I began writing this second travelogue chapter July 18, one week after the first and one week ago today. While you’re in it, it’s about living more than documenting, and I floated steadily with the stream of days, as rivers, creeks, highways and laughter ran through my travels. Time is the underground river we ride so everything doesn’t happen at once.
The Sunday following the poetry reading was a contentedly drifty rest day, culminating, I recall, with a late afternoon confection of homemade, vegan, cherry vanilla ice cream. Among a number of opportunities to mess it up, and we took a couple of those detours from perfection, but the simple ingredients made it blessedly hard to fail, and it was a delicious endeavor.
Monday I was to have a much anticipated lunch date with my stepmother, whom I haven’t seen for several years. Alas, she wasn’t feeling well. So, my mind and the day went strangely blank. It was predicted to be 99F degrees. I hear we exceeded that, so, small wonder that Dawn accompanied me on a spontaneous venture to Boulder Creek. A good chunk of Boulder had the same idea. But it was still lovely to walk the lush over-grown paths I’ve visited in all seasons over the years, and to dunk myself into the cool river.
That evening, I lucked into a cancellation with my old friend David, a shiatsu and neuromuscular therapist and fellow alum of Boulder Psychic Institute. He shared a number of impressions he’d gotten in the session. I can’t recall all of them now, but I was struck how he seemed to have picked up Anubis in my field, an Egyptian deity with whom I seem to have an affinity, although David had no name for what he described, only descriptors enough to clue me in. Anubis is often called the god of the underworld, but there is more to it than that. I see him as the Guide for journeying souls. My desktop picture is painting of Anubis, from a divination deck called the Anubis Oracle.
I enjoyed the validation and synchronicity in this, since I was to facilitate my second in a series of five zoom classes on divination the following afternoon. The same picture heads the posting for that class.
Tuesday morning I rose early, but not early enough to escape the heat for a prayer walk around Wonderland Lake. As I huffed up a ridge at 7:37am, the sun was already strong and the day steamy. This trail, steep to climb and steeped in nostalgia, was another I would frequent when I first came to Boulder, recuperating from one and then a second health crash. The trails were a workout then, and that was 25 years ago or more. Today, I took it slow, but still felt spent long before I returned to the car.
Deer graze here unperturbed on the hillsides as walkers walk, joggers jog, and leashed dogs gawp by along the thin dirt threads that meander up and down the foothills. I miss encountering deer so frequently and nonchalantly. The first I encountered this day did raise her head and monitor my movement, because I wasn’t just moving, I was sounding. And she watched, curious. “You talkin’ to me?”
The deer photo standing in here for that moment was actually snapped two morning’s later in Lyon’s Colorado, as I made my respectfully muted prayer walk around a neighborhood in which few warm blooded creatures were up yet, except me and this fetching couple:
Wonderland Lake, snapped from the high trail:
Dawn’s household is vegan. Since, given all my metabolic anomalies and food sensitivities, I’ve never found a way to survive long term on a vegetarian diet, I would occasionally indulge my less efficient constitution with some contraband flesh protein, in the least obtrusive way possible. Dawn’s home is very comfortable, and I felt safe, welcome, and blessed in the environment. This was far from rustic camping, so it was a sweet amusement bringing my camper’s pack-it-in, pack-it-out, leave-no-trace sensibilities to the endeavor. Just another loving mindfulness opportunity. I was equipped; for those meals I used my own utensils, bowl, sponge, etc., and sat on the front porch to enjoy the meal and let its distinct odors dissipate among the happy bees, trees and lavender plants.
It’s a sweet little front yard, densely shaded by a catalpa, mulberry and maple tree. As I practiced qigong under their canopy in the mornings, I would be enjoy the squirrels chasing among the mulberry branches, gorging on the ripe fruit. One of them proved equally amused by me the first morning, as I danced quietly through the thick air below him. He would scramble to this branch, then that branch, then the other to take in this swimming statue from all angles. He’d hold my gaze as long as I cared to hold his, a current of curiosity and intimacy crackling between us; and my body always moving, steady and slow.
