I began my day in the breakfast room of the Lighthouse Lodge in Pacific Grove, California. I talked with a woman my age (we’re both approximately 85). She and her hubby had moved to Reno, Nevada a while back. “Do you like it there?” > “No.” [a refreshingly straight answer, I thought] > “How come?” > “Just a lot of cactus.” > “So why did you move there?” > “They don’t have income tax.”
We talked about other stuff but the deepest part of me was way behind the conversation. I was sad for her. I could feel her heart shrivelling within the bonds of practicality.
Next up in the “butter your bagel” parade was a mom and her adult daughter. They had heard me mention the word “consciousness” to the first woman, and apparently their antennae were up. Mom came over and asked about the seminar I’m in at Asilomar starting on Thursday. I smiled and turned my chair to them. Ryan and Kaitlyn work with kids, trying to head off adult problems at the pass. They were happy to hear about the Evolutionary Collective.
If Ryan hadn’t come forward, I may or may not have started a conversation. Her courage opened windows between us, and we flew through together. I hope they’re back pouring their coffee tomorrow morning.
I’m tapping away in the lobby of Asilomar. It’s a grand wooden space with a row of beams way up high and simple chandeliers watching from above. Even though I’m a day early, I’ve been hoping that some EC folks stroll by. There’s lots of room on the leather couch for our hearts to join. Many people come and go but I don’t know any of their faces. Alas … my friends and future friends are elsewhere. I miss them.
It’s time to wander in the world. But wait a second. A gentleman has just sat down at a piano that I didn’t even notice. He kisses the keys with his fingertips. I’ll wander a bit later. Oops … he just stopped, plunking himself down on a nearby bench. I call out to him: “Play some more!” He smiles but doesn ‘t return to the piano. His wife comes out of the gift shop. He stands and walks away with her, waving a goodbye to me.
So, Bruce … now what? After all, that piano is looking a bit lonely.
If you guessed that I sauntered right over and tickled the ivories, you’d be right. Oh my goodness, that made me happy. I don’t read piano music so I just let my fingers find their way. Probably twenty years ago, I let myself do this in public … and then I shut it down. It was a general fear of people that mounted year by year. I let it put a lid on my natural expression at the piano. Not today!
There were about five folks in the lobby while I played. Afterwards, not a word, not a clap, not a problem. I’m no concert hall pianist but my heart does have a way of migrating into my hands.
I decided on a supper destination – the Red House Café in downtown Pacific Grove. To get there, I’ll walk on the coastal path, around the big point and eventually find streets again.
I set off amid the wonder of blue sky and the whisper of a breeze. Along the way, I was greeted by rock outcrops, the whitest sand beaches, gulls and cormorants, tidal pools, blankets of a green tubular plant, flowers, and … Adriana Massino.
I spotted a young woman ahead on the path wearing a glowing ball cap. It looked so cool as she sauntered along. As I caught up to her, I smiled and said “I love your hat!” She smiled back. I waited a second to see if she wanted to extend the conversation, and she did. She asked if we could walk together. And we did.
Adriana is Italian, now living in Paris. She and her partner have started a company, and are in the US to see if some Americans want to join them in the endeavour. The business focuses on an online service that makes it easier for pet owners to access veterinarians (at least I think that was it!)
Adriana was so easy to be with. No hurry, let’s see what’s on the side paths, look at the beauty of this place, time for another photo. We talked of life, of the wide open spaces here, of the crush of people in Paris, of Senegal, of Canada, of kindness. Sometimes she went first on the path, sometimes I did. Sometimes we bubbled in our talking, sometimes we were silent. All was fine.
Adriana and I hugged goodbye, knowing that the most likely thing is that we’ll never see each other again. Still, we shared an hour of contact, of smiles, of ease.
I am blessed.