I keep thinking about posting an update, and then I get distracted and do something else :)
Life is wonderful and full of blessings. Yesterday was the first class in a new session of yoga taught by Sandy Jones through Upland Recreation called Challenge You Yoga. I have been taking her Yoga Fit class for over 2 years, once a week- it is Hatha. It has helped me calm my mind, learn how to be still, appreciate meditation, quiet, and being slow. It has had a massive effect on my life, and I am eternally grateful to have found it/her.
If her previous class was a level 0/beginner, this new class felt like a 2/advanced, skipping right over intermediate! We were sweating quickly, and it was so much wonderful that my mind had no time at all to wander. After several of the poses the sensation of bliss and release was astounding! While there is so much value to the slow (and longer) class I had previously taken (and is still available), I am very excited at the prospect of the experience of this newer harder class. We used blocks and straps and warmed up and balanced and moaned and grunted and pushed and held and it was just amazing. I felt positively exhilarated afterwards and also pooped :P
I have been swimming at the pool in my apartment complex- it is so peaceful. Sometimes there are kids in there, and though I prefer it empty, I can still do laps with them there, and they are sweet and curious, attempting to race and copy me :)
Swimming is another incredibly valuable time of mindfulness for me- under the water my brain shifts gears, and as I get more adjusted and stretch out each stroke and get a rhythm of my breathing, I do get into a meditative state.
Gardening is another activity I have been enjoying. How long has it been since you actually had both hands full of soft soil with pleasure at the texture of it? To see our little succulents root and bloom and flourish or shrivel and shrink is such an adventure. It reminds me of when my fish tank was much younger and each life form was such a fascinating victory as I maintain its home. My tank is stable and mature and at this point I spend most of my time culling and rearranging to accommodate growing into each other, stinging, and shading each other as opposed to adding new little frags and trying to see where they are happiest with the light and flow.
I love to walk in Claremont and admire all the gardens and yards- I love the overgrowth Southern California's temperate weather, ample sun, and man-made watering can accomplish. I like ivy climbing, buganvilias with morning glories growing interspersed, xeriscaping, etc. I like to see the hodge-podge of planters and pots people use, the trees with shady old branches and fascinating exposed root structures.
I grew up in a place of squat juniper and pinon trees with aspens in the mountains and cottonwoods near the rivers. Many chamisas and cacti and dry shrubs. The debris created by this is minimal, and so also are the garden workers. Most yards are more rock than life. Here, palm fronds and pine needles and massive amounts of flowers, petals, blooms, cuttings, leaves- they all gather and clog the gutters and every day people are out scooping and blowing them away.
Next I am excited to try my terrariums- I have two containers ready, but no plants planned for either. I have the activated carbon but need to gather some pea gravel and some sand and buy some more cactus soil. I feel absolutely ridiculous purchasing pea gravel- in NM you can get it EVERYWHERE, and yet the gravel I see is either clearly skimpy and just a visual layer (and so I would be destructive in taking it) or spread on parking lots with absolutely no growth of weeds which leads me to believe it has been chemically treated. So perhaps I will just buy some after all. I think I could go to Mt. Baldy and find some finer gravel here and there- it would be an adventure to harvest it rather than buy it. So many places are either developed or have been excavated and thus likely chemically treated to reduce weed growth, and their dirt and gravel is not ideal for gardening.
We are also considering trying to raise a staghorn fern- one of the coolest plants I have ever seen, though admittedly this is once they are older and larger, and I am not sure what kind of success we will have trying to grow one from a smaller plant. The succulent guy at the farmer's market says he can bring us one for a very reasonable price, and I am guessing we would need to mount it ourselves! I love how they grow when given a hanging basket but also mounted on a board- I hope to do one of each :) Many Californians mount them on trees, but I would mount it to a board and secure that to our patio post.
Here is a wonderful idea for hanging it