Summer Solstice

I took a long hike in China Camp today to experience this iteration of summer’s arrival. This is my 13th summer settling on this land where the Coast Miwok are the indigenous inhabitants.

The earth here on the summer solstice is hard and dry. Some of the well-worn trails of China Camp are hardened like clay. The green grasses and lush wildflower fields of spring are gone. The hills are now the color of “California Gold.” I am heartened to see the tiny dots of color that maintain. I appreciate the sacredness of those hearty summer flowers so much.

As I walk I feel the heaviness of the impending fires and smoke that will come at some point this summer though I pray this fire season will be miraculously merciful. Today there is so much beauty in the wind swirling through the branches of trees that bow and sway. The birds are everywhere going about their business. At the highest peak, I’m surprised to see a hummingbird hovering nearby, she then shot straight upwards into the air before taking a long nose drive. I’ve never witnessed a hummingbird do that before and feel oddly inspired.

When I breathe in the wildness of this land I feel so much joy. It’s a quiet joy that slowly paints my insides with warm relaxation. Moments like this sustain me. No matter how many times I walk the same trails there are always surprises and moments that open my heart.

Today as I walked I was listening to a book about patriarchy and feeling emotional about the ways I’ve been involved in upholding its toxicity even as I long for what can exist beyond its failing grasp on humanity. These hills have no direct answers for me, but they remind me that I have hope, agency, and an enormous loving heart with the capacity to listen, feel, and love. My healing life can and does make a difference, one human at a time.

So many men have broken my heart with their inability to receive me or stay with me. I have broken my own heart trying to become someone more worthy of being received or committed to. It sometimes seems impossible, but I find peace in knowing that I have not broken or compartmentalized myself to be someone I’m not for the illusion of a partnership. I’ll wait until it feels right and if it never feels right, I’ll be happy and peaceful by myself.

Learning to love the land wherever I am has taught me how to love and listen to myself. It’s a lifeline I am so incredibly grateful for. I feel the love and care these hills and trees have for me. They’ve witnessed me over an arc of time and we’ve always regarded each other sacredly. Celebrating the ground under my feet in any given moment is a deeply healing ceremony.

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