I often consider myself a loner, a rebel.... someone who moves through this world mostly alone and unattached. However, it is not true. Its not true in so many ways. In fact, I have some of the best people one could ever hope for in my life.
The best part at ending my time in the Sierra Mountains, was it meant that I would be heading off to see my good friends in Santa Cruz. I had the pleasure of seeing them during their Portland visit before I left. Not only did I get to share a some conversations, but they took a bag of cloths and a book for me to have on my return to the other world.
When Jane greeted me at the bus station, with that special smile of hers, I knew it was all going to be great. With the knowledge of my need for fresh foods, she whisked me off to a local natural foods co-op and we got blueberry and almond butter smoothies.... my world is a damn fine one! And when I didn't think it could get better we spent time at the beech while we awaited Sage's return from school.
For dinner we went to Cafe Gratitude! Can I get a Hell Ya!? Oh golly, but it was good! I wanted everything on the menu! Its strange not having an appetite. For me its not really having the desire or urge to go make or get food, but once its in front of me, I could eat it all. All these months later and I still don't have an appetite or desire for anything in particular. It makes me want to want things and get excited about food, especially with friends... events that make me think about food... but its forced in some ways. I get excited about individual foods like burdock root, cara cara navel oranges, the beauty of a bunch of rainbow chard...
We decided I would stay until Sunday. They both had work and school, so I would have some good time to explore the area (meaning lay around on the beach) while they did work and school, and I would have time with them and their local farmers market on Saturday! It was a win win win!
With this time of solitude, nowhere to go or be but at the shore of the Pacific Ocean, I was able to synthesize some pieces together from the summer... see the intersections of my adventures sorta speak.
Early in the summer I got to attend the Resistance Ecology Conference and hear/participate in some wonderful conversations with some of my super big role models in the "movement". I say "movement" because really its not just about the queer movement, or the environmental movement, or animal rights movement.... It has to be all of it together. The key phrase for the weekend was "intersectionality" and we did many exercises on this. By separating all the marginalized communities to fight and fend for themselves, well it leaves a cold and isolated movement. However, if we can see how its all connected and how patriarchy, white supremacy, colonialism, capitalism... all work together to keep us in cages, well maybe we can work together at breaking these cages and liberating us all. It was a vegan conference, so animal liberation and specisim was at the forefront of many of the discussions. But with A. Breeze Harper, Patrice Jones, and Lauren Ornelas the topics got real for me! Racism, ecofeminism, entitlement, and colonialism... got to finally be involved in a vegan conversation. I've waited 20 years for this!
The discussions I heard at the conference bounced around in my head while I was on the trail. Here I was in such an amazing place. Thankful that it was protected from obscene development, even if full of capitalistic exploitation, yet...
It's not like that land wasn't occupied by people when John Muire came along. People lived in Yosemite valley. To "protect" that land meant removing the people of that land. Fuck! Even the getaway is not a getaway from it all. It is always there. It will always be there. Colonialism. Imperialism. Capitalism.
There are usually times on an outing that I try to picture a place before "us". What a place looked like before a road, building, planes in the sky. What it sounded like before the roar of cars, chainsaws, planes flying over head.
Anyway, time walking along the ocean front, I asked a great deal of questions. Didn't come up with any answers, but I came to a certain peace of mind that at least I could ask questions and that maybe that gave me the space to experiment with some ideas.
The big revelation is that I need some freaking discipline in my life. Well maybe that isn't the right word, but something that internally holds me accountable to go on daily runs/workouts/meditations. Somehow my days just get away from me between work and my hardcore addiction to reading.
Meanwhile, as I am thinking these thoughts, my eyes watch people surf, paddle board, ocean kayak, otters play, whales migrate about, fish jump, dolphins that come right up to the shore line to catch fish and waves. What inspiration!
The times I get with Jane and Sage, separately and together, are precious. They make me smile and laugh. The peace I find with them is a great transition between Mountains and the return to Portland. My last couple days in Santa Cruz are kind of epic. A long walk, I get all the "A" foods at the farmers market (avocados, almonds, apples....), brewery stop (a tradition for us), dessert back at Cafe Gratitude, watching a skimboard competition, trip to Jane's favorite beech with their friends... it was amazing! As I got on the bus to get to the train that would eventually get me to Portland and my new living situation there, I was full. They not only made sure I consumed some calories, but I left there knowing that I could never be a loner, that I am never really alone. That I have the gift of many good people in my life, and together we create a community that so much says "NO" to the dominate cultures way, but says, with a resounding "YES, YES, YES!" to another way of being and living and loving!
fish-eye at the beach
somewhere out there is a pod of whales
its rarely a day out with sage, without juggling
yes it was
the best a kid could ask for!