Yeah, I’m OK.

September 14, 2010

Where to start….

yes, it’s been a few days… the last blog entry saw me getting back into Altadena after a week end in the San Diego area. Last night saw me on the stage of the Coffee Gallery Backstage. Between last night and a week ago : lots of rehearsals some travel, good times and 3 performances.

So where to start….

I’m sitting at yet another Starbucks in Passadena on Colorado Avenue. The sun blazes, most people (except for the corporate sluggers) are Easy Breezy, Beautiful in a very LA sort of way. For men it’s either a studied casual look comprising simili roughed up expensive clothes, nice shoes, and relaxed tops to help show lean torsoes. The corporate employees set sport the khakis and polos (blah) . The executives or millioniares in training wear the suit look but without the jacket allowing for a casual but assertive air of power. For the ladies the show of legs is mandatory by way of finely textured skirts and dresses, assorted designer high heels, matched purses. Hair is obviously groomed into expensive stylish hair cuts enhanced by equally expensive earrings. I have to admit that there is also the corporate employee look for women with proper grey slacks, cardigans and non-descript shirts that have the purpose of making the wearer’s personality blend in like 1% milk in a Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup. Unnoticeable. But to redeem that, the young girls are all shine and gloss with stylish shirts, well groomed hair and pretty flats.

I really, really stick out.

Like this kid sitting by the window with a sky blue Gibson SG plugged into a pedal and his laptop working on his finals at the LA School of music. He is young, looks like Slash did 20 years ago and his purposeful aloofness radiates rockstardom

I sit against the back wall. I can watch it all.

Last week is a bit of a blur.

I rehearsed Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, at an accelerating and intensifying pace. Friday morning 10 AM last rehearsal with the bass player for the Sunday night show then out the door and on the bike to Idyllwild for the Whole Being Festival.

I left and I don’t know if it was the new ear plugs but the engine sounded wrong and the bike felt like it was straining. Great… I thought.

The engine temperature is rising too fast and at 4500 RPMs it feels to me like the machine is just straining… Are my brakes seizing up again? Is it me? Sometimes it is… Usually the bike feels as good as I do, so if I feel tired the bike feels tired… I am in the HOV lane feeling like everything is overamped and going nowhere… I look at the temperature gauge and it’s right on that safety line… it’s not that hot outside it should not be that hot I’ve only been riding for 20 miles or so…. Pictures of a seized engine assail me.

Next exit : San Dimas, I get off. OK. Park in the shade, wait a bit for the whole thing to cool down. I walk to the Dennys and order 2 eggs and toasts with honey. Should digest that.

I’m anxious… What the heck is going on… Maybe my baby does not want to go anymore… Yeah I know, I always get overly emotional with that stuff.

When I get back to the bike I check the oil… I was half way expecting to be way low… Nope. Normal. Well OK then. Lets go back and try this again.

I get back on the freeway and I’m trying to relax and not imagine things. Deep breath. I sink down in the seat, put my feet on the back foot pegs and just feel it.

I get to the exchange for the 71 S, I’m about to downshift and the clutch is just stiff as a rock….. It won’t downshift…

Ah, I knew something was up…. I am in the left lane, traffic is bumper to bumper so I pulled out of the traffic and came to a stop. Turn the engine off. Hmm, hmm… I remember how Steve in Wisconsin adjusted the clutch cable, so I pull back the little rubber cover at the clutch lever where the cable comes in… I try screwing the thing one way… restart the engine. No difference. Stop the engine again, try