Left Coast Dreams : A Changing Landscape

So fellow travelers, today is my solar return, aka birthday, which I am celebrating in one of my favorite places with some of my favorite people.

Once a year the Sun returns to the same degree of its 360* journey where it was at your birth, hence the name solar return. I like the term. It’s a reminder that Light always returns even if we have to wait awhile.  As a seeker of Light I know it can always be found even in the darkest of times through the practice of kindness and compassion.

So I am in Portland, Oregon. We came here last summer to visit our daughter and son-in-law who had moved here earlier in the year. When your kids leave home it is always affirming to see how they are doing firsthand. Within 24 hours I could see why they were so happy they had moved here and the longer we stayed in PDX, the more I fell in love with this city and the Pacific Northwest. The feeling caught me completely by surprise.

I have traveled to many places around the world. I spent my teen years living in Southeast Asia and loved all the wonderful cities we experienced.  I am not one to say “Oh Paris is so charming, I wish I lived here.  Isn’t New Orleans great I want to stay. Wow! wouldn’t it be great to live in one of these beach houses in the Seychelles?”

Ok, the last one, yes I admit I did think for years, but then the island government collapsed and there was a military coup and I expect things are not so grand in paradise anymore. The point is while I may love a place enough to want to visit again, I rarely consider relocating. Then we came to Portland.

Last year I was so absorbed in seeing as much as we could take in I never found the time to write about the experience. I shot close to a hundred photos but not having the technology available to download on the road, I posted just the best phone shots to my Facebook page with some brief journal notes. This trip I came armed with resources, so expect a series of journal posts with photos to follow.

This morning, however, I am reflecting on something author Jon Katz refers to in his Bedlam Farm blog as “the changing landscape of life.” Embedded in the vista which greets our eyes when we rise each day are the symbols of what we value. The landscape we experience as we move through our daily life holds the elements of what we have designated as essential to our being. Sometimes we feel those choices are made for us by circumstances, but ultimately we are the creators of our lives. An event may not be one we consciously choose, yet our thoughts and perceptions of it will create our experience.

If I have learned anything in five decades plus of living (and I hope my life reflects I have been a good student) an essential lesson has been to be aware of where my attention is focused. If I am thinking with a fearful mind, worry and anxiety will drive my choices. When I think with love and gratitude my world is filled with magic and miracles. Those miracles might be as mundane as the perfect parking spot or as wondrous as having a bright blue dragonfly land on my camera lens.

With one daughter happily married and comfortably settled here in Portland and the other about to embark on her college adventure in Tokyo, Japan my life landscape is changing in profound ways. There is some tugging of heart stings but there is an increasing sense of excitement about what is unfolding.

And not by chance I came across a quote I feel fits my new landscape quite well. It’s from Crabby Angel Chronicles ( could there be a more fitting title for me ?)  by Jacob Glass.

Stop chasing joy. Live it.


Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.


Deborah H Rahalski


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