You know how it is when a child is first born; the parents photograph and record every little development, every achievement, every growth spurt, the smiles, the new teeth, the first steps. And then the growth becomes more internal as awareness and understanding and some maturing take place. Well it feels a bit like that with the Retreat. It is coming up for 7 years since the site was identified and then purchased, just over 5 years since Henry moved to Belize and by Easter it will be 5 years since he moved on to the site, initially in his make shift tent which he shared with a zillion mosquitoes and a couple of scorpions.
So I find I am no longer taking pictures of every plant and fruit and flower but rather appreciating life on this remarkable 30 acres with more depth of experience and understanding. I relish my early morning walks every day in the forest, recognizing now the subtle seasonal changes, the changing colour and falling of the leaves so that it looks more like autumn than spring, the different bird songs as the breeding season begins, this dry time of year that reminds me so much of Harare. We are pondering on the different conditions each year, why the tomatoes are brilliant one year and almost non-existent the next, why the coriander grew one year like ‘hairs on a dog’s back’, as Henry likes to describe them, and why there is not one, not one, to be seen this year.
I find my gardens are so well covered now that there are fewer weeds to deal with (well until the rains) and I am in the delightful position of having to cut back volumes of overgrowth and can offer cuttings to other gardening friends. One can get away with buying virtually nothing as people are very generous with sharing their lovely plants.
Our child substitutes are doing very well and give us great pleasure and good company.
Last week we had a meditation day on the theme of Meditation and Music. I had found some beautiful quotations from the Sufi musician and spiritual teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan.
We say that we enjoy nature. But what is it in nature that we enjoy? It is music. Something in us has been touched by the rhythmic movement, by the perfect harmony which is so seldom found in this artificial life of ours; it lifts one up and makes one feel that nature is the real temple, the true religion. One moment standing in the midst of nature with open heart is a whole lifetime, if one is in tune with nature.
When one looks at the cosmos, the movements of the start and planets, the law of vibration and rhythm, all perfect and unchanging, it shows that the cosmic system is working by the law of music, the law of harmony.
In my last letter, when I was catching up and summarized the last 6 months in one go, I forgot to mention a very important fact. I finally got my permanent residency in September and with that was able to get my Social Security card and driver’s license. I am completely legal! And no longer have to pay $100 (US$50) a month to renew my visa.
I am very aware that many people are going through very challenging times at the moment but I have read and I have been told and I am gradually beginning to understand that even though things may look pretty grim it is all OK.