It was a bit chilly last night in the forest near Prescott, Arizona. Matilda jumped up on the bed earlier than usual and I noticed her breaths were slow and long and ended with a shiver.
Just poking my head out from inside the sleeping bag I could tell it was very, very cold. So I got Matilda to move, opened up the bag and invited her in.
She jumped back up onto the bed, stepped into the bag, and laid down where I had drawn back the covers.
I then covered us both–leaving our heads out for air. But it was only a moment later that Matilda pulled her head back under, went into a ball, and let out a big sigh.
Needless to say, we stayed in bed long past the first light that had become our alarm clock.
Neither Matilda nor I made a move.
Until I decided that the longer we waited to get up, the greater the chance that Matilda, or I – or both of us – might have an “accident.”
So I jumped out of bed, put on a bunch of warm clothes and hustled Matilda out the door and down the road for our morning walk.
It wasn’t long before we encountered the camp host who reported that the temperature had gotten down to 28 degrees the night before.
That’s the coldest night we’ve encountered so far.
I’m not sure what younger folks think about the U.S. Postal Service these days but i (in my late 60s) think its the cat’s pajamas. As a young adult before the days of computers, the Internet, and electronic mail, i was struck by the low cost and ease of sending a letter. Only a few cents to usher off my thoughts and sentiments to another across town or across the country. What a wonderfully slow and deliberate endeavor!
Just recently i had the opportunity to try a service of the post office that brought me back to a simpler time – General Delivery. General Delivery allows one the opportunity to receive mail at many post offices without the benefit of a street address. And it worked perfectly.
In my case, i had mail forwarded to me in a small town on the California/Arizona border while traveling. I calculated when my mail would arrive and then went to the post office with my identification in hand to pick it up. Wonderful. It was good to know that the simplicity of sending and receiving mail still exists.
It is a rare morning when i don’t start the day by eating a bowl of oatmeal enhanced with the following: roasted flax seed, walnut pieces, muesli, banana, apple, and cinnamon. Occasionally, when i feel like i need a bit of protein in my morning meal, i will have an egg and a slice of cheese. Oh, and a cup of instant coffee. That’s it.
Overall, the first month on the road has been a time of transition – a gradual process of becoming comfortable with what i am doing and how i go about doing it.
Though maneuvering within the small confines of the van can be challenging, the daily routines and tasks that make things work seem to be falling into place. Changing locations, however, makes me anxious. The trip from one place to the next involves planning for a place to settle in for a while, finding groceries and other supplies, doing laundry and other chores, and so on – all done within the hours of daylight (i don’t like to set up camp without a few hours of daylight so i am comfortable with the area). I suppose that, in time, this too will become easier.
Since my last post, we have camped around Borrego Springs (CA), Joshua Tree National Park, and near Earp, California (across the Colorado River from Parker, Arizona).
It’s been two weeks since i loaded up the van with the last of my stuff and headed out on the road. Circumstances dictated that i stay close to the area around Fresno, California so my overnight stays were in Panoche Hills, the San Joaquin River Gorge, Redinger Lake, and Pine Flat Lake.
The weather had been very wet with an unusually high amount of rainfall for California at this seasonally wet time of year. And the nights were uncomfortably chilly with little day time relief owing to the constant cloud cover that rarely let the sun peak through.
in spite of almost two years of preparation for living a spartan existence (nowadays called “being a minimalist”) i wound up making three trips to the Salvation Army to donate items for which i just couldn’t find space. I still have a few things that i may never, or so infrequently, use that i will probably get rid of them as well. But all this will happen in it’s own time – something i am quickly learning i have a substantial, seemingly never ending, amount of, that is, until i have something i must do.
It seems that i underestimated both the amount of food i would need (and want) and the amount of ice i would need for the few refrigeration-necessary items i carry which required an earlier than expected trip to the grocery store. And a failing battery on my iPhone required a time consuming two trips to the Apple store. These events, however, provided a welcome opportunity for a hamburger, chocolate milkshake, and some pizza.
Well, she’s having a blast doing what a dog is supposed to do. She’s running, and jumping, chasing squirrels and rabbits, and sniffing and digging at the ground when she encounters the entrance to their underground home.
And when she jumps up into my bed when i settle in for the night she pulls in close and looks up at me as if i had done for her something special, something that would make her rest that night an easy one.
Passing time is like a great distance traveled. The memories are fading like footsteps in the distance. I can no longer imagine the words i wrote. I can no longer feel the comfort of knowing you.
I had a dream.
We would meet again as children. Before we were broken. Before we died. The damage not undone but would never happen. The rags that wiped our tears became the garments we wore. Worn and frayed, they were our only comfort in the cold.
And when i woke, all that remained were your soft and easy words…
“Tu eres el mago de mis sueños.”
The man in the hat starts each day by stretching his arms and legs with an effort that makes his whole body tremble, contorts his face, and causes him to utter a rejoicing that is most befitting that effort.
Today the man in the hat takes a walk.
He walks east and after three days he comes upon a bench and sits down.
As he sits, a stirring wells up within him to know himself. He is at once alone but everything to himself, potential filled with both calm and ecstasy.
He was at rest. And in moments he was asleep.
In three days he woke. And seated next to him on the bench was another man.
When the man in the hat turned to look at this other man, the other man turned to look at him and said, “I am here to observe you.”
“Alone, you can not know yourself. So i will observe you and by looking at me you will know yourself. I am the womb and the spirit through which we will experience all our possibilities.”
The man in the hat does not respond, nor does he react, to the other man. He simply smiles.
Now the two rise and walk together toward the east and after three days come upon a bench and sit down. They embrace and fall asleep.