Montana Wolf

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Taking Heart

My movement from Juneau to Mancos, CO was an elegant cascade; a waterfall of feminine. I hadn't planned to travel from one hot water spring to another, but that is what I ended up doing. I soaked in warm water pools; basked in the glow of friendship with women-friends.

There was Carole in Kaslo at her homestead on the edge of wilderness. Everyday she donned her cute rubber boots (not at all like my he-man Alaska boots) and made her way down the hill to collect eggs and feed the chickens, turkeys and sheep. Many late mornings, following my writing and her chores, we departed for the skyline...Monica Meadow's wilderness of ancient alpine larch, treeline valleys surrounded by snow-capped marshmallow creme peaks. We walked wildlife sanctuaries (appropriate title!) awash in geese and ducks; shopped organic, fresh-picked apples and made stops at roadside pubs. And every night she transformed her kitchen and garden into a luscious meal as her husband Chris and I stayed carefully on the periphery. Carole was territorial about her kitchen. Best to sit on the sidelines and cajole.  Set the table. Clear the table and load the dishwasher. But leave the kitchen alchemist to her creative cauldrons.

Three more seductive hot springs south and I landed in Boise and the home of friend Johanna. Johanna with her RV cleaned, packed and pointed south for the winter. Seventy yr old Johanna whose biggest chunk of spirit still lodged in her prior home of Homer, Alaska. This women has traveled all over the world outback, oft times with one or two of her child-daughters. For years she drove from Homer to the tip of the Baja for a winter's stay. This is where I spent my 60th b-day; close to this trail-blazing woman.

A two-hour trip down the highway delivered me to Twin Falls and the home of effervescent Phyllis. This woman, true teacher. She cares for her elderly mother who lives on the other side of her duplex. Cares, as in dresses, bathes, cooks, checks in on her, takes her to the doctor and helps to make the difficult decisions that relate to quality and length of life. This, as her 41-year old daughter deteriorated in the throes of liver disease, collapsing as she was assessed for a transplant. As one part of Phyllis waited anxiously by the phone for a progress report from her grandson, the other part attended to mom. Every evening Phyllis and I had cocktails and dinner with the sweet, diminutive woman who continued to grasp life with gusto. And every day we made an excursion to a hot springs or a walk along the Snake River. Made room for Phyllis. Snagged some  laughs on the winds of change.

I'm in Mancos now, parked a few blocks from my daughter, Hope where we're walking our dogs and sharing meals. Watching football and movies. Talking and laughing, heart to heart. Mother and daughter, sans shopping. Neither of us has the extra change to shop, altho we did walk into a yard sale yesterday where I found a sleeky, sexy dress for $3.00 and Hope, a couple of wine glasses for a quarter. God knows where I'll wear the dress. It will be fun to see what circumstances pull it onto my body.

Mancos also means Babette, my wine-drinking, cigar-smoking, get down truth-telling, hike-and-bike-Sister. I found her several years ago in her little coffee shop in downtown Cortez.  She found me several years ago when I walked into her little coffee shop in downtown Cortez. Not long thereafter she closed the shop. It served its purpose.

Friday was Lunar Samhain, the new moon in Scorpio and the Celtic New Year. If your roots are in Europe you're Celt. This time of autumn descent has forever been my favorite. I savor the the year turning over as the spirit world closes in. Babette and I sojourned to Song Haven, the organic farm home of splendorous, Venus-of-Willendorf-Michelle. Twenty of us feasted, danced and drummed for six hours. Phyllis' daughter, Debbie, crossed over in the midst of that dance. As the drums beat loud and deep, Johanna pulled into her winter camp in Arizona and a package arrived at my door from Carole. It was my 60th birthday present, a hand-quilted pillow of songbirds and owls and shiny golden suns and stars.

Carole, Johanna, Phyllis, Hope, Babette...we are a microcosm of life, movement and change. Of love. We are the ultimate test of relationship---we who bring out the best in one another. Even as life resembles more of a pin ball machine than a sweet linear line. I shoot up and over roads, land in a welcome-hole for awhile until POP, it launches me down the road again. I gaze south, towards Emilie and Mexico. Towards some vision of myself reborn.

I lay my head on the love-stitched pillow and dream. 

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