Go-ing


 

It is it. I am sleepy. I hope, earnestly, for a snooze on plane.

the rook

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
― Rumi

 

I had occasion to go out of town last weekend. It was a business trip I selected mostly for the virtue of it being in Bend; which has many fine things to recommend it. Including:
  • Access to Mt. Bachelor for late season skiing
  • Beautiful weather and high desert scenery
  • A variety of fine golf courses
  • Excellent hiking and cycling opportunities
  • A dear friend as resident

 

So, I packed my Koko to the brim with bicycle, golf clubs, running shoes, Clementine and my sense of adventure. I had somewhat impetuously decided to stay up almost all night long the previous evening, (that being a tale for another time) so was running a bit short on sleep when I set out Friday afternoon.

I made fantastic time, as it seems Koko runs best at 85mph and delights in hitting 95 to pass. Pretty much everyone. It was an exhilarating drive.

However, though I had made dinner plans, upon arrival I was so beat that I simply found my hotel and crawled gratefully into the large soft bed and knew no more that day.

The next day was when I was forcefully reminded that though Bend has many fine things to recommend it (see above) it also has something which can make it hard to enjoy any of those fine things if you are a delicate flower, such as myself. Namely:

There is no air in the air over there.

Take a girl who is already asthmatic and oxygen deprived and then jack her up 3.353 ft over the elevation in which she has stewed her whole life and you will discover she is exhausted. Pretty much constantly. Just sitting there.

After I’d spent all day in my conference I was eager to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery in active-like fashion. Alas, my bike tires were flat and I had no presta valve pump handy. 

(Sad trombone)

Nevermind! My run will require no more gear than the shoes on my feet! Off I go!! Right up until the end of mile 1 where the valiant struggle my lungs were making to extract rare and precious oxygen from the thin and indifferent atmosphere caused a stitch in my side such that it was much as though Mother Nature decided I have asked too much of her with my preternaturally youthful visage, slender form, and ample bust so chose that moment to exact revenge by punching me repeatedly in the ribcage with brutal force. From inside me.

(Sad trombone squared)

After this assault on my conviction and respiratory system I felt defeated such that I could not face the prospect of dinner with dear resident friend (though, this was due in large part to the suggestion that we have Sushi which I can enjoy only under the best of circumstances – these not being those – and defies my strong personal conviction that eating seafood in the desert is for suckers) and went straight back to my large soft hotel bed and knew no more that day, either.

In the morning, dear resident friend and I played golf. 

(Happy trombone?)

Which apparently, was all the good-time I could stand, because though I had hours of time and nothing pressing to get home for, I headed back there more or less forthwith; a brief living-room electric guitar concert notwithstanding.

And when I arrived, I badly wanted sleep. Because the 26 or so hours I got of it over the week-end was somehow insufficient.

But before I did, I sat at my altar and pulled a card. Mostly as a means of reflecting on my impetuous all-night adventure of the previous Thursday/Friday. The result was interesting, and gave me satisfying things to mull over. And I drifted off considering them.

Then I had what I would characterize as one of the few but clearly prophetic dreams of my life. 

You see, I dream all the time. About silly, mundane, absurd things. And I remember them, usually. For me, dreaming seems mostly to serve as outlet for my intense social paranoia; everyone in my dreams is usually angry/disgusted/cruel toward me. Even perfectly lovely people who have never expressed a moment’s displeasure with me in real life.

So this was different.

In my dream I sat with my deck in front of me and I pulled one tarot card and then another. The first was “The Raven” and the other was “The Rook” 

Now, apart from the fact that neither of these cards actually exist, a Rook is essentially a carrion Crow. Meaningfully here, a bird that thrives on the discarded. That can create life from death. That can extract good from that which has been despoiled.

When I woke, I was struck by the symbolism in the dream, which was in itself rare and I got up to look at Raven medicine:

Magic, Healing, Creation

If a raven totem has come into our life,

magic is at play.

Raven activates the energy of magic

and links it to our will and intention.

 With this totem, we can make great changes

in our life; the ability to take the unformed thought and make it reality.

 The raven shows us how to go into the dark

of our inner self and bring out the light of our true self;

resolving inner conflicts which have long been buried.

