I sat there two days into the workshop, with smoke snaking its way high and low around us on the california coastline, the landscape having become the silent bearer of the environmental disaster spreading its way closer to us from the north, the mistaken carelessness of an unattended campfire tracing it’s quiet repercussion across the Native ancestral land we were living on. Not at all what I had pictured of wide open sunny blue skies and crystalline water capable of providing me with a liquid baptismal rebirth.
And so I somehow suddenly felt so much less bad about it now, the uncompleted task of having traveled out here for the same poetry writing & spoken word workshop last year and being unable to complete the task. That shame I felt last year, coupled with the failure, the only 2 companions traveling with me that week. Long silent stretch of California highway laying ahead of me with green tree valleys rolling high to low beneath a wide expanse of sky that rivaled the expansion and contraction rolling continuously through my chest.
A semi-conscious distraction by way of my own continuous movement.
Moving from feeling connected to land, sea, sky body, earth and then alone under towering red woods whose natural expression in the world made me question my own, a sun setting over the water out to the West, both blinding and welcome as the engine gunned up towards the inclining terrain, only to then find the brake with a quick pump, terror finding relief, stomach swelling up towards my throat, eyes squinting to avoid the glare as I rounded cliffs I prayed would keep clinging to me.
Rubber tires grabbing wild paved earth, a sense of loss, seeming both familial and ancestral, flowing into a chasm in my collarbones that threatened eruption in my heart, and the quiet roaming loneliness of open fields of land like a silent space that didn’t know if it knew how to hold me. Or I it. White paisley bandana on my head a reminder of the daylight still within me, and an attempt at preventing anything else that wasn’t untainted purity from entering in.
My willingness this year to surrender into the fire both a trust and a prayer, with leaving safely at the end of the week and staying in the still somewhat unknown forming an infinity like my longing for his hand to rest in mine, that way refuge and happiness could then lay on my chest. And stay.
Sound of the surf could then carry me deeper into my and then our intimate home. Our own ancestry reimagined. Like we didn’t have to live out the fallen past again.