Posted by: scintillatingspeck | August 27, 2014

Some disassembly required.

Yes, I do realize this is the first time I’ve posted to my blog in many weeks.  Appalling as that fact may be, the reality of a cross-country pilgrimage, complete with solo parenting a young child along the way, is such that I haven’t had the opportunity to delve into writing here.  Add to that the fact that I switched from uploading photos here to uploading photos on Facebook, where it was a) technologically unchallenging and b) offering more gratification in terms of people responding, and the blog, it’s true, moldered a bit on its little digital shelf in the corner.

Lily and I are not yet back home.  We will return in six days.  Right now we’re in Sherman, New York, staying with my dear friend Liag and her cat Merlyn.  At this very moment, Liag is out, Lily is secluding herself in a different room, and I’m thinking, I had best seize the chance to scratch the blog itch.

The phrase “some disassembly required” floated up through the aqueous strata of my thoughts yesterday.  Much of the time that we’ve been on the road, my attention has been relentlessly occupied, split, sliced, and diced.  The amount of incoming stimuli, information, new experiences, and the concurrent internal scramble to arrange it all into making sense has been overwhelming.  “Overwhelming” doesn’t entirely capture it.  My life, perceptions, being, doing: rearranged, daily.  Upended.  I chose this, of course.  I signed up for this mad mission.

What drove me?  I can rattle off half a dozen reasons that make logical sense, but here’s the one that’s most compelling to me: I followed my heart, or call it intuition, call it whatever words you attach to that which is wordless.  And being foolish enough to attempt to use words, I will attempt to give voice to this heart:

I needed to come apart.  I needed to dismantle the veneers of normality and custom that insinuate themselves.  I needed to disassemble what I thought was home, family, intimacy, community—to let externally-imposed definitions dissolve in the rain until I could see these sacred elements with my own eyes, touch them with my own hands.  I needed to breathe.  I needed great, literal distances in order to feel the pressure ease between my cells.  I needed extraordinary closeness, too.  I needed to break.  I needed to knit together.  I needed to refine my discernment of bullshit vs. priorities.  I needed to show up.  I needed to drink and pour from the ewer of tenderness.

How miraculous to get what I sought.

among the redwoods

Posted by: scintillatingspeck | July 14, 2014

Mount Shasta, California. Doing the right thing.

As we drove up I-5 we caught our first glimpse of Mt. Shasta and it left us a bit breathless.  We continued to gasp at all the delights of the day: the sweetness and generous hearts of Todd and Pam, their home and land all bedecked with fairy lights and sun-catchers and special rocks and the Earth flag, the cozy cabin/sauna where Lily and I are sleeping tonight (in the pictures, it’s the one with the Tibetan prayer flags hanging on the front of the porch; at this moment I’m sitting in one of the chairs, in the semi-dark, with only the light of the laptop and the fairy lights shining, having greeted a curious deer that wandered by in the night).  The wonders never cease: the LAKE.  Swimming with bubbling joy, the mountains all around, the tiredness leaching from my bones.  The delight of once again observing Lily interacting with new people, sharing playfulness.  Visiting the headwaters of the Sacramento River and filling up the water bottles and water jug with spring water.  Walking around Todd and Pam’s glorious garden, deeply admiring the bean trellises, the carefully-tended nine compost heaps, the clearly blissful plants, the greenhouse, the fruiting trees, the exuberant kohlrabi, the stunning veined cabbage leaves, the knock-your-socks-off aromatherapy of basil, the bursting lusciousness of raspberries… oh, it was rapture, I tell you!

I revisited a previous blog post I wrote, From fearful to airborne, written three days before Lily and I departed on our journey.  It was satisfying to read it from the perspective of being midway through this pilgrimage.  I still have to pinch myself that we’re HERE, NOW, all the time.  Here I am, in Mount Shasta, California, the night air soft and warm, looking out at little blue, green, and red lights, listening to the insects singing and the wind in the trees.  Here I am, my beloved Lily sleeping right nearby, resting from all the exploring and vibrancy she generates in her own little powerhouse of a spirit.  Here I am, a skunk suddenly skittering next to the porch as I hastily retreat into the cabin.

I’m thinking of myself at the beginning of June, a bit terrified at making such a series of leaps across the continent, and wanting to hold my own hands and say:  You couldn’t know that you would float in such life-giving water.  You had no idea.  You trusted.  Brave girl.

Pam said to me, when taking leave of us this evening: “You’re doing the right thing.”

Every whistle of wind in the trees, every bird calling, every word spoken by every person I meet, seems to echo these words.

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For some reason I’m having a doozy of a time trying to upload the remainder of my photos from today, which is paining me, because I want to show you these photos so badly.  Gaaaaaah… okay, here’s my temporary fix—I’ll post them on Facebook, on my page.  Stay tuned.

Posted by: scintillatingspeck | July 13, 2014

near Hayfork, California.

We drove north, listening to Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem’s album “Ranky Tanky” and Suzanne Vega’s “99.9 Fahrenheit Degrees.”  We’ve landed at Tumbleweed’s place, which I was a little concerned we wouldn’t find, down the little twisty dirt roads, but find it we did, his piece of land in the woods where he lives in a converted bus.  When we arrived he said, “Welcome home!”  Oh, he gets it.

