Monday, January 28, 2008

Rainbow Speaks

Of all the moments of memory from this week at The Golden Door, none equals the meditation hike. It’s a Thursday event usually for students in the Tai Chi classes given by DeeJay, the calmest spirit I’ve ever met, who blends Eastern meditation and Christian centering into a puree of love.
After we learned a series of Tai Chi movements where we part the horses main, released the swallow, stretched the crane’s neck, fed the tiger, held the lotus and other symbolic hand dances and defense sequences, we were invited on this special hike at 6:15 which aims for the top of a small mountain where impressive boulders hang out. We were warned that it would be a slow advance in silence, giving us an opportunity to observe what happens around us, hear what resonates at dawn, and see a place that is never the same. We didn’t realize in advance that this would be one of the extraordinary moments of midwinter fragranted by rain.

The rains had rumbled all night long on our habitat roofs. Drops hung on nandina bushes full of berries, and on pine spines like balls of crystal ready to drop but holding on a bit longer til the sun arrived. The fields and mountain paths were rich with greens. It was a Haiku moment. At dawn anything white spins out in fluorescence, and as soon as light began to add color to the fields, it was the spring greens that glowed with odors of fresh moist soil. A full moon watched us finish stretching exercises - reaching our left hands high in the air to pick imaginary grapes, bring them to our mouth, then scrunching up our faces (an exercise) because they were sour. With our backpacks filled with a minor breakfast (hard boiled egg, yoghurt, blueberries, and, surprise, a tiny blueberry muffin), and trusty rain slickers covering our shoulders - just in case - we hiked in a silence that competed with a crowing cock, traffic on the freeway, and birds testing their vocals like opera singers before a show.

I stopped ever so often to photograph the round moon still lingering and moving in and out of portentous clouds. When we arrived easily at the plateau where we were to find a boulder to sit on, and then join Dee Jay in a Tai Chi movement moment in silence, the skies sang arias of color, ominous with rain coming across the valley, but so extraordinary because rain is uncommon in this part of Southern California, that a triple rainbow grew from one mountain side to the other, arching over the Golden Door property, and giving those of us who find messages in rainbow appearances an extraordinary poetic moment. To me, the rainbow is God saying to me, you are okay, you are on the right road, everything is going to be all right.
As we spread a neck towel on a boulder to open our backpacks, having given audience to God through prayer, Dee Jay gave a hand signal that we needed to leave and go back down the mountain. The storm was creeping up on us. And as we began our descent, it joined us on the downlow, pattering on our slickers, and dampening the dirt path. But the rainbow, and the still present moon, gave us too much pause when we should have been heading shelter. What’s a little rain, we felt, in this amazing stage of lighttransforming night to day to shower. Instead of walking the labyrinth as would normally occur once back down at the "Door", we headed for shelter in the dining room and opened our back packs before a freshly made fire. And three of us spent an hour talking about the experience on the walk, reluctant to break off from it to rejoin the many other guests already kicking leg
s and moving arms high for the best aerobic effects in a dance class.

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