The sweetness of a perched bird’s song is a clever mask for the beautiful design in its folded wings. All things about a bird were designed for flight. I closed both my eyes, and opened another. There I saw a bird. Like any ordinary bird. As I crept closer, he rustled daring me to come nearer. After our meeting, what I know is the song is small in comparison to the beauty of his unveiled wings. Unveiled. Once he takes flight from the safety of the tree’s arm. Sing a sweet song this morning and flap your wings.
~Michelle J. Pearcy
When I arrived at the beautiful Irish Town resort in the St. Catherine parish of Jamaica, the first thing I was thankful for was my driver’s uncanny sense of knowing what was around the next corner. From the view of a backseat driver, passing vehicles no matter the size seemed ominous on the fallen-mango and limestone-littered road. The serpentine road stretched and wound and curved and constricted up 3,100 feet above Kingston. The best way I knew to deal with the thrill of seeing over the road’s edge into the gully was to gently close my eyes and recite the Three R’s:
Relax. Relate. Release.
Besides, I was on my way to a beautiful retreat and what a folly it would have been to arrive in a bundle of nerves and tensed up muscles. And to be honest, some of my life’s journeys have been on roads less traveled, with far less visibility, and deeper potholes! The Three R’s offered relief, yet the lesson of this trip would be to grant myself permission to let go of repetitive thoughts, patterns and behaviors – the kind of meditations that can keep one frozen and in a mold like an ice cube.
In the short climb to Strawberry Hill Hotel & Spa, a beautiful Blue Mountain oasis, I gained the tremendous wisdom of neither looking too far ahead in the road or over my shoulder on the steep climb behind me. Instead…
Focusing on living IN the moment
Along the path, I have discovered the genius in focusing on living IN the moment, the present. One afternoon, during my stay at the resort, I discovered this dragonfly. The simple creature had already lived out its life. I was totally intrigued by the fragile lace-like design of its wings and the strong breastplate-like shape of its body. What a contrast! The dragonfly lives most of its brief life in an immature state as a nymph. With most of its life in a state of being that is not-ready-for-prime-time, is there any wonder what it will do once it is able to fly? The dragonfly literally leaves nothing to be desired by living his life to its fullest. Once it’ s able to fly, that’s what it spends most of its time doing.
I ask myself how different should my life be from that of a simple creature?
What is it like to live and work in Dreamland,? I asked.
“Like heaven,” she replied.
Then she said her family asks why she left their home for
“For peace, for healing”
I suppose that makes her something of a dragonfly.
I was unable to gain the fullness of her heartfelt answer until after the sun set on my first evening in the oasis. A mist comes over the entire mountain that seems to erase the day, blanket the evening and lay foundation for the new day. Once I experienced that, there was no question.
One of the things I long for most when I have been away from Jamaica for an extended time is nighttime sounds. It is a veritable symphony of crickets, tree frogs, and yes, the occasional irritating sound of an irritable dog’s bark.
In the decades that I have traveled ‘back to Jamaica,’ I had never recorded those spirit-soothing sounds except in my memory. Each morning, the symphony that lulled me off to sleep gave way to a symphony of crisp, chirping birds, clanging castanet sounds of june-flies, and an occasional rooster’s call. Like a symphony orchestra sequestered in the pit, it is not always easy to see or fully appreciate the tiny musicians.
At first, I did not appreciate the blessing Theresa, Steven, and Little Sophie, the family that stayed in the room above me had become. Their European body clocks were set to a different rhythm than mine and their very early stirrings were just what I needed to be gently awakened in time to sit with the daily sunrises.
Some journeys are serious, some fun, and others of discovery. This was a discovery mission.
I took a two-and-a-half-hour walk with walking tour guide Dave down the mountain to a place called Gardentown. It was scenic, peaceful and serene. All along the way, he showed me the indigenous fruits and vegetables, and along the way shared some of his herbal roots knowledge.
Of course, the conversation shifted to the power of love. One love. In Dave’s view, all that life amounts to. My view too.
As I was being led through narrow paths on completely unfamiliar terrain, often paces behind Dave, I imagined that my inside voice is still the best choice for a guide. That still voice best is best suited to correct my path, setting me back on course. It’s a forgiving voice that has never given up on my lack of direction and recalculates better than the best-rated GPS gadget!
Once the sun made it over the mountain and beamed on Red Light, the small town opposite the oasis 3,100 feet high above Kingston, the town with no traffic lights of any color, it became blistering hot. I gave in, relented and retreated to the infinity pool.
Infinity is without limits, right?
When I left Dreamland, the place that took traveling a road littered with rocks and fallen fruit to arrive to, I awakened. Then I recalled that there are no obstacles that cannot be overcome, no barriers that can stand in my way – that today is the greatest day of my life!
Ain’t That A Trip? …when a climb to a retreat advances through a dreamscape of rocks and fallen fruit.
Mention of Strawberry Hill Hotel & Spa in this post should not be construed as a review. Their website is located at: http://www.islandoutpost.com/strawberry_hill/