My oldest sister Susan is an artist and has a deep love of Nature and the Earth. She appreciates beauty in all its many forms and has often lived in remote, natural places, including a coastal village north of Lisbon in Portugal, rural parts of Vermont and Prince Edward Island, and right now the Pacific Coast of Ventura County. She loves cats and all animals  and her current cat, “Rocky,” is precious to her. She made a full length dramatic film about cats (using her own cats as the stars) called “The Amazing Adventure of Marchello the Cat” and she and her Producer-partner Paul are in the process of having it distributed by The Orchard of Sony Pictures, Inc. They’re hopeful that it will be seen by many, for it carries a beautiful message of love to the young and not so young.

Susan has painted many handbags in her career, using oil and acrylic paints, depending on the material of the handbag.

Nowadays, I look for and find love, and beauty, (love’s twin) everywhere–in all of Nature–the  Earth, the animals, and people. It wasn’t always like that. I used to look for and find what I didn’t like, didn’t approve of, and what scared me. It was no fun for anyone. I’m very grateful to have been restored to a more childlike attitude.

This land, owned by Paul and his brother Ted, is beautiful and overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

There is abundant wildlife including song and other birds, squirrels, rabbits, snakes, bob cats, coyotes, deer and probably an occasional Mountain Lion. I would describe the vegetation as coastal chaparral and it includes sage and other native plants, as well as some non-native species. It is a rare ten acre parcel in that it has abundant water and only one small, permanent dwelling. It is for sale.

Just across the highway from the land is this beach, where people surf and one can go at low tide to collect shells and other sea treasures.

Yesterday we sisters went to the Wishtoyo Chumash Village in Malibu, which is just two miles south of this land, in Los Angeles County. It is not open to the public without prior arrangement as they educate thousands of people at this site every year. That we were able to get in at all was serendipitous. Only the caretaker, Kote, was there, and he welcomed us. He is a Chumash native and helps Wishtoyo to protect and preserve his homelands. Susan and I thought about our native roots, which are partly Celtic (from Ireland.) We all came from tribal lands, somewhere.

Wishtoyo is a non-profit organization whose mission is to teach and inspire others, especially young people, to care for our land, air, and water.  At the village, which is right above the ocean with a stream running through it, they have constructed traditional Chumash dwellings

and a large, covered gathering place with a fire ring in the center. The site serves as a “traditional ceremonial gathering place, marine science institute and place of inter-cultural exchange.” They are constantly working to restore the land and to educate and inspire new generations to be good stewards of the Earth.

Each of the dwellings has a fire ring with a hole in the roof for the release of smoke.

Only native plants are allowed to grow on this sacred site. Non-native species are eradicated.

Kote told us about the organization’s mission but did not claim to be a spokesperson for the Chumash. He said that his “father” Mati Waiya, who is the Executive Director of Wishtoyo, is the one to consult for all things Wishtoyo. Their vision is focused and they have set the bar high, from what I can tell from their Annual Report. I respect and admire their dedication to this cause which concerns not only native people. We are all dependent on the environment for our sustained well being.

As we pulled out of the driveway and onto the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) on Wednesday, June 7, we saw yet another champion of Life on Earth, Matt Meyer, pulling a trailer donning a life-sized rhinoceros mannequin.

Matt was born and raised in South Africa and has worked all his professional life as a safari guide. He has witnessed firsthand the terrible decline of the rhino in South Africa and believes that if nothing changes the wild rhinoceros will be extinct within ten years. Matt is inspired by Nelson Mandela’s book “Long Walk to Freedom” and is dubbing his effort the “Long Ride to Free Them.”  This quote from Mandela’s book, quoted by Matt on his web site, is an inspiration to me:

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

Matt and his crew have raised $92,400 of their $250,000 goal and 100% of all donations are being given to various non-profits working toward the preservation of the rhinoceros. You can learn more about it at

Paul and Susan are similarly optimistic about the success of their film. And why shouldn’t they be? Theirs is a message of love, and love is the healing balm we all seek. They also have a great script written by Susan, and fantastic stars playing the leading roles, including Marchello and Michelle Rodriguez.

If we all knew how loved we really are, perhaps we wouldn’t need to amass such great power and wealth at the expense of others and the environment. If we could simply love and be loved, and really take in the beauty of unspoiled Nature, it might, just might, be enough.

6 thoughts on “Love and Beauty

  1. Another wonderful and interesting post Jody, thank you.
    Love, Gretchen

  2. I have been wanting to know how Susan’s cat movie has been going… we have been following your adventures and are all cat lovers here!

  3. Wonderful correspondence from the wilderness of CA. Rhinoceros sightings too!

    You blossom as your trip unfolds.

  4. I’m so enjoying your travels vicariously, Jody. Lots of love to you <3 <3

  5. It is inspiring to me to read about the beautiful people you are encountering. I remember well that quote from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. Thank you for the reminder. I am also so enjoying your travelogue.

  6. Oops, I realized I went to the newest post when I left a response! I missed this one and the next one.

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