As Bill and I have settled onto this 2.8 acres of family land in Mount Shasta, we have begun to sense that this land called us here to bring us healing and so we can bring it healing. This week, that understanding deepened through the example of two women. Each of them live in harmony with all living beings in a way I have not experienced before. To honor each, I will make this a two-part series.
The first is Fiona, who is a tangible expression of my archetype of “Woman of the Mountain.” She invited me to her home and to walk the 5 acres she cares for. It was a transforming experience. What had been ideas and concepts of honoring the other living beings of an area were brought into a vivid, solid expression.
Her home is small, and contains a few simple possessions. It has modern electricity and plumbing, but does not support internet, television, cellphone or other electronic devices. Instead, there are rooms with large windows to let in the light. There are lovely items which reflect the integration of her spiritual practice and love of music into the heart of her life. There are also a number of features to support her cat and honor its need for quiet, safety, and nourishment. This animal is her friend, companion and housemate.
Beyond her doorway, there is a natural mountain hillside, with minimally cleared pathways winding through it. These paths feel more borrowed from the hillside, with large roots and lower manzanita branches continuing their growth across it. This small maze of trails and sub-pathways is part of the human and cat domain, shared with fox and bobcat, deer, squirrel and bear, and dozens of other winged, four-legged, creepers and slithering ones.
One place where my theory was confronted with a more potent practice was in her care for the mice who visit the outbuildings. These little ones are treated with deep kindness and affection. They are trapped in a spacious cage, with a built-in water supply. The next morning, this is moved to the protection of the shed, and they are given breakfast and left there to rest for an hour so they can calm down and eat. Next, they are transported several miles away to a spot with a small stream of water, so they can settle into a new habitat with all they need to survive. I had thought I understood “humane trapping of mice,” until I saw this true relationship with the creatures.
Fliona has asked that I house and cat sit early next summer. I will visit her and her cat often, to learn the land and let my relationship with her cat develop. I will also continue my inward transformation so that when I am there, I will honor the heart and spirit of the place as well as provide basic care.
I have long journeyed to “Woman on the Mountain,” in my shamanic practice. It is an important image of my future-self who has learned to live in harmony with Mount Shasta and Black Butte and this whole region – and with all the living beings of this area. This future me is calm and confident because she has deep relationships with land, rock, tree,animals, birds, moon, sunshine and stars.
As you can see, the Seen tangible expressions of life weave together with the Unseen mysteries of the oneness of all living beings. As a result, I am discovering that “all living beings,” includes all that shares the elements of the Earth with me — all of soil, water, air, fire, vapor — in their amazing variety of expressions. There is life in us all, as well as spirit and wisdom and the desire for harmony.
I will continue to describe the new depths of these relationships and connections in my next article.
(For this article I have used a pseudonym for my friend to honor her privacy.)
Photo of Nancy on her 61st birthday at Horse Camp trail head.