Hitch hiking, kirtan and skunks, oh my! | Maya's Gifts

Hitch hiking, kirtan and skunks, oh my!


May 25, 2015

Dear Maya,

We recently participated in the Mothering Daughtering workshops twice this month; once as assistants for the preteens and once as guest participants for the teens.  On the weekend that we were guests, we decided to branch out a little bit.  We did for ourselves some non-workshop related things during the breaks.  We went for a long walk.  It was getting so late and the afternoon session was starting soon.  We actually wound up hitch hiking back to campus.  You were beside yourself that I even suggested this, but after all, it was on the road to Omega!  We each had a massage; now that was thoroughly nourishing.


There was a Kirtan concert scheduled for Saturday evening.  We planned on attending, but when the time came, you were tired and wanted to go to our cabin, shower, then go to bed.  I went to the performance on my own.  As much as I was loving it, I was also sad that you weren’t there.  I decided to get you.  I went to the cabin and sure enough, you were in the shower.  I knocked on the bathroom door.  You resisted, but agreed to thirty minutes.  You then talked me down to twenty minutes.  I agreed but realized that I didn’t have a watch and there was no clock there.  So I suggested “four songs” (little did you know the length of Kirtan songs).  Well, we got there and “Wah!” sang (with us) for the first three songs.  Aside from being a wonderful musician (she plays bass and sings), in between songs, she tells stories.  She had quite the sense of humor and was very engaging.


After Wah’s!  three songs, there was a set change.  Donna De Lory was on next.  Oh, what a powerful voice!  And she’s a great dancer and overall connector.  After one song (which made four total), I leaned over and whispered to you, wondering if you wanted to leave.  After all, that was the deal (Charlie).  But no.  You wanted to stay.  Another song passed and you wanted to stay even longer.  You were enjoying the performance so much, that time did not even matter.  We felt so enriched from absorbing that beautiful musical experience, but sooner or later it was time to leave… to be continued.

unending love0001

[please note, I never finished this story in the Maya Journal.  June 2015 had come and there was so much to write about during that particular month.  I will continue here and now in real time, as I remember that night as if it was yesterday.]


On our way back from the theatre to the cabin, we encountered a skunk.  Actually, there was a family of skunks.  We tried to outsmart them, but they were quite tricky themselves.  In the dark, they ran from cabin to cabin, hiding underneath the cabins and behind bushes.  Maya and I stood still.  We then headed back towards the theatre.  We walked around the cabin area on another circuitous path.  Finally, we came to a curve and a hill.  There was a blind spot right before our destination and we didn’t have a sense of what we (or who) we might encounter.  After a long pause, we both dashed to our cabin door.  Skunk free, many huge exhales, lots of laughs and ultimately a well-deserved good night’s sleep.


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All are photos from those two precious weekends at Omega, spring 2015.  The other mother daughter team you see is Sil and Eliza Reynolds, our amazing workshop leaders.

And a quick footnote; it is the music of Wah!, Donna DeLory, Snatam Kaur and others that has been feeding me during these challenging times.  They are indeed helping to carry me.  I give many thanks.



  • Dear Elise,

    These photos of you and Maya cracked me open all over again. I just put my own precious daughter on the school bus, disturbed over her own self-destructive tendencies that she’s been exhibiting lately. There is only a thin film between one person’s fate and another’s.

    Your photos are radiant with the most beautiful mother-daughter relationship in the world. There’s just no escaping the bittersweetness. Yet I remind myself, in tears again, that the feelings these pictures evoke are only a minuscule fraction of what you’re feeling.

    I haven’t heard of either of these women musicians you mention. I’ll check them out!

    Wishing you a beautiful day.

    • Wow, Yael! “the most beautiful mother-daughter relationship in the world”, now that is quite a statement. We are all doing the best that we can. And thank you for the compliment. I am constantly living with your thought about the “thin film between one person’s fate and another’s”. I’m forever wondering. I don’t know if this mystery will ever leave me. Please let me know what you think of the music.

  • Elise, I cherish as such a special memory that I got to connect with you both that weekend, running into you on the Omega campus, at the bookstore, and most especially sitting next to you and Maya during the concert. It was a magical evening and I remember how Maya seemed ever more relaxed as the concert went on. For me the hall was filled with love and bliss and joy… as Donna’s set ended, perhaps after you left, there was break for set change before the next and final group came on, including Gina Sala and Steve Gorn. I fell sound asleep and when I woke up, they were playing such sweet and pure music, it felt like a version of heaven!

    I’m so glad that kirtan music has been supportive to you through your grief. BTW, Donna Delory is coming out with a new CD called Live From Kula Space, available Digitally April 14th.

    Much love and music to you, om shanti om, Sarah

    • I really smile broadly Sarah, when I think of how we shared that moment. A magical evening, indeed. It had such an impact on Maya’s life and mine. I’ll look out for Donna DeLory’s new CD. Thank you!


  • This music feeds us. Some of the finest musicians all in one evening. So glad you and Maya said yes. Gina Sala was there too. Do catch her when you can, her energy is mindblowing. Add to this list some of my absolute favs: C. C. White, Yofiyah, Jaya Lakshmi and Ananda, Shimshai. When you can, download, Listen, and appreciate. Loving you, planning on being with you in April, very soon.

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