Friday, September 11, 2009

Whirlwind Through the West

Shevy and I drove Northwest last week all the way to Portland from Candy Kitchen, just for long enough to pick up my things. We had been scattered with remodeling the trailer, moving and Shevy's school in Gallup. We hadn't had a full nights rest in a while. We pretty much left without too much thought, not packing a tent, for example, or enough food. Shevy had been craving summer sausage for a good while, so that was packed with some cheese, peanut butter and a loaf of honey bread I had made the night before.

The weather was pleasant enough, but on our heels was the remnants of the storm Jimena. North of Gallup until Colorado is all desolate desert. Shiprock looms out of the sea of dust like a primeval castle of Gods. Past Mesa Verde and Canyon of the Ancients is a more lush string of little pioneer towns. Monticello, Utah was under construction and smelled heavily of asphalt. Somewhere along this route was an amazing anti-meth mural.

On the way to Moab, we stopped near Church Rock to make lunch and check if the rear axle was leaking too much gear oil out of the right seal. A cop had stopped someone across the highway. We sliced some sausage and cheese to snack on. Pulling out back on the highway, Shevy forgot to signal and so the cop pulled us over. Neither of us had showered in no one knows how long and I hadn't brushed my teeth in a few days. The cop came up on my side, even though Shevy was driving, I suppose because of the narrow shoulder. I was very conscious of how I must have smelled. The cop asked Shevy to step into his patrol car to talk. They talked a good while and I wanted a cigarette for the first time in weeks. The cop came back up to my window and said he smelled weed. He asked if we had smoked weed in the car. The look on my face must have been incredulous to the point of disrespect. I laughed, probably rolled my eyes, said no, then held up the large summer sausage and asked, "You sure it's not the sausage?" He actually laughed. No, he had smelled that too. Shevy had consented to a search, since he knew there was nothing in the car and it would take less time than refusing, so the cop asked me to step out of the vehicle and the asked if there was anything in my pockets. I said no, but felt that I did have something, something that looked very much like a pipe from the outside. "Yes, I have this," I said, brandishing my pee tube. "What's that?" A little roughness to his tone there. "A pee tube." I held it to my crotch and stuck my pelvis out like I was peeing. I laughed hard on the inside, probably letting surface a smirk, and stood aside while he half-heartedly searched the car. He let us go with a just a warning. I laughed almost to Salt Lake City over the fact that in one interaction I waved two phallic objects at a cop.

Utah is gorgeous, full of carved red sandstone, forests and rivers. We reached Salt Lake City after dark and I cried through it, as I always do. Something about the place makes me feel so sad. Maybe it has to do with the world's largest open pit mine there? Energetically, the place is like the Swamp of Sadness for me. We put on power metal and trucked almost all the way to Boise before fatigue was overtaking me. We pulled over in a rest stop and slept in the bed of the truck until dawn.

We reached the Oregon rainforest in the afternoon. I felt strong nostalgia and longing for this place that has become such a deep part of my heart as the rain came down into the green black of the mossy forest.

I had missed my friends so much! They are all so wonderful! We had good times eating, watching movies, drinking beer at the bluffs and playing music. Thank you all for being so wonderful, helping me store my things (Ro, Spence and Casey, thank you so very much!) and sharing. I can hardly wait to come back in the summer.

Shevy and I packed my things. We only stayed two nights and one full day. I didn't want to leave so fast, but things had to be done back home. That and I'm nearly broke now and (stars above!) the city is expensive. We whirled in and whirled out and I hardly had time to even think about the fact that I was, in essence, finally moving away from the city. I had mixed feelings because I have such good friends here and there are still things I feel are unfinished here. But I will return to visit, and soon.

On the trip back we slept under the trees in Dry Canyon, Utah in the open air, since we didn't have a tent. All day I was dreading all the possibilities: condensation on my sleeping bag, campsites being full, sounds, bears, etcetera, thinking it was going to be a terrible rest. It was the best night of sleep I've had in weeks. It was cozy, dry, quiet and we were the only ones in the whole campground. Another lesson in letting assumptions go. The rest of the drive went smoothly. We watched hawks soar through mesas and bighorn sheep walk over the mountains.

The rain from Jimena flooded Ramah but Candy Kitchen was just a little damp. It's been raining since I returned and last night was an amazing lightning storm of molten gold sunset with purple lightning bolts zapping through deep ocean blue clouds.

Yesterday, Shevy and Max went to an Albuquerque flea market for a wood burning stove. They brought home a beautiful little Vermont Castings for only 500 bucks! Also, Mike and Dean gifted me a gas spitting 4X4 Subaru that backfires every time I down shift. It's so fun to drive! I was looking forward to mudding and this morning I got the chance, sliding from one side of the road to the other, coming to rest in the driveway like a drifting boat. Fantastic!

The chickens have been laying again, the wolves howling often and the birds are bringing a symphony of fall. I made two batches of wheat tortillas from scratch and pulled up the dog fence by hand. My hands are bruised and sore, but it was a good feeling to use my body until exhaustion.

I'm looking forward to the winter: wood chopping, more afternoons with the pot of tea, my Underwood and Oxford dictionary. I can feel the Halloween chill starting in the air and can almost taste the breads baked inside the little snow submarine under Zuni stars.

I left the city, finally, after so long.

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