These photos were taken on a rather unused hiking trail at one of my favorite churches/temples/mosques/meeting halls here in Santa Cruz, the Pogonip; a magical open space that borders the University of California campus. I have told people, If you ever find me upset, or restless, too overcome with the world, too involved with my self ... Well, you'll know where to find me.
... And when I return, I will be cured.
Along this mostly forgotten loop of trail, there are several very old Oak trees.
They stand out as the most beautiful of all the trees, revealing their inner architecture, sweeping downward now, not up--releasing parts of themselves bit by bit to re-nourish the earth, to somehow feed new spring growth. The energy that once was all theirs now eager to leap into soil and begin anew.
These old Oaks host all sorts of other species, turkey tail mushrooms, and bright green mosses, Poison Oak and creepers and vines I do not know the names of ... Animals, bugs and birds have drilled into bark, bored into it, traveling through limbs and trunks; and I wonder if these trees feel a great tingling and intermingling and disintegration all at once, while still, blissfully warmed by the California sun.
Let's call these the Priests and Clerics of Pogonip ... In all their apparent sacrifice, alive with mystery.
Look at the contrast here, between the smooth, elegant skeleton of this tree and the new evergreens arising, bustling with a fresh greenness all round it. Rampant growth!
When my Grandma Nell was very old, I used to touch her skin ... It was so delicate and soft, and her eyes so very pale and blue--everything about her vulnerable and open.
I wish I had a better camera (I was using my phone here), and more time to fool around with it. These photos would be so much better ... But look at me! Posting these here! Something I've always wanted to do.
Groups of hikers and runners and moms and herds of what I call "the Spandex Ladies," speed through the Pogonip, chatting and laughing, huffing and puffing. I am sure they are all enjoying what they can about this place, and enjoying each other, but as for myself, I cannot imagine it!
The Pogonip calls on me, as perhaps a hushed and crowded church on a Sunday morning, to enter quietly, to slow my pace ... and finally to find a place to sit. To just sit, and to Be.
I did not go into the Pogonip on this day, during this early spring season, looking for a lesson on aging and dying, but the Pogonip spoke to me, as it always does, in one way or another ...
I receive my sermon.
In order, in part, to share it with you,
Your Mystical Mama