Tuesday, July 30, 2013

home, for now

I'm home. It feels good, hard, strange. I'm happy to be here, if only for a week before the next journey. The next one is the big big big one. As soon as I got home I started packing boxes, moving things, figuring out what to let go of, what to give away, throw away, clear.

The road home wasn't easy. It never is. I was so eager to be back that I pushed myself harder than was probably safe or wise. That last night I drove hard, through electrical storms, on winding highways, the only other vehicles on the road were trucks. I kept thinking to myself the next town, I'll stop at the next town. But I kept going, until I was so tired my legs were shaking and my hands were completely sweaty on the steering wheel. I finally pulled over in a little town late at night and rented a room. It was hard to sleep, I had so much road adrenaline in me. I finally slept and woke up too early and again pushed myself too hard to be home in the afternoon. I arrived, rankled and testy. I was frayed and jumpy. I took myself to the Korean Spa and soaked for an hour, trying to release but it didn't work. Now finally, two days later, I've landed back in my body and feel safe again. And I leave in a week.

My family is in transition in many ways these days. I'm a part of it but I'm watching my sisters go through big changes as well. Usually we're super close and spend a ton of time together but these days solitude and contemplation are our cycle. I miss my sisters and can't wait until we're back in each other's lives fully again, present.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

dust and watermelon

I've been at the ranch in Texas for a few days now and am settling into a rhythm. I'm staying at a hotel 15 minutes from the ranch. Every morning I get up, stretch, meditate, go eat my free hotel breakfast (and get odd looks from the other hotel guests, I'm in my painting clothing,) then head out to the ranch. Most of the drive is along a dirt road. Very beautiful, sparse and not at all anything that I'm used to.

The town I'm in is tiny. Everyone knows each other and the people watching is pretty interesting, I'm being watched right back. My friend Kaveri Singh  is here too so we have each other for company. The interior designer we work with is here too. Still, I miss home. I miss my family. I don't mind working out of town, and I definitely don't mind traveling but I miss my daily rituals and I miss being touched. My family hugs.

In the fantasy camp of my mind I though I would work all day then come back to the hotel, go for a swim then spend my evenings writing. HA! I won't swim. The hotel is full of constructions workers. The guys at our job site are super cool but the ones here at the hotel, meh. Last night I went outside to watch an electrical storm that was passing over town and two men were outside smoking and loudly comparing about ways in which they control (read: abuse) their women, (of course they didn't call them women.) One said something about how he "had to punch her in the mouth and threaten to tie her to the bed again." Ugh. No swimming for me. And I'm bone tired when I get back. It is HOT out here and the site is incredibly dusty and full of flies. When I get back to the room I shower, eat and collapse on to the king sized bed and read. I brought some wine and treat myself to a glass, er, hotel paper cup, of it at night. No writing.

The site is actually an interesting place. Everyone who works there is very cool and kind. Yesterday I was chatting with a shy carpenter, we were talking books. A little while later he told me "In a few minutes you should come down to the basement with us" and nodded toward a few other men. I immediately thought oh hell no, go to the basement with a bunch of strange men at an isolated ranch on the middle of nowhere?! The he told me they had a secret watermelon eating club. Every morning they buy a watermelon, put it in the basement freezer and take a break to eat it at 3pm. Only a few are invited. It was hot and so I went. It was pretty damn sublime, sitting in the cool basement while it was close to 100 degrees out, eating ice cold watermelon with a bunch of kind strangers. Little moments like that are golden.

A couple more days here then I head back to Santa Fe for another little job then home.

Monday, July 22, 2013

road landing

Today is my fourth day on the road. I'm in Santa Fe, staying at a really nice hotel near the plaza, one of the oldest hotels in Santa Fe. I'm a block from the plaza and main church. It kind of  reminds me of Mexico, this part of town was definitely built when this part of the world was under the rule of Spain. The first time I was here a year ago a friend told me how magical it was, this little heart of the city. It isn't bad, just not my kind of place. It feels sterile, scrubbed clean for the tourists. Everywhere you walk in this part of the city there are reminders of the history that is acceptable for tourists. I look around and see how much has been hidden away, erased.

