Typically my 'adventurous' road trips end in a somewhat familiar way-- back to the old grind or end in the arms of beloved family and friends. This time, I drove hundreds of miles into the middle of nowhere to spend time with an Aunt I see once every few years (if I'm REALLY lucky) for a couple of hours. I can't tell you how 'out of my element' this feels.
While exhausted, I am incredibly grateful to be thrown into work immediately. I only got in last night but today was Day One! I'm working as a baker at the General Store in Mazama, Washington which is the only place the locals really have to go without driving 30 miles southeast 'down valley' to Winthrop. And even THAT town looks like the old west so I hear. Mixing buttermilk into dry ingredients to make scones is the only glimpse of familiarity; It is the only thing that is real and grounding me to my body. I am sooo incredibly grateful to have it. Otherwise, I may have connected to an asteroid and shot off into space!!!
There were parts of this trip where the scenery was so breathtaking, so ominous, so fun, so haunting, it was life changing. Then I begin to drive through the Cascades here-- up, up, up into the snow-capped mountains. At one 'vista point,' there was an overlook describing Kerouac's stay at Desolation Point. The wind was fiercely blowing, the air cold and there was a mighty valley below filled with an almost eerie light blue lake. For the five seconds I was outside of my car, I was terrified. I was terrified... taking a PICTURE. It wasn't serene, it wasn't relaxing... All I thought was I am soooo small and soooo disconnected from the vast and powerful energy of these mountains. I was entirely filled with fear from this powerful, truly epic unknown.
It was in this moment it became slightly more clear as to one of the reasons I'm supposed to be here. One of these purposes, is to become a part of this power-- to channel it, be immersed in it, be grateful for it and to live in communion with it. Simply driving the six miles to work every day at 4am requires an eyes peeled awareness as Mazama is smack dab in the middle of deer migration territory. It's walking to my cabin unaffected by thoughts of rattlesnakes, black widow spiders, bears, cougars, avalanches, forest fires, shoddy cell reception and an even shoddier GPS. It's hiking a trail in a body that makes me winded just walking. It's mountain biking in a body that makes me winded just hiking. It's rock climbing in a body that makes me winded just mountain biking.
In this kind of setting? I don't have a clue who I am. In this moment, in utter humility, I don't have the audacity to dream of who I might potentially become. There are no expectations only openness to all of it. I'm unaware if I create new parts of myself or if I rediscover the true pioneering adventurer (?) that was always there. All I know is this adventure starts right now... and right now... and right now. My emotional survival and sanity is on a moment to moment basis because this kind of fear-- to borrow the term from a kindred spirit-- is "so fucking loud."
This transformation started to happen in small doses as I left LA. It grew continually as terrain became more unfamiliar. And the kicker? It will continue to do so every time I step out of the house.
This fear is loud but my heart is louder. Time to climb...