Yesterday, I flew out of SeaTac with my heart breaking. So hard to leave my son, daughter and granddaughter! I felt as though one of my limbs had been amputated and left behind. The wound throbbed throughout my entire body.
In Portland, however, I was met by a beautiful person - TC Tolbert - who not only drove me four + hours to Caldera Arts, but shared his life/stories/thoughts and made my transition from mother- and Grammy-land not only bearable, but sweet.
We were greeted by the flurry of a large red-tailed hawk at the freeway on-ramp, gazed out at alpacas, horses, sheep, cows; feasted our eyes on wide stretches of sage, yellow clusters of flowers, the round fuzzy heads of beargrass, Mt. Hood and the Three Sisters all snowy and busy with their own thoughts. We crossed the Deshutes River, drove between sheer rock walls, stopped to stock up on fruit and other necessities, breathed in heat and sunlight, crawled through small towns dressed in their tourism costumes of cowboy hats and wagon wheels, on up, up, up to Blue Lake and the Caldera Arts Center.
And then I was welcomed with open arms by faculty, staff, and students of the OSU-Cascades Low-residency MFA writing program, who have invited me to be their Distinguished Visiting Writer (more like, Lucky Visiting Writer).
Last night I slept in an A-frame cabin above a stream. I slept the deep constellation, Milky Way, underground river of pure water sleep. My body was open and yet protected, my spirit dreamy yet willing. I traveled and traveled, yet finally awoke many hours later rested and eager for the day. Thank you. Thank you, Ponderosas, copper-skinned Ponderosas whose fragrant needles cleansed my lungs. Thank you small stream beneath my window; your mindful chant soothes and counsels. Thank you night creatures - owl, mouse, bat, raccoon - who went about the work of darkness so carefully. Thank you insects, Sphinx moth and mosquito, leaf-hopper and sack spiders, crawling and fluttering, eating and mating, singing or silent with ancient concentration. Thank you, A-frame cabin made of pine and cedar; thank you, Pine and Cedar.
Today I will do my best to make what you have all given me into something that is also useful, healing, a part of this matrix of creation. Today, I will try. Today I will do the best that I can do with what I have to do it with.
Writing just now, Hummingbird - umunipsha - hovered around my head, perhaps attracted by my bright turquoise shirt. The sound of her wings was somewhere between a buzz and a thrum, a sound of efficiency and perfect balance, made of tiny feathers with tinier barbs that combine muscle and air and wind into a song that uses no voice at all. Today is no ordinary day. Today is full of gifts.
All right then. Let's get to work.