Seeking Inner Peace

Dear Friends,

I spent a few minutes on the terrace this morning hoping to distinguish the
sounds of birds in the distance. The air was very still. From far away I caught
the cooing of a mourning dove. I have recently become more aware of the
layers of sound coming from the leaves of the trees as they bend and sway in
the strong breezes. Nature is so amazing. I feel blessed to live in a place that
boasts of tremendous diversity but wherever you find yourself, there is bound
to be a treasure to be discovered. Get out early today and look for it!

Last week while paying a visit to friends, I met a man who was born in Atenas
but who lived away from here for many years and recently returned. Before I
realized what was happening, this curious and adept interviewer had extracted
a lot of personal information about me, how I got to Atenas and my feelings
towards the place he still considered “home”. It was an unusual interaction for
me since I am more often the one conducting these spontaneous exchanges.

It was all very pleasant and friendly. I enjoyed pondering the questions before
making my replies because he was genuinely interested in a conversation with
someone he considered an unconventional inhabitant of the town. It was ironic
because I view myself as a very conventional person! When it felt appropriate
for me to ask something, I was curious to know how it felt to come back after
a long time away. Were there profound changes? Did he feel at home again?

He took a deep breath as he gazed around at a street that now has shops and
restaurants that did not exist when he left more than 30 years ago. His eyes
glazed over as he stroked his wizard-like beard and made his reply. He is
grateful for family and friends that treat him as if he had never left. He feels
anchored to the place that still feels “rural” despite the physical changes. He
is working on attaining inner peace by devoting time to cultivating coffee.

Cultivating coffee is very hard work. The powerful sun; the rains sometimes
destroying recently planted trees; the challenge of disease, etc. I have never
met anyone with such patience, humility, tenacity. It is possible our paths will
never cross again; he in the plantation and me a “city” gal! Our conversation
will remain with me for a long time. His quiet force and determination have
revived my own search for inner peace here on the Earth we both inhabit.

Have a terrific day and a wonderful week, Marietta

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