Yesterday morning I awoke feeling morose; I really missed Gita Nagari. Of course, the day before I did receive an email that the schools were closed in State College due to snow–snow being something I generally don’t miss about Gita Nagari. But the thought of walking out my back door and looking at the undulating snow somehow made my heart melt for our old life.
I miss the radiant heat of my wood stove. Sure, the cold days here are about 55 degrees, but we have central heat and I cannot seem to stay warm…especially when the system is cooling off and blowing cold air. I miss the snow, knowing that when it is all melted and spring steps forward, snow drops and crocuses will push their way through the rich earth and the grass will reclaim its lush verdant glory. The old maples will loom even larger once their leaves appear and shade will be available any time of day in our yard at our house–which is still technically ours despite finally getting a renter.
Here we have pine trees. Need I say more?
But later that day I was reminded what I really like about Alachua (besides the fact that when you go to the temple there are actually devotees there!). I like, no no, *love* the location of our house. Although it is about an 8 minute drive to the temple, everything else is *WALKABLE*! Coming from Gita Nagari where a trip to the grocery store was a major ordeal, this is a biggie.
I can walk to two grocery stores, CVS, the post office, the library, the rec center, the dentist and more.
Yesterday was the Alachua Christmas parade and and the devotees were in it. Since we live just a few blocks back from Main Street, both the starting point and ending point were walkable for us. The parade was a lot of fun. We don’t normally get to go on harinama because they are usually centered around UF games, which involve a lot of drunk people–not something I want los ninos around. Adi Karta Prabhu led an awesome kirtan and everyone seemed happy to see the devotees. Kalya-pani Prabhu led the procession walking on stilts. He is very theatrical. And the kids got to ride on a cart tossing candy canes out to the crowd of onlookers.
After the parade we *walked* over to the library to see a performance by Ani’s dance school. Three classes performed (4 dances, I think). My daughter was absolutely captivated by the performance. Before the final dance, Ani called all the little ones to come up and be an animal in the forest of Vrindavan.
Madhumati decided she was a cow and Sita taught her the appropriate mudra. I coaxed Venumadhava to go up (no boys were volunteering) and be the token lion. Ani very enthusiastically taught him the lion mudra but it kind of fell flat with my son. Instead of replicating the mudra, he came and sat down.
After everyone learned their part, Ani and the older girls “set the scene,” becoming tamal and mango trees, the Yamuna river and the cooling breeze of Vrindavan. Then all the animals were called and the little girlies did their best to replicate their mudras on their own.
My husband really enjoyed Ani’s serious and sweet mood and the dedication of the dancers. He is looking forward to Madhumati’s coordination increasing so that she can become one of Krishna’s dancing girls.
After the library, we *walked* back to Main Street for some ice cream at the sweet shop. We discovered this place on the night of the town Christmas tree lighting and I have to say, am very excited about and thankful for its existence. Although I generally dislike ice cream, I will happily go out for a scoop in order to add a little normalcy to my life.
When we finished up with our ice cream, we *walked* over to my husband’s work Christmas party, which was held at a hall behind the police station. His boss lives in our neighborhood, just a few houses down, so even though my husband works in Gainesville, the party was held in walkable Alachua.
We only popped in there for about 10 minutes and then headed home after a long afternoon of being out and about town.
In the evening I drove over to the temple. But still, I don’t mind not living walkable distance to it. At Gita Nagari we lived a mile from the temple–a little far for a quick jaunt but still walkable. But because the only thing between us and the temple were corn fields, the kids often got bored along the way (they are not natural born farm kids).
So although our land is more sand than soil and filled with enough pine trees to supply an Ikea factory, I am digging the fact that we can take a walk and actually go somewhere.
In the morning the kids went to a classmate’s birthday party, which is where they scored the sunglasses and rings Venumadhava is modeling. Here we are…walking from our house to the parade.
Ekadasi and I were the only ones at the harinam representing “Bhakti Tirtha Swami’s Dancing Girls.” As you can see from my wrinkles and Ekadasi’s roots, we aren’t really girls anymore. But we can still bust a move…kirtan party animals!!!
Adi-karta Prabhu warming up the crowd.
Ani teaching Venumadhava how to be a lion.
Just like at your local ice cream shop, right?
My happy kids. Black walnut and mint chocolate chip with rainbow sprinkles.