As I left the overcast and kind of dreary Ventura area, and started into the mountains, the sky turned a brilliant blue. I kept my eye out for a sign that said Meditation Mountain and the first spot I came to was the waterfall that you, I and Leilani had stopped at. I pulled over, walked over to it, sat down for awhile and let my thoughts flow as the water did. The water was cool to the touch.
I kept driving up the hill and found a little dirt road turn off. Decided to go down it and see what was there. It dead ended in front of this meadow, where the grass, wildflowers and trees stood in sharp contrast to the jagged mountains. It was very quiet there, so I got out of my jeep, found a big rock I could sit down and just listened. It was so quiet but yet so loud, in a soothing way. I could hear the grasshoppers, their wings beating in their short flights, I could hear the birds singing to each other, I could hear the butterflies (there were a lot of them) as their wings fluttered through the air and I could hear the grasses and tree branches as they gracefully bent to the breeze. It was so peaceful.
After staying there for a while I arrived at the last place that you, I and Leilani had stopped at, the small creek where we walked down to the water. The stream had dried up quite a bit, and instead of the water cutting multiple paths through the sand and rock, it followed only one. I sat on the rock that we had sat/stood on, looking into the few deep pools of water that remained. Young fish swam in these deep pools, probably having come to life only since we last visited. I was there for a while, lost in the things around me, and other thoughts flowing in and out of me. I remembered when I asked you and Leilani to pick up rocks because of Mountain Lions, and started laughing to myself so hard I thought I'd fall off the rock into the water.
Because I had gone so far, I figured I would see what was on the other side of the mountain and just kept driving. I finally ended up on the other side of the mountain range. By this time, I was very thirsty (didn't think to bring water, only the coffee I brought from your shop). The road was shut down ahead but there was this side road that was open as a detour. After a few miles I ran into another dirt road and saw a sign that said "Chumash Buffalo Ranch". I figured I'd give it a try and drove up to this dusty ranch out in the middle of nowhere. As I drove up, this little girl waved at me to stop. Around her chickens were running around, and nobody was in sight. When I got out of my jeep this little Native American girl, probably about 12 years old, asked me to come into her barn and check out their buffalo jerky. She ran behind the cash register, ready to make me a deal. Off to the side was a separate room and in there I saw an older woman that I assumed to be her mother, going through paperwork. Was the kind of off the wall place that probably saw a visitor a couple of times a week, at best. This girl did everything in her power to sale me some buffalo jerky when all I really wanted was to buy some bottled water, but alas, no water. Ended up driving away with two packages of jerky though (as you know I'm a softy when it comes to kids selling things) (she was quite some future saleswoman-kind of reminded of what you may have been like at her age).
By this time, I thought it was starting to get late, so I figured I would head towards home. I managed to find a forest range station open that let me get some water from them.
I drove home in a very peaceful state of mind and realized something. Though Meditation Mountain is a physical place (at least according to the web site), the essence of it and what it means transcends any physical boundary. I think that maybe it’s more a state of mind, of spirit, of heart, than any specific address or spot on the map. About the time that I had left the creek where we had originally stopped during our trip there, I think I stopped looking for it, and later realized that it had already found me.
I realized that my journey today was not about finding a physical location; it was about the journey I took to find what was already there. It was about the stops I made along the way. Meditation Mountain found me, I didn't find it. It found me in the way that the water flowed down the rocks in the waterfall, it found me in the way that the water splashed ever gently on me as I stepped in to touch it, it found me in the flutter of the butterflies wings, it found me in the quiet solitude sitting under the shade tree on the rock by the stream.
When I stopped looking is when it was there, in me, around me.