I am going to California today. I am so excited, and so ready.
In a way, I feel like I could dip my toes in the ocean and turn around and go home when I get there, but I know that that is not the plan at all. There is something there, too, and I have to spend the time I allotted to see people and things and to be in places until I'm ready to leave. I have had very little mapped out this whole time, by design, until I have to make the next decision. That was the central point, to learn to listen again. And I'm still hopeful, although I don't know about what. I'm nervous, too, but that's becoming standard, something to be worked through to get to the good stuff.
I can't stop thinking about Georgia O'Keeffe. I keep thinking about courage, and creativity, and singular dedication to a craft that somehow shapes a life. I've been wondering if I have it, or if I just love it as an idea, a museum exhibit itself. I hope I do. I love how she didn't know she was looking for New Mexico and found it, how she just kept showing up until it all happened there for her. New Mexico was hers -- it's not mine, I know, and it doesn't have to be. It's just so useful as a guide.
I like that I don't know all of her story. I like how Christine and I sat on the couch last night and watched the dvd that I bought at the museum, listening to Gene Hackman narrate this pioneer artist's life, and how several times we looked at each other in some kind of amazement and also recognition of what that takes, of what it requires to make that kind of life come together. (And also the mutual acknowledgement that this lady was a badass. Just was, so much of one.)
I have found a lot of solidarity out here. I have been surrounded by the energy of strong, compassionate, giving, people, some of the best of all of those qualities I've ever known, I'm not kidding. Everyone who has welcomed me has been a healer of some kind, which I didn't plan at all, except in my subconscious. I couldn't have done it better if I had.
I have also found some bullshit and nonsense, both in and outside of myself. Life continues and connections begin, reappear, and disappear in the middle of all of this activity. I do not take my best friend or my sister or my parents for granted, but I especially don't when those voices that know me the best come to me from far away.
I haven't had any great revelations, just a few little ones, and I'm okay with that, because those were the ones I needed to get out of the way so the rest of the things will come along. I have lost some track of the things I wanted to document -- not pictures, there are plenty of those -- just thoughts about some of the things I'm seeing, but those are all in my brain for when I need them, too. Somewhere in the middle it just blurred, a lot of it, into signs and markers and mountains -- much of it beautiful, some of it desolate. I have loved seeing all of the things I've seen so far, even if I didn't love all of it.
I've gotten reacquainted with some of my ingenuity, and the edges of my anxiety, too, and what I need -- not want, an important distinction -- to do to work with that. I have made some unwise decisions, but nothing too huge and damaging. I have carried some pain with me for a very long distance that is dug in pretty deep, and that's uncomfortable, but I am going to set that shit on fire as much as I can, every day, until it's gone.
Finally, this silly picture before I get going again. I stopped in the dark and stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, in a huge puddle. I did this because I have this family who I miss so much, who once sat around a restaurant table and spontaneously sang "Take It Easy" along with the overhead music. It happened several years ago. It was one of the best moments of my life, easily, those endless rounds of "oooh-oooh-ooohs" with the people I love the most -- so simple and everything that mattered at the same time. And although I felt like the jerky tourist I was when I stopped to take this (plus, that puddle was disgusting, seriously) it was for a higher purpose, I swore silently to the cars driving by in the dark, slowing down to look, until I could get something that didn't make me look too bad. I wanted to say I'd done this silly thing, that I had a piece of my heart in the form of people in mind when I did.
Lighten up while you still can. Don't even try to understand. Just find a place to make your stand, and take it easy.