New Camaldoli is a very special place for me, filled with things that draw me closer to what is sacred and holy. The monks who live there, and the supportive silence which they keep, undergird my contemplative life.
New Camaldoli is also a place of deep natural beauty. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the Santa Lucia mountains, the grounds are filled with native plants and wildlife. I see deer every time I go there. At night, there are many more stars there than in Southern California.
There is nothing quite like sitting and watching the sun slowly slide down the sky into the ocean. As the world turns and day becomes night, condors soar along the edge of the sky.
The sun setting each evening and burning off the coastal fog each morning reminds me of the rhythm and pattern of life, that my days are ordered. The mountains and the ocean help me remember and find my place in the world.
Watching the condors helps me remember to soar.
There are times when I am very earthbound; weighed down by anxieties, tasks, and distractions. Watching the condors helps remind me that I can soar above all of that. I can ride the winds along the coast, feel the sun on my face, and draw in the scent of the ocean.
Spending time with the condors in Big Sur helps me remember to soar no matter where I go. I can feel the sacred wind holding me up and carrying me along.
What is weighing you down today?
What reminds you to soar?
[Image by USFWS Pacific Southwest Region]