I would like to say I've spent the last two years at
the top of a mountain in a hut, deep within my spiritual core. High in the mist finding that wiseness that belongs to ancient grandmothers throughout time.
But alas I only find myself grayer, my jeans roomier, my mind a bit slower. It's true I've finally finished writing a book that will soon be published and am hard at work on another and I've built a casita in the desert and collected rusted metal from abandoned mines in the Cerbat Mountains and made art with my nearest neighbor out there.
But the serenity and wisdom I associate with the ancient women of the world still eludes me. And I still cannot make a souffle or ride my bike with no hands. I have not achieved the picture of the woman in my childhood books, the one who holds the key to happiness, longevity and the bank accounts.
I'll keep striving. Surely it's all just around the corner.
I'll keep striving. Surely it's all just around the corner.
I've thought long and hard about where I'm putting my energies these days. I've just finished a book that needs to be published. I've started writing another one. I've bought property out of state and Irene and I are fulfilling our dream of making a second home in the desert. My blog is now officially on hold. I appreciate all of my friends and family and random readers who have turned to this page for the last two plus years. I will send an email out just as soon as I am able to begin again. In the mean time, do what fulfills you in this short short life we've been given.
I often have several books going at one time. Different times of the day require different books. There's morning reading, night reading and the kind of reading where you pass by the book on your way to another room and read a paragraph or two. Yesterday, perusing my bookshelves, I culled two books, The Road to Mexico and Steinbeck's Travels With Charley. It's that time of year for me, the time when my energy is highest and only a book with motion will do.
About a year ago I lost considerable weight. I've spent months trying to gain some of it back. This morning, on the scales, I noticed with alarm that I'm fatter than I've ever been. Must be my new walnut diet. Guess I'll have to switch to carrot-nibbles.
Our friend, Sharon Grennan (Annie Bones' sitter), invented this scoop. It is available on-line and at select pet stores. We got ours through the 'Solutions' catalog. It is quite amazing. I urge all of my cat-loving readers to order one today.
Sally and I always celebrated our birthdays together, usually beginning with drumming in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Today I can clearly hear her voice and see her beneath those tall trees, smiling, always.
I was talking to someone the other day and we got on the subject of house cleaning. I lamented that I wasn't very good at it, that I didn't like it and generally only really cleaned when someone was coming to visit. "Oh!" she said. "You're an event cleaner!" I smiled. 'Yes! That's it. An event cleaner!" I went away feeling whole and healthy. I love labels. They're like stickers from places you've been, plastered all over your suitcase. Now I can add this one, like an accounting, just in case I'm stopped in the street.
I think I was one of the first people to see my grandson see a tree. He was born in the desert and there were no trees except the Joshuas rising stiff and unyielding as buildings to the brand new eye. He came to visit me when he was a few months old. I took him outside and the two of us lay under our front yard tree. I watched him watch as the breeze moved the leaves. He followed the patterns of shadow and shade with such wonder, I knew he was giving me the gift of first sight.
My son's best friend died yesterday in a motorcycle accident. Tony Elfering, top left was part of the pack that made up this true band of brothers. They all roamed the desert, half feral, mostly sweet kids who lived lives of action and danger and swagger. Today we are stunned and saddened, wondering heavily how much sorrow any of us can absorb.
Tony Elfering died yesterday on a motorcycle doing what he and all of the desert boys did all of their lives. Tony and my sons grew up together. They formed, along with a few others, a true Band of Brothers, inseparable, one family indisguisable from the other. My heart is breaking for all of them right now and for Tony's mom and sisters. My heart is breaking for all of us.
Crows have a way of finding me. In emails and front yard powerlines, in the tops of my neighbor's cypress, they watch. Yesterday via Canada Postes this image by Jacob Escobedo, an artist who grew up in a small desert town north of Las Vegas, cme to me. Mr. Escobedo began creating animals for his friends and naming the animals after the people. This one definitely has my name. (an early birthday present from Aaron, Wendy and Amado. Thanks you guys! The first piece of art for our desert casita!)