We were entranced by the roller-coasteriness of Route 36 and the dramatic changes in landscape.  When we started climbing into the mountains, Lily said, “Look at that view!  It’s even more beautiful than the Blue Ridge Parkway!”  We can’t get over the madrone trees and their bark—that color!  And to cap everything off, there were black raspberries for the picking and joyous eating.

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Posted by: scintillatingspeck | July 12, 2014

Stinson Beach, Marin County, California.

Stunned by the beauty of the mountains and the ocean.  I wish my photos could reflect how beautiful it was.  They are terribly deficient, I realize.  Lily danced in the waves and declared, “Everywhere is paradise.  Everywhere is home.” Upon returning to Marlowe’s apartment complex, Lily joyfully played with the children she met yesterday, especially her soul-sister Gaia (check out the last photo).

The Pacific surf soothed my sore heart like a rhythmic, attentive, aural masseuse.  I’ll try to summon the sound of waves and the smell of salt as I seek to melt my thoughts down into liquid silver.

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Posted by: scintillatingspeck | July 11, 2014

Tilden Park, Berkeley, California.

What I loved about this day:

  • We foraged blackberries and thimbleberries, their sweetness detonating softly in our mouths.
  • The Botanic Garden of native plants of California, in Tilden Park, filled us all with rapture.  It made me think of Lily’s comment while we were participating in various ranger-led programs at the Grand Canyon: “They should have a program on desert plants.  I want to know about the plants.  Especially the edible ones.”  And then at the beach in Monterey, she was so keen on collecting seaweed and laying it out in her “kelp museum” on the sand.  I love, love, love that my girl loves plants.
  • Lily’s face while riding the merry-go-round was priceless.  (At that point my camera battery had conked out; Marlowe got some hilarious, blurry shots of Lily going by, though.)
  • Marlowe’s kindness and generosity is so vast.  I was particularly vulnerable yesterday and today, and she was so good to me and Lily.  She was exceptionally patient when we were in the car and Lily kept hollering, “I’m thinking!  I don’t want any talking!”
  • The free samples of peaches, strawberries, blueberries, and dates at the Berkeley Farmers Market were delicious.
  • I received unexpected illumination, bright and true, and I feel immeasurably more peaceful than yesterday.

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Posted by: scintillatingspeck | July 9, 2014

Monterey, California.

The familiarity and ease with which Becky and I relate to each other is a profound haven.  Although we hadn’t seen each other in 11 or 12 years, reconnecting was utterly simple.  This I know viscerally: kindred spirits scoff at space-time.  It pleases me that my pilgrimage brings me both to my oldest and newest friends, all of whom are threaded into my ever-more-iridescent soul-cloth, as I am threaded into theirs.

Today Becky introduced me and Lily to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which delighted us immensely.  Oh, the SEA OTTERS!  I tried to take decent photos of them, but they were so sleek and quick and playful… eventually I gave into the blissful mesmerization of witnessing their unabashed, aqueous joy.  It was also hard to turn away from the pulsations of the jellyfish.

We spent some time relaxing and playing on the beach.  Lily was busily involved in beach-combing for a brilliant variety of seaweeds.  She said, “Today we’re in Paradise.”  She was quite right.

(You can click on images to make them larger.)

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Posted by: scintillatingspeck | July 7, 2014

Mojave National Preserve, California.

July 5-6.

So peaceful at Mojave, with the long-eared jackrabbits, bluebirds, ravens, and insects.  Pinyon pine, juniper, sage, loveliness.

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Posted by: scintillatingspeck | July 7, 2014

The Grand Canyon.

July 3-5.

We had a spectacular time, camping, exploring, and attending some ranger-led programs.  Lily completed the Junior Ranger program and received her badge, pledging on the rim of the canyon to be a friend to the earth, to learn all about the natural world and to spread her discoveries to others.  We experienced the sight of a huge elk, quite close to us; the enormity and wonder of the canyon; the ubiquitous ravens (and a much cherished raven feather); Ranger Bob, whom we agreed was our favorite; we smelled the intense, vanilla scent of the ponderosa pines; gloried in the functioning of our camp stove; and went to a singalong on July 4th as well as watched a documentary about the Colorado River, “Watershed.”

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July 2.

We stopped at the Silver City Food Co-op to get supplied for our upcoming nights of camping at Luna Lake (in Alpine, Arizona, near the New Mexico border), the Grand Canyon, and Mojave National Preserve.  As we drove through New Mexico, we passed through some dramatic thunderstorms.  It rained at the Grand Canyon, too.  We’ve seen more rain in the desert on this trip than anywhere else.

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Posted by: scintillatingspeck | July 7, 2014

El Paso, Texas.

You’ll notice, loves, that I’m trying to catch up on posting photos, since it was proving impossible during the stretch of time when we were camping.  Hence, some rapid-fire photo-laden posts, with little commentary.  Forgive me.

June 29-July 2.
We so loved spending time with Allison, Jonah, and Cassie.

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