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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Two Week Notice

"I told you when we started with Gerson Therapy, you don't have to be here."
"I know, Dad. But I wanted to be sure Mom would be ok, and you could handle it."
"I told you we could. I told you you could go at anytime. Never with my blessing. But you're free to go."
"Mom is doing much better than I thought and she has you and Hannah and Gideon as a support network. Working fifty hours a week I haven't been much help anyway. I would never have your blessing for this Walkabout, would I?"
"Your generation is one step away from Sodom and Gomorrah. I watched a four year old yesterday tell his Momma what he wanted and why and she bought it for him...This generation is missing its potential. You're worse than the hippies."
How can I explain to him that this is why  I'm going, because not going on this walkabout is to miss my calling, my Personal Legend. I cry a little and say I wish he could understand. His hazel eyes flare up like they do when a storm is brewing under those big eyebrows - his soul seems to be ready to shoot out. He tells me that no, he will never understand.
"Dad, traveling is not new. It's what our ancestors did as a way of life."
"The Israelites went in groups and followed their leader. This queer yesterday..."
So I don't have my Dad's blessing. But walking across America does not make me of "this generation" or "queer" or "missing my potential." Though I may be all of those things in one way or another.
All I know is, Momma is gonna be ok and I've put in my 2 week notice, and I'm at last going to walk this country fo' I die!

Friday, April 26, 2013

In the Doritoes

Yesterday I heard the music of Moddi for the first time. Haunting, enchanting, quietly piercing. He goes barefoot onstage before a huge crowd with an orchestra backing him. That is the true Troubadour... a man true to his strange genius and his Personal Legend. I texted my friend Nicole about it, since she had made the introduction, and she came and picked me up for a quiet walk in the park and cemetery. I hadn't realized the moon is full, which is sad for me to see - too cut off in this box, estranged from the rhythms that make us feel right in our lives.
"Do you believe in god?" She asked suddenly as we passed a few more bonemarkers. Because I do, but I'm looking for a sign."
Isn't that the way of it?
"I do now. After my time on the mountain in Arizona I do. But not the "jealous God wrathful God" of the Jewish Bible. More pervasive than that. Isn't God bigger than some personality? When I was in the desert in California I looked hard for a Him. I fasted a few days and went out into the tumbleweeds praying, seeking. There was a dorito packet I felt I should follow, so I did... and it led me straight into a bush. I picked it up and opened it, and it was empty. That's when I realized, I wasn't getting a sign. And that God is sort of the great emptiness inside all of our packaging and confusion."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


One morning in between vacuuming the hall and feeding the kids at the daycare, 

Rosemary told me her story. 

I was expecting the usual, I thought we'd discuss 5 kids or 3, husband, divorce... 

“My husband died in 2009, and my son 2 years later – very suddenly.” 

And after that, 

We both looked around, and found a toy to pick up, 

and a child to hold.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bob Dylan

I went to see Bob Dylan in concert a few days ago. He didn't say a word to us, the audience. He husked out his words like he was shucking corn. He swayed a time or two to show he was still awake, crooning. He played out his soul into the harmonica, and left thirty seconds after the show. I was just glad to be there, to see that living legend (as he steadfastly denies to being) up on stage. And it was really nice to feel personally just how little he cares about me and everyone else there, because I needed to realize I'm not some special case. He was there to do his thing, and he knew we'd come. That's all he needed. And I was content, too. And so were all the drunk sixty somethings near me... can't vouch for the sober ones.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thomas Wolfe

 I read books not for the story, but for the author's mind - for some scrap to identify with in this too big world of surface skating by one another, rarely breaching the gap between souls. I know Thomas Wolfe better than most of the people now in my world. Because he has given me a glimpse into his soul, now resting in the great earth he spoke of so mystically...
"Was it at such a moment—engine-smoke, a station, a street, the sound of time, a face that came and passed and vanished, could not be forgot—HERE or HERE or HERE, at such a moment of man’s unrecorded memory, that he breathed fury from the air, that fury came?
He never knew; but now mad fury gripped his life, and he was haunted by the dream of time. Ten years must come and go without a moment’s rest from fury, ten years of fury, hunger, all of the wandering in a young man’s life. And for what? For what?
What is the fury which this youth will feel, which will lash him on against the great earth for ever? It is the brain that maddens with its own excess, the heart that breaks from the anguish of its own frustration. It is the hunger that grows from everything it feeds upon, the thirst that gulps down rivers and remains insatiate. It is to see a million men, a million faces and to be a stranger and an alien to them always. It is to prowl the stacks of an enormous library at night, to tear the books out of a thousand shelves, to read in them with the mad hunger of the youth of man.
It is to have the old unquiet mind, the famished heart, the restless soul; it is to lose hope, heart, and all joy utterly, and then to have them wake again, to have the old feeling return with overwhelming force that he is about to find the thing for which his life obscurely and desperately is groping—for which all men on this earth have sought—one face out of the million faces, a wall, a door, a place of certitude and peace and wandering no more. For what is it that we Americans are seeking always on this earth? Why is it we have crossed the stormy seas so many times alone, lain in a thousand alien rooms at night hearing the sounds of time, dark time, and thought until heart, brain, flesh and spirit were sick and weary with the thought of it: “Where shall I go now? What shall I do?”" - Thomas Wolfe

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Tent

Last night I biked in the enchanted fog of night to my sister's to sleep in my little tent in her backyard. I sat panting on the swing neith the grape arbor, eyeing the tent and its shaky support and the neighbors as they creaked in and out of houses, smoking, barking, calling, silent. The stars were hiding, possibly angry with me for not looking for them in such a while. So I bid them goodnight and the creaking door next house over eerily squeaked farewell as I slid into my shelter and sleep bag. I was too afraid of suffocation to zip closed in, so the night's cold swept around me in turrets, and I slept deep and woke and slept again.
With the morning sun threatening its slow creep I woke and biked my sleepy legs home to gather for work.
I told Sandi, my co-worker, and she surprised me with her enthusiasm, "Leah, I love you! I love how you think and what you do, all those unstuck things! You're an old soul."
And I grabbed the vacuum and ran out in the hall to hide how pleased I was. =)

