2016-03-24, Crescent City, CA
Thursday March 24, 2016, 12:44pm
Crescent City, CA
Driving down the 101 through Redwoods National and State Parks back to Arcata for a gig tonight at Redwood Curtain Brewing. Stayed in the Jedediah Smith Campground last night, sort of splurged on a site, a bunch of firewood, local organic eggs. The coast is beautiful out the window, the ocean placid. and never-ending. Mists in the trees make everything feel silver green. So much green. Green of every description. The almost black green of the pine trees and the bluffs that butt up against the waves. The light fluttering green of the new leaves and the grass lining the highway.And a thousand shades in between. The emerald green of the river we camped on last night and drove beside down six miles of dirt road through the park, dwarfed under the towering trees. We stopped to wade.
The campfire last night was some sort of extended murmur of reflection for both of us, we barely spoke for several hours, just staring into the flames in silence until my eyes hurt, then staring some more. We bought so much wood we had a fire until midnight, far later than we normally have stayed up on this trip, so I’m tired today, I smell like smoke, I’m vulnerably emotional and ragged. I kept feeling like I couldn’t hear the trees properly, like they had songs they were ready to teach me but I had too many other things blocking the way. It has been a slightly frustrating few days up here for me because of that, I just feel like I need to be alone with the trees for awhile to let them speak, to listen more clearly without distraction. The rivers too. The Eel River has been particularly insistent that I listen better, that I take more time to sit quietly and hear his stories. There’s so much temporary chatter and clatter here, humans talking to themselves, so much anguish, regret, loss, desire, ennui, resignation, stasis. The trees seem to accentuate it, standing in watch, observing, listening, watching attentively as the humans wash by to and fro beneath them like blood more than water, like skin more than fire. The humans seem to have to firm shape, no consistency or stature, they feel oddly gelatinous here. Like cartiligde from a spine, that drains and shrinks and seeps back into the soil or even into the air, as if it were never here, their stories sinking with them.
I felt a strange sensation when we first pulled into Eureka on Tuesday, it was like the people were lighting themselves on fire but only melting from inside, there was no flame, just a metallic melting of tissue and a thin dusty grey white residue leftover. It encased them in resignation and a slow ascent into the vanishing. A woman in Crescent City just now packed up her things with two dogs. A man inside getting a coffee with his small son pointed to her out the window to be sure his son saw that she had a cat on top of her backpack as well. The cat perched on top of her pack, secured with a leash, it laid there uncomfortably, waiting for the shifting to settle down and the slow rhythm of the walking to take over. On the back of her khaki green pants was a sewn-on badge that read "Not all who wander are lost.” and I wondered where she was, and if it mattered, and if anyone else knew. She also had a cardboard sign “Broke, hungry, anything helps.” and I felt compelled to giver her money. Why? Because of the dogs? The cat? That she was female? She asked if I knew where the dentist was, she had no idea how to get to her appointment.
There was a message on FB from Allison this morning when we finally got back to wifi. She said she felt like she’d lost me on this trip, that she missed me checking in on them back in Michigan. I’d felt it too, earlier in the trip, weeks ago, I’d felt like she had made a mental leap into a new space, letting go of me in a new way. There’s a funny thing that happens when people you’ve worked with for a year or six months or 2 years suddenly announce they’re leaving, they give their two weeks notice, and you can feel yourself letting them go, it’s almost a form of defenses going up, right? To protect yourself from the loss. I thought she was going through that. I’d been desperately trying to stay the same, use the same cheery emoticons, show the same empathies to her struggles, show the same support, but I could feel something was different. That I too was grappling with the distance, the change, the overwhelming sum of the new adventure adding up into something undefinable and large, frightening in its scope, in its potential to expand or shrink or change without warning. What is it about travel that does that. Is it that you’re untethered? That there’s no daily repetitive ritual to hold you to the timeline of routine. I don’t know, but it’s scary and exciting and sad and frightening and glorious and life affirming and present and filled with promise and regret.
I feel so vulnerable today. Love to all.