Sunday, September 7, 2008

Have you seen these grapes…? by River

Here I am finally having a quiet day, the first one in months. I am sitting cross legged at my little table listening to Jazz vocals, at the moment Stormy Weather by Sarah Vaughan is flowing into my body via my ears. It’s a beautiful evening the earth is mellow and comfortable after the first substantial rains in over two months. The air is at its cleanest, sweetest smelling of pine needles, heather and the incomparable smell of autumn ripening fruit. The season at the moment is grapes. Everywhere you look they are hanging hedonistically from voluptuous vines and you find yourself irresistibly drawn to nibbling one or two.

Pergolas of grapes have featured highly in the highlights of this Summer season for me.

It was under a pergola that I sat one day in the village of my dear friend Shanti B and watched the most fantastic (in the truest sense of the word) array of people walking to the last night of a summer fiesta that she and her crew had arranged with the local mayor.

First came her beautiful sister and her twin boys. It was amazing to spend time with her. She was so full of light and laughter it was infectious. It was really odd to meet someone who smiled like Shanti, had the same mannerisms and the same nature, predisposed to joy.

After her came a few rainbow people one of whom was my teacher for the afternoon (I always meet one at Shanti´s and was waiting for him), Jaia my love I am still unpacking that conversation but what I took away from you was to try to remain as natural as possible and move forward as far as I could in love.

Next came the traditional Portuguese dancers with their black or deep red frocks and white pinafores with white head dresses. I had an interesting experience with them when I needed to spend a penny, pee that is. I went into the ladies and there they all were men and women getting tied up in the last of their outfits. There was a great deal of encouragement to pee in front of them with just a half wall dividing us but that was just too much for me, so off to a more private bush I went.

After them came the Rainbow festival clan, in all their beautiful colours, floaty dresses and MC Hammer trousers. With wild, hair, bare feet and dirty angels faces. The light seemed to shine brighter around their combined energy.

After the Rainbow clan came the sound of drummers, Portuguese rather than African. Down the street came this loud, base chakra vibrating sound, played out by stocky strong shouting men. Followed by some of the villagers and the little kids. It was a very heart warming scene.

As if that wasn’t enough there came a sexy young woman, wild haired, brown and doe eyed on a donkey!

There I sat under the pergola eating grapes hanging perfectly within reach and prepared for a fabulous evening and that it was. Thanks Shanti.

It was under a pergola that I realised that things weren’t really working out for Michelle and the rest of us here and I let go of trying to make things work and allowed the winds of change to have their will. It’s been hard that process, and I have felt quite shaken by it but…

Another highlight of the summer had been having our friends Caroline and Jon and their beautiful girls Maya and Violet with us. We have missed them greatly and it was a joy to have that time together, singing, dancing, philosophysing and just generally enjoying being together. And it was sitting under a pergola of grapes that I realised that time was precious and it was good that we shared so much of it together as it would be sometime before life would give us that time again.

We spent the most youthful long weekend in Sao Pedro de Moel with our dear friend Rachel. We laughed, drank too much wine. We walked around on the coast until 7am. And just generally relaxed. We spent time with a woman I am now calling the Goddess of the Lighthouse who taught me an exercise that I hadn’t consciously tried before and I am now using it. It’s well powerful stuff but in order to know about it you’ll have to come to Zion and talk to the Goddess of the Lighthouse herself. We all left saying we love Sao Pedro de Moel and will be going again next year by the grace.

One other highlight worth mentioning was the annual Summer fiesta of Oleiros. Great fun, like Christmas on a summer’s evening. Dancing and watching Sunshine dance in the early hours of the morning had to be the highlight of that experience.

Now Papops and Dr. Mops are here, Andy’s Mum and Dad. The kids have abandoned us for the weekend, but I think they really are sick of us and are so very excited to have their grandparents in their new town. It’s lovely to see.

It’s been unusual having so many people descend on me in my life. Sometimes people are giving to you and sometimes they are taking. It’s not easy for me and I have been showing signs of wear and tear; the main one being a loss of confidence. I have found myself questioning for the first time whether I am doing the right thing. The undertaking here is mammoth I know but when so many people tell you how brave you are to take on so much work, it has the opposite effect on me because I am not brave or spectacular or special in anyway nor am I equipped for this task. Yet what I do know is that when I am working here taking off roof tiles or removing a pile of rocks, I know that I am working for my life for the life of my family and hopefully for the life of some of my friends. I am no great yoga master or gardener or artist or anything that would equip me for a life such as this. I am an ordinary woman being given the extraordinary opportunity to start again from scratch but having a little wisdom of age. I remember that it’s called Moses. So when the giants of doubt and fear come to catch up with me as they have been doing this month I try to remember this biblical story big daddy Memphis told me recently of when Joshua and Caleb came back from spying for the tribes of Israel and responded to the tales of fear and woe told by the other spies with this. “Don’t worry about those big men and their armies, look at the size of these grapes boys!!”

And I remember that that is my divine mission in life. To rejoice in the fruits of life and let the joys of a fruitful life cast out all fear and doubt and to keep flowing like a River. This evening I am flowing eating a bowl full of grapes that Memphis just brought home after spending a few hours with one of our older neighbours. And I am no longer sitting under the grapevine I am sitting in the evening sunlight gorging myself on the fruits of this life.

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