Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Month in Baja: the Beginning

I wrote this on the plane on the way to Baja last week. I didn't get to send it before we arrived and then returned, but I want to go ahead and put it out there. Not complete at all, but a start.

Flying to Baja for a five-day stay!

Haha. I'm laughing once again because it seems this story really wants to take its own time, to have itself turned over again and again in my mind and heart before I send it out in its entirety. I am in the air now, on the second leg of our journey, having just finished the most fluid, productive writing session I have had with this yet. Insights materialized and made their way into words. We were preparing to land, and I saved the draft and --- it disappeared into nothingness. Again. The second time that's happened in flight. I sure hope I can find a way to save this this time so that it actually makes it to you!

This story - of my initial experiences at Lumbini Gardens - is very important to me to write. More for myself than anyone else. As I've said before, it's a challenge for me to write about the Big Stuff. Small talk of the everyday type is safe and solid. The Big Stuff is.. important. Risky. I get tongue-tied.
Let me stop preambling and just get to it, for I don't have the time to write about it today, either, just as I haven't every other day. This may be the door-opening that allows for further insights later. And actual details as opposed to mere metaphorical waxings. ;-) And photos. :-)

Perhaps the most important thing I realized during our month-long stay in Baja California Sur, Mexico, was that, while a month is a long time for a vacation, and every day manages to pack in a million feelings and experiences, a month is not even a beginning for really getting to know a place. It's not even an introduction or a prologue; it is a first paragraph. Wendell Berry and Permaculture as a whole keep reminding me that to know a place takes a lifetime of infinite minute-upon-minute inhales and exhales of attention.

Much like a forest grows from a field with many successive generations of plants doing different jobs, my experience of the property called Lumbini Gardens has only just stepped into the pioneer plants - the "weeds" that make the way for redbuds, that in their turn shade the soil for the oaks. I braced myself at the somedays-seemingly-relentless winds, the sun that penetrates as soon as it makes a shadow, and the scorpions that not only crawled into my suitcase and across my foot, but also into my dreams. I am confident that these will be the brambles that are laughed about once our hands are dyed purple, and our buckets and tummies are full of berries.

We started our endeavor first thing with an intention: of remembering that we are the newcomers and guests here. We are not here to elbow the uncomfortable or inconvenient out of the way, but to ask the beings who already inhabit this place for their permission and approval. And their guidance: to show us how to survive and thrive in this environment that is so new and foreign to us. To humble ourselves to the roles of students and followers, not conquerers. Not even farmers, but partners and collaborators.


Anonymous said...

yes, the Big internal insights are difficult for me as well. I feel like they churn and settle within me before I'm able to share.

I love your choice of words regarding scorpions, suitcases, and dreams.

Tiffanie said...

Anonymous ~ thanks so much for your comment. I love hearing from folks who read what I write here.

I'm glad to hear I'm not alone on the Internal Insights front. They take another level of processing, right?

: )