The value of friendship cannot be under estimated. Two of the very best showed up on the last Saturday in November to put in a big day loading everything that had been in the coach to stuff the van floor to ceiling and right to the doors. I drove out of the driveway of that very last day complete of an Aguanga friendship which spanned about two and a half years. My gratitude is unbounded for what I experienced in that place which expanded my visionary awareness and solidified my resolve to seek an entirely different kind of end game than what might have been expected of a 75 year old/young woman.
In that time, I came to understand that I did not wish to simply wait around for the end of the end game. Somehow, it just did not sit well with me to waste what I have come to know and be to just allow the passage of days without participating at some meaningful level.
Once out the driveway, I drove myself to be with two other friends, this time in Anza, where it was utterly obvious that a fair amount of that pile of materiality had to go in order to make the trip I have been contemplating. So: first was unload; second was sort and re-organize; third, reload it all in some semblance of order that would facilitate the travel, the living in the space on four wheels.
I did not know it would take another 5 days to do that probably because the energy it took just to get out of the coach mostly exhausted me and the volume of my stuff proved rather overwhelming for the legitimate capacity of the van.
Sort I did and parted company with quite a lot of collected materials that might have become pouches or skirts, sweater coats or hats. And all of the boxes or baskets that simply would not work in the van that had to work as a living and sleeping space for a 6 to 9 month journey to the very southern parts of North America and onward to our southerly neighbor beyond the Panama canal zone.
Then a morning came that marked the full pack completion and so, once again, with a little sadness and a lot of gratitude, I drove out of their driveway to make one last visit with my very best-est good friend, Robyn, where there was a hot shower waiting for me, a sweet meal and the deeper heart of loving kindness that nurtures the soul of each woman.
One last Anza stop remained to place myself in the drive of a fine mechanic who made a special point to complete some critical parts of the steering in the van, fix the windshield wipers and with a sweep of his hand, send me off to the greater world.
On the turn from the last Anza road onto Highway 371, there was an ordinary extraordinary moment that ended my stay in the valley and began the final run to the border of the US with Mexico another five days on from that Monday morning.
It was one last winding down Highway 74 through the sparse dry landscape to the desert communities in the Coachella Valley for a visit with a woman artist friend over the next few days. We had been promising each other such a time together which turned out to be both a beginning and a deepening that somehow we both knew was there for us. We went one whole day to Desert Hot Springs to soak in the pools at the Spa hotel and tune in once again with a wonderful sweet Hispanic woman who had been friend for several years. The big swimming pool became a watery gymnasium to release all the tense stiffness in joints and muscles, the warm water cooked out the last of the dust and grit of the upland valley leaving me relaxed and happy.
It was a week of wrap up: closing the bank account, purchasing all the very last of the last needed things to take on the trip. I had already spent some quality time with my lady Annika who administrates this web site while we strategized the directions of where we might be taking our efforts to serve a growing come-unity of friends and followers.
We both hope that you, dear reader, will appreciate our joint work together and that you will be entertained and enjoy our offerings. Annika will be making sure it all comes together in an artful way while I will be providing what I hope will be some sparkling prose, insights, observations and a lot of interesting photographs to tell the story we are calling: Journey of the Lotus.
Rain closed in the last night over dinner with my friend and her mother dampening the roof of the van and leaving a dry footprint where the van had been parked in her drive. In the morning following, there was a cup of hot tea and some full up eyes to mark out heartfelt “Via con Dios”, some hasty pictures to tell the final story, turn the key, shift the gears and roll out of the drive and the electric gate of her drive.
Out into the larger now wet world in the amazing rain that will in about a month turn the remaining wild places in the desert to stunning fragrant bloom of verbena that used, in the 70’s when I was first brought to this desert valley, to cover most of the territory that is now Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta and outward to Highway 10 still a major throughway across America.
The last night in America was spent in a quintessentially Americana experience: parking at Wal-Mart. Thanks to big daddy, Sam, in most places in the US it is possible to do one night on his parking lot while traveling. And it rained even more. The next day was another landmark: I have not taken a mall walk ever but this day was a day on a quest for a camera shop which sent me through the whole nine yards of a two story underground mall, escalators, glossing stores, and all the beautiful people. No camera store. The quest will have to wait for another time because the day was becoming too narrow to find what I was looking for.
The run to the border ended in a stop to a Mexican insurance company where a beautiful young woman completed the transaction needed to make sure I would be legal on my travels in Mexico.
Suddenly, there it was, the border, which was simply a lighted track through the US side onto to the Mexican side where only a few cars and trucks waited for their green lights to pass. A purposeful Hispanic woman took a look at the pile in my van, asked if it was all my stuff, if I had a dog and with a significant look, turned on the green light for me.
Onward, to Mexicali, its narrow streets, trashy vacant lots, razed buildings and the stop signs, the same shape but with “Alto” painted on them.
The journey and the quest had surely begun sometime close to dusk, Friday, December 12, 2014 exactly 55 years from the day I had first been married in 1959.
The Universe has a way of creating in circles