Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Wine Country

I am relaxing in the 'sitting room' of the B&B where C.C. and I are staying in Sonoma County. Yesterday we drove along the coast from San Francisco, the top down on the mustang convertibe we rented for the next three days we'll be here in wine country.

Can you say 'supercalifragilisexpealidocious'?

The sun pouring down, the sea breezes wafting all around. Eagles soaring above. A view that just won't stop. We drove through forests, along winding roads and along cliffs bordering the Pacific. Sublime.

Today, we visited vineyards. Small, out-of-the-way places I've never heard of. Arista. Moshoin. Iron Horse.

At each, we were greeted by friendly and knowledgeable staff who poured and chatted and shared stories of the places. At Moishon we bought a Pinot Noir and a book on Dogs of the Vineyards. At Arista, a beautiful desert wine and at Iron Horse, a lovely bubbly that ticked my nose with delight. Also a at Iron Horse, the daughter of the owners poured bubbly into tall flutes, while sharing stories of growing up in this magical place.


I think I'm in heaven. Seriously. Heaven must be a vineyard somewhere and why not here?

When I was a little girl the story of Eden enthralled me. I imagined palm trees, ocean breezes, birdsong and flowering plants everywhere. I didn't know then the joys of wine, but if I had, I would have imagined vineyards sprawled out along valley bottoms, climbing up hillsides, green shoots shooting out into the sun.

Sort of like the Sonoma valley, in particular, the east side of the Russion River in Sonoma valley country.

Lush. Verdant. Towering redwoods. Olive groves and citrus. The world is a tapestry of rich, full and vibrant sights, sounds and smells here in the valley.

Just like the Eden of my imaginings long ago.

Unlike my childhood imaginings, this particular Eden is also filled with people, my beloved and the wayfarers along the way we've met and shared a story here, a tasting there. Like Len and his wife, Gegina (and I'm not sure I've got that right -- she is originally from Sweden, or was that Denmark?) and their friend Moat. A delightful couple sharing their trip up from LA with Len's best friend, and former police partner, Moat. The laughter and repartee between all three was engaging. Both C.C. and I were enchanted by their warmth, their humour and their generosity of spirit.

We met them at the Arista Winery. A small, 5,000 case a year winery specializing in Pinot's. We laughed and joked and agreed to meet up at Iron Horse.

C.C. and I got lost. When the map showed a right, I said left -- I am directionally challenged, I cannot deny it. Even turning the map upside down does not always make sense of East, West. North. South.

Twenty minutes later, after insisting that we must be going in the right direction, there are hills with vineyards and Iron Horse is on top of a hill I told him, we decided we'd best turn around.

Sure enough, we were headed in the opposite direction.

Laughing, (okay so I was laughing and C.C. was more being patient than anything else -- but then, he's accustomed to getting lost with me as navigator) we made our way back, and up and over hills to arrive at Iron Horse.

Len and Moat and Gegina were waiting for us. "We figured you must have been lost!" they said when we drove up. "If it wasn't for GPS, we'd never have found the place either."

We laughed. Even with GPS Louise can get us lost, C.C. mentioned and then told them about my artistic navigation skills.

We're found now, I insisted and we walked up to the tasting table and began 'the task' of sipping on bubbly from the Iron Horse vineyards.


Standing on a hilltop overlooking the Russian River and the 320 acres of grapes ripening, rolling hills, eagles soaring, palm trees standing sentinel, we spent a delightful hour with, as Gegina said, "Our new best friends" and agreed to meet again, some other time, some other place.

It is the way of the wine country.

Strangers meet. Share a glass of nectar, a tall tale or two and form fast friendship -- maybe we will, or not, meet up again. In the moment, beneath the sun and heat of the day, the pleasure of eachother's company is intensified by shared experience..

Contact info exchanged, we parted ways. C.C. and I to Guernville, the trio back to Santa Rosa where they are staying.

And between us, a delightful encounter that has the promise of becoming a deeper friendship like a new wine settling into old.

I hope we do stay in touch. I hope we do connect again. The realness of their presence, the laughter and the depth of their conversation left me wanting to know more.

You're a real social animal," C.C. laughed when we parted with our new friends.

"I am," I agreed. "And most of all, I just really like people. And they were nice people to like in this place that feels like heaven on earth!"

Monday, June 25, 2012

Breathless I fall (a poem from wine country)


In this place,

ocean breezes carry me


thoughts unravelling streaming out like clouds floating by without regard to time or space into fantasy

where sun and sand and sea meet on the playing field of dreams

running naked into untold stories of men with hooded eyes who

sit and sip fingerprinted glasses full of absinthe

voices rich with tall tales woven into visions of walruses and sailing ships pushing out

my breath catches on your lips red rimmed with the wine we tasted together laughing at a bar

sighing I fall

into the fragrance of this soft summer night

captive in the pages of a story yet untold beckoning

I unravel the chords of life killing me softly

upon the sultry notes of a jazz piano spinning me

senseless into the night

satiated I let go of needing to know for whom the bell tolls

and find myself running breathless into the arms of my beloved waiting to catch me

senseless I fall into the night.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In this sacred space

We met, six peace-makers in a room, plotting, scheming, designing peace. It is all in aid of Summer of Peace Calgary 2012 which kicks-off Friday night at Drumming Up Peace!

