Claire snared a press invitations to the official opening of Dr. Andrew Weil’s Integrative Wellness Program at the posh spa Miraval in Tucson. We met Dr. Weil and had a tour of the facility with resident physician, Dr. Jim Nicolai and his nurse Sheryl Brooks. The idea is to combine the integrative medicine concepts of Dr. Weil with the exercise, stress and relaxation activities of Miraval to plot an optimal lifestyle and wellness path for clients.
Recently Claire and I were lucky enough to catch a hike guided by the park paleontologist and an interpretive ranger. The short, two mile or so, hike took us away from the road and interpretive signs and into the washes and flats where dinosaurs died 225 million years ago in the late Triassic Period. We found pieces of bone and Claire even found an intact tooth. The stark landscape adds to the mystery and amazement of the realization that you are holding a thing, that was once part of a living Stagonolepis so long ago. Nothing like science to put one’s lifespan into perspective.
Mount Mazama, once over 12,000 feet in elevation, went through a half-million years of alternating eruptions and quietude. Between seven and eight thousand years ago, Mount Mazama erupted violently numerous times, covering eight states and three Canadian provinces with six inches of ash. These eruptions produced 150 times the ash as the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980.
Finally we waved and pushed off, our 26 inch prayer wheels spinning out thousands of goodwill messages up his mountain; but I think we might have missed the point. The farmer and his wife live Shangri-la, not just in it, but they are Shangri-la. They are poor, but well fed, and the circle of their days allows for a break when tired, a visit with passing strangers, the rhythm of weeding, or wall building when they feel like it, and the song of bird and stream as accompaniment to it all.