Rachel’s Ashes

Today my 23 year-old daughter would have turned 27. She loved to travel. In her final days her dad asked,

“How about mum and I take your ashes with us wherever we travel, so you can keep traveling too?”

She nodded.  Yes.

Rachel’s Ashes is a slideshow of the places she now lives. A legacy of love, a source of deep healing, my faith in new beginnings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXGlfiLpdyY

La Buena Vida

When in doubt about where you are meant to be, look down at your feet- Buddhist saying –


Llucalcari, a one-street village nestled along Mallorca’s spectacular west coast is my new ‘meant to be’ place. A village that warrants a name on a Google map but not on a road sign. Blink and you miss it. Not surprisingly many new visitors arriving into Palma’s airport after dark, in just-rented vehicles, tackling hair pin bends and glancing down at ‘How To Get To The House’ directions, simply drive on by! 


The bus stop, as it happens, is the lone marker to this dreamlike hamlet. The descent to which resembles a private driveway on a roller coaster. My inner voice, now firmly in the ‘ON’ position, talks me down, down, down, convincing me to take the No Entry lane toward the beckoning ocean. Apparently the only way in, and out. 
  
With exacting precision I maneuver the car into the one remaining teensy space, congratulate myself and step outside. Houses trussed up, all in a row. Not a soul in sight. Probably just as well considering my Spanish illiteracy. What’s “Good evening”? I forget already! With flashlight and careful instructions arrogantly ignored on the back seat, I grasp the house key. The search for my Caserio begins. “This is fun,” I chuckle, like a kid on a scavenger hunt, supremely confident in my detective abilities.

Ten minutes later and I am still out on the street, homeless. The key doesn’t fit the lock. Am I even in the right village I wonder? The derelict church next door invokes chills even the warmest of breezes can’t avert.  A deep down fear brews in my gut. Could there have been some kind of mistake? Unwittingly I try the key in the adjoining property (my neighbours’ apparently) leaving us all half scared to death. “Habla ingles?” I ask in desperation to the blank faces in the doorway. Yet amidst the confusion my arrival had in fact been anticipated and I am redirected to the door I first fumbled failingly to master. A welcome entry befitting sighs, giggles and cold beer waiting patiently for my arrival. 


Part 2
Last year, arriving in Ireland on a week’s retreat with poet David Whyte, we were reminded to take a good look around as we’d never see this place again exactly as we did on this first night. And so it is here. Four weeks and each day reveals something previously unseen, unfelt. And as with any place we inhabit for long enough, a familiarity grows. We get to call it Home. A House of Belonging?
Life here is slow. Days are long. Fertile ground for one to ponder new directions. Boiling the kettle to clean the dishes. Washing clothes by hand. Everything more elemental and necessary to gear down a body and mind. A healing of sorts. Windows recessed deep in stone walls allow for an uncommon darkness and profoundly deep sleep, and ancient doors keep interiors like wine cellars, cool and dark. Once opened, blinded by the light. Reminders of childhood Saturdays spilling out of the local cinema into the bright afternoon light. 
The sun’s rays enter the outside bathroom in the late morning making for a perfect time to bathe. The shower head limps with excess weight in its cradle requiring body convolutions to rinse bubbles from my hair. Errant winds deposit swirling leaves at my feet. I am a million miles away from the life I so recently knew.
A 30 minute walk to Deia, the nearby village with its ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous’ appeal, provide the basic necessities for daily life and the opportunity to greet new friends with the obligatory kissing on both cheeks. Purchases need to be made before the mandatory siesta closures, the heaving weight of bottled water and wine forgotten by years of car ownership. Chocolate cravings have to be planned ahead, if that’s even possible!
Beach access, a 5 minute descent through terraced olive groves and a resident donkey, invite sun lovers the opportunity to spread their nakedness over giant boulders, providing they possess the agility to scale the perilously steep ledges….typically those meant to be seen naked. This is how many ‘take the sun’ on this side of the Atlantic, but as the Buddhist saying goes, ‘When in doubt about where you’re meant to be…’ I look down at my feet and make a swift departure home.