On the 23rd, I met my friends Volfe and Beth for coffee at a little place called “Silk Espresso” in Gresham. The coffee was great (Stumptown always is…), but the best part was the drive out there. The sun was shining brilliantly down on my little truck, and you could see for miles from the freeway. All of the mountains were in rare form, so gorgeous you would have wished you could touch the snow.
That led me down the path of thinking about skiing. The season is almost over, but surely there are a few days left… maybe I’ll get a season pass since right now, it’s probably only good for one or two more trips… I had such fun when I went last time- a ski guide from Austin, Texas picked me up when I had a “yard sale,” which is where you fall while skiing and your gear goes every which direction. As he scrambled to get me in my skis, gather my poles, and stand me upright, he told me how he got here and what exactly a tour guide does.
It’s a volunteer position, but you get free lift tickets. Seriously. How cool is that?
So I’m thinking about all of this and I realize that I’ve already missed my exit. It’s a long way back. Of course it is. I was driving towards the Columbia River Gorge. I was lucky I was able to turn around within three miles. 🙂
The weather has just captivated me, and rendered me completely useless. I don’t want to think about anything else but that warm Vitamin D touching my skin, especially going 55 down the freeway with the stereo cranked and the windows down.
It reminded me of being 16, and driving my dad’s convertible. The only difference is that in Sugar Land, Texas, there aren’t many distractions like snow-covered mountains and a break in the weather that reduces the blah to a manageable level. No, Sugar Land is a different pace. No mountains, but lush lawns, a baseball diamond, and a large mall that provides many poor people with free air conditioning in the summer… as all malls do, I’m sure.
But I digress.
The snow-covered mountains and the beautiful trees heading out to the Gorge made me realize that I was born at the perfect time. My actual birthday is supposed to be 8 weeks later than it is, because I was not fully cooked when I emerged victorious from 7 months in a so-small-it’s-not-even-an-efficiency apartment.
Being born early made me an earth sign, and even if it’s complete and total hooey, I choose to believe that an earth sign was meant for me. I am connected to the land in a way that seems deeper than a lot of my friends. When I’m hurt, I drive out the Gorge and find a spot to scream it out. The gorge has quite a few secrets of mine, now, and it scares me to think what would happen if it could talk.
Grass and trees and mountains and bugs make me happy (with the possible exception of spiders- I am not scared of them, per se, but I prefer to look at them under glass). The honeybee shortage affected me to the point that I would intentionally look for products in the grocery store that I could buy to give money to bees, because it was the thing that I could do to help without having money to donate on hand.
Dragonflies buzz “I am still with you even if we are miles apart.”
Ladybugs are just stylish.
I like to tend other people’s gardens, getting wet and muddy and gross, because while I am an earth sign, with gardens I just want to help a little bit and then get to go home and not do it anymore. I get my fill after a day or so, and then it’s time to move on to something else, like sitting in the sunshine with a beer or an ice coffee and writing in my journal.
Rocks. Ohhh, rocks. Whenever my friends go anywhere, I ask them to bring me back rocks from where they’ve visited. Ethan, my former boss, brought me two from a hiking trip that are still on my bookshelf at home. My friend Diane went to the Colorado River/Grand Canyon, and I asked her to bring me a rock, too. She brought me a piece of the Vishnu Schist, which is millions and millions of years old. I meditate while holding it so that I have the sense of holding onto grounding earth. The Vishnu Schist has heard it all, and somehow, I think it transfers to me, even if it is only in my mind. I keep it in its little velvet bag hung with a magnet onto the freezer. That way, I always know where it is.
That rock may be the most precious thing I own, because it is my only possession that when I hold it in my hand, I am holding the beginning of creation.