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!
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.
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.
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
Red River- Jodee
Santa Fe- Myra’s sister, Eva
Mountain View- James
Nashville- Debbie, Best Dressed Man, Mike, Margaret
Atlanta- Mary and Andy
Asheville- Jane and hubby
Skyline Trail- Appalachian Hikers, Bill and Chris
Staunton- Jim, Robert
Lenox- Joan, Dennis, Auburn, Atty, Margaret, David, Kevin & so many others
Feeding Hills- Sue, Art
Quebec City- Accordion man
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
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)