. Tedious, yes; stressful, no. Too many times my partner and I have done this ‘moving house’ thing (sixteen times in twenty-two years together, to be precise). And compared to the logistics of moving internationally, relocating to a different Hawaiian island is a tropical breeze.
Of course there are always unforeseen obstacles and setbacks that arise. When I meet them, I remind myself to remain open, soft and malleable… move like water, yielding as it flows steadily onward, trusting in the unseen hands of gravity (or Fate). I’ve written elsewhere in a blog that I have learned more from watching water flow than anything I ever gathered in school.
As a wise teacher of mine used to say, “Let it be easy.” I used to excel at making things complicated (and I still have my moments) but I’ve learned a great deal about keeping things simple. Let it be easy. Such is my mantra as I’m camped amid the boxes, juggling details and logistics, tending to doglets, stewarding an immature 22-year old, and navigating these uprooted days of transition.
One of the hallmarks of a Soul Artist is that he or she always chooses growth rather than security, expansion rather than containment. Will we stay within the cozy confines of the known and familiar, or risk expanding into unknown territory…?
I can’t see clearly what’s ahead in my life. Currently I have only a sense of ending, transition and new beginning. Indeed, it feels almost as if I am once again in the birth canal, being squeezed through a passage with no clear sense of what I’m emerging to… I can only trust that it will be vastly different and more expansive than I imagine. I’m willing. Bring it on.
Let it be easy.
I will dearly miss living on the slopes of Haleakalā. I will miss my quiet, barefoot mornings on this mountain, surrounded by the fragrant eucalyptus trees and conifers and listening to their voices in the wind. Too, I will miss my stargazing nights and serenading the moon when she appears in her full, luminous glory as tonight. Mostly I will mourn my tangible sense of being surrounded by semi-wild nature… it’s just not the same in a neighborhood.
Onwards we sail to the next phase of the adventure, trusting in trade winds and mysterious Grace.
Yes, always Grace.
And one day soon, the moon will hear me singing again.