spirit flows thru -- Alison Rittger's spiritual reflections on finding the holy in the daily
PictureGrael in the Goddess Temple / Alison R.
Of course there were the nine plays Corky and I saw in the five days we stayed at Sabine’s cottage in the city of Ashland, Oregon. Many of those plays were outstanding and if a play had its flaws, it always had something astonishing to experience. Pink and yellow lighting for an all-female cast of Two Gentlemen from Verona performed at night in the Allen Elizabethan Theater. Marvelous character actors surprising us in multiple roles, skipping flawlessly from tending a gentleman in Verona to muddying the love interest in The Cocoanuts, Marx Brothers foolishness set in a Miami hotel on the verge of bankruptcy.  The actor who was Richard III orating with such clarity that he was understandable as well as despicable. So much to like!!

And I walked each morning before 6 a.m. to the Starbucks near Pioneer Street on the main drag, called E. Main. Every morning streets were cool and empty in what would shortly be a bustling tourist town. As always, I ordered a two shot short soy latte, even paid full price without complaining, and met new friends, one a dancer and choreographer with a show full of acrobatic children playing at the Armory. We talked theater or some subject interesting to each of us every day of my stay. And quietly at another table was a man with a two-letter name who was a church of one person. On my last day, he handed me a small card with a quote from poet James Russell Lowell: “Fate favors fearlessness.” I asked him, “Is this what you do?” He told me he had been a Marine in and out of mental institutions until he understood the meaning of life and now he was at peace. I turned my face so he would not see my tears.

Corky had in mind that while we were in Ashland we should visit a nearby Mikvah, a formal Jewish site for ceremonial bathing, cleansing and ritual. So we drove the few miles north to Jackson WellSprings to visit this historic religious ceremonial soaking pool. Unfortunately, the only day we could schedule a ritual, a reggae festival co-opted the facilities, and we didn’t like the idea of sound checks and the possibility of strays wandering through the grounds during the concert set up. Nevertheless, we did ask to be shown the Mikvah and were guided through the surrounding trees by Grael, the young woman in charge of all things Goddess at Jackson WellSprings as well as a yoga instructor. We were able to see the Mikvah, which is located in nature in a pool that captures artesian warm water springs surfacing at 90 degrees. The site is full of orange dragonflies and butterflies as well as rocks and foliage. Pretty impressive! We did not have robes or slippers nor had we showered first, so we said we would not go into the water although Grael urged us to strip and submerge right then and there. Easy for a goddess, but for us modesty prevailed. Moreover, we hadn’t scripted a ceremony, so the ritual wouldn’t have been more than a hurried splashing.

In a resting moment, after I reset the modem at Sabine’s cottage, Corky and I watched the first episode of season two’s “Orange is the New Black.” I was disappointed because it seemed that Piper hadn’t learned anything since the conclusion of season one.

As for Foxibeau, he stayed with two gentlemen from upstairs and their dog. He was happy to see me when I got home, but seemed a little reserved. Perhaps I read too much into his doggie responses. I wanted to tell him about Picasso, the large white dog that played a supporting role in Two Gentlemen from Verona, but didn’t. Somethings are best kept until later.


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