I come to the place with some anger and some grief. Then I smell the unmistakable smell of dog shit. I turn and see that the log I’m sitting on, to write, has been smeared with it from one end to the other. Mostly dried, but still smelly. I move to the rock, still covered with the graffiti that was sprayed on it several weeks ago. The Douglas fir across from this rock has been cleaned of graffiti; I can’t imagine what kind of sanding tool was used for that. From the roots to a height of about seven feet had been sprayed with red, then white, and blue paint. Like the rock, which has the phrase “Ball is Lyf” and a logo.

The wind blows in the high reaches of the firs and cedars in this small pocket park, all that remains of the West Coast Rainforest that once covered this ridge. Panorama Ridge, it was named by the settlers who razed it and set up their small-hold farms, which have now given way to narrow houses on 10 meter lots, and large clusters of townhouses.

The panorama is South East and South West over Mount Baker, the Cascades, and then to the Serpentine and Nicomekl Rivers. Then West to Mud Bay and the Georgia Straight beyond, with Vancouver Island on the horizon, visible on clear days like today.

I hear children playing in a townhouse complex nearby, trapped in their narrow driveways and more dangerously, in the long run, in the toxic culture they live within. How many will awaken in their lifetimes? And how much damage will they create before that happens? As much as I did when unconscious? Now, time to create the Radbird of Joy before I slip into grief and despair.

And then the Radbird flies and I weep. This place is so special, this rock and this Douglas fir. I pass here every morning and touch and speak to them as I have my husky, Nika, out for her first walk of the day. Two large birds fly through the trees, perhaps crows but quiet, unlike them, often cawing, low and swift, they pass soundless. Now others come, young and old, robins, and sit and allow a conversation.

So true and loyal, this natural world we have fled from! Continuous re-wilding going on, if we would but let it be. The Radbird flies on, content. Through the branch whose other extremity will accompany me to Colorado for my imminent Vision Quest. As a prayer arrow, a greeting from the West coast, from the San Juan Islands in the Salish Sea, to the San Juan Mountains in the Rockies.

The Colorado Rockies are for me, a place of peace and solitude I turned my back on, forty years ago. Not so peaceful in my mind now, with me carrying this bag of grief and the fierce intention to allow my soul to turn my life into a force for good in the years I have left to live. Yet there is a joy in this fierce love. I feel my soul, dancing, jubilant, cheering me on. I am excited and realistically terrified. I am ready to fall. In Rumi’s words, “Roar, lion of the heart, and tear me open.”