Monday, November 18, 2013

Convening Captured Clues from Across the Country…18 (Finale)

California(Jason’s Deli)
We woke up in Zion to see more blue sky than we had before, though there was still plenty of cloud cover. We hiked the Emerald Pools trail, taking longer than we expected, then came back and packed up, and head out.
Finally, the last stretch of our grand trip lay before us. My bet that we wouldn’t see the sun until California was foiled by sunny Nevada. We stopped at Jason’s Deli not far from Vegas, to use up a gift card from my bro. As we crunched on endless salad bar food, bowtie pasta and zucchini Panini’s and talking about all the delicious food we were going to create when we had our own space, we debated about the pros and cons of taking one more day. Environmentally, it would be best to go slower, camp somewhere along the way, and hit up the farmers markets on the way up the mountain. Personally, though, we were done with camping, pulling things out of and throwing things into our sad, stinky car, Stella.
 So we decided to go for it, not knowing whether our trailer was ready or if anyone was around to let us in.
It was exciting turning on familiar roads as our car moved closer to the mountains. It had been almost 4 months since we left, and we had traveled thousands of miles since then, yet it all seemed so familiar. Although it was getting dark, the bends in the road were in our muscle memory, and our brains quietly traveled through the memories of this space.
We arrived at our trailer a little after dark, unloaded some necessities, and plopped down on our pleasantly hard bed, excited for what was to come.
Home sweet home? At last, I could unpack the car and organize many of the various items we’ve acquired. I could explore the ‘outdoor gym’ right outside our front step, and would soon meet all the new people moving in the cabins surrounding us.
This is the longest I have lived in one place since College, and at a year and a half, the longest job I have worked consistently…though even with the summer break, I find myself tiring of the monotony, or at maybe just the long, hard hours.

Habits are hard to break, but I’m thankful that my most prominent habit after spending 9 weeks in the desert uplands of New Mexico as a naturalist, is to observe.  I observed some amazing things over the summer- Elks grazing in the early morning light, mountain ranges in hazy blue shadows with a frame of pink clouds at sunrise. I observed children making connections about the necessary skills of early humans in the New Mexico area by hunting a mammoth made of crude Baker tent cut-outs and some artistic touches of tempura paint. I saw spots of flowers emerge from quaint leaves to blooming beauties, and I became familiar with the patterns of a seemingly random sky. I saw children transform from shy and dependent to confident and leading conversations. I saw the land suck up every drop of gently falling water for five weeks, only to be unable to take in the consecutive downpours in my final week. After weeks of stopping to watch every desert beetle cross my path, taking note of any Sagebrush Lizard that scurried by or seeing tracks in the sand or holes in the duff and identifying what creature put them there, I was not going to be able to just shut down that sense.
In our weeks of travel, I tried to simply observe, but the idea of having a home to move into next year pushed those observations into ideas.                                  
And now, here we are. I write this from my kitchen table in my 5th wheel trailer- home for 14 weeks. This may be our last time to live in a space for such a small amount of time. My family has lived in 3 different houses since I was born. I didn’t help with either moving process other than perhaps packing up some of my things. Since leaving my home for college, I have moved in and out of 16 different spaces.  This is the first space that Amil and I will share completely, not having other rooms to retreat to or other roommates. Next year we will likely move again, into a bigger space of our own, livening the space with what we have learned from our friends and families and ourselves. I don’t feel defined by the stuff I own, but I am expressed by it, it inspires me. It shows the world and reminds myself who I am, where I fit in. However the most important aspect of where I have moved, is the space available outside, to explore, or discover or just be.
Our home is a studio space where I can write, color, explore, classify, and most importantly, Be. These are all the things that are important to me.

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