Wednesday, I prepared myself to leave the bright and easy kinship of Dawn and Dave. My visit to Boulder had been so quietly lovely, although several of the visits I expected to punctuate the trip did not happen. Circumstances did not smile upon my planned in-person meeting with my step-mother; nor on visiting with a semi-shut-in friend or helping him get Cranial-Sacral therapy to integrate a recent surgery; nor on spending quality catch up time with my dear old friend and former housemate, Steve. We only had time for a hug and a few words at my poetry reading. The invitations hovered through the trip, but these birds did not land. None of us seemed inclined (or able) to push the river. Yet never was All not Well. Things felt complete as I packed up my van.
The day would hold one more amusing adventure at Dawn’s, however. We were sitting to meditate in the morning, in their newly finished basement, and we barely heard the door bell. It was workmen come to install one of the final touches. So, a couple of fellows, doused in cologne as they so often are, trouped down the stairs with their wares and we retreated upstairs and included their sounds (and smells) in our meditation. Not long after, another set of workman arrived and deposited a new refrigerator on the porch. To them, this qualified as “in-home” delivery. Dave differed. He had not paid for “installation;” he could do the hooking up himself. But had not planned on hauling the appliance down the basement stairs.
After some negotiation, they helped get it in the door, soon after which it became obvious that, as it was, this fridge was not going to fit through the basement door. Dave, however, was not prepared to accept defeat. He wasn’t quite convinced, and we found ourselves given to a pretty amusing, incremental dismantlement of first the outer anatomy of the fridge (doors, backing, etc.), and then bits of the house (door, and even a small section of the door frame).
This lasted well into the afternoon. It appeared Dave had finally conceded defeat and was regrouping, looking at smaller fridges on line, when it was suggested that if he removed a few inches of the door frame, the bump where the power cord passed into the appliance, it might just fit through. And so he did. It was well after 3pm, I think, when we succeeded in sliding the empty shell of the fridge down those blessedly carpeted stairs to the basement floor. Delight and self-congratulatory euphoria followed, until Dave discovered that the door hinge hardware, usually reversible so that it can either open toward the left or right, was not properly threaded to be reversable. D’oh!
Apparently Dave would succeed there, too, although I would not be there for the final happy ending. After Dawn and I sat on her porch swing together for a weekly zoom meeting we’d been attending from different zip codes for a couple of years, I packed up final items, shared hugs, and directed my van north toward Lyons, to begin my mostly southward journey toward Santa fe.
I arrived home to Calista’s in Lyons before she did, but hers is a most welcoming and riotous garden to pass the time in. Plenty of edibles lurking among the greenery and an exploding rainbow of Queen Anne’s lace, sunflowers, day lilies, and more, which wraps around most of the house.
After dinner, we took a walk to the creek in the company of dogs, thunder and a (mostly) light rain.A few years back, much their neighborhood block—and a great swath of Lyons—was washed away in a great flood. Their house somehow survived. All the homes across the street are gone, leaving open access to the St. Vrain river a few yards beyond. It’s sort of an unofficial recreation area now. I noticed I was not the only one sleeping in my van there that night, floating on the steady sound of the rushing river.
Next morning I returned to the river and meditated on a rock at its edge, sometimes attuned to the rivers of life, blood and thought within my person, sometimes to the steady flow of water before me. I was perched at a little step falls, a place where a volume of glassy water poured into and tucked beneath a churning froth, and I found it an amusing illustration of the mind itself, the simultaneous perpetuity of surface thought froth and the quiet, coherent depth beneath.
After a morning walk with Calista at Hall’s Ranch and my first non-vegetarian breakfast in a week or so, I began the incremental drive south.
I landed for the night with dear old friend’s Shirley and Jim in Indian Hills. Their last name is Self, and realizing we’d never actually taken a Selfie, we did our best to capture one worthy of the name.
I’ve spent countless nights over the years on the porch bed where I now sat typing this, among other sites on their magical property. The title poem and picture from my last poetry book were born on their front deck. These friends and this place sheltered me through some very difficult passages. For that I bathe in gratitude. I let myself linger long in my van bed among the familiar sounds and sensations that morning.
I stayed until noon, letting the monsoon clouds catch up to provide more cover for my drive south as far as Crestone. I cradled my laptop on my knees, catching on the week’s doings and beings (mostly beings) and listening to my old friends, lifelong companions, cajoling each other with laughter through the discomfiting peculiarities of old age.
