Blessings can appear in the most unexpected places, in the most unexpected ways. Like dental surgery. Who thinks of dental surgery as a blessing? I recently went back to our hometown of Austin, Texas, to get a wisdom tooth removed… perhaps against my more stubborn nature. I mean, who is to say which teeth are more necessary than others, anyway? My thought is that I was born with this exact body, and it just doesn’t make sense to make big permanent changes to it, just because the majority of others do. That to me spells industry, as in the body hair removal industry, or the fitness industry, or the clothing industry. All are designed to capitalize on the insecurity and the difference of others.
But I digress… One of my teeth was causing health complications, and it need to come out. So back to Austin I went. The blessing here was that I got to spend time with my family for a week. I scheduled my flights to allow for a week-long stay in Austin, because oh so much can happen in one week, especially when living the lifestyle we have been living for the past year, and I hate to miss out on the goings on of bus life. There is a certain transitional period, as well, when one is shifting back and forth from living a certain lifestyle and daily routine, to living a completely different one. That is all fine and good, but like I said, time is pretty dense around here, so a day or two can feel like eternity. When one of us leaves the equation, its like we all have to re calibrate and readjust to the energy shift. And we are just more powerful together. I think all humans are.
I cannot fully express how comforting it feels to come back to a place and know exactly where you are in the world, know the different areas, have the ability to navigate your way through the city without a thought. Familiarity is a treasure I did not fully appreciate before this trip, but I have certainly found it now. Ahhhhh, Austin, the city I am from! Though it has changed tremendously, and continues to change and grow every day, being back still brings about that same sentimental feeling that I love. There is a sweetness that comes with it, a feeling of surrender into precious memories and times gone past, and also a tinge of sadness. Driving in to Austin at 9 pm felt especially rewarding after the trials life faced me with that day. They were nothing I couldn’t handle (after all, life never gives us more than we are able to handle at any point in time,) just little stones that I maybe stubbed my toe on or tripped over as I walked along the path. It had been a loooooong day, starting at five in the morning and including many busses, a plane, a train, and some good ol’fashioned hitch hiking. Needless to say, I was pretty wiped out and extremely relieved when I finally arrived to my final destination. Blessings can be disguised even as long days that test your patience.
My time in Austin was pretty low key, but still so special to me. Actually, most of the time I spent was in Dripping Springs, in the hill country just south west of Austin, where my moms new house is located. The hill country is absolutely beautiful. It always smells of cedar and wildflowers and sunshine, a scent I associate with childhood, with freedom. The wind blows lazily there, through short shrubby little trees and tall, gnarled oaks. The humid air traps heat better than a spiders web traps pesky flies, and makes your clothes cling to you with perspiration within moments of walking outside. The soil is clay based and filled with limestone. Because Texas has been in a severe drought for so long, it is also rock solid and dry, making yard work a bit challenging. The sun sets paint the whole entire sky with the pinks, oranges, yellows and purples of some tropical flowers, and contrasts so wonderfully with rolling emerald green hills, the limestone cliffs. This is home.
Recommendation: when visiting the hill country, be sure to go swimming in at least a few creeks and rivers. Its part of the experience. My mom and I went swimming in the lazy Cypress River that flows through Wimberly, where I also had the pleasure of visiting with a friend we had made in the beginning of this journey, an all around awesome Mr. Fix-it named Ray. Ray is the father of one of our first mechanics, Jesse Darnall, who helped us with our harmonic ballancer, before we had even left Austin. Both Jesse and Ray are very kind hearted and generous, and their help to us when this whole mess got started has been invaluable. So it was a treat to see him over a year later. The Cypress River is mildly cool, slow flowing, and lined with willowy Cypress trees, their twisting roots, slithering towards the water, their branches stretching languidly towards the open skies above and providing shade for swimmers bellow.
