Spiraling back to Seattle

I drove back into Seattle feeling like I was coming back into the rat race with people “leading lives of quiet desperation” (Thoreau). The traffic was atrocious, drivers aggressive, impatient, blowing their horns because the car in front of them didn’t spurt off immediately when the light turned green. My pace has changed as I’ve journeyed, the striving and pushing has been usurped by peace and being chill, so to get back “home” was a rude awakening. It doesn’t feel like home anymore, but it doesn’t help that all my belongings are in a storage unit and I’m sleeping on my daughter’s couch. I’m displaced, not sure where I belong. Is my car my only home? Eeek, what a thought!

My two oldest daughters, Alicia and Susanna

Seattle holds two of my daughters, my rarest treasures. Being with them was a blast, we played at the fair where I finally had fresh corn and saw piglets, went soaring on the downtown Seattle Great Wheel at night, went to plays and wiggled our toes on the beach. I also saw my best friends and some of the best theatre artists around. I am excited to be back to my familiar city and so damn overwhelmed at what I have been through. I feel changed, new, different, like I am not the same person who left. I am this eclectic, strange, confident, self-assured bird that may not be recognized. and yet all those same insecurities are lurking under the surface…or are they?

So many men (not one female) I’ve met along the way have asked me “how many miles have you driven?” And I never even looked at the odometer so I have no idea, over 10,000…what does it matter? It’s places, people, hours and time spent that mean the most. In four months I didn’t have any car trouble, I didn’t get one ticket or even get pulled over, I didn’t have an accident, I wasn’t sick a single day, but I did have a few headaches and ankle twists. Ask me instead what I learned in the last four months and I can answer…

I MUST HAVE MOUNTAINS– and not just any hill will do, I mean mountains with views and climbs and valleys and cliffs and I need to hike them alone.

I AM ENOUGH– I love who I am, stripped of all else…career, husband, kids, acting gigs, I enjoy me for what I am, completely devoid of anything else. I am a delight! I am the magical gold dust that Tinkerbell is made of!

I NEED TO WRITE– and explore myself through writing. It reminds me who I am and makes who I am clearer. I’ve always been a visual person so seeing my thoughts in print has made the experiences stick and keeps them living on within my heart and mind.

I WANT TO GIVE– it’s not enough to love life, I want to share it.

MUSIC IS COMPLETELY INTERTWINED WITH MY BEING– dancing, rhythm, songs, singing are all essential parts of me and my growing.

FRIENDS ARE ESSENTIAL– the people I meet, strangers, long-time buddies, family, give each day the thrill of excitement.

Me and my friend, Jenna May

States are no longer landscapes but people and hearts. It’s amazing to me how affected I am by everyone I have come across on this trip. Of course I realize that people influence our lives, YES! But I would drive into a town for a day or two, and find an intense connection because we had such a short window of time. People set aside precious moments for me and I was rewarded so amazingly by their gift. I carry them with me. I just have to think about a place I’ve been and their images pop before my eyes like photos in a slide show.

With Susanna on the beach

I wrote out a list of over 95 names of people I have encountered on this four-month adventure, and these are only the main players. There are so many more that I have met and enjoyed a brief but significant chat with, most I don’t even know their names. I find this astounding. I am rich, so rich in these connections. And I expect my home (when I get one again) to be littered with all of you plopping in on my life and happily disrupting my days with your presence. Payback time!

I collected a pile of small stones from different hikes that I picked up to remind me of the mountains, and because that’s what Much Afraid did in the book Hind’s Feet On High Places. In the end all of her stones turned into jewels in her crown. But rather than these stones being my jewels….all of the names written on this list are my sparkling gems. My crown is much too heavy to wear on my head, these names are engraved on my heart.

San Francisco area- Mom, Bonni, Gregg, Tom, Jenna May, Molly, Elissa, Becky, Dennis, Rebecca, Scott and new workshop friends

Yosemite/Grand Canyon- Lowell, Christie 

Reno- Kathy, Netto, Marlene, Mom Blume, Marylyn, Chuck

Lake Havasu- Roland and Alice

Bryce Canyon- Peace Man

Telluride- Robert

Red River- Jodee

Santa Fe- Myra’s sister, Eva

Mountain View- James

Nashville- Debbie, Best Dressed Man, Mike, Margaret

Atlanta- Mary and Andy

Charleston- DeAnne

Asheville- Jane and hubby

Skyline Trail- Appalachian Hikers, Bill and Chris

Staunton- Jim, Robert

Johnstown- Robert

Buffalo- Stephanie

Lenox- Joan, Dennis, Auburn, Atty, Margaret, David, Kevin & so many others

Feeding Hills- Sue, Art

Northampton- Toby

Dover- Marjie

Quebec City- Accordion man

Toronto- Colin

Chicago- Audrey

Milwaukee- Caitlin, Robert

Peoria- Sarah, Chris and Gordy

Boulder- Tina, Eric, Les, Margaret

Rocky Mtn. National Park- David, Scott the mountain man

Cheyenne- Betsy and all of Jenni’s family

Jackson- Forest

Cody- various dance club members

Red Lodge- Steve at art museum

Great Falls- old drunk guys

Calgary- IAM IAM IAM, Stuart, Phebe

Rosebud- Nathan and friends

Glacier NP- Doctor and chainsaw guy

Missoula- Kristen and Graham

Helena- Christian, Damien and J

Seattle- Susanna, Alicia, Jenni, Marya, Jenna May, Llysa, Andrew, Heather, Elizabeth, Tony, Robin, Len, Janie, Patrick

This sounds like a final good-bye but I’m happy to report that the journey will continue. I am hopping in the car again and driving back to Massachusetts to attend a two-week training to take Shakespeare into high schools. I decided to continue the caravan as I want to continue to explore the landscape of my soul, and make all that I learned stay concrete, as well as see more of my country. The blog will live on and I just may come across some of you again. Thank you everybody.

I know where I’m going
I know who’s going with me
I know who I love
And the devil knows who I’ll marry…      
(traditional Irish ballad)

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4 thoughts on “Spiraling back to Seattle

  1. So excited for you. Keep climbing those mountains. It’s a great inspiration to follow your journey. xox (the other susanna).

  2. Lori, I only now took a few moments to read just a few of your blogs. Primarily (don’t laugh), I wasn’t aware until just today that you have been on this amazing soujourn. WOW, is all that comes to mind this time. What an opportunity, what a gift. I am going to carve out some time to read more. Travel safe and with God. WOW, what an impressive tale you tell.

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