Welcome to Coastland Contemplation, a column intended as inspirational entertainment. I'm Michele Oksen.
My home, since 1983, is a remote cabin in the Santa Lucia Mountains between Cambria and Paso Robles. I overlook Lake Nacimiento from land my grandfather traded a horse and some tires for in the early 1930's.
My sincere hope is that each month you will join me for an online nature walk somewhere in these magnificent Pacific coastlands. Each time we step into the virtual great outdoors together I aspire to, with nature's guidance, encourage you to find opportunities to contemplate life and evolution.
In 2004, Marcia Rhoades and her husband, John, moved from Salt Lake City to Cambria. Life at their Grace Meadows Ranch in the Santa Lucia Mountains gives Marcia endless opportunities to photograph wildlife and the natural beauty of the Central Coast.
Jade – Be a Gem, Practice Patience
by Michele Oksen
So many beautiful landscapes, seascapes, people, foods, and fun activities make our SLO Coast a great place to live or visit. And if you're in the market for acquiring some kind of treasure from this area you're in luck because we have them everywhere. Even something as seemingly ordinary as a stone from one of our beaches can be a cherished prize.
Big Sur Jade Festival
Take jade for example. Walk along the shoreline and you might just find some on your own, if you know what to look for. Or you could be certain your collection is jade if you just take a drive up Highway One and stroll around the 20th annual Big Sur Jade Festival. At this event—just 35 miles north of Hearst Castle at the Pacific Valley School—you will discover jade at its finest. Mark your calendars because this year the popular celebration is the weekend of October 7th through 9th. At the gathering you'll also enjoy live music, works of art, crafts, and food.
Jade Artists Sarah Joller and Aaron Appel
Some of the high quality jade that has been harvested from the central coast of California has been as small as a pebble or, some say, as large as a boulder. As our local jade awaits rock hounds on the shore or submerged beneath the waves, it is repeatedly rubbed, pressured, and provoked by the daily actions of its environment. Back and forth, tossed and turned by the treacherous tides, durable jade becomes polished and refined. It's not a process that you might call painless or easy. Evolving into a priceless treasure takes friction, endurance, and patience. And as you may know from experience, patience isn't called a virtue for nothing.
Thankfully, much like jade, humans are endowed with the strength to endure the daily grind with dignity and grace. That being said, it may not be something that comes without practice. To achieve self-discipline you need to exercise and develop it. Willpower alone may not always be enough. The wisdom to know your limits and the willingness to avoid circumstances that annoy you, may aid in triumph over tirades.
When you're tired, stressed, or angry, self-control is at its weakest. The more you indulge in impulsive, impatient behavior, the less stamina you have to sustain patience. The secret is to find something to do while you tolerate the wait. The confidence and commitment it takes to be rewarded with bright and shiny results also takes creativity and maturity.
If you are one of those folks—like yours truly—who is a bit lacking in the patience department, you might consider keeping a jade stone in your pocket or wearing jade jewelry that you can grip when the going gets rough. This can serve to remind you of the value of patience. Next time you're challenged by a situation that feels abrasive you can always touch your jade.
While in the midst of yet another opportunity to learn patience thank your lucky stars because you understand that you are becoming the accomplished and charming person you are meant to be. When you perceive the world through eyes of acceptance you have learned to live harmoniously with the forces of life.
As with jade, patience is precious.
Photos by Marcia Rhoades.
Banner image by Fugle