Saturday, August 23, 2008

a fast moving screen saver

Getting to know your country:
*South Dakota wins for the most pro-life billboards
*Space between western Virginia and eastern Tennessee win the prize for having the largest trinity crosses right off the interstate
*Vegas wins for largest congregation of creepy people in one area
*New Mexico/northern Arizona win best places to exist in besides Oregon
*New Jersey gains the title "armpit of the country"
*Connecticut is the best place to get lost in (it comes full circle eventually)
*Provincetown Mass. wins the recycling award (outside of Oregon that is)
*Wyoming gets the privilege of being the first state to awe us and therefore we compare many things to it (ex. red highways, landscape changes, small western towns *see southern Utah)
*Area between South Dakota and Kansas City= most amount of weaving between states
*The deep south loves its sweet tea, has the loudest bugs in the US, warm thunderstorms, a history we could stand to memorize and the ability to move slow again and notice strangers
*Oregon, because I feel I must pay my dues, wins for having a little bit of every part of the country in one place

There is more! and what I am really trying to say is that I am not ready for the road (this one at least) to end. In a moment I will be though. It will continue to shift. I did not start reading "On the Road" until we got to New Mexico and it made me long for a mix of Wall South Dakota and Block Island RI; Wall's inability to recognize how the people, its air, is all a theme in the middle of one strange day. They will show you how to wear your cowboy, buy you booze and in moments I miss stumbling over its railroad tracks. The Boston accents of the random group of womyn we met on Block Island who drunkenly told us where their hotel room was and found us asleep in their hallway.
I think I might write a book of the trip, if only for myself. I think it will however, be done only using three sentences. Each one may go on for pages but that's how it feels. Would you read that? I do not want to fall asleep tonight.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Watching a '94 Olympic gold medalist swim as a mermaid in Vegas OR things feel slightly heavy, something of fake air

The best thing about Vegas so far is the free parking. Maybe it is because I think there is a loneliness in money but this place, despite the amount of people, is easily the loneliest place I have been. There is absolutely nothing real about photos of objectified womyn sticking to my feet with each step or being approached by womyn handing out these photos, the spinning of electric slots and fake grass. We are staying with Nichole's grandma in a community that overlooks its own golf course and the strip and we can watch the orange moon rise over the city and I miss New Mexico. I miss the Grand Canyon. There are two dreams. Here you never wake up.
We arrived here Tuesday night. The week prior began with us standing in Texas staring at Mexico. We wandered throughout El Paso before crashing in our car in a random neighborhood off the highway. We then continued our search for the Rio Grande and found home. We continued to expand our time in New Mexico to a vastness beyond photos, to a deeper breath. Here we created a certain feeling of permanence.
The Grand Canyon continued to show us the sun. We watched the sunset from an old watch tower dangling over the canyon and the Colorado river. We then rose at 4am and watched the sky turn to various degrees of a rainbow and then the canyon was lit once more. There was a silence I have not experienced before and then our screams coming back to us three times.
I know find myself longing to be on the road again, headed to Burning Man or even home. Sunday will start our last drive that is not to Ashland. We will be camping with a group of people a friend introduced me to and follow them into Burning Man come Monday morning. I am looking forward to a different form of mass gathering. One that, if anything, forgets about money for a week. If all goes right, I will drink more water than imaginable and come back with a tan much like Mrs. Robinson.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Just so you know. . .

it felt like Texas went on forever and now the world has happened.

KSM, the photo is for you. It's a little something Hank Williams wanted you to have. You can pick it up at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, TN when you are ready.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Cedars of Lebanon

