Tuesday, September 17, 2019

A New Land

I arrived in Colorado on Sunday, dropping down from Montana into an instantly changed landscape of green hills and big blue sky.  This was the last stretch of three days of driving with my dog Lucy and trusted friend Bret.  Both made the trip easy and companionable.

We left Davis after an excruciatingly tearful good-bye to my parents.  I just could not hold it together, and I wanted to say things, to talk, and yet the sobs were all that escaped my mouth.  My mother said that she was holding her words, for the very same reason.  She did not want to break down in front of me.  We are the family of the stiff upper lip.

As we were getting into the car in the garage, my friends Susan and Boyd were just setting off on their bike ride.  Sue dismounted and we hugged.  Boyd gave me a manly stiff torso kind of hug.  Much like my dad.  These are the folks who inspired Steve and I to ride the recumbent trikes, and we had some good rides together.  So very sad to leave them, we had many good times together, both at the Big House and trips to San Francisco and the Sierra foothills.

We breezed through Reno in no time at all and over nighted in Elko, Nevada.  Turns out, Elko is where my maternal grandfather died peacefully in his sleep while on a trip to his cabin.  He went there for decades for the hunting and fishing and to just get away.  Even though Parkinson's left him physically weak and disabled,  he continued to go, and his last trip was with my uncle, his youngest child.

The next day we drove through Utah and felt compelled to stop in Salt Lake to take a walk around the  plaza which houses the LDS Church and all its various buildings and venues.  Lots of young men in white button down shirts and ties, and young women dresses like we did in the sixties -- long flowing dresses with puffy sleeves.  I think we called them "peasant dresses."  Three-legged Lucy proved to be a good ice breaker between the two disheveled Californians wearing immodest shorts, and the faithful of Salt Lake.

Our second night was spent in Rock Springs, Montana, where we dined at an Old Chicago Pizza restaurant.  Of course it was sensory over load with multiple t.v. screens and loud music.  We managed to find a booth in a more out of the way location, and were pleasantly surprised by the menu selections.  Something for everyone, even for those of us who are trying to eat a healthy meal.

There's just so much to tell about the lands we drove through: the Bonneville Salt Flats, long straight stretches of road where I drove 100 mph without a shimmer or whimper from the Nissan Rouge.  There were green rock hills, red stacks of rock that looked as if they would tumble over at any minute.  Finally, the relative lushness and green of Colorado.

After seeing Bret off at the airport shuttle, I am left here on my own, wondering at the trip I've made, both physically and emotionally.  I've had a comfortable landing at the home of friends, and I'm waiting for my furniture to arrive.  I've had a visit with my daughter and her family, and pleasant dinners on the deck overlooking the prairie and the front range of the Rocky Mountains.  I made a drive into Boulder to pick up groceries, and yesterday my friend and I took a leisurely walk down to the lake, Lucy in tow.  All the new scents are intriguing her -- she stops every few feet to thoroughly investigate with her nose.

And I, I dare not put make-up on in the morning because the tears will just make a big mess of it.  Tears, sobs, shakes, come without warning and fairly knock me down.  I grab some tissues, feel the weight of it, invite the sadness to do its work, and then I watch it go away as I stand up and unpack some items or clean my coffee cup, or whatever mundane task I can find.

The shortness of breath from anxiety left me yesterday morning, after days and days of it.  I was sitting on the couch and suddenly realized I was breathing without effort: soft and slow breaths.

There it is, the first leg of a new journey.  I remind myself to go very very slowly and take each day in  small increments of time.  The joy comes, too, and the relief of the every day stress of living with my husband while we uncouple ourselves.  Even at the very end, as I was turning over the keys to him, he wanted me to help him work out a problem with the computer.  No, I said, I'm leaving now.

Leaving. Now.

You Can Go Home Again

 I took a vacation in the first week of May.  I went back to my high school and college stomping grounds, still populated by many friends of...