Friday, May 8, 2009

Night Blooms

It's 3am. My body wakens with that strange ache that won't go away. Is it just another reminder of age or something deeper that leaves my heart pounding as I chew over my latest worry? This is the personality I've experienced since childhood: this questioning and wondering about Life.

Tonight (or this morning) I look out the window at the full moon, hiding in the branches of the elm tree. I love the moon so much sometimes I think we should have more than one. Another celestial body close to earth would fulfill the fantasy of many a science fiction fan, as well as provide a reason for even more romantic lunacy. But now I remember that one moon is enough. She has painted the ocean silver with her light, and kept an owl awake, too. It moans quietly nearby as if talking in its sleep.

Big Sur blossoms this time of year. Spring has sprung and we are all ready for warm summer nights filled with music, laughter, play. Art emerges again: twinkling lights, colorful lanterns, and prayer flags festoon our public and private gardens. Models strut down the catwalk in extravagant creations (no fabric allowed), children wear bright folkloric costumes in school pageants, dancers sway to the beat of musicians from all over the world.

In her early summer glory, Big Sur is the Mecca I dreamt of before I immigrated here. Can't it always be like this? This comforting, amniotic bubble of eye-opening culture and natural beauty that inspires an open heart.

This year it started with the wild-flowers, as if Mother Nature was making up for last summer's trauma by saying, Hey! Check this out! Let me show you how pretty, how gentle I can be. Afternoon light casts long green shadows down the slopes of Mt. Manuel. Morning sunshine splashes across the ridges. Itty-bitty quail scurry across dirt roads, orange and blue koi jump for breakfast in our pond, wild purple iris bloom in the forest. Walking barefoot feels natural again, and (dare I say it?) the joy of being buck-naked in the great outdoors returns to us.

As I snuggle under soft cotton sheets in my moonlit bed, the scent of night-blooming datura dances towards me, filling my breath with its indescribable nocturnal fragrance. Initiates seeking visions love this plant, whose delicate, pale yellow bells draw the night pollinators to them with their gorgeous essence. Breathing deeply, I slide peacefully back down into the land of dreams.

Photos by Toby Rowland-Jones
Photo of Captain Cooper School dancers by Laverne McLeod

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