Various Tales

Tales of Scotland  Part I: I Find My People

The way I got to Scotland is a tale unto itself. I was in my final semester of college at the University of Arizona and unsuspectingly went to a keg party. I saw a young man’s profile and fell instantly in love. I never would have believed it, but it happened. I manoeuvred myself to intercept him at the keg and struck up a conversation. We talked and talked, and fell in love. He was a dashing British rock climber travelling around the states winning climbing contests. His accent alone made me swoon. All this happened just before my Spring Break so when time to leave town rolled around we headed to Joshua Tree national  monument. It was there, in a tent, at sunrise that he asked me to marry him. We both knew it was a crazy to ask, and crazy to say yes and I took it more as an intention of pursuing whatever it was that was going on. And pursue it I did. He returned to Northern England and I returned to school to graduate. In June I moved to Los Angeles to sleep on my sister’s couch and to work my butt of to save as much money as I could to get myself to England to see him and to travel a bit. I worked 60 hours a week at CAA – Creative Artists Agency (many tales from there as well!),  and worked at grocery stores on the weekends handing out things like samples of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. I worked and worked and worked. I had to buy winter clothes since I had been living in the South-West for so long, and luggage, and a ticket, and pay for a passport and a BUNAC work permit.

It all paid off when I left for England around November 14th, 1990. I’ll cut to the chase here just say I got dumped. Dumped hard and with no explanation-whatsoever. I was dismayed but unbowed. I went to Edinburgh, first to collect myself, and then after a trip back to get my things, to spend the remainder of my time. I had originally intended to travel around Europe, but the outbreak of the First Gulf War made me rethink those plans. I thought it unsafe to travel alone, with a US passport, and, of course, as a woman. So, instead I camouflaged myself in Scotland. I blended in for sure, other than being taller than the average Scot. For the first time in my life I looked like the people around me. When I lived in Texas I was often teased by the other kids for being so pale and for my great character flaw of being unable to tan. Of course, I took this as a challenge and stayed out of the sun even more. I found that it is hard to have just the right skin to tone to please everyone. But, in Scotland I did. I was pale, they were pale, even the mannequins in the store windows were pale. My people!!!

 

Prompt” Reflect on “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” (Joni Mitchell)

This lyric reflects something I take to heart in my life. I agree it is a common human affliction to not appreciate what you have when it is in front of you, but in my life, I try to not fall into that habit.  Joni Mitchell’s lyrics mention both relationships and nature, and those are certainly two areas where people take things for granted. I would hate to think of the number of people that go through their lives without stopping and appreciating what they have; be it the glory of a ripe apple, or the loved ones in front of them. I’ve studied Eastern Religions for many years and have learned from them the value of being present in the moment. I try to be present and appreciate what I have- while I have it.

My practice of being in the moment is best demonstrated by my photography. Sure, the mountains are breathtaking, but so is lichen, moss, and every detail that so often goes unnoticed. I love to photograph the small details of nature. One of my favorite moments in life was watching praying mantises hatch from an egg sack. Another was watching my son play, and even meditate, under a New York Finger Lakes waterfall. I have photos of both and while sometimes I feel taking a photo pulls me away from experiencing the moment fully, I feel it is also revering that moment by capturing it.

Bee keeping is another way this sentiment finds a home in my life. Being present also means fully experiencing the bad as well as the good. When we lost a hive last spring we were sad, but we knew it is part of being a beekeeper, and suffering that lost made us, all the more, part of the larger community of bee keepers working to sustain colonies.  So, even things that are perceived as negative can be appreciated, because we are alive to see and experience them. Even the Tomato Hornworm (see photo in blog), while a pest in the garden is an impressive creature and worth appreciating, though I doubt anyone misses it when it’s gone!

And no, I can’t read this quote without singing it in my head!

 

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