Monday, April 04, 2011


This past weekend I was lucky and blessed to spend time at an avocado ranch up near El Capitan State Beach.  We went to celebrate Leisa turning 50 and three others, including myself, had just birthdays as well so it was quite festive.  The property itself is amazing with vineyards and avocado groves and a stream and a zip line, but I was mostly into the hammock.

It was nice, cool and damp, misty giving over to rain a few times, which was great because at least 1/3 of the 12 women that were there were having hot flashes at any given time.  One of us who is fighting breast cancer had just had her last radiation treatment, so she was experiencing prickly heat that was so extreme, the material from her shirt was driving her nuts, not to mention the extreme pain from the burn.  She showed me the scars on her chest where her breasts had been and the charred black and red flesh over her left side, at the site of the radiation treatment.

While red and black are sort of her signature colors, the accompanying pain was bad and it was wearing her out, but she was a super trooper for making the trip.  Now that the treatment is over she can move on to the next thing - which will be marrying her best friend in August.  She is also a force of nature and a scrapper, so it seemed appropriate that as the earth is on the verge of bursting with verdant life, she is at the stage in this fight where she is kicking cancer's ass and looking forward to moving on to grand future, a full life, and a really fun wedding in this amazing place later this summer and it will be my honor to perform the ceremony.

I think that's why I love spring so much.  Beyond the fact that the days are longer, there is also literal budding of life which hints at the abundance of goodness and beauty to come with summer days.  When times are challenging there is nothing more important than this reminder of the inexorable forward motion of life and although it can feel bleak and challenging and exhausting, it will once again renew and there will be light on the path ahead.  It's more difficult to find these signs in the middle of a city, but they're still there.  In Southern California we don't have the obvious movement from snow to sun, but we have so many plants that show us that spring is here.  I love that we have hibiscus bushes.

They are floribundufull - not a word, I know, but it sounds like they look, and while this is from the ranch they live on almost every corner of the streets in my neighborhood. 

But back to the ranch, the frogs sang to us all night and the roosters woke us in the morning.  I tried to get a good picture of the little dudes but they were less than enthused about a photo shoot and did not cooperate.  Turns out it's hard to get a good shot when you're running towards bushes at full speed.

We took beautiful walks and ate the most delicious food and did art projects and read and napped and danced in the living room in front of the fireplace, and then ran outside to wait for the hot flashes to mellow out.  We sat on the porch swings and talks and talked and climbed up into the tree house and talked some more.  We walked the rows of the vines which are just starting to make little grapes...

And we look forward to one day drinking the wine that is promised in each little nugget and toasting Nancy and Byron this summer with the first vintage grown on the ranch which will be ready this summer.  Thanks to the Doty's for allowing us the great privilege of staying at their magical ranch.