I won't be there. C.C. and I will be in San Francisco for a long-needed and joyfully anticipated break. And that's good. For in the hands of my fellow peace-makers, Drumming Up Peace! will unfold and we will launch a grassroots movement to create a million acts of peace.

As we plotted, the muse awoke and created a song of peace. And as we stood in our closing circle, I knew -- peace is everywhere. Like love, it is limitless. It is just we humans who forget how to connect to that which brings us peace... Love.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mary Oliver. I am breathing ( a poem)

Mary Oliver:  I am breathing

Breathing just a little
life flows
without thought
of each moment passing
draining into the next
every drop of anticipation
sucked dry
of life's rich bounty
in the unexpected joy
of being alive.

Breathing together
of all things
I find myself
revelling in every drop
of anticipation
dripping wet in the ripe, rich fruit
of life
into the unexpected joy
of being alive.

©2012 Louise Gallagher

Thursday, June 7, 2012

In That Place (a poem)

Recently, a young woman from England dropped in here to say hello. I wandered over to her place and was touched by her courage, her wisdom and her awareness.

She's not had it easy. And yet, despite what she's had, and not had, she keeps taking one step and putting it in front of the last creating a new path into a place where sadness and darkness no longer invade the quiet of her journey into the light.

Today, she shared a song by Tom McRae and it resonated -- in particular, this phrase.

I'm livin' up here where the air is thin
where gravity don't bring you down.

And, as often happens when I hear or read or see something that stirs my soul, the muse awakens and words appear from that thin place where I breathe into the moment, free of air, free of expectation, free of anything other than sensing in the moment, the aliveness of possibility.

Thank you On My Way for touching my soul.

In That Place.
©2012 Louise Gallagher

Let me be
in that place
where gravity
don't bring me down
and rain
don't flood
the fire
in my heart.

Let me run
into that space
where gravity
holds me up
the wind
pushing me down
and I don't feel
the rain
I don't feel
the cold
I don't
no more.

Let me run
and be
that one
who always sees
the brighter side
of life
the upside
of down
the other side
of inside

Out there
other than in that place
where I pull
urging me
to stand

Let me be
in that place
where gravity
don't hold me


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

We are here to be our miraculous selves

It has been over two weeks since I posted here. How time flies.

I sometimes wonder.... if I didn't post here any more would I miss it. And then I realize -- I would. Because this place was my launching pad for healing -- deep, deep emotional healing. From the past. From the sadness within me. From the events that clung like fog to my thinking.

I didn't realize it at the time, five years ago when I started writing here. I didn't realize how connected I was still to the sadness and horror of those days when I lost my way in the arms of a man whose love was not true.

Funny isn't it how we don't realize what was until we're no longer in the place of being there. In those times. In that place. In that thinking.

Since beginning to write here, so much has changed. So much has evolved, shifted, opened up, expanded.

I have learned through writing here that I am my thoughts. And what I write reflects my deep belief that we are all miracles of life. Life is miraculous.

I have learned writing here that we are all on this earth to live as our highest expression of life. We are here to be the sacred nature of our soul's desire to express itself through our beauty, truth, holiness and divinity. We are here to be miracles of life.

I have learned that my thinking can keep me playing small, or open me up to my magnificence.

I have learned that trusting in the Universe is the foundation of my belief, life is filled with limitless possibilities and I am powerful beyond my wildest imaginings when I trust in the Universe. The Universe is not against me it is always there, encouraging me to trust in the evolutionary impulse  to evolve and grow and expand and become. To be all that I am when I let go of fearing the Universe is not with me. The Universe is with me. For me. Of me. It is in the best interests of humanity that I shine, that you shine, that we all be our greatest expression of Love.

I have learned that fear will always want to steal my peace of mind and being courageous is the only antidote to fear.

I have learned that people are amazing. People make the world a better place.

And I have learned that Love is the answer. Love always wins.

I am blessed to have had this place as I moved more deeply into living joyfully in the rapture of now. I am blessed to have shared this journey with you, to have your words of support, encouragement, strength.

It is amazing to me the friendships I have made through this virtual world. It is amazing and it brings me joy, warmth, pleasure to know so many of you are my friends, my companions, my guides on this journey.

As I look back at over five years of writing almost every day here, I am in awe of the journey, and the mystery we have shared. I am in awe.

It's been a wonderful experience writing at A Year of Making a Difference. The focus and the subject are very important to me. But, what I've realized is that there is still so much more to explore in my life as well.

Why, just last week at meditation I dove deeply into the waters of self-discovery and found myself in the ocean of humanity once again.

Today I spoke with a woman whose mother just passed away. "We are all part of the ocean of life," she said in response to my question about her well-being. "Though my mother is gone, we're still connected. The essential part of ourselves will always be connected, if not on this physical plane, then some other place."

And I felt the ocean of humanity wash over me again.

We are all connected.

We are all spirit. We are all human. We are all miraculous beings of life and light.

It is a deep realization that has continued to open up within me the possibility and the knowing that there is nothing to fear in this world. Not failure. Not success. Not falling. Not flying. Not life. Not death.

There is nothing to fear. For no matter what happens on this earthly plane, we are eternal. We are soul. One humanity. One spirit. One people.

I haven't written here for over two weeks, and I have missed this space. I have missed the reflective nature of who I am when I am here, musing with you, sharing with you my wonder and joy in being alive.

I have missed you.

And.... yet, just as there is nothing to fear, there is nothing to miss. We are all connected.

Isn't life just the most awesome thing you can imagine?  I think so!