All I can recall to relay from the trip thus far are the sound-byte moments: the trumpet player I stumbled upon in the middle of a National Forest, playing his music inside the peculiar practice space of a cinderblock bathroom, lending a surreal feeling in the woods around him; the Guardian Angel who bought me food and drink in Moab, filled my tires with air, and took me to where the Water comes straight out of the Rocks in the desert. Guardian Angels are everywhere, you know.
. . .
From my home in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, I went South to Albuquerque where I spent a few days with Liz in the Garden of Eton. We traveled in her RV to Spence Hot Springs where Wild Mint grows over the entire hillside; one of the only places I know where you can crawl back inside the cave-womb of the Earth and She will tell you all Her secrets a second, or even a third time.
Liz and Me in front of Annapurna's in ABQ
After enduring the thick heat of New Mexico that makes you lazy from late morning to dusk, I took off for the shade and shelter of the Northwest. En Route, I stumbled into Baker City, OR, looking for some food to take into the Woods with me for the night. As Fate would have it, there just happened to be an Airstream Rally happening in a lush park in the center of town. All the Old Timers were just in a tizzy over my little trailer, Puck [who is, apparently, quite a rare and special little thing]. They checked him out and gave me the green light on all fronts, saying he was certainly roadworthy and a Gem of a Trailer at that [after having my tire explode and my window fall out earlier in the week, I was beginning to have my doubts]. I have received quite a few generous offers in trade for sweet Puck and a great many people have asked to be first in line if I ever decide to part with 'im... So anyhow, I pull up to this Airstream Rally and look like I belong in the darn thing. Apparently Wally Byam, the man who invented the Airstream, was from Baker City and it was his 150th birthday. Thus, the rally. Additionally, there were farmers selling the tastiest Rainier Cherries and Strawberries I ever had.
It only gets better. I headed up into the mountains towards Phillips Lake and Sumpter, Oregon to take a swim and spend the night. As I drove up the Canyon, I was overcome by some great feeling of being Home. It was remarkable to me how similar the drive from Baker City to Sumpter is to the drive from Boulder to Nederland--gorgeous creek on the left, hillside on the right, finally opening up to a huge reservoir and its respective mountain town. I would, perhaps, like to move to Sumpter, OR one day.
The following morning, five deer waited outside my trailer for me. I sat with them while I ate my breakfast and they ate theirs.
Continuing Northwest along the Columbia River to Portland, I stopped to make some adjustments to ole' Puck and saw a sign, Fresh Fish. I wandered from the side of the road where I'd parked into a cul-de-sac of gypsy vans and tents. I bought a large Blue Back [like Salmon but deliciously fattier] out of a cooler from a man who'd just caught it. He took his knife and removed the organs for me--it was a pregnant mother with two overflowing sacs of eggs. I have never taken such a powerful creature into my body. As I ate it, I felt something ancient and familiar. I truly felt what it was for that fish to give its life for me as sustenance. I came to know the deeply symbiotic relationship that the man who caught it shared with the Waters that gave him and those before him their nourishment and livelihood.
After the sacrament-like dinner of Fish, my dear friend, Renee, and I took a walk in downtown Portland--pup and Uke in hand(s). I nearly fell to my knees at the sight of a parking lot lined with Majestic Roses. I was overcome with a delightful swirling feeling of arousal, surrender, devotional Love, and 3 glasses of wine. "You are who I drove half way across the country to see" I proclaimed to the Flowers.
After a brief evening spent parked in the be-mansioned hills of Portland, OR I made it as far as Washington to chant OM at the Rainbow Gathering for the 4th of July. When you let everything fall away and you just follow Life, you will always be guided to exactly where you need to be. Among the 30,000+ people at the Gathering, I was effortlessly guided to the folks I'd hoped to see and surprised them [for no one knew I was coming!], Naked/As/A/BlueJay after a swim in the snowmelt creek with icy hugs of greeting.
Now, in Portland, I am fast falling in Love with a City that is the near mirror image of my own Hometown but, in truth, is its far more lush and fertile twin.