Thursday, August 2, 2007


Not quite sure what's happening here, friends. I'm sitting here trying to get a post out for the day--and for yesterday, too, sorry about that--and for some reason the system does not want to do pictures. I'll have to add them in later, perhaps not until I get home the day after tomorrow. (Done!) The narrative, though, I can manage...

Hollyhock turns out to be surely one of the most beautiful spots on earth. We woke early Tuesday to join the 6AM meditation in the lovely meditation center just up the hill, and sat for forty minutes, with a final five minutes walking. Since I usually sit in a chair, my body had some difficulty adjusting to the zafus placed in a circle too neat to disrupt with one of the folding chairs available off to one side. I sat in consciousness of the pain--not a terrible contingency, of course, but one that left me deciding that, for the next couple of days, I'll choose to sit outside, in nature, at the seashore.

A good breakfast, then out to the beach as the tide ebbed,

leaving many glorious tidepools to be explored,

many shells to be found. An avid beachcomber since childhood, I was in a state of bliss as we paddled through the pools discovering all kinds of shells--though mostly clams and oysters--and a host of miniature sand dollars. And starfish, all colors!

It took the entire morning to make our way a few hundred yards down the beach and back.

After lunch, we lazed around with books until late afternoon, when we made our way back down to the beach and enjoyed the delightful sight of naked swimmers

wading off through the shallow waters, one whole family settling into nature as it should be experienced, in a state of nature. Lovely.

Then the oyster feast. A team of three men, down by the beach, busy shucking and baking hundreds of them,

huge Pacific oysters, which we gulped down raw,

with a variety of sauces--garlic, lemon, hot sauce, wasabi--or hot from the open flames. A great gathering of the residents and guests, the social event of the week... And, after dinner, a marvelously entertaining evening of story-telling by Connie Regan-Blake, a professional in the art, who regaled us with an hour's worth of stories ranging from the personal narrative of her mother's life--and wonderful death--to a series of hilarious folk stories from the American south.

To be in good time, and up at sunrise for my birthday.

Down to the seashore, this time, for a meditation on the silvery, weathered logs that line the coast.

Breakfast, and a leisurely walk across to Smelt Bay

on the other side of the island for more beachcombing. I learned this pleasure from my mother as a child (this, by the way, was her birthday, too) and I could not have dreamed of a more wonderful way to celebrate the day.

(I'm running short of time, and will have to postpone the rest of this entry until the next opportunity. I'm traveling for the next couple of days: today, back via the ferries to Vancouver, and tomorrow, from Vancouver to Los Angeles. So I can't predict what opportunities or time I'll have to conclude this travelog. But it will be done... As they say in France, a bientot.)


They call him James Ure said...

I adore sitting in nature. There is place high up in the Rocky Mountains here that we backpack into and it is a natural temple. It is kind of a family temple. I love to sit up above our favorite lake on the hill and meditate amongst the pine trees as the breeze blows through my hair.


Sue at nobaddays said...

Just found your blog Peter, can remember how -- perhaps on Expat Blog Roll? We are from South Africa via Victoria BC for 12 years and have now been in San Diego for 6 years. So I have been interested to read your take on Vancouver, Sooke Harbor House and now Hollyhock and see our old stomping grounds through the eyes of a vacationer :-) Also interested to read your comments on Le Tour as Dave my husband is a cyclist too.

David Kuo said...

Happy Birthday! It sounds like creation is singing that to you.