I am moving in slow motion. Through the water-through the road.
Maybe it is in light of recent events but I do not find Texas inspiring in the slightest. While this trip has proven to me the sheer amazingness of individuals, the mass mentality of this place is indeed "the lone star state." Do we even sell Oregon shower curtains? Texas does. . .people buy them. People represent!
The last five days have been somewhat hazy- a mix of staring at various TV shows, walls and dry fields. I remember the green, red and gold of the Dallas bridges and a hay field somewhere between Dallas and Killeen as being striking to me. On our drive to Austin today the world smelled of rain and I felt that maybe the ocean was behind the hills.
Yesterday we finally were able to attend the "New Days Apostolic Pentecostal Church" of Killeen TX. We were later told that we were in the worst part of Killeen. I couldn't tell you. It all looks the same. Only hearing stereotypes of the Pentecostals, we were nervous to attend. We entered the sanctuary and were the only womyn in a room of about 20 to 30 men. We sat in the back and soon found out we had walked in on the men's class and the womyn would be joining soon for the service. Most of you know I am not a religious person but I have to say that this was the best experience I have had in the last five days. Apparently Bill Clinton wrote in his book that everyone should attend a Pentecostal service at least once in their life. Bill, I'm going to have to agree with you. If you want to see what organized religion can do for people, this is the place. I have NEVER seen (and I have attended quite a variety of services, Christian and otherwise) a congregation so genuinely excited to worship. Yes there was much dancing. Yes they laid hands on one another. Yes they cried. Yes they spoke in tongues. No there were no snakes. Yes they talked about being saved but not in the "or you'll go to hell" kind of way. It was . . .healing.
Tomorrow we head out for the first stretch since Wyoming where we will be on our own. No one to stay with again until Vegas. In honor of Edrik we have decided to head South towards the border and share with him those adventures. We will play Bob Marley and speak of revolutions. We will hike. We will stare.

Friday, August 8, 2008


I do not know how to blog this or if this even feels appropriate. Yesterday we got a number of calls from close friends saying that a fire fighter's plane went down Tuesday in California. On this plane was one of our dearest friends, Edrik. This is to say that we do the rest of the trip in memory and honor of him.
For everyone in Ashland, we love you. It does not feel real to be halfway across the country from you right now.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Kitty in. Kitty Out. Kitties Going Roundabout! (in Dixieland)

"Sweet tea is a form of iced tea in which sugar or some other form of sweetener is added to the hot water before brewing, while brewing the tea, or post-brewing, but before the beverage is chilled and served. This especially sweet variation of tea enjoys most of its popularity in the Southern United States, though bottled iced teas labeled "Southern Style" or "Extra-sweet Southern Style" appear in refrigerated cases throughout the country."
(May include up to a cup of sugar)
Last night around 9pm, we drove over the Mississippi river, leaving Memphis TN and into Arkansas, with Johnny Cash and Hank Williams playing in the background. I do not know how to describe the last week. I will not speak of the south in the same way that I used to. We drove into Knoxville TN the day after the shooting at the UU church. We got the message from a friend literally minutes before we arrived. Within the last four days we have probably spent 10 hours at various Civil Rights institutes and meeting centers. We have shared meals with people who's homes were bombed by the KKK, who marched along side MLK Jr., who were given awards for their dedication to the cause of justice. I have read over more names and dates in the last few days than I can remember. I do not know how to describe the statues, the pictures, the words. I do now know if our country will do it again. I question my role. For a moment, I thought that I might move to Birmingham AL.
At 8 this morning we attended the Southern Baptist church of Jonesboro, AR with Nichole's great, great aunt in-law. Being that we went to her Sunday school with a group of eleven other 80 year old widows, I refrained from responding to statements such as "it's important for you young ladies to find husbands who have been saved." When she asked us what we thought of the service, we said we disagreed with some things but kept our answers brief. While previous events from the week put me in a fairly radical mindset, these people did not seem to need their foundations pulled out from under them.
The day progressed in what we have discovered to truly be a slow southern way. She took us out for Sunday brunch at the world famous Cracker Barrel. The eggs had cheese. The hash browns had cheese. The grits were gritty and people were asking for more sweetener for their tea. Needless to say I downed a few cups of water. And then I slept . . .for almost four hours.
There are numerous other things that happened in and around what I have written about. Nashville, Beale st. in Memphis, the way it feels to drive in the south at night, Mississippi!
To end this entry, I would like to quote a children's book Nichole just came across. "I'd really like to pet them all and cuddle them and more."-Safari Fun: a Pop-up Story Book