Archive for November 4th, 2009

Body at Rest

On the drive to Boulder, I ended up listening to a few of my all-time favorite albums, most of which unfailingly compel me to sing along.  The splendor of the views, and the sense of openness and welcome that I felt during the day’s drive, made my spirit soar; so joining a suited soundtrack to my heart’s exhilaration seemed only apt.  In addition to Bonnie Raitt’s Nick of Time, k.d. lang’s Ingenue, and George Michael (don’t judge until you’ve given Listen Without Prejudice exactly that), I finished listening to the Eagles’ Hotel California album from the day before, the last track of which, “The Last Resort,” nearly always moves me to tears.  (Click here for lyrics.)  This haunting, beautifully anthemic song about America’s magnificence drawing settlers full across it, only to destroy the beauty that attracted them in the first place, choked me with recognition.  Glutted with emotion, tears still marooned somewhere inside me, I could only open my throat and release my voice full-out along with Don Henley, repeating the track several times as I traversed the mountain passes.  I arrived in Boulder stirred again by all I’d seen and felt in a day, driving into town against the dusk, which came early beneath the jagged mountains at the western edge of town.

Around 6:30 of a Monday evening, I found myself on Daniel’s front porch.  I’d seen movement in a window upstairs, but no one answered when I rang the doorbell.  Already a little discomposed, and still covered with sandstone dust from the morning at Arches (yes, that was only the same morning!), I stood on the doorstep for fully 90 seconds waiting for someone to answer the door.  Having not actually seen Daniel for some 28 or more years, 90 seconds was just enough time for me to get really nervous.  He had gone out on a limb inviting me, and I was going out on a limb accepting the invitation (or more accurately, foisting myself upon his hospitality for several nights and my birthday).  But I wanted to take up his offer to see a mountaintop, and in the months I’d been getting to know Daniel over the ethers, I had come to trust something fundamental about his soul.  It didn’t hurt that I’d grown up knowing his family, and had many a memory that took place in his childhood home.  But kids grow up, become their own unpredictable adult people, and I was well aware that my former connection to his family was a partial illusion, lending only a precarious sense of familiarity.  In truth, this lodging was just a few steps above couchsurfing.


At long last a shape appeared in the window alongside the front door, and the door was opened from within.  Daniel stood in the doorway, looking slightly puzzled.  Half-joking, I pled “Sanctuary!”  Daniel greeted me with a perplexed “I thought I saw someone out there…”  (I later learned his doorbell was broken, and he wondered how long I had been lurking outside his door.)  I crossed the threshold, we exchanged a brief embrace, and then stepped back to really take each other in.  “Come in, come in,” he said, and I entered the house to be quickly met by two small kittens, one grey and one black.  There’s nothing like a pair of adorable furrballs to help break the ice!  I was kneeling on the floor in no time, greeting my two new-best-friends, who immediately began stalking me and my belongings.  After unloading the car before it got darker and colder, Daniel and I stood in his kitchen, a little awkwardly at first.  I felt dusty, rattled, ungrounded, and that I might benefit from food, drink, and a shower.  Daniel poured me some bourbon, we ordered Thai delivery, and I ran upstairs to rinse myself free of sandstone.  Less than half an hour later, we sat down at Daniel’s kitchen counter and finally shared our first meal.

Gradually, I began to unwind.  I had planned the trip such that I would actually stop here in Colorado for several days, resting and taking in someplace new and unfamiliar, staying through my birthday, maybe longer.  I was about halfway through my intended itinerary, and it was time to restore and recharge, slow down and perhaps begin processing my experiences.  Forty-five was my father’s last birthday; yet I was only just starting to feel alive.  I wanted to not rush through this time and place.  I had asked Daniel to set up a massage for me while I was in town, and it was arranged for the next morning, with a woman he described as more than a massage therapist, a true healer.  Perfect.  I had two full days of staying still in Boulder, during which Daniel would be working, and I could relax, write, and explore this town I’d heard praised by many people.  Then, on the third day, as Daniel had planned to take my birthday off, we would climb that mountain.


