Category Archives: Travel

Ode to Upper Las Virgenes Canyon

On Tuesday, I stood on the ridge.  Wind whipping across her curves and mesas; wind lifting my spirits beyond weight of concerns, or the 4 million busy souls of L.A.

I saw the long view of her horizons; contours of dull and golden-brown hills against gradients of grays, layers of inversion and atmospheric blues.

I focused on the daring pose of a lone, dying tree.

I breathed in dust and sage; it smelled to me like precious incense intended as prayers to the gods.

I imagined, as if I were a child again on the Midwestern prairie; pretending that I was a trail hand, working for Gil Favor, eating beans on a banged-up tin plate. Or hero in Dodge City, not as Kitty, but as a dark and mysterious cowboy riding into town on her (I mean his) bike (I mean horse).

I brought my thinking and gratitude back to where my boots are.

Buffered by the canyon’s earthy shield from a racing 101, I stood and listened for a while to the quiet, more quiet than home. Stillness is spiced by the shy song of a California Towhee’s “cheep”, or slight rustle of wind that makes the brown grasses dance, or my own sigh as I breathe deeply the luxury of these languid moments in open spaces.

The wind. The wind. The wind.

By Friday I hear that the wind is ripping fire across the grass-bearded face of these hills. It knows no boundaries. It casts embers and sparks far beyond itself because it has no regard for its effect; no respect or prejudice for land, or home, or life, or dream. My heart hurts, sinks, flips around in my chest as I hear of the horrific losses of life. And the wind and the fires go on. It is not done yet. Not contained. People try their hardest, but people have to wait for the Santa Ana winds to die down. To wait for the other side of the wind.

The wind. The wind. The wind.

I pray. For the land. For the creatures. And most of all, for the people. And, with an eerie resolve, I know I will walk this canyon again no matter the extent of blackened char or scar of her hills. I will not wait until her growth is new and restored. I will walk when the season takes me there, and I will listen for the lessons she has for me then.

In the wind. From the wind. With the wind.

Being loved, timelessly.

Lower Antelope Canyon, AZ

Our trip west, through our nation’s national parks in Utah and Arizona’s landscapes, continues to exceed my expectations! Those pesky expectations are being left, quite literally, in the dust.

On our hikes, or traveling on black ribbons of asphalt through other-world-like spaces, I’m noticing, and thinking of Mom and Dad alot. Missing them in a sweet way.

They liked traveling in our states. They would have loved to hear about our adventures. I miss not sharing this with them, and I miss their interests in us.

I am grateful this morning for this tender awareness. It gets lost, or misplaced; drowned out in the hub-bub of city and chores. I like to think that they and Trudy are watching and smiling from their place of sublime wonder and love. Lofty ideals grounded in this almost-hurt in my chest for being their daughter and sister still here.

I drift.

There are not many things we know for sure about how life and death and before or after life and death works, but this is one thing I do know.

My family loved and loves me, and wanted and wants goodness for me. Not everyone is left with such a gift when left here.  I have come to know this by listening.  That this knowing of being loved by a parent or sibling, even when there is strife and struggles, is not a given; not always the case.

But here in these wide open spaces I am found knowing my reality of being loved, timelessly.  It creeps up out of the rocks with its tender yet powerful truth. Almost overwhelms me with its reminder.

Love is eternal.

Older than these millions-of-years-old formations, deeper than the canyons that I get to see and hike, love endures.  Lasts.

I am still loved, and, so are you.

Rockport

Rockport Fishing © twyatt 2014A few moments on the balcony looking out to the edge of sky and water.  Water and earth.

Bob is fishing off the bank and has signaled that he already has snagged two good sized trout.

Settling back into my water-scape view, tears swell as naturally as the persistent, gentle lapping of waves against the concrete bulkhead.

These are the good days.

In hindsight we’ll see more of the incredible gift of these easy times, even as we know in these moments their delicate joys.

Looking Forward To Pecos

Pecos River © Twyatt 2012Pecos View © Twyatt 2012Pecos Angel © Twyatt 2012

A few have asked about where I am going and what I am doing in June?  Here’s the link to where I will be, Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey in Pecos, New Mexico, plus a few pictures from when I was there in 2012.

I will be attending the Pecos Benedictine Charismatic School for Spiritual Direction including classes, group activities, meeting with an assigned Spiritual Director, prayers and quiet time for study and personal reflection. Continue reading

Off The Grid in Ollantaytambo

I wish you could see what Les and I got to see and experience today while off the beaten path in Ollantaytambo.

Ollantaytambo Main Street © Twyatt 2014Ollantaytambo Doorway © Twyatt 2014Ollantaytambo Bougainvillea © Twyatt 2014

When we drove through the dusty, congested entrance last night, I thought, “Seriously, people live here?”  I could barely contain my urge to snicker and say, “Haven’t you got anything newer than this?”  I don’t think anyone else would have seen the Bug Signs Ollantaytambo Peru © Twyatt 2014humor behind my concern for our accommodations.  But, they were good despite the odd radiated bug-like symbols painted on all four walls of our room.  I think they may be Quechua for “roaches beware”.

This was to be our first day of being without Yure; we set out with our off-the-guided-grid attitude, and little tiny map without street names, to discover the once capital city and oldest continuously inhabited dwellings in South America.  And we made it as far as the nearest coffee cafe at the corner of the plaza. Continue reading

Finding Waldo in Peru

Ollantaytambo Peru © Twyatt 2014Terraces of Pumatallis Ollantaytambo PeruWiracocha Image on Pinkuylluna Ollantaytambo Peru © Twyatt 2014

We arrived in Ollantaytambo, a still inhabited city that once served as temporary capital for Manco Inca (leader of the native resistance against the Spanish conquistadors).  The elevation is 9,160′ above sea level and the stone steps of the main Inca ceremonial center seem to be growing steeper and more narrow, so I turn around and wait at the base of Araqhama while Les and Yure carry on to the top. Continue reading

Lessons at Pisac

Pisac Ruins Peru © Twyatt 2014

We make several stops at the entrance to the Valley including more Incan ruins known as Inca Písac.  We turn to the opposite side of this site and there, in the mountain are rows and rows of holes. I’m astounded.  This was the vision I saw this morning and drew (again hurriedly and crudely) on my paper table mat before leaving for the day.

Holes Drawing Cusco Peru © Twyatt 2014Mountainside Pisac Peru © Twyatt 2014Mountain Tombs Peru © Twyatt 2014

Yure goes on to explain the mountainside pockmarks as evidence of Spanish tomb robbers extracting gold and silver from the final resting places of the Incas.  These were the history lessons come alive, but there were other messages for me on that particular spot on the mountain. Continue reading