“The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Posted on December 30, 2016

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Last week I took a much-needed holiday.  A fun-size Walkabout, if you will.  I had been thinking about going on a jaunt for a little while now and since I wrecked my car (whole other story) and had a lovely rental car, I thought: 1) Screw it; I NEED this and 2) this would be the perfect vehicle to take on the trip I was considering.  So in one day, I made the decision, packed up my hired chariot and rode off into the sunset.  I struck out for the desert; the place I felt I could find most solace.  I brought my furry half-pint with me as travel buddy.

I gotta say…. this excursion was an answer to questions hanging in the air that I hadn’t yet figured out how to ask.  It was an adventure, or rather, a series of mini adventures bundled into one tour.

I feel I’ve got to give you a little bit of my origin story to help you partially understand where this journey played in my heart.  When I was growing up, my family (including extended; grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) would get together every year around Christmas time and caravan to the desert and camp out together.  It was a tradition with the family since my mother was a child.  The practice dissolved sometime during my teenage years, but the place is near and dear to every one of us and we make it out there periodically, individually or with our own small families.  I hadn’t been out there myself in a decade.

So.  This was my pilgrimage.  Getting back to my roots.

I followed the route we used to take all those years ago and made the stops we used to make along the way.

…There’s something about driving through the desert whilst listening to Pink Floyd’s The Wall… enchanting…

When I finally made it to my destination, I staked out my camp spot in the mountains and settled in with some of my favourite scotch, chilled out in the back of the SUV with the hatch up, my hound cozied up on my bed and I played some tunes for us on the ukulele.  It was a clear afternoon but the next thing I knew, thunder was playing over my uke.  So I stopped and looked up to find the clouds had moved in.  Soon, drizzle started, which turned directly into beating showers.  I was consumed by the moment.  It was perfect.  Chill dog, rain pounding across my current scape as I sat amidst it without becoming damp, filling the air with my tunes, enjoying my choice libation….. couldn’t ask for anything better.   In half an hour it cleared up and I was treated to a gorgeous post-downpour sunset, replete with brilliant colours.

At this point, I thought I should seek out contact with the outside world, as I didn’t have any cell reception since that morning and wanted to let my mom know I didn’t get mauled by a bear or anything.  I went over to my campsite neighbour, Nina, who I had met and had a short chat with earlier.  Total sweetheart.  Anyway, I asked her if she knew if the lodge had any WiFi.  She didn’t know, so I said I’d check it out and let her know later.

I headed up to the lodge in my quest for interwebs and turns out, score!  Plenty of interwebs.  While there, I decided to play my path through the pub and lo – they had local beer on tap.  This I had to try.  So.  I’m standing at the bar, facing the main restaurant, looking at one of their food menus… I turn to order my beer and notice an older gentleman belly up to the bar sitting right next to me.  A little startled, I asked, “Were you sitting here when I came up and started looking at the menu?  I feel terribly rude to have completely pubturned my back to you.”  “No,” he said, “I snuck in behind you; I didn’t want to disturb you.”  Well.  This was the start of one of those really cool random-stranger relationships.  His name is David and he is a 70-year-old widower.  His brother-in-law (Scott) soon joined him and the three of us chatted and drank together the rest of the evening.  We talked of occupations and leisure activities and sailing and arts and life and…. kayaking between islands in the Caribbean and camping on their beaches (this is something Scott does – how cool is that??).  At one point, David ordered a whiskey, so I asked him if he enjoyed scotch.  He answered affirmatively so I told him and Scott  that I have a nice bottle that I would be happy to share with them later.  They accepted the invitation and we continued our bar time until we got booted (closing time was early there – 9PM).  Whilst there, I introduced them to picklebacks.  I was extremely amused that they were willing to try it.

So when we wore out our welcome at the pub, we moved the party to the patio in front of the motel room they had.  And Dickens joined us and was a HUGE hit with the guys.  Scott took him for walks and David held him on his lap and gave him the ear-scratching of his little lifetime.  Little boy was in hog heaven.

And the STARS.  Oh my word the stars.  They were breathtaking.  Absolutely marvellous!  The sky was cloudless and the moon was a sliver and there was no light pollution and I could see the Milky Way.

We continued to talk until after 1:00.  And I shared a moment with David.  A kindred spirit moment.  We acknowledged the crazy connection we shared.  And the guys invited me to breakfast that morning.  I agreed to it and we parted after plans were settled.

When I left them, I took aim to enjoy the stars by myself.  I went for a walk in the dark.  Then decided I would enjoy them much more if I just lied on the ground and looked up.  So I did.  I plopped right down in the parking lot, my head supported by a curb, and gazed up at the vast beauty above me.  And I was floored.  I hadn’t seen those stars in about 20 years.  It welled up so many emotions… I was, I was the-starsFEELING.  Something I haven’t done in a while.  And I was determined to let whatever came up just happen.  So I …. I was crying and laughing at the same time.  And I was talking.  I was voicing my feelings as Shakespearean characters do – something I’d always silently rolled my eyes and judged them for: who does that??  Just talks to themselves and expresses their jubilations, their sorrows, etc (yes, I know it’s for the benefit of the audience, but I still thought it stupid)?  But here I was, doing just that.  And it felt right.  So I talked.  And I talked to God.  Something else I’ve neglected as of late.  It was spiritual and beautiful and pure and intimate and cleansing and magical.  And… real.  Something I’ve been missing from myself for too long.  I’ve been lost.  And stoic.  But this was raw, genuine me.  And even now as I think back on that night, the tears flow heartily.  I don’t want to forget the feelings I had that night and what a gift it was.

I saw three shooting stars as I laid there, as well as the International Space Station.

It was after 2 and I figured I should go get SOME sleep before I had to meet the guys for breakfast, so I headed back to the car.  On my way back, I started into a sprint so also as to express my feelings… but it was cut very short, for almost as soon as I got going, my foot located uneven pavement and I found myself laying back on the pavement, except now I had a sprained ankle and a couple of scrapes.  It’s been a week and my ankle is still out of sorts (Dagnabbit, and I was supposed to go dancing tomorrow night 😦 ).

We had breakfast and then just ended up spending the whole day together, exploring.  I should have taken it easy for my ankle’s sake but hey, carpe diem, yeah?

Well, this post is quickly becoming a book, so I’m going to cut it here.  May post some more of other recent experiences soon.  A lot of interesting things have been happening as of late.

Cheers!

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Posted in: adventure, journal, Life