Time: You roll on. We’ve been home for – ? – 6 days – yes, and so many stories to update you on! Well, I must backtrack a bit. The pic you see here is one of a series we took with “Ming,” who we met at JFK Airport on our layover between DR and Virginia. We were sitting at a futuristic type of cafe where you have to use an Ipad at the table to order your food – complicated! – and kind of like out of the t.v. show, “Kung Fu,” where blind Master Po appears at the most unlikely of moments, this inconspicuous, elderly man rests his cane on a chair near us and sits down at a table. He unsuccessfully attempts to order a cup of coffee from the waiter, who insists that he has to order it from the IPad. He’s sitting there, clearly hurting for his cup of coffee, so I told him, “It’s very hard to order here..we’ve just figured it out..may we please have the pleasure of ordering you a cup of coffee?” We all became dear friends in a matter of minutes, chatting and laughing and sharing life stories. Ming is 85 years old, a Hong Kong ballet (dancer, in the past) choreographer and internal martial arts master. It is always inspiring to meet elders who are clearly still alive. Ming is alive and well. His eyes take everything in, he peered into our hearts, souls and our adventures, and we did the same with his world. What a wonderful man. While we chatted, he determined he will not retire as his family has urged, but continue on as he wishes, with travels and work and all that brings him joy. “Good-bye for now, Ming!” We all hugged and watched as he carefully walked on to his next flight, caffeinated and fully embracing his open road.
Another elderly man, perhaps not as fortunate in his old age to be as alive as Ming, yet alive he is: We visited my Dad while we were in Virginia. Larry suffered a brain aneurysm in 1998, which resulted in permanent, severe cognitive disabilities. I’ll write a book someday about my Daddy and who he was to me, both “before” and “after,” as my Mom and I sometimes called his catastrophic event. “Before” : He was my hero; a confidante; one of the most reliable, loving people in my life. He was hugely empathetic, supportive, gracious and spontaneously hilarious. We had a remarkable relationship – very little baggage. “After”: Part One: My knees literally caved in on me when I saw him post-surgery. My world tilted and I slipped. Part Two: I let Mom take care of him until the stress and pancreatic cancer swept her away from this life, and then Marin and I became his caregivers. He became my child – a child with many challenges, yet I grew into being committed to his care. Part Three: After Sofia started crawling and scooting around the house faster than I could keep my eyes on her, it became clear that I couldn’t be certain of her absolute safety if Dad continued to live with us. Among many qualities that were erased from him was good judgment. I moved him permanently to a care home in Virginia where he has now lived since 2010. As much as I can understand, he is content, safe, feels connected to his community (the ladies love him – he’s one of the only ambulatory guys around!), and retains the sweet essence nature of himself that he always had. I love you, Daddy. Wish I could do more. In this pic, Sofia has had a little shy moment once we entered the room and found him in his group activity.
We were really lucky to be in Virginia Beach on this particular week: Perfect outdoor weather! We all ran around in the early morning on the beach, and both Marin and I swam in the crisp ocean. In this pic, Michelle is dutifully running after me. Sofia is in the background at the sea edge, having most certainly run several laps around me by this time!
Back home at la finca (the farm). Bok choy growing all over the hillside. Sofia, Michelle and I harvested some for our first dinner home. Home. Virginia Beach used to be home from about 2006 until 2012. That’s a pretty long time for Marin and me to live in any one town. I LOVED our one week visit there. (The best part was having the pleasure of seeing a couple of super best Mommy friends, wish I could have seen all of you!!! But hugs to everyone in my VB life) Upon return, what I’m noticing most is the sense of becoming unplugged from a highly stimulating experience, as if we have come home from our first trip to Disneyland. There is SO much external stimuli, even in a mid-sized city like Virginia Beach. I had a huge list of places to go and things to do and how exciting to go shop at Whole Foods and oh, there’s some kind of beer festival going on outside our hotel with super loud live Country music non-stop and wheee, I have to stop for my favorite Starbuck’s “have it the way you want it” coffee: “I’d like a triple espresso machiatto in a tall cup, with foam all the way to the top and caramel drizzle all over.” There are neon lights in the hotel lobby from ceiling to floor and people to greet you and meet you and tell you about the next special they want you to buy..for sure I need a new lap top and we all need some shirts for the farm and my slippers broke and we’ll throw a dart game in while we’re at it cuz that will be fun to play at home…
I didn’t really even notice how hyper everything was, how hyper I became, until I returned to the rainforest. A settling back into a different speed, different vibration. It’s not Disneyland here. It’s sacred, spacious nature. There is thick, moist air flowing through our skin and the leaves open wide to receive it, too. The mandarins have ripened: Felipe brought us a handful, delivered with his shy, expectant grin. A fabulous thunder and lightning rainstorm came last night. Pulling our family close, we sat around the table in low light, sharing leftover bok choy and quiet stories brought in by the dark drumming of the downpour.
I’m a combo plate of worlds. I love Disneyland and dazzling lights and shows and colors and shrieks of delight. And I love coming home, to the quiet…the quiet within, the gentle quiet with-out.
Wherever you are, in whatever manner of world or space, sending you peace, love, happiness, health, safety and goodness..to everyone. xoxo