A Long Time Coming
A long time coming | Things worth waiting for
I’ve spent much time over the last 10-11 years observing, watering, tending, and being with the Huachuma (San Pedro) in my garden. I’ve planted and replanted, potted and re-potted, and tried many different types of fertilizers. I’ve over-tended and under-tended them. I’ve gifted some Huachumas to others and been asked to care for some by others. I’ve communicated with the Huachumas and learned to ask for their permission/blessing to be cut and made into medicinal tea. I’ve prayed for them and with them and then forgotten about them for long periods of time. I’ve dreamed about them and felt guilty about them. I’ve had false thoughts of being special to be their caretaker and more false thoughts about not being a “good enough” caretaker. I’ve been scratched deeply and painfully by their sharp points and I’ve earned a hardy respect for these cactus beings who like to mind their own business and do their own thing without a lot of being fussed over.
At different times I’ve been determined to protect them from snails, slugs, and even sometimes spiders making their homes in and among them. I’ve pruned and pulled up ivy, jasmine, and grass that was trying to grow in and around them. I’ve been sad as their skins developed blemishes and rough patches over the years. I’ve worried as some of them turned more yellow-green at certain times of the year and felt joyful to see the deep shades of green radiating from them in their peak growing season.
Every time I notice a new baby emerging I feel so happy and hopeful, new life is always coming through. Each time I try to make it my fault that some fail to thrive in the same ways as others, I feel their wisdom connecting to my own and remember that they exist apart from my stories about what is happening and my role in it.
These plants are in my yard because different people have given them to me and I planted them and have thus far kept them alive. Part of me feels that they have somehow been drawn here to me to help me live my life in a good way and to be my reminders of love, resilience, and growth over the arc of time. Maybe they are the help I’ve prayed for over and over, their presence allowing me to understand all the different channels opening to my own peace and happiness if I am willing to take and pursue them.
My friend Jaya once commented to me that I live at the intersection of Point San Pedro and North San Pedro Roads. It makes perfect sense to me that I live here though I never fully understood why or the simple perfection of it all. I just knew instantly that this place felt right to me. The moment I came here a hummingbird flew out of a fake bamboo plant by the front door and buzzed me to pick this place for my home. I am grateful each day to be here in this garden, this home, on this land, and in this body.
My relationship and connection with the Huachuma grows and evolves with me over time. It’s something I feel deeply in my heart every day. In a way, they are the partners I’ve longed for and prayed for over many years. After all this time I am still learning every day how to let them be and allow them to do what they do, knowing that I am witness to their beautiful cactus lives and their lifecycles will be what they are regardless of what I do and who I am.
Between Friday afternoon and this morning 2 of my huachumas have bloomed. I’ve been tracking these buds since the early spring waiting and wondering when they would show me the fullness of their flowers. That time is now, aligned with the fullness of the moon. It has nothing to do with me and also everything to do with me because I am here to witness it, to breathe in the sweetest scent I’ve ever smelled, and to feel the rise and fall of their very temporary exquisite existence fully in my heart. No matter how much I want to capture this moment and live in it forever, I cannot hold on to beauty and specialness like this, I can only savor it when it happens.
I know and have observed that I learn from the earth, plants, trees, and anything I view as sacred. A part of my brain always questions this reality though asking how it is that the earth and plants teach and how I could learn from these parts of nature that do not speak or reason. Another part of my brain knows how much information our bodies absorb and how much we hear and know that exists beyond words. What I’ve learned is not to over-value that critical part of my brain determined to invalidate and poke holes in my experience of feeling at home and cared for by the natural world. I have the ability, as we all do, to learn by observing and experiencing. It’s the oldest way to learn. Being quiet, sitting still, feeling into the obvious and subtle vibrations, sounds, and movements occurring outside of manufactured, curated existence. Take away or suppress all we do to try and control and manipulate our lives and environments in technologically advanced attempts to make things better/easier, and somehow the truth can arise from within more clearly.
The thing about life I have learned is that there are always situations way out of my control that I will try (and fail miserably) to control, there will be things that need fixing that I cannot afford to fix, there will be wounds I cannot face or completely heal, there will be people I love and cannot save, and people I love who I cannot be with in a good way. All of that and more will happen and I can still be grateful, love my life, and experience all the beauty, pleasure, pain, and realness in a way where I trust the earth beneath my feet to be there to support me. I trust myself to stay and be loving and forgiving to myself even as I make mistakes, backtrack, and falter in the face of growth opportunities. It’s so hard and so constant that all I can hope for is to stay strong and tall like a tree in a storm and bend with the winds instead of breaking. Even if I do break and fall, I still trust the earth to reach up and integrate me into all that is and allow me to grow again and try again.
The older I get the more simple and straightforward I want to be. Less complicated, less drama, less posturing and performing, more being, breathing, sitting, expanding into myself, and allowing everything to be as it is in my heart.
It’s so human to behave as I have with my Huachumas over the years…trying, fretting, seeking advice and taking it, finding new ways that will change everything and make it all perfect, sinking into disappointment when things are not perfect, or get worse, somehow finding a thread to hold on to that pulls me through over time and allows me to continually find peaceful moments of acceptance before the next round begins.
I am grateful to have this life and play this role. I do believe that I am doing my best all the time, including smiling at my humanness and all the things I do to try to find and maintain control while knowing deeply and desperately that I am not in control. I am honored to try to balance while walking this line and to be the perceiver of my life and my humanness. I will always hope for more love and connection and more allowing things to be as they are. I will struggle with this hope on the days I do and feel elated on the days that my hope is buoyed by life.
I know that these stunningly beautiful blossoms exist. I know that the life force within them that creates them is powerful and constant. I know that they open for a brief moment and allow me to see beyond the limited capacity of my humanness. They remind my heart of its unlimited potential to love. The expansion and contraction of life in this way is real. I love real. I love it, I want more of it, and I can’t control it. I accept that, but probably won’t ever fully give up trying. I don’t know what’s possible, but I am grateful for all the moments that I get to find out.
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