Camping in the Blue Ridge


IMG_0611Below me, and out as far as the eye can see, the mountains look like they are floating. As they actually are, floating on the earth’s soft mantle. These silent mountain friends wish me well. I’m here to do a goodbye and gratitude ceremony for my nearly six years in these North Carolina mountains. It’s all impermanence, as the Buddhists say. From this, from change, come the wonders, the beauty of life.

Every day the world does this magic act of change! Here on top of the world, I get to witness this miracle of transformation. I blow tobacco smoke to honor the seven directions, and then my senses open even more, and I am nested within the sphere of the seven sacred directions.

There’s something about seeing the faraway and the close at the same time.  I see how the near goes into the far, the milkweed and goldenrod stretching down and down; and how the far comes into the near, the mountains with their coves and valleys entering right into my experience up here. Seeing the far and the near at the same time gives me back my own wholeness.IMG_0637In the evening I build a fire. It pops and dances, claps for joy. I feed it my old dream, naming and releasing what I wanted that did not come to pass.  I stare as the fire fashions, from my old dream, new ones for my new life. The full Pisces moon rises, and I, too, rise to my feet in exaltation. Like the fire, the moon swallows my old dream and transforms it–into the moonlight of the new dreams which I sing out.campfire viewAt dawn I wake in the sky a mile high, the clouds below me not yet revealing which world I shall find myself part of this day. The blessed quiet of no human sound allows me to listen differently to what the world is. Birds are just waking. I hear them stretching wings in the brush, rustling their good morning, but not yet singing. And a few early bees, trying out the buzz of their workday to come, their work of love, bees bringing shy flowers together in a kind of third party sex here on top of the world. I am a little human part of this waking day, conjoined with all that is.

The show is about to begin. The curtain of clouds is parting! The shapes of yellow green hills with their pool of shadows reappear to me. Fog lakes spill over the rims of their caldera bowls. As I watch, the solid green of the closest mountain appears. Drops of morning fog touch my skin, not rain but a tiny caress of mist to wish me good day and to mitigate the rising heat.

I think of Thich Nhat Hanh silently gesturing outwards with his arm, saying, Look! I think of Starhawk in her book Earth Path urging us to see the sumptuous world as play of light and dark, to look “where form intercepts light.” Was this world here behind the clouds or have my divine eyes just now created it by looking? Too many thoughts! I return myself to the effervescent present, so as not to miss the next marvel.

Now the mountains seem to stretch and yawn with early light. And the shadows! While the sun touches some of the mountains with her fingers, clouds sail shade over others. I have the best seat in the house for a wondrous shadow play. Sun through cloudbreak spotlights one round peak to show its holiness. Now the sun’s become so very bright on my white page that I must lower my lids like a lizard. I lick the pleasure of heat into my skin.

The writer on the mountain

camp dinnerAnd here comes the blue sky of the day, pushing the clouds westward, so gently that it looks like love. And isn’t all the world making love? The bees, the flowers, the sky, the mountains? Isn’t love, this only morning there is, the very breath of the living planet? Love, the constancy as well as the ever-changing impermanence.

Glorious and gorgeous, these gifts from Gaia, in September above Maggie Valley in North Carolina. I watch the beauty before me, I cry and laugh, I sing. Before I must go, I leave a clay rattle, made by my own hands and dressed with feathers, to return to the earth from which it was made. Like a prayer arrow, it holds my intentions, my new dreams. It has absorbed the moonlight and the rising sun. It has rattled my dreams inwards to my ears and outwards to the cosmos. I leave it here as my gratitude offering to these mountains that have nourished me.

I give thanks that the sun, rising where the night before the moon lifted its beauty, will accompany me in my new life. The sun and the moon and the stars, my companions, faithful always. I likely will not be back. Mexico, with new mountains and new beauty, calls to me.

Mile High and Lovin It

14 Responses to “Camping in the Blue Ridge

  • Carol Greene
    6 years ago

    Such beauty in your words and pictures. You are such a very special soul and I wish I had gotten to know you better. May all your dreams and promptings place you where you are meant to be at just the right times to fulfill your divine purpose in this life.

  • What a beautiful post. I count myself lucky to have you joining our expat community in Mexico, and I hope our budding friendship will continue to grow. Your spiritual essence speaks to my heart and I look forward to sharing the silence with you.

  • Sherry Lovett
    6 years ago

    Susa, your words are like paint on a canvas, creating beautiful images in my mind and feelings in my heart. I wish you well on your new journey. I will miss knowing you are near by.

  • Kate Edwards
    6 years ago

    Thank you so much for sending me the link to this beautifully written (and lived!) posting. I am very glad to have this glimpse of where you are………and now where you are going. I have just subscribed to your blog, so will hope that this will keep us in touch, my friend. Much love to you. Safe travels. All good blessings from my heart to yours. Always.

  • Susan Evans
    6 years ago

    You are a word wizard. I wish you well Susa. I remember you

  • Patricia Conway
    6 years ago

    So it’s back to Mexico. It feels like you’re completing a circle within the CIRCLE. Many blessings on your journey.

  • Patricia DeMark Knower
    6 years ago

    Oh, My! You captured the awe, and beauty of your sacred place within/without!

  • Lovely, Susa!

    Have a deeply fulfilling Mexican sojourn–

    Warmly, Irene

  • Pattie
    6 years ago

    I cannot do justice to your words, with my paltry ones. What a joy to read and see and feel! Thank you for your revisioning vision. Love, wherever you go, will find you.

  • Susan…. your words reveal the depths of your inner caverns as you look onto the mountains of NC. I am deeply touched by your visions and descriptions of the beauty you observed. I am grateful for your presence in my life and wish you much wonder and awe on the next steps of your journey. Adios mi Amiga…Yame

  • Ross Klatte
    6 years ago

    Lovely writing, Susa. April and Ross Klatte

  • Migwetch suster Susa! So where are you journeying next? What names and places call your heart now? Love and Blessings, Ann Megisikwe

  • Thanks for sharing these lovely reflections, Susa. I wish you all good things and many blessings on your next great adventure.


  • Annette Bagur
    6 years ago

    Dear Suza, thank you for your inspiration. Much magic to you on your journey! I wonder where in Mexico you are heading? Love, Nettie