Thursday, March 6, 2014

Yes. A Long Strange Trip. But What A Good One

I am drinking my fiber on this rainy day. A smoothie with a peach, half an apple, a few frozen cherries, blueberries, strawberries, prunes, a half a banana. Coconut milk. It is good but it is not warming and it is chilly again and this rain falls and falls but I have to remain grateful for it, even as I yearn for the sight of the sun.

Jessie is on her way, I have spoken to her. Oh! The miracle of cell phones! I remember when I was nineteen and had to get out of Denver because my soul was dying there in that place where there were hardly any trees and the mountains reached up so far that it looked as if they might pierce the sky and the house where I was living was under surveillance (and for good reason, trust me) and it was snowing and I packed up my green Capri, surely one of the worst cars ever made, with my parakeets in a cage, my rocking chair, my pressure cooker, my books, clothes, craptastic stereo, records. I waited for the snow to melt a bit (this was in January) and drove from Denver to Tallahassee, my AAA Triptik beside me. Every night I would call my mother to let her know I'd survived another day and I drove from winter into spring and when I got to Tallahassee, the azaleas were budding up and giant oak trees dripped with Spanish moss and couples were walking around, holding hands.
That was forty years ago.
I still have that rocking chair.
What in hell was I talking about?
Oh yeah. Cell phones. And how amazing it is to me that my daughter can call me from the road.
Unimaginable, forty years ago but then again, I will never forget the feeling of driving halfway across the United States all by myself, my little nineteen-year old hippie self, no one in the entire world knowing where I was exactly, except for perhaps someone sitting on a porch as I drove by but of course, they had no idea who I was, just a green blur with Colorado tags.
It was terrifying and exhilarating, I will never experience anything like that again.

Forty years later and I'm still here and the azaleas still bloom and the trees in my yard as as big as any oaks I've ever seen and are draped with moss and sometimes on a Friday night, my husband and I walk around our yard, holding hands beneath them.

With our cell phones probably in our pockets.

Who could have imagined any of this? Not me. I never could have imagined as I drove into Tallahassee that the house I would one day live in was down the road a few miles, already a hundred and fifteen years old. I could never have dreamed that one up. Not that one or the changes in technology I would see or the husband I would have or the children or the grandchildren. Or even being able to buy coconut milk in the grocery store if you want to know the truth.
The boy I lived with in Denver, the drug dealer, was a huge Grateful Dead fan and I never have been, not for one second, but the phrase, "What a long strange trip it's been," rings ever more heart-true every year of my life.
I am glad things change but I am, at the same time, so glad that some things do not.
Here I am, such a different person but at heart, still the same hippie girl, living in this house which is now a hundred and fifty-five years old, holding hands with my husband of almost thirty years, sheltered and shaded by the trees, keeping chicks and grandsons, typing out my soul on this silver spaceship of a laptop.

Able to call my husband, my children any time and anywhere.
"How are you? Where are you now? What do you want for supper? Be safe. I love you. I will see you in a few hours."

Well, that's what it's like in Lloyd this morning.

Everyone be safe in your travels to and from wherever it is you call home.
Call your mama, tell her where you are. Then maybe put your phone away and spend a moment watching the trees go by if you are traveling, watch them sway in gratitude for the spring rains as their buds form and open, if you are sitting still.
Enjoy the trip, whether across the country to make a new life or across the yard to pick your greens from the muddy garden. Long and strange or short and sweet, let us enjoy.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Your yard is a magical universe. With you at the center.

  2. Sigh, such grace, beauty and magic

  3. This is so delicious. Isn't it strangely wonderful that your soul was dying in Denver while mine is dying pining for the same place. God, the skies. I miss the skies and the wide open spaces. Just like you told me, we can't pick up and leave our homes.

    When I was 19 I dreamed of being what you were at 19. Maybe not the surveillance, but the wandering.

  4. Just the other day I told my mom "All we really need now a days is our phone and truck" me a delicious kind of freedom.

  5. The story of your escape tastes like a taco, a perfectly seasoned, delicious, crunchy taco!

    Thank you.

  6. It would be good to be young again and do that kind of stuff. Heck, I would do it now if my bride would go with me. But I have booked a trip to Cabo San Lucas for May. Heading to Mexico. Cannot wait.

  7. I love the comments today on this post -- so sensual and rich.

    And I love this post -- imagining you as a girl of nineteen in another part of the country and then back home. Thanks for sharing this snippet of your life --

  8. I think sometimes of how I just up and moved to Atlanta with no phone at all, just that $8 a month pager, and survived. Strange days indeed. Most peculiar, mama.

  9. You had a Capri? You are the only other person I've ever known that had a Capri. I got mine in 1971. I loved that car! It didn't last very long though but not because it was a bad car. It got hit on the front driver's side three times in 8 years. After the third time, we just had it hauled away.

  10. Wow, I love this post. I knew bits and pieces of your Denver era, but not the whole story. I think a lot about how alone and brave we were in our teens, women travelling all over the place, by bus or car, with only a pay phone to connect us to the world. How I must have worried my parents! Now if a text isn't answered timely I worry. Instant communication is such a gift, maybe one of the best, besides microwaves and digital music!

    I have spent many hours pondering the life I might have had, the dubious choices made, and the boyfriends I was entangled with, and share some eerie parallels with you on the drug dealing grateful dead hippie years. The only time I fully enjoyed a Grateful Dead concert was with the help of some magic mushrooms :)
    But somehow, miraculously, you and I both cleaved ourselves from the lives we were in and found, even more miraculously, the larger than life men that we still hold hands with today. I'm eternally grateful for the odd twists and turns that led me to mine, as I know you are too.

    I'm a little envious of your spanish moss covered heaven on earth, as we have led a more wandering existence and settled where it is too damn cold, but I decided a long time ago it had to be about who, not where, and that makes it easier to be here.

    Having your stories to read and lives to share makes it easier to be here too.


  11. Who ever would have thought that I'd be reading the words of woman in Florida that I don't even know, typing back to her on my silver spaceship, but taking time to look up between words, between thoughts, watching the the tide fill up the marina, watching the palm fronds flutter, thinking of her journey, my journey, and all of traveling through time and space.
    xo to you, Mrs. Moon, way over there on the other side of the country.


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