[Forewarning: This is a lot of photos.
If you are sensitive to overwhelm, please think about viewing this post in installments.]
. . . first of all, Green Gulch.
A Zen temple and farm near Muir Beach where I spent two really meaningful weeks,
two years ago, and a recent afternoon as well.
Home to lots of wooden rooms and statues, the above hellebore, a living cutting from the Bodhi tree, very very good bread, a rich library, and copious amounts of mist.
Then there's Big Sur.
Mythic land of Kerouac, Henry Miller, the Beatles's,
even more really good bread, cliffs & redwoods,
and Esalen, amongst other things.
Esalen is a resort/spiritual/education center, a farm, and the home of the most beautiful hot springs I've ever encountered. (No clothes = no documentation, sorry.)
We volunteered on the farm in exchange for three phenomenal meals,
a walk through a burnt redwood forest, a long soak in the hot springs (during which we sighted grey whales spouting, a whole bunch of playful seals, and a breathtaking sunset) and an hour of meditation, with the sound of the waves crashing in the darkness outside.
Highway 1 passes over the forest trail.
I spent a bunch of time in the woods with my friends,
and we each worked on the things that feed us:
reading, talking, tending fire, feeding each another, building shelves, looking at moss,
playing with ash,
. . . but not a lot of it wanted to be documented.
I spent ten minutes trying to photograph this damn beautiful branch,
and this was the best I got.
It's incredibly dry in California this season, though it rained on us a lot.
Dry lake beds, brown hills.
Send your liquid thoughts there, okay?
And then I checked out some of San Francisco,
but really only a corner.
The corner where Flora Grubb lives.
I don't think I have to tell you how much this place inspired me.
I've never had a 30-year-plan, but I think I might right now.
I got on a plane, I flew to Portland. Fingers of mist wrapped around San Francisco.
I saw old friends, all doing things they love. One works at the amazing Zenger Farm.
Another grows a magical beard.
I didn't take many pictures of Portland; I was too busy feeling its bittersweet mopeyness,
riding its buses, drinking its coffee, and eating its hipsterized duck egg sandwiches.
It's so beautiful to see faraway friends and to know that we're all doing the best we can at being adults, making meaning, working hard, etc. etc..
While I was out there, it was mostly snowing here. And yet, just like the post office, my friend Caroline made the final touches and ensured the delivery of all of our Full Moon Valentines.
I can't thank her enough.
If you made it this far, thank you.
I love you guys a lot.