Settled comfortably now into a summer sublet in Los Angeles, on the second floor of a white stucco duplex with air and light and a balcony that is tucked into the hills of Angelino Heights, I recognize the luxury of a quiet bedroom, daily showers, and a place to put my shoes. My dog is acclimated, my van is clean, the tan of my right arm has since caught up with the left one, the one I stretched out like a wing from the driver side window, the one that drank up all the sun from Alabama, to Louisiana, to Texas and New Mexico. My heart aches a bit, for the things that were then, during that wide open ride, the ones I can almost no longer recall. But Los Angeles has welcomed me with open arms and I have found a nice place to live, and reclaimed a position at the Juice Bar where I worked last summer, and found a full length mirror on the side of the road, just one day after I told the universe I needed one. There have been backyard BBQs with friends and it is nice to see that everyone is doing well, and working hard, and looking good. I look forward to my own growth here, the waves I’ll ride, the trees I’ll climb.
The finale of our journey, beginning with our departure from Santa Fe, was quite possibly the very best of it all. The changes in terrain were instantaneous and unpredictable, like a mood ring, from yellow to green, to red, as we drove through the desert and up into the mountains. The southwest is made of magic, I am left without a better word or words, because it is purely colors and smells and earth and spirits. We resisted the temptation to stop at every side of the highway town, as our goal was to make it to the Grand Canyon by 7:45, when the sun goes down. I did buy a silver ring along the way, with a green stone and a red stone, a lone souvenier, and a perfect one at that.
When we finally reached the little town surrounding the Grand Canyon National Forrest and Park, we spent far too much time in the snack aisle at the general store, and missed the sun setting over that monsterous canyon by about 5 minutes. Capital T, typical, but those infinitely hollow depths are just as soul shaking in the dark. We parked the van in the trees and howled through the night at the moon and the stars, over White Russians, of course, and in the morning we basked in the freedom of the forrest, for several hours, and my dog roamed at will, and rolled in the dirt. Alone in the woods is an important thing to be.
Following a couple dozen photo shoots in front of the Grand Canyon with another several hundred other spectators from unique and varied walks of life, we left that place and we drove through the day, the 15 towards Los Angeles. We crossed the Californian border just as the sun set again, and the trees got weird, and the sky went purple, and the present rapidly began to shift into the past. We were silent for quite some time. We had made it, it was over, it was never, it is always. It had been a long, strange trip, what a long, strange trip it’s been.