Then, my phone rang. I stared at it in disbelief. I didn't recognize the number. Would normally never answer but the causality was too much for my curiosity. On the third ring I swiped my finger across the screen to unlock the phone and said hello. It turned out to be the supervisor with the Prescott National Forest. She wanted to know if they could still consider the application I'd filled out on the USA.gov website months earlier. Prescott was one of the locations I'd requested. I said yes as the short call ended; smiled as the phone reverted to "no service."
Two days later, parked in Cortez CO she called again. She described the position and confirmed that I was still interested. Once I heard the details I was smitten. She called my references. Then she called back and offered me the position. This was last Friday, the day of the eclipse. The day an astrologer predicted that a contract and negotiations would fall into my life. When I first heard that, I thought, OPRAH! Turned out it was Ms. Prescott instead.
I am reeling. The last time I ventured to a lonely wild place my phone delivered the news of my Colorado Book Award. I've been in high-gear promotion ever since, as I continued book events, building up to Aspen and the book award announcement. And now, this six month full-time temporary position with the Prescott Forest, doing what comes naturally to me... witnessing the wild, checking in with folks who have questions, recommending hiking trails. I will join the ranks of Leopold, Abbey and others who did stints in the forest for the US Government.
I have felt a shift coming; a desire to slow the pace. My decade of travel, while exhilarating and wondrous, was evolving into some unknown next stage, as my life of "catch n release" took on occasional wearisome hues. From where I presently sit, this offer could not be more perfect-- to be immersed in the forest for half of the year and travel and write the other half. Or perhaps something completely new will birth out-of-the-blue.
In the next three weeks I will complete book events in Cortez, Crestone, Salida and Aspen. Then, instead of turning north for Oregon (to see daughter Hope) and Montana I will point south for Prescott. My heart aches when I think of not reaching Montana this summer. There will be no wolf-spotting awe. No steamy grizzly scat to step around. No exploratory hikes into the Cabinets. Instead, an edgy excitement pervades my soul. I open to possibilities and stare at the amoeba-like attempt of muse, book and National Forest to meld and take form. I put faith in what I can not see, buoyed by my belief that spirit puts me where I need to be. Gulp.
|Canyon Pool Reflection, Sedona|