in retrospect

I filled up my computer with photos, music, and more from constant travels. So, today I am finally cleaning out my computer: storing old stuff into my external hard-drive (I will need to buy a new one soon to back this one up, just in case). I looked through some old photos. (this hard-drive has my photos all the way from 2008, and even my photojournalist portfolio from 2006!), and I feel amazed that I am still alive in some ways. I have been through all kinds of crazy adventures, learned so many things, met so many people. Really, it's beyond words. Looking through these photos makes me wish I could look through the mental archives of my elders. I would love to look thru the memories of my grandparents, my parents, even my sister (she has traveled almost as much as I have, just in a completely different style). I would love to look through the mental archives of my teacher 7song, and all my elders: Tamarack, Lety, Bill, Lucy... Where have you been? WHO have you been? What events in your life sculpted you into who you are, today? What beauty, what pain? Share with me your stories of greatest joy, greatest humor. And then, all the mundane normalcy in between. All the days that blend together. Tell me about those too. 

I ate dinner tonight sitting on my doorstep overlooking the forest, crows cawing overhead (a "murder" of crows!), and I cawed back to them, laughing as they flew back to circle over my head, over my cabin, over the trees, a murder of crows, a bundle of mysteries, about as mysterious, sacred, and beautiful as anything I could ever imagine flying through the lives of all the people I love, and all the strangers and acquaintances I meet, all the plants and stones and trees too... There's an old tree next to where the farmer's market takes place every Saturday. I asked my neighbor Wade how old he thought the tree was. "Well," he replied, "probably 300 years old or so..." I imagine what this forest looked like 300 years ago, before white colonists came in, with Native Americans running through the landscape, old growth forests, no farmer's market, no cars, no computers... I imagine lush forests teeming with animals and diverse plant life...

I delight in the sound of the crows in the nearby trees, the wind blowing through the leaves. My eyes widen into owl eye vision, taking in all the forest, soft green young leaves blowing gently on the trees, dead brown leaves softly trembling on the ground from the wind whistling through my grove. I named my forest that I am living in (Noah's land)- I named this forest "Ling Lin," (靈林) which translates as "Spirit Forest." After a full day of work and over a week of daily work, I start to zone out on the fluttering green and brown leaves, until a sharp crow call brings me back into the present moment. I think of all the moments fleeting and flying, how quickly time flies by, how the days seem to blur together... 

One day, I will look back on photos from this spring to summer time in my cold little sweet and sacred cabin with all the frog songs, owl hoots, coyote scat, and crow calls, and I will miss it. I will think back to my time with Nishaan and 7song and all the other students, clients, and local friends turned into family, and I will smile, and I will reminesce, and I will have so many stories for all my future students of all ages and friends of all backgrounds, but no words or photos or videos can ever fully recapture the preciousness of this very really present moment: back to sitting in the woods alone yet surrounded by and woven completely into Life. 

Precious Life. I hope to live it so fully, and learn so much, and be filled to the brim with good Medicine to share, and share, and share--- and receive again, in full, and share and be filled, and share and be filled... 

The tadpoles grow larger everyday. I watch them swimming around during class break, admiring the swish of their tails, the roundness of their bellies. I wonder what they eat. 

The dandelions have already gone to seed. I like to blow their fluff around and make wishes that I trust will come true, as much as I am willing to work hard to make them happen. 

The garlic mustards are still in flower, and in seed, and young garlic mustards have already sprung up around the first garlic mustard plants of spring, now entering into summer already! Soon, they will take over the whole garden, if I don't eat them all, first! 

Today, I watched an orange newt come lazily crawling out from under the dry soil of my unwatered garden bed. He/she sauntered over to another hole in the earth, and then eased him/herself back into the Earth again. I wonder where he/she lives. 

The moon is getting fuller again. I enjoy watching her through the trees every night. My window is perfectly positioned to catch her glow as I fall asleep at night. 

In the mornings, I revel when I see the glow of the sun, and jump out of bed, twisting and dancing. When it is cold and my breath blows white frost into the air, I curl deeper into my pile of three sleeping bags, making loud "ahhh's" into the soft echos of my little hut, delighted to be sleeping alone again, yet also missing the warmth of another human body cuddled into my own. 

I love biking into and out of the forest, Dragon (my bike)'s wheels jumping up with every protruding root from the Earth, making my breath jump into the throat, and forcing a smile that turns into a laugh up from my unbalanced feet into my open mouth, a loud "HA!" that makes the squirrels jump down out of their warm nests in surprise. 

Beautiful Life. 
Precious, precious. 

I look back onto Taiwan photos and that world feels so surreal and far away. I have already seen Efan and Shulin who I saw in Taiwan. Soon, I will see Amie again, and Larry too- here in the USA. Worlds falling apart, and coming together again. I keep reminding myself, "I carry Taiwan and my 2.5 years of Asia travels with me. It's across the globe, but it's here inside of me too. I carry this with me." Teaching yoga and practicing Thai massage after so long of no practice after wrist surgery, I question my confidence, my practices, my knowing. I know nothing. The more I learn, the more I understand just how little I really know. The more I desire to learn. The less I feel I know. Empty bowl, full bowl. Full moon, new moon. 

Cycles upon cycles. 

Jiling . 林基玲 
  . wild . creative . spirit 
  626.344.9140 / skype: Lin.JiLing