The beginning stages of planning for this West Coast trip involved a trial-living situation in Portland, OR. With no conscious decision or design, it became more and more about California. I was specifically magnetized to Big Sur, so I went with it: I flew into San Francisco and rented a car; I drove up to St. Helena to visit friends Kip and Erin where I wined and dined like a Napa-valley Queen; was able to get my hands in the soil with Kate at French Laundry Gardens- delivering trays of sunchokes and microgreens through the back doors of Ad Hoc and Bouchon restaurants; stayed in Sausalito with Linda and Liana, who I worked for In Brooklyn a few years ago; had cheese and bubbles with Thea, my oldest friend who I am beyond excited to pick back up with, and then I took off on my own for a little over three weeks, driving along the coast from San Fran down to Ojai.
I pitched a tent a few nights, ending up in the back seat of my car with sweaters tied around my feet in a sleeping bag and two down jackets; woke up to a mini earthquake in Santa Cruz with my eyes almost swollen shut (still a mystery), and a tooth emergency I thought would send me home; thought my rental car was screwed when I was already feeling tested late at night in an all-Spanish speaking part of Santa Maria; and really thought after repelling down a cliff in Big Sur, that the incoming tide of the Pacific was going to swallow me up while hunting for Jade with a patchouli smelling, yurt-dwelling, Shaman named Chris. There were bumps, but I felt such fortitude at each one.
The good times were extraordinary: Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge in a bikini top with windows down and a basket of strawberries in my lap; the smell of sheep, smoke, and musty grapes while riding through vineyards full of yellow mustard; being approached by James/Diego (a Dos Equis man if I’ve ever seen one), a veteran who now builds treehouses- offering me a hit of his joint if he can use my phone, which turned into three hours of adrenalizing conversation and a pull out of the ice; exploring whole worlds of miniature ocean-life in the tidal pools of Half Moon Bay; drinking and eating hot dogs around a campfire with my RV neighbors- toothless Pete and his wife Lorainne; spending a Sunday with my air bnb host Anne- the Sage of California- eating buttermilk pancakes, drinking coffee, and talking about all things spiritual; drinking wine and lillet with Doug and Jill in their room at Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn; staying in the coolest tent cabin at Big Sur Campgrounds and Cabins surrounded by redwoods; riding a bike in Ojai surrounded by eucalyptus, Valencia orange, and olive trees; my time at Henry Miller library with access to shelves of Anais Nin books, the bakery, taphouse, and roadhouse...
**BIG SUR is one of the most dramatically wild and fierce meetings of land and sea I’ve ever seen, with the most parapsychological charge I've ever felt, (those who have been know just what I'm talking about). Sitting in these sort of aeries overlooking this great plateful of blue water, the Pacific, there were innumerable outpourings of emotion; I never felt so intensely alive or present, and that says a lot. What I saw, smelled, heard, felt: the sage, mint, wild lilac, wood, salty, and smoky-scented air; the succulent-studded cliffs; the redwoods and their mighty yet tranquil caliber; the fact that the classical music station was the only one that would come in. I can’t help but think of individuation and all the the little synchronizations revealed. The comings and goings with the strangers I met felt surreal; time alone even more-so.
I pulled four cards before my (first) tarot reading in Santa Maria: * Independence * Nature * Patience * Adventure Sounds about right.