Friday, September 28, 2012

Some days seem better than others and yesterday was one of those days to be filed under “Better”.  

The leaves on the trees are just starting to turn autumnal colors here in New England and though I dislike seeing the sun waving it’s annual farewell, I hold in my heart the notion that it’s departure is brief and it’s return glorious.  

Watching as Fall approaches evokes subtle feelings and nuances that are special to this season.  It’s a time of awakening in a way, different than the Spring.  It’s like someone has snapped their fingers close to my ears which immediately brings me back into alignment, back into focus.  The hot days of summer and the heat tend to make me more “ploddish” and cavalier in my attitude.  Autumn seems to activate me again and I find inspiration of a different kind on these cool days.  

I was traveling a country road on my way to the barn where I ride.  I’m always happy on those days that I go horseback riding. It has become my religion lately.  As I was driving along I noticed how differently the light glimmered now and how beautifully it cast it’s glow through the orange and yellow leaves that waved gently against the backdrop of a cerulean blue sky.  I rounded a corner and approached a small knoll in the road, typical of roads here in that you can never tell what is on the other side of the crest until you get to the top of it.  So as I made my way to the top I was surprised to see what was lying on the other side of the road.  It was a map, one of those old AAA road maps that were always stuffed into the glove compartment of our car and inevitably tumbled out when we went to open the latch.  It was an accordion type of folded map that once opened, became impossible to crease and put back the same way ever again.  Seeing this lonely map spread out in the middle of the road immediately struck me as funny and I laughed as I breezed on by it.  I hadn’t seen a map like that in ages.  With the advent of the GPS, who knew that they were still being made?  Here was this one lone map, being tossed and turned with every air current that came along and gave it flight.  When I thought about it, I imagined someone wandering the countryside, pathetically trying to find their way from “here” to “there” after having lost their map because it flew out the window.  I started thinking of all the different scenarios of how the map found it’s way there and what it meant.  For me, this map seemed to ignite a plethora of interpretations and possibilities.  Was the Universe giving me a hint?  “Deborah you’re lost.  Here’s a map.  Now go and find yourself.”  Giggle, giggle.  Or was it a message for the Collective; “Everyone, throw away your maps because they’re not needed any more.  You’re all on your own.”  Maybe it was just some frustrated driver who, after hours of trying to find his way to his destination, just threw the map out the window and said, “Forget it.  I know where I’m going and I don’t need anyone’s guidance anymore.”  

However it came about, this antiquated map of curvaceous lines and straight intersections was lying there in the middle of the road, it’s history unknown.  If only it could talk.  It seems to me that we only really know where we “are” in relation to something else and where we “are” is only momentary anyway.  Our emotions, energies, intent, expectations, excitement, etc. change how we perceive our surroundings, so is anything ever really stable?  Can you actually “map” fluidity?  Somehow a map seems very presumptuous.  It supposes that the world is not likely to change although when the world is viewed as a living, thriving being, modifying itself as it moves through it’s gyrations and metamorphoses, how is it that a map can even assume to plot it’s highways and byways?  Maps are so 2D, aren’t they?  Very black and white.  Have they become obsolete?  Can we not find our way through other natural inclinations other than following a black line on a white page?  Think of all the enchanting adventures you might be missing by not taking a “deke” or two every now and then.  Maps leave nothing to the imagination ... no off-roading allowed!  

Anyway, I knew my destination.  I was on autopilot, anxious to get to my beloved horse and that wonderful smell of “Barn”.  I flew past the map and in my rearview mirror, watched as it lifted with the breeze and tumbled and twisted, left alone once again on the ground, begging for someone to scoop it up and find it’s relevance in this ever changing world.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I stand perched on a small rock, probably the only one that exists on the desert road that stretches from Los Angeles to Santa Fe.  I teeter on it, trying to get a better view of the speeding bullet of a car that is due to arrive any minute now.  I place my hands together to form a shield over my eyes to block out the scorching sun and it’s searing rays.  As far as I can see, it’s straight highway in both directions with no car in sight.  What if he doesn’t come back?  I’ll be left as a prime filet for the carnivores that come out at dusk in this no man’s land.  I’ll find myself being stalked and eaten, not a morsel left for identification.  If I manage to survive till dawn without being devoured by a coyote, I still might freeze to death.  How cold does it get out here at night?  All these looming thoughts flood my brain and fry my nerves as I strain to see any movement on the desert floor.  

