The wind is whipping around Flagstaff in uneven gusts and breaths, soothing my fair skin that was not adapted for the constant sun. A huge part of my heart lies in the American Southwest and I am not sure why, but I am drawn here. Once a year doesn’t quite fill the cup, but I’ll take what I can get. I am sitting on the porch of my friend’s parent’s house; all are off to work and I am waiting for the sun to leave the eastern sky so we won’t be staring at each other on my drive.
Some highlights from the trip so far:
Sand Mountain is where I took my last drink. Shivering and stupid on a 20 degree night, blundering around, banging away at that figurative door that seemed locked like I had been doing for the last few years, I climbed up the huge frosty dune, sat on the crest, and watched the sun come up. I hadn’t planned on it being my last drink (and can’t promise it’ll stay the last drink, but I can work for it), but that is often how it goes. About an hour an some change east of Fallon NV and on my way, I figured it was a good time for a check in. I climbed it again, a bit less painful (and cold) that it was last time, and contemplated my five months of clean time.
A spooky busted down house complete with crumbling basement stairs which I had no choice but to peer into.. outside of Austin NV. I then took a right and headed south on a new road – the endless mountain ranges of Nevada all run north-south, and I have been waiting for an opportune trip to experience the full legendary length of Nevada’s valleys. I took a long bike ride along 375, not a soul around, and found the best little ramshackle lean-to out on a dry lake bed (of which I have no picture… some things you just have to keep in your mind). Those are the things that fill my cup.
A few miles back down the road though, I went to Tonopah’s Central Nevada Museum… a rust junkie’s paradise..
One of the quieter campsites of the trip (God bless the BLM) and an example of an evening meal – beets, zucchini, and hummus. We have entered the land of red dirt.
The views in Utah are really beyond capturing, especially with an iphone, so all I have for you are… more ramshackle houses, “lean-to’s” against the wind-swept sandstone boulders near the Vermillion Cliffs.
Then I was off to Page AZ by the bizarre man-made Lake Powell (I wonder what he would have thought of them flooding the amazing canyon he was the first white dude to see) and had a great time with other sober drunks. Many sunburns, jumps from high cliffs into the water, and meetings around the camp fire. I have been loitering around Flagstaff for parts of days, I played a sweet little show in Sedona, and now I am ready to go back out into nowhere for a few days before I hit Tucson.
These days I am happy enough, feeling like I am where I am supposed to be. In frequent blue moments however, I have a deep urge to be fully on the tracks of my life, functioning smoothly and efficiently, making a difference in the world and making it a bit more beautiful. Yet I feel still without sure footing, without much experience beneath me to spring from. I feel a little like I am still in the hospital laid up with casts on, gazing out the window and wanting deeply to be running and swimming and dancing and climbing on things outside – which is precisely how a woman in a meeting last night described me, metaphor and all. She said it really takes a good year to get your head on straight, amends made, and new patterns established. I felt a little disheartened at that moment, but at least there is a way to it and I am almost half way there. I feel a little like I felt in my first year of transition – incredibly impatient for this thing I had wanted for so long that would also help me carry on with my life, only to be dismayed that no amount of wishing could make my wimpy little chin hairs grow any faster. I just had to wait. And I suppose if it’s any consolation, look at me now. Six years later I have more chin hairs that I know what to do with. So wait I shall, and recuperate, and practice.