Wednesday, June 10, 2009

She'll be comin' round the mountain when she comes...

We sing sometimes doing walking meditation, Natalie's groups. Nat will call on a particular person she knows loves to lead singing, or ask for a specific song. "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen (later covered by Jeff Buckley) is a fave. "Wallflower Waltz," "Amazing Grace," and a few other songs I don't know the sources of are on pretty steady repeat. Occasionally she'll just say "anyone have a song they want to sing?"

Today, walking over to the main house for lunch after a very loopy and ungrounded group discussion of Red Azalea by Anchee Min, I had that song, "She'll be comin' round the mountain when she comes." I am in Taos, after all, high up on a hill with Taos Mountain framing the building from no matter what angle (save the back, bordering the Pueblo, where the public are asked not to go) you see it from. I come out to go to breakfast in the morning, Mountain. To the "log cabin" (mostly adobed over so it makes us Northerners laugh): Mountain. Running from a rainstorm coming in? Mountain. 

And that's what I have just returned from doing - being chased off the grounds of a gallery situated nearby Mabel Dodge Luhan House by an oncoming storm. This morning Nat commented "Funny how weather affects us, isn't it?" The group had grown silenter - I know were are on a silent retreat, but there are always degrees of grumbles or giggles, and they were drowned out of our bodies by the downpour - and somberer. I, for one, usually love rain, but had plenty of it back home before coming, thank you. But I know they need it here. It's rare. After lunch, with "She'll be comin'..." still runnin' through my head, a friend and I indicated to each other with minimal words that we both wanted to go for a walk, read each other's "How are you feeling right now?" replies Nat asked us to write after the bizarre group idea bazaar. We perched on the edge of the pond in the gallery garden, noted the sculpture where I took a picture of her last time was gone, and photographed the oncoming storm swallowing the tops of all three surrounding mountains. We read fast, trusting each other with our neurotic splashes, pausing to laugh or notice the woodpeckers and pigeons. 

It helped us both, to get "stuff off our chests," since neither of us trust everyone in the larger group, on some level. But as both of us noticed separately in our own writings, neither of us totally trust ourselves, either. "What happened to our little sweet retreat?" I whined in my writing. And yet I've done enough retreats to know very well what Day Three feels like - like this. Ungrounded. Egotistical. Wild. Breaking. 

The storm continues to rage for minutes on end, then disappear with the sun. After a pause, she comes around again.  And so do the feelings. Way to say it, Natalie. The weather may not be causing our feelings, but it sure does fit them.

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