I think I hear something.  Am I imagining it?  No ... I definitely hear something far away but it’s getting closer  ... I think.  Yes!  I hear the long distance sound of what I think is a car engine and my heart begins to beat double time.  How long have I been standing here?  My eyes squint and I feel a bit dizzy from the pounding of the sun and the emotional strain that is running through me.  I am on the edge with fear and panic but now I see a white dot in the distance, mixed with the heat waves that rise from the pulsating desert sand.  The engine sound increases as the white dot becomes bigger and gets closer, close enough to finally realize that indeed, it is a car.  The white of the car and the heat of the desert reminds me of the space shuttles that touch down, descending from great heights and distances with tales of outer space adventures on board.  That’s him for sure, a person that I have known less than a week, at the controls of his sports car doing about 140 MPH and making his way directly toward me in the Mojave Desert.  

The man behind the wheel is a friend of a friend, someone who’s background is a bit “iffy”, but that seems par for the course once you’ve lived in Los Angeles.  Everyone recreates themselves once they hit the California border, so you let a lot slide when it comes to people and their history.  There was something that I really liked about this person though that made me naturally say yes when invited to drive to Santa Fe with him one afternoon. He was fun and adventurous, a lot like me or so I thought before I agreed to being dropped off in the middle of the desert.  

On our way to New Mexico I could tell that he was enthralled with his new car and wanted to make the trip special.  It’s almost impossible to have an accident on route 40 unless you either fall asleep at the wheel or get taken down by a gaggle of Road Runners or tumbleweeds.  The road lays out straight as far as the eye can see and you can easily cruise over 100 MPH.  So in a fit of enthusiasm about the merits of his new car, he asked me if I wanted to hear what it sounded like at a high rate of speed outside the car as he flew by me.  Before I gave it a second thought I heard myself saying, “For sure!”  His enthusiasm was contagious.  The moment I uttered those words, his foot was on the brake, pumping gently to bring the machine to a halt by the side of the road.  I undid my safety belt, opened the door, stepped onto the melting pavement and with a smile on my face, watched as he sped away -- going, going, gone.  Silence.  Major silence.  What just happened?  What am I doing here?  What have I gotten myself into?  Why am I even thinking in such a fearful way?  I let out a nervous laugh.  He’ll be back.  I don’t know him very well but he’ll be back, I’m sure.  And yes indeed he was back, roaring past me like a ball of thunder.  

The ground shook with power and the noise was deafening.  He was going so fast that it took him a while to slow the car down, turn it around and come back to pick me up.  He finally cruised to a stop and in a nonchalant manner, flung open the passenger side door and simply said, “Get in”.  His face was flush with accomplishment and he was grinning from ear to ear.  “Did you like it?  What did it sound like?”  Without skipping a beat I said in a cool and controlled voice; “It was great!” and it was.  I conveniently left out the part about the quaking nerves and my lack of trust.  He stepped on the gas pedal and we were off again.  

I look back at that time fondly and with hindsight realize that there was nothing to worry about, we were just two kids having fun in the desert and that was it.  But I also see that because of the fear, I didn’t allow myself to enjoy those moments left alone in the middle of nowhere.  There was such sanctity out there and if I had listened, my heart would have been filled with wonder instead of fear.  

Fear is a big part of our lives and seeps into our consciousness without us even noticing at first.  You get used to feeling on guard.  Fright can immobilize and manipulate.  I mention this story now because I am sensing the maturations of fear on the rise.  The machine is being fed, tweaked and getting ready to rumble.  Just like my friend’s speeding sports car that shook the earth as it approached, I can feel the same tremblings being disseminated now.  Drip, drip drip. Slowly anxiety is being ramped up.  I see the process, the signs that we are in for something big.  Don’t fall for it.  Your fear will only provide fuel and energy for this locomotive engine to careen it’s way into your life.  We don’t have to get on board.  It’s a choice.  

As a sovereign being I could stand in that desert now, fearless and safe, knowing that it’s up to me as to how I choose to see the world “and things that go bump in the night.”