I’m quite sure I’ve forgotten to memorialize many of the most impressive moments in the steady river of this journey so far. But each moment offers more than can be captured in words, and they are all of a piece as I rest back into the consciousness that is creating and inhabiting each one, from behind and before these eyes.
Digression here: When I was in college, I appropriated the subject of a Pink Floyd song as my signature/trademark. I even made a Mockumentary (Porkumentary, actually) about the mythical creature, the Pig on the Wing, explaining that it was not a mere winged pig, not a pig at all, actually. (Like a Koala is not a bear, a Butterfly is not a fly, etc.). The relatives couldn’t quite grock that, though, and they all latched on to the notion inscrutable Michou liked pigs, and, suddenly more easily giftable, I received no end of pig knicknacks over the next years. Occasionally, though, some were clued in enough to at least find winged-pig things. I appreciated the effort.
In the three years since my last visit, someone had added to the roadside attractions along Parmalee Gulch Road (between Shirley’s and the Highway) a lovely winged pig on a stick. It was magnificent enough, I dare say, to be a folksy approximation of a gen-u-wine Pig on the Wing. I had to stop and snap a shot of such sublime and lofty Porcinity.
While I’ve been on this beatific journey, the housemate I left in Santa Fe has made two whirlwind trips to the Denver area, on a very different sort of adventure with her beau, now confirmed to have cancer. He was undergoing surgery as I wrote this, maybe 20 miles away. I have asked often that the winds of Grace blow his way from where-ever I am, on the wings of pigs, angels or any other miraculous creatures.
I’ve always enjoyed the drive along Highway 285, now a corridor from the Blue zone of Boulder to the Blue zone of Crestone through what have become much more ostentatiously red-zones between. A long stretch of the highway flies Old Glory about every 50 feet. That’s new since I last passed through in 2019. I managed to snap a shot between flags of the lovely globular formations along the banana belt between Buena Vista and Nathrop, before anymore “Democrats Suck” signs besmirch the view. So far, the land is still so beautiful, no matter the mischief of man.
I was granted my wish of considerable cloud cover muting the big hard sun, and the drive to Crestone was beautiful, if still long enough to be waring. Upon arrival, I drove straight to Cottonwood Creek for cooling ablutions, offering all the stress to the welcoming water. Before Covid, I’d have hastened to the Ashram for evening Aarati, which would be starting about then. But, not remembering if the service would be open to the public (Covid restrictions), I lingered and paid my respects right where I was, sitting on a stump next to a shrine, singing a grateful song, surrounded by prayers flags riding the wind. All sincere prayers find their way to the same place anyway… and find their way back to the Heart they never left.
I will pause this chapter here, covering my remaining time in Crestone in a separate post.
Here I will tack on a closing epi-travelogue.
I mentioned earlier in these vacation posts that my first overnight in Crestone had blessed me with vital replenishment and validating downloads…insights, wisdoms and knowings from a higher, clearer realm than the personal mind. These were serving to remind me of a bigger picture, reassure me I was on my path, and that, tough as it was, my mission in New Mexico was purposeful and not quite finished.
I was reminded of something Dr. Dan Matthews had said to me years ago, as we hugged good bye at the end of one of his then bi-annual group healing visits to New Mexico. He said “I’m so glad you’re in New Mexico, Michou.” In the moment it seemed to come out of nowhere, but even in my more chronically vexed state at that time, I recognized deeper message in the statement, more than I would attempt to convey here.
Now, these years later, although I’d envisioned myself arriving back in New Mexico on Sunday, things naturally flowed to land me back Saturday evening, in decent physical and psychic condition. By Sunday morning, as mentioned in a preceding post, the compressions of this place, or my alchemical relationship with its Kryptonite, resumed, and they built through the morning.
Once I was already on course to arrive Saturday evening, I received a reminder that Dr Dan was doing one of his now teleconferenced group healing Sunday afternoon. Now clued in, I suspected that part of what I was feeling was the build up to that. It was clear to me that my “early” arrival had been orchestrated so that I could attend. Sure enough, it was a doozy. Intense. But once the dust cleared, we all felt a bit lighter.
I’m gratefully replenished and re-tuned now for the New Mexico mission, AND welcoming whatever next assignment may present. I don’t get the advance chapters very far ahead these days. Stay tuned.