Living in the Trees

“I want to long for nothingto be desireless. To just enjoy the gifts of each day. To feel the love that is already present. The warm sand beneath my feet, the constant rush of the waves, the 1001 interesting (amazing!) things I encounter in nature, all are food for my soul. How to make this my living reality and not just a vacation? (Costa Rica, June 27, 2013)

Opening up the window, I hear a few lingering crickets singing in the autumn sunshine. A chipmunk springs like a mini kangaroo through the damp leaves. Birds gorge on intoxicating juniper berries and the tart, red-orange berries of the mountain ash tree. On this day, as so many times before, I’m reflecting on how removed we are from nature and how delicious and healing it would be to live closer to the sea and among the trees.

Years ago, I read a book that I can no longer remember the title of; however, in this unnamed book it mentioned The Moon and Sixpence, which is a novel (written by William Somerset Maugham) loosely based on the life of the French artist Paul Gauguin. I hadn’t thought about Gauguin much since I read The Moon and Sixpence, but I read another book recently called Beachcombing at Miramar that makes a reference to Gauguin’s semi-autobiographical book Noa Noa. Naturally, my interest was piqued and I set out to find a copy of Noa Noa. I admire Gauguin, who in his early 40s abandoned everything to follow his heart. For 63 days he sailed to reach his dream: to paint in Tahiti. After shedding his European ways (his clothing even!) and spending some time in an island hut, Gauguin muses:

Silence! I am learning to know the silence of a Tahitian night. In this silence I hear nothing except the beating of my heart.
But the rays of the moon play through the bamboo reeds, standing equidistant from each other before my hut, and reach even to my bed. And these regular intervals of light suggest a musical instrument to methe reed-pipe of the ancients, which was familiar to the Maori, and is called vivo by them. The moon and the bamboo reeds made it assume an exaggerated forman instrument that remained silent throughout the day, but that at night by grace of the moon calls forth in the memory of the dreamer well-loved melodies. Under this music I fell asleep.
Between me and the sky there was nothing except the high frail roof of pandanus leaves, where the lizards have their nests.
I am far, far away from the prisons that European houses are.
A Maori hut does not separate man from life, from space, from the infinite. . . .

In many ways, I can relate to Gauguin. Viewing houses as prisons sounds dramatic but hes onto something there. When I stayed in a modern villa in Costa Rica earlier this year, I was resentful of the fact that at night I was cut off from the stars and night sounds. Patio lights used for security blocked out the night sky and the steady hum of air conditioning units prevented me from hearing anything wild. Well, except for the mysterious tapping on the glass of my bedroom patio door every night just as I was drifting off to sleep... (After a few nights of fearfully listening from my bed, I eventually and bravely switched on a flashlight to reveal a small Halloween crab clicking its claws on the glass!)

Like Gauguin, our domestication repels me. He found a peaceful simplicity in island living that made him feel creative and vibrantly alive. Something in me struggles to break away from conformity but how one accomplishes this completely, I’m still not certain. In the meantime, I’m exploring exciting and different ways of living. Tree houses have become an infatuation of mine. I don’t know anyone personally that lives in a tree house; although, it’s become trendy to vacation in them. For now, maybe that’s a start.

Free Spirit Spheres, Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island

Treebones Resort, Big Sur, California

TreeHouse People (Takashi Kobayashi), Hokkaido, Japan

Mahinui Na Lani, on the Big Island of Hawaii
Tree house cedar hot tub ♡

Remember Love

Photo: Tina Breen

“We get shy about saying things like I love you. Life is so short. 
It’s crazy, that we hesitate to express our true thoughts to each other.”

~ Yoko Ono

"Dream Baby Dream" (Suicide Cover) by Bruce Springsteen

The first time I saw Springsteen in concert I was 22 years old. It was an intimate solo acoustic concert at Massey Hall (The Ghost of Tom Joad tour). He was beyond charismatic. He revealed that he enjoys a fine bourbon after performing and at one point, he even told an over-zealous and annoying  fan to “Fuck off.” It was very cool. I was on a euphoric high for days after that concert! Springsteen is a poet and one of the best entertainers I have ever seen.

This video is an accurate visualization of what it’s like to see Bruce Springsteen live. It’s truly transcendent.

Red Dragonfly

a red dragonfly too 
has come for a visit 
all alone 

~ Kaitō Hōko