This is the deepest power of healing we can possess

So very much of what I have been working to achieve lies in this very quarter. To journey into the dark to reclaim myself whole and entire, from where I abandoned me at the behest of well-meaning but unknowing others. Those I trusted in place of myself.

The Rook reminds me of the things which have passed out of usefulness. Which have been discarded, but for the meaty sustaining truths which they have held for me. The Raven speaks to my capacity to create healing after a journey through darkness and manifest the joy I have been seeking.

And all the signs from the wider world are that this work is about to have momentous results. That to embody myself fully again will call forth all that I have been hoping to create in my life for so many years. I feel the force behind my will; the power of my prayers. I am my own and able to claim what serves me and set free all that does not. 

To journey through darkness on inky wings to come once again into the light.

Soon enough, it will be a memory.

 

And I got some very amusing looks…

Sometimes when I run, there is nothing for it but that I have to stop.

 

svs

 

I’ve been doing some running. There are things I want to put behind me, and things I want to find yet to come. Last weekend I clocked my very first 5 mile run ever, and though I was winded, sore, exhausted and had blisters ON TOP OF my blisters, I was very proud of myself when it was over.

Two-Thousand Twelve was unquestionably one of the most difficult years I have ever passed. I confronted excruciating realizations and tremendous upheaval. Many things broke irreparably. Places that were once hidden from notice and all hope of light were revealed, and though it was singularly painful I am deeply grateful that is so; the cause unimportant, the results unutterably consequent.

It seemed to require the stripping away of every comfort and any pretense that I wake to the wisdom I have admonished myself to remember. These lessons I have gone so far as to sink into my very flesh, the better to recall it:

  • I am able to get wherever I want to go under my own power.
  • I am able to learn new things at any time.
  • I am able to influence my own realty
  • I am able to find my way through darkness.
  • I am able to avail myself of unconditional love at any time.

 These are crucial things that I know and still forget from moment to moment. They are essential to the task of trusting myself to care tenderly for the vulnerable creature I am unto this very day.

And so I put my feet to pavement, to put some things behind me, and draw nearer to my own future.

For those of you familiar with Colgate, it has been a long acknowledged fact that his primary (and perhaps sole) redeeming quality was that he was extremely inexpensive to obtain. Back in September of 2010, I found him on Craigslist for $1000 and talked the seller down to $800.

He was kinda beat up, but ran strong. He had some electrical gremlins, but once I took a refresher course in “Ignition switch workaround as effected by application of screwdriver” he always started, got me where I was going, and while utterly unglamourous, was basically quite trusty.

Until about two weeks ago when at a stop light, and for no discernible reason, he stalled. This would have been annoying enough, but paired with the fact that I have to GET OUT OF THE CAR AND GET UNDER THE HOOD TO RESTART HIM it presented an extreme inconvenience at best and a threat to my safety at worst.

At the time, I hoped it was a fluke and carried on with my day. When it happened again earlier this week, I was disconcerted, but still determined to hold out on replacing him until my tax return came in. When it happened again two days later, it was the end of the line for me and the ol’ Toothpastemobile.

So, the scouring of the landscape for my new ride began. I require and demand several important things in an auto; this narrowed the field considerably and immediately:

  • Manual Transmission*: I loathe the automatic transmission. Colgate had one and I almost didn’t buy him on account of it. With the budget I had to work with at the time he was simply too good a deal to pass on, but never in this lifetime will I consent to buy a car without a manual again.
  • Excellent Visibility: Working with only one eye makes the whole problem of a “blind spot” turn into more of a “blind hemisphere.” Most sedans have windows that can be difficult to see out of under the best of circumstances and my wonky eye can hardly be classified as such.
  • Volkswagen: I didn’t even briefly consider another make. I am a enthusiastic adherent to the cult of Volkswagen. Every day since Klaus died I have felt a hollow place inside where my farfegnugen used to be.
  • 2.0 Engine: As much as I loved Klaus, his 1.8 turbo is a notoriously troublesome motor. Talking to my VW guru before purchase, he said the single best thing I could do with the ‘wags is to avoid the turbo.