I also insist that, if you ever find yourself in the area, you make it a point to go to Barton Springs. The water is brisk and clear and poors from an underground springs which the Natives of the land have revered for its healing power for centuries. Those healing powers are very tangible to this day, though, unfortunately, they have been comodified. Still, whether you find yourself enjoying the “pay side” swimming pool, or the free side, where dogs and human alike are welcome, just a dip in the crisp, cold water will wake you up in more ways than one. I hung out with a new friend, also from Austin, whom we actually met on the road, while we were stationed at a mutual friends house in Tijeras, New Mexico. Leaving home can be an immeasurable blessing, as it has been for us. Just taking yourself out of a comfort zone and expanding your horizons really opens up doors where before no doors existed. We have had the great fortune of running in to many of the same characters many times on this journey, all friends, old and new. Looking back on all the new connections we have made, and continue to make, I am filled with excitement at the strength we are building in our web. The more we all connect to one another, the smaller this planet feels, and that much more possible conquering the great darkness we are faced with is. Together we can do anything. Community is such a pivotal part of the equation.
I got to visit with other friends and loved ones while in Austin, though our time together was shorter than I wanted. I even got to be there for my little sister Lila’s 15th birthday. I am so proud of her. I remember being that age, and how alienating and pointless life could be at times. Lila is all sunshine and flowers. She is so optimistic and smart. I see her going far in life, and it’s pretty dope that I get to watch it all unfold for her, unfurling petals of opportunity and experience as she continues along her life’s path. She is even more determined and stubborn than me… this should be interesting. Being her older sister has definitely been a blessing in disguise. I am the oldest sibling of three. We were raised by a single mother, who at times looked to me for support and help, and in response to this dynamic, I developed some unhealthy patterns. I was bossy with my siblings, and acted as if I knew all of the answers and was superior. It came from love, but also from fear. But I am rewiring the circuitry in my brain. That is what this journey (among many other things) is all about. Taking out the old, inefficient patterns so that I can rebuild better patterns, patterns that will serve me and enable me to create only growth, positivity, and love. Its been a true gift to learn all of these lessons with Lila, Simon, and my mom. I don’t know that I could pick a more loving, patient, and understanding group of humans to grow up with.
The most unusual blessing in disguise of this trip, though, came to me on the morning of my departure. My mom and I were a little late getting out of the house to catch my flight. Tardiness is a family trait of ours. But this time we were later than a little late, as in you are supposed to get to the airport like an hour before departure, and we got there ten minutes before, and I missed my flight. And thank goodness I did! I had booked my flight back from Texas to arrive in San Francisco, because back when I was booking all of this, the bus seemed to be in tip top condition again, and we were expecting to be stationed somewhere in the Oakland area upon my arrival. But, once again, the Bus brought us a lesson that we seem to just not be able to fully learn: you can’t plan. You just can’t. The future is unforeseeable, all we truly have is the present. This lesson came in the form of yet another mechanical hiccup that hindered us from getting where we were trying to go, and also presented us with a test in patience, focus, and self awareness. We found ourselves stuck in Los Angeles again, and I found myself with a non-refundable or transferable flight to San Francisco.
But blessings will always present themselves, if you believe and open your eyes wide enough to spot them.
On the last day of a very pleasant visit back home, my response to a stressful situation was tested, as we pulled up to the terminal with only a few minutes to check in and go through airport security. I breathed and reminded myself that it would all be okay, that this is certainly not the worst that could happen. The woman at the check in counter told me I was too late for my original flight…. and that there were seats available on stand by on a flight to Los Angeles, only 25 minutes later. Did I want to take that flight? Absolutely.
A flight to the place I really needed to be! Meaning I wouldn’t have to scour the rideshare page on craigslist, or hitchhike all the way back down to L.A! I was amazed.
Blessing after blessing, life unfurls its petals before me. Like a rosebud in bloom, these petal blessings seem to never cease, each one more fragile and delicate and precious than the one that came before. Every single thing is a blessing. If your eyes are opened wide enough.
So now I’m back in the city of Angels with the bus and the girls and the dogs, my beloved home and family. We’re still chilling at the shop in East L.A, finding stuff to fill the time. We work on bus projects, home projects, communication, our relationship, and rewiring our circuitry. Sometimes we go off on adventures, and sometimes we stay home and craft. It’s all part of a whirlwind trip called life. Unfurling its petals, endlessly, gracefully, with such complex symmetry, life is in full bloom.
Love Love love,