I awoke Tuesday morning to a dreary sky and a weather forecast poorly suited to assaying the environs.  I confess I was quite disappointed.  I had hoped to explore Boulder on foot later, but with a cold rain expected by afternoon, walking looked unlikely. But the truth was I had no real agenda but for my massage, and Daniel had warned me that the healer-woman, Sarah, was rather approximate regarding time.  So I did my best to roll with it, and reminded myself that besides the rains I’d hit in Dallas – also the first place I took downtime from driving – I had been blessed with idyllic weather that had rendered my travels not only safe, but easeful and enjoyable.  Shortly before I left for my session with Sarah, Daniel called to arrange meeting up for lunch afterward, as I would be around the corner from his office.


Sarah arrived about 40 minutes after the appointed hour, evidently due in part to a pet emergency.  I had texted Daniel to let him know lunch would be late.  He interpreted correctly and advised, “Patience. She’s worth it.”  The man knew of what he spake.  Sarah worked on me for about two hours, which passed as though it were 20 minutes.  She had begun by asking me a few questions, starting with how I knew Daniel, and within minutes we were talking easily.  She offered to do some “energy work” on me, and as this was something I’ve been interested in exploring, I eagerly agreed.  She claimed to have clairvoyant abilities, and to be able to read people’s bodies for ailments of various kinds.  I figured I needed all the help I could get, and gave her permission to work her magic.  Sarah said she could free me of some layers of (negative) energies that were not my own, that had been imposed upon me by others in my life.  She had literally read my mind while she was working on my feet, telling me to clear it of exactly what I had been thinking of at that very moment; and while on Sarah’s table, I finally shed the first of those pent-up tears.  Though only a few, and for no apparent reason, the tap was loosened, which was a deep relief.  Now whether it was the power of suggestion, wishful thinking, or indeed some supernatural talents this woman possessed, I can only tell you that, as she predicted, I would be a different person when I met Daniel for lunch.  I felt calm, grounded, easefully solid in myself.  And strangely, not surprised.

The next day, I was visited by an old friend from the days of my marriage, who was now living in Colorado after finishing graduate school there.  Stacy actually drove an hour each direction in the rain and sleet to come spend the afternoon with me in Boulder.  She kindly understood my need to not drive for a few days, and gladly made the trip.  We had a delightful and heartfelt reconnection over a Mediterranean lunch (oh, the irony: in the sleet, in the Rockies!).  Afterwards, we walked through downtown Boulder briefly, until the miserable weather drove us back indoors, this time to a Japanese tea house.  I felt honored that this old friend, whom I also had not seen in quite a few years, would go so far out of her way to see me.  She was very young when we first met, and used to house-sit for us when my husband and I would go away; she and my cat Sofia were friends of old (and I sorely missed having her to rely on while I was on this trip!).  We had both grown and changed profoundly since the days of our first acquaintance, and it was deeply satisfying to spend time sharing pieces of each other’s journeys, discovering where and who each of us were in the here and the now, while resting in the comfort of having known each other before and seen each other through bumpier times.


Thursday was, at last, my 45th birthday, the highlight of which I have already written about (see Rocky Mountain Birthday High).  While up on that mountain, I had thought “Why did I wait so long to do this?” and “Why don’t I do this sort of thing more often?”  Indeed, why?  I thought about my mother’s 45, and my father’s.  Mine could not have been more different.  After we came down from the mountain, I had a relaxing rest of the day, as Daniel had to put in a few hours’ work; so I wrote, and rested, an reveled in the seemingly endless birthday wishes, coming via voicemails, texts, calls, emails, and Facebook.  The day had grown glorious and warm, and at last I got to walk around and explore the town.  The pedestrian mall was lovely on this sunny autumn afternoon, and I ambled amongst the shops, galleries, street musicians, students, artists, Rastafarians, tourists, and dogs.

I contemplated my morning’s activity, and how I had been thinking on that mountainside about asking for what you want.  When Daniel first inquired about this trip, and half-jokingly made his offer, I took it up, having essentially asked for what I wanted.  Coming to Boulder was a good sanctuary for me; it afforded me needed recuperation in a peaceful and beautiful environment.  It gave me a meaningful reconnection with Daniel as well as Stacy, in addition to an extraordinary birthday, and I am grateful to Daniel for giving me these.  I often must remind myself that that’s what happens when you ask for what you want:  you stand at least a fifty-fifty chance of getting it.  And I rested  in the contentment of knowing that I had taken that chance, and got what I sought and more.

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