Only certain models even offer that engine: the Golf, the Jetta, and the Beetle. My first instinct was to try to find a Golf. Apart from the catchy name, it seemed to have a good amount of cargo space and they get excellent mileage. I hadn’t cared for the feel of the Jetta I had driven and worried about the Beetle having enough space to hold my skis.

I went out and drove a Golf and knew almost immediately it wasn’t for me. It handled with disappointing stiffness and lacked the luxurious appointments that I expect from a VW. It also had a shockingly large blind spot. Moving on…

I drove another Jetta, and while it performed better than I recalled, it had a hesitation in the engine that made me nervous. At this point I was curious enough about a Beetle that I wandered the lot looking for one that might suit…

Around the corner; there she was. 

 

image

White isn’t naturally a color I would gravitate toward** but somehow she looked sweet tucked back in the corner there. And, she had an all important moon roof. I eyeballed her from a dozen yards away and thought

“There is no way my luck will hold and she’ll be a manual…”

But, oh frabjous day, she was.

We went for a spin and I was immediately taken by the feeling of moving through space in a giant bubble. It was sort of odd, but ultimately pretty enjoyable. More, it was incredibly easy to see out of every angle of this car. It had the handling and appointments I was looking for, and within about ten minutes, I was sure this was the car for me.

My first drive was out Skyline, moon roof open, music blaring, taking corners at speeds much greater than strictly advisable. It was glorious; farfegnugen, regained.

And after some deliberation, her name is Svanja. German, for Swan.

 

 

*There is a whole rant in me on this subject, but I’ll save it for another day.

**Unless we are talking about boys, in which case, the pastier the better.

It is sometimes the case that after you imagine something for a very long time, when you finally experience the reality it far exceeds everything you had hoped for. Having dinner at the Columbia Gorge Hotel was not one of those times.

Simon Benson, of Benson Bubbler fame, built this hotel on the site of an old shipping lodge once used by the sailors moving freight upriver. When he started construction he envisioned a place decidedly up market of its former incarnation, and commissioned the art deco mediterranean style hotel. Its grandure was famous enough to attract Hollywood types during the golden age seeking a secluded getaway nestled in the majestic beauty of the Columbia River Gorge.

The drive was absolutely beautiful on a hot summer evening. The setting for the hotel is similarly spectacular. Perched on a cliff in Hood River it commands a vista unrivaled. My companion and I arrived near sunset and it was the ideal time of day to enjoy the light playing on the butter colored stucco. The grounds are lush and beautifully landscaped with native trees and plants. The lawn and garden area seem ideally suited for an intimate romantic wedding.

The hotel still retains much of its original glamour. Sadly this glamour is covered with a patina of exhaustion. To be fair, it is the off-season so the hotel was nearly deserted, and it might be that they make a slightly less valiant effort of polish the silver on account of it. After a brief wander around the grounds we made for the restaurant, which had virtually no patrons, and were seated on the terrace which afforded us a lovely view of the river and a pleasant breeze.

Unfortunately that is the sum of anything positive I can say about the experience. The service was terrible bordering on ridiculousness. Our server told us midmeal that he was the bartender and thus couldn’t answer basic questions about the menu, and didn’t know what the special was. He also forgot to bring me the glass of wine I ordered until I reminded him, didn’t ask if we wanted soup or salad but assumed salad and when this was pointed out brought the soup in addition unasked for. Between that, the omnipresent yellow jackets, and the pile of used dishes he opted to stack behind us rather than clear away I was quite unimpressed..

And then the food. Mine was merely unremarkable. A Cobb Salad isn’t exactly rocket science, so I’m not giving that much credit for failing to ruin it. Though I will say the dressing was vaguely cloying. The calamari was tolerable, at best. However, my dinner companion’s entree was downright vile. Good fish properly prepared has a delicate overtone of the sea; this tasted like the underside of the harbor dock.

On the whole, I am pleased that I made the effort to go, but it was almost entirely for the sake of going, rather than any part of the experience being worthwhile. The spectacle of the setting is hard to compete with, but much like the Lodge at Multnomah Falls, I feel this is an example of lazy proprietorship; relying on the natural beauty of the surroundings to counter an unremarkable menu, poorly executed.

Thumbs Down.

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