I spent most of the weekend with my beautiful friend Andrea Serrano in Albuquerque. She and I met earlier this year and hit it off right away. I stayed at her lovely new home and did some custom painting for her as a housewarming gift. We had a great time and I got to see 'Burque through the eyes of a local and hear the histories from someone whose family has been here for generations. I love spending time with Andrea, we have so much in common in how we approach the world. She is definitely of my tribe.

As much as I love being on the road I miss the peace of being home, the small rituals that anchor my day. So much movement every day, so much newness is hard on the body and mind. I'm not complaining, I love being outside of my comfort zone but there is definitely an adjustment period. I struggle with my meditation while on the road, I struggle with my creative writing. I'm not landed or grounded yet. I head out to Texas later this morning and should be able to get into a routine. I've never spent any time at all in Texas, should be interesting.

I'm so close to Ghost Ranch. I have such a desire to get into the truck and drive out to the holy place, but the next time I return will be with H. That is where it all started between us and I can't go back alone. Driving these same roads is kind of a trip. Everything was different last summer, when I drove out here I was in such a strange but comfortable heart space. I was happy with my life and at peace. Everything has blossomed since then. So much growth in the last year. I am even happier with my life and know even more peace.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

the road, again.

Another year, another road trip. I'm on my way to Texas for work. I should be out there about a week. I have to deliver a bunch of stuff for my father and then do some painting on my own. I was looking at maps and realized I have almost 6000 miles of road trip travel in the next month.

I started yesterday with a truck full of material. I was a little scared about driving an unfamiliar truck but  I was fine. San Diego to Phoenix: nothing too interesting about that section of the drive. Straight road, desert. I love the landscape, how still it is, how the road stretches on and on in front of me. I love getting toward Flagstaff, winding up the road, seeing the landscape change from desert to forest. Once I'm outside of Flagstaff I'm pretty joyous. Then heading East I can't stop singing. The from Flagstaff and into New Mexico is stunning. I love driving. I love the road. 

I decided to get a hotel room last night around the twelve hour, 740 mile mark. I was pretty tired. I pulled into a small town called Grants and rented a room. I went to a bar and grill for dinner and walked into a room full of bikers. It was like that scene in Pee Wee's Big Adventure when he walks into the biker bar, but not as scary. I was the only person who wasn't a biker, it was pretty obvious in my flow-y pants and flip-flops. Whatever. It was fine. Excellent people watching. Ridiculous people watching.

Today I'll head into Santa Fe to drop-off some material, eat a green chile burrito or four and then head back to Albuquerque to visit a friend.  I head to Texas on Monday, should be interesting and I hope to blog more from there. I've never spent any time in Texas and am curious.

with the loaded truck
 skies outside of Flagstaff
 jackal in the clouds
of course

Thursday, July 11, 2013

the distance required

I've been sending out poems, stories and essays for publication. It requires a kind of distance, letting these little loves of mine out into the world. And when I do publish I keep that distance, even though I'm proud and happy to have my work out there. I created them, put in my ideas and images, sat with commas and synonyms, grieved over lost lines but once they're out in the world, they're not mine, they belong to the reader. A strange letting go. Maybe that's the reason I often struggle while sending out my favorite pieces, I don't want to let go. But then I read something in a literary journal that strums all the chords in me and I know I want to be a part of that.

I have one story in particular I've had for years. It IS going out this summer, it is. The way it is currently written there is a bit of an open ending, but I think I have to fix that. I love literary stories that ooze poetry and mysticism, and if they don't end in the traditional narrative arc ending I'm usually okay with that. But I have these two characters that have gone through a hell of a lot and they deserve something. Is a happy ending worth it? After all, it still is an ending.

Another shit thing about submitting work is that I can't focus on my new writing. Submitting work is another energy entirely. I have no problem editing the work I'm sending out, but new work? Forget it. I was on such a good roll with the novel, now I'm treading water back to it, one eye on the work that's going out and a promise to my characters that I haven't forgotten about them.

Summer has been good to me. Just got back from visiting H in Vancouver. Pretty damn perfect. I love his family and friends. I love him. So effn grateful.

I've slipped from my meditation practice the last couple of weeks. Crazy what a difference it makes when I don't take time to go into myself, to that silence. I'm really pretty good about self-care, juicing, sleep, massage, etc. But when I let the meditation falter I'm just not as focused. Getting back to it is always tough, so much mental chatter but when I finally do drop down into that place of silence, presence, everything opens up and it feels like my entire world sighs an exhale.