This could have been me. But I was busy in LA living my own private Woodstock. I had two kids and if I remember correctly we did not have a car! Country Joe, (and the Fish) used to come to our house in ELA, lie on our kitchen floor and stare at the ceiling. When I saw him on TV news performing on the main Woodstock stage I was flabbergasted. I had no idea.
We have friends who live full time in their trailer, moving from place to place. The other night I had a dream: We were all at an RV park that was inside a WalMart and we spent our days pushing our shopping carts around the racks of clothes. We visited back and forth with our friends. We were all going separately to Bulgaria. At the end of the dream, we said to each other, "Good-bye. See you in Bulgaria."
Man at the flea: I'm from West Texas, where you either learned to play music or you robbed banks. Me: Which did you do? Man: Both. I was in a band and everyone in the group went to prison for robbing banks except me. Me: How'd you luck out? Man: I was 13.
Years ago we all sat in our desert bar listening to Johnny Cash sing, Sunday Morning Coming Down, and we'd wail along with him, feeling connected, feeling like we were all in this thing together. Johnny Cash though was moving on, becoming famous, had money while we were right where we started, on those plastic bar stools, moaning about Sunday, just as poor and messed up as we were the Sunday before.
We met this trucker in Leming, Nevada at a rest stop. She'd stopped to let her little dog, Moxi out to pee. You traveling alone in this rig? I asked her. Yep. Where are you headed? Kingman, she said. Us too! You're driving there today? (I didn't want to tell her we were going to stop twice for the night before actually getting to Kingman.) Yep. Wow! I said, obviously impressed. Last night, I went on, We watched an old DVD of Thelma and Louise for the fourth time. Have you ever seen it? She gave me a thumbs-up. My all time favorite, she said. Ours too! I exclaimed. Have a good one, she said, picking up Moxie and climbing into her rig. You too, I said. And I thought as she hit the road: Everyone better watch out. We've all seen Thelma and Lousie and we all loved it.
I'm standing on the deck this morning in the dark, watching the full moon with Venus hanging an arm's length away. In the quiet I hear the ocean rolling in near East Cliff Drive and it occurs to me: This waxing and waning will continue uninterrupted, whether we are here to witness it or not. A gentle reminder that it is NOT all about us.
On our way to Likely, CA in the morning we'll stop at Wagontire, OR. We've been there once before. There are two people in town, husband and wife. At their cafe they serve coffee and 'pop'. I'll have the pop, Irene will have the coffee. These people are looking for buyers for their town. They want to move on but they stay because they are, afterall, responsible for the whole town, which includes a Bagdad Cafe-style motel and an 'international' airport across 395 where a plane from France once made an emergency landing. (btw: their 'RV Park' with full hook-ups means a spot in the parking lot and a long extension cord running through the rusted screen near their front door.)
Today in the Malheur National Forest we found a deer skeleton. Some of the vertebrae were still connected. While we looked around for the skull, Irene found a man's shirt. Now she's convinced the bones stored in the bin of our rig are that of a hapless human. We're both excited though about the sculpture that might come of this.
I think the Witness Protection Program has given up on these two. They surfaced a few days ago on the Skagit River in Washington calling themselves, Chicago and Sunny Days. But we'd recognize them anywhere. They better keep moving if they know what's good for them.
I am feeling less and less connection to any one particular place. Life on the road means where ever you are quickly becomes home. Last night on the Skagit River with friends. Today, it's a little hideaway in the Cascades in central Washington. We're headed east into triple digit temps. Will see friends tomorrow night, then heading south toward Carson City, NV. This rare internet connection is a treat!
There is no sure thing when you're on the road. Mostly I've been "unplugged". I've grabbed a quick opportunity here in Freeland on Whidbey Island in my friend's study overlooking Puget Sound to plug back in. There is a serenity and even predictability about this waterway. A schedule of activity that lulls me into some kind of island inertia. Maybe today we'll go into the forest to let Annie Bones run the trails, maybe we'll check out a book store, maybe though we'll just watch the cargo ships and the cruise lines taking passengers to Alaska or watch the sea planes circling with the birds. Then, maybe we'll all just watch the bunnies of Bush Point as they spread out across the open meadows doing what bunnies do....will be back in touch when the connection is possible.