Archive for April, 2012

Breakfast Club.

We started a breakfast club.  We meet every Sunday at 9:30 a.m.  We meet at different restaurants around town.   It is at this time and place we share our weekly stories.  We uncover our shiny moments and confess the painful ones.  These people are real, safe and flawed.  No one cares because we like each others company.  We make each other laugh.  The food is as rich as the coffee is hot.  We like lemons in our water.  I love that my coffee is mixed with sugar and cream.  We get to know our waitress.  She tells us stories.  We like her.  I am sure our group leaves bigger tips.

I find myself looking forward to this time like I look forward to his e-mails.  White lines in an in-box telling me of some far off adventure.  He gives me vocabulary words to look up.  He gives me things to ponder and think about.  I do not feel him guarded.  He doesn’t tell me things are none of my business or that I do not have a right to ask my questions.  When I ask him what type of man he is— he has an answer.  He is not afraid to look at himself and to share his contents.  He is only shadowy and vague regarding his whereabouts.  He tells me what he packs in his overnight bag.  I see the color of the wall in his room.  Thoughts of him, for some reason, make me smile.  He says he is really not scared of anyone.  I feel him speak simple and refreshing truths.  Words appear to match his actions.  I sense he has time to look at and see his reflection.

He calls me over the weekend and wants to know if I am safe. This is sweet and kind.  I like the beginning of our conversations but they always end the same way.  I really do want to know about his week. But there is it: The barter and trade exchange.  I cannot give what I do not have. He asks and pushes and is frustrated at my response.

I am back at the water cooler.  An attorney brings up a familiar topic and a familiar name.  He asks me about a this and a that.  I feel a pinch and flutter.  My face changes colors.  His words poke at a purple bruise.  I am surprised at this visceral response.

He deserves my ill will.  They both do.  But I want to be better than this.

I visualize myself opening a hand full of sand.   The grains are letters in the alphabet.  I need to use these letters to form my words to tell the story.  It can be as lovely as Oranjestad beach sand.

I go home to work in the dirt.  I need this for my soul.  The Earth smells rich.  It is deep and dark.  I cut and weed.  Amazing things are poking through.  I am excited because potential beauty surrounds me.  This task is a big one.  I don’t want to work it alone.  I go into the kitchen and ask if she would like to come and help me outside.  I suggest— I don’t want her company if it is compelled.  She is refreshingly willing.  This child never complains.  We work side by side pulling and clearing.  She wants to scatter wild-flower seed.  I let her.  I don’t supervise or give direction on how it should be done.  She tells me about her week and what she has been doing.  Her chatter moves like our hands.   The sunshine and breeze warms and cools our backs.  I am seeing her differently today.  We are linked in time and place.  I like the sharing of our thoughts.  The sharing of our worlds.  There is no barter and/or trade exchange.

At breakfast I share this story.  We have a new guest and she makes us laugh. We talk of more travels and adventures.  I am more at peace than I have ever been.  I find pieces of myself and they are fitting back together.  Our conversations are different.  They are full of humor.  They have no point.  They never end the same way. These topics are refreshing.  Everyone wants to know when the next dinner is going to be.  Where are we going to find another group adventure.

I think we should charter that bus to Chicago.  I secretly think we should partake in a group bike ride.

She texts me to tell me she is hopeful and excited about her future.

I feel her happiness and I smile.

White Water.

West Virginia called.  This mountaineer country cut by rivers and big water. We pile into a camper and sway our way to this coal and timber state.  I manage to keep my car sickness at bay by keeping my eyes closed and by breathing deep.  My reading has to wait.  We see abandoned buildings, discarded and moss covered bricks positioned next to stick built houses, everything is littered with battered and worn hillbilly trailers that just seem to be haphazard and stuck in between.  Train tracks filled with CSX cars that are topped with coal line the mountain.

I am happy to tumble out to a non-moving campsite and sleep on a hard cot.  I wrap my children, for warmth, and a big sleeping bag around me.  The adults drink beer and lots of wine.  We chug down champagne like it’s moonshine (I put the corks in my jean pocket).  There is guitar music and the crackling of a campfire.  The night air is as cold as the showers are hot.  It’s camping one level up from sleeping under open stars.  I sleep in my clothes and they are seeped in the woodsy smell of our campfire.

I see how Twain fell in love with the river.  It has a life and culture all it’s own.  Bends and parts carry their own names.  The colors worn in springtime are a spectrum of greens that border on light yellows to deep and dark evergreens.      Slate grey and mud brown rocks pepper river banks.  Boulders, like knives, are stuck in the river’s heart, creating a gush of white foam that spurts and sprays in all directions.  The water heavy, turbulent and thick is filled with a stronger pulse which corrects itself and swirls back into the river’s vein.

At the river bar we hear confessions.  People who take a trip on this river and then become enamored with it  They sell everything they own, abandon college or other university dreams and  they are converted to this river life.   This West Virginia river is a drug.  It alters your mind.   This natural high becomes an addiction.

The river guides have all sorts of jokes about themselves.  They are happy to point out the “rippies” or hippies dressed in flannel at the bar or on their rafts.  Female river guides are hairier than a Sasquatch.  They tell the same old jokes: Q. How do you get 15 male river guides into a closet?  A. Tell them it’s a free place to sleep.  Q. How do you get 15 river guides out of a closet?  A.  Tell them it’s a shower.

We sign waivers.  We put on wet suits.  On the bus trip to the river we are warned and schooled.  People get caught up in rocks and water—they do actually drown.  They tell us what to do if we fall out. Ride on your back and hold up and out your toes.  Float on your stomach and swim.  They tell you how to sit, how to hold a river paddle, and how to place your feet.

This place has it’s own vocabulary of things and places: eddies, big water, Rudy’s Ripple, Flea Flicker, Surprise, T-grips, mixed with a north flowing river’s swirls and swells.  Our guide is a Dennis.  He has a wide smile with slanted teeth.

The rush when it comes in consumes you.  You are on the verge of falling off the face of the Earth and then find yourself dissolving into it.  The heart is left pounding and sweat cools a warm and palpitating body.  You need a few seconds to find your bearings and the rush is again and confronting you.  Waves of this natural high and pleasure are raw, real, exciting and true.

I send him words from my travels.  He is a salve on my open wounds.  I am lying in my cabin bed full of want.  I want more from this life.  I am here to take it.  I am more than curious.  I am imagining him in places in my mind I have not let anyone go.

This is almost better than any lover I could take into my bedroom.  I tell him this.

And he replies back:   Almost.