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Lady

I walked across the street to Frosty Boy today and a lady was there, toothless, small, husky voiced. She met me and began a barrage of words.
"Get you a game and a plan and a game plan. Then watch out!" and she demonstrated my solemn game planned march into the future, glad.
"We're gonna feel sorrow and joy and this life, its your choice what you hold on to. I'm bi polar so I have to choose really hard. Honey, I was drawn to you, you know what I mean? You don't have a mask like some girls. Layers of makeup or some tattoo scrawled on your arm, hair five different colors."
She spit on me, a little orange sherbet lightly on my chin from her swollen smoke burned tongue. I wiped it, grinning.
"O did that hit you? I'm so so sorry!" and she hugged me and I held her frail form for a second, gingerly because I was afraid she'd break with any pressure.
"But like I was sayin, I've been through three husbands. I don't need to spread these legs anymore, know what I mean? I like you a lot, you'd be good for my youngest son. He's 27 but he needs to grow up first, see? He donates his sperm all the time. Who knows how many kids he has. My pothead husband, the last one, he told me he wanted a baby with me so we did. All day he'd smoke pot and look at porn and I didn't care because he let me go shake my ass at parties. I never hooked up. He was my hook up at home, he'd hooked me. So we'd be like that all day but he wanted a kid so we did - a miracle it was - his sperm was so slow and lazy. Sleepy sperm, from all that pot. Know what I mean?"
I never seemed to know what she meant when she was asking me, but I settled up against the rail, my cone long gone, and thought of how I looked to people as I nodded with her.
"My niece came up to my nephew the other day and *flouncy* asked him if he wanted to 'hook up' with her. I drew her aside and asked her what she meant and she thought she was talkin about hangin out. Oh no! I told her she better watch cuz she's a pretty little thing, next person she asks may take her seriously. Men are men, ya know what I mean? I told my husband if he wanted to lose his other nut, go ahead and try with me. You'll be nutless, I told him. And he was a big man. You can't girl talk sometimes, you just lay it on the line. That was not gonna happen to me again. See though, there's so many people walkin around on something. Crack, meth, heroin..."
She listed with her bony yellow crooks of fingers. I was looking in her hazel eyes at my own dim reflection in the brightness of her spontaneous open soul pools.
"You stay as long as you can but when the time comes, do what you need to, know what I mean?"
And I did. I knew exactly what she meant.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Guitar

I am a musician and a poet, a wordsmith, a minstrel, and my worlds collide in songs to soothe soul and change life.
I am a wanderer on the earth.
I am a keeper of the Songlines, a troubadour singing the world into its being with my poems and songs.

Today I am a hostess at Bob Evans =) Somehow after the other lovely ideas and things I've been and shall be it seems like a quiet desperation to say that, but I love the job, and its a new thing that scares me. Strange as it may be, I'm just now getting over being intimidated by sitting people in booths and tables and telling them to enjoy their meal. But if you asked me to play at the freakin Carnegie Hall with my guitar in front of me, I'd feel safe. My guitar is my shield and salvation between me and that swirling world out there.

The other day I saw a young man walking with long hair loose and waved and a guitar strapped to his back, sort of shambling along. It was raining and grey and I was driving home from work where I'd been safe inside in a car safe inside to home to be safe inside. And I wanted to be him. I wanted to be shuffling down the street with a guitar and strolling off to somewhere and feeling that rain and being in it.
So the next day I grabbed my bike and headed to my sister's in the rain, whooping. And in the cold grey rainy muddy earth, I worked in the garden and felt love for it all warming me. I was that girl with her hair loose, whooping down the road with her bike in the cold.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Symbol

Last night I had an important meeting with my friend Nicole. We both have weary souls and tired bodies, so we met at Starbucks to send some kind of message to ourselves, that life can be beautiful from something as simple as a drink. We told each other how we'll be going to India, we'll be transforming our personal worlds, but for tomorrow, we'll walk downtown in the cold and see what is. I just got a ring that says "be here now" to help me feel like its ok that I'm not yet doing all those things that I hoped and planned.
I want sometimes to throw it all off, most days, really. I was born this way, some gypsy whispered in my ear as a baby. The other day I heard my Mom downstairs telling my Dad, "I just keep hoping someday she'll be like the rest of us." 
I scare them with my promises of seeing the world, of walking this country.
So far I've scattered myself around a few states, a few countries. Michigan, California, Texas, Arizona, the Philippine Islands. That list makes me shudder with satisfaction, some core hunger in me is abated for a moment.
I want to sit by the soul of this country, every moment, like somehow a parallel universe in all the worlds; the tiny plays on small town stages shuttered out on little dots of this quilt, this Great American Afghan. 
Right now I'm home for a bit. I had thrown off college, flickered out of everyone I loved world's for three months and figured out my soul at Reevis Mountain School of Self Reliance. Figured out that I have a certain dream I cannot tell you of until I do it that I cannot shake off. But Momma got cancer and I came home, til she's a little better. And I can't leave again til I'm a little stronger.
My brother, when I was a little girl angry at the whole scene of what is and wanting to fly as always, gave me a necklace of an eagle raising its wings. The American symbol, and the hope for me of freedom to be. I wear it round my neck as a promise to myself, that I will sing my soul across this country like the Aborigines of Australia. I will leave no trace but my songline, etched across the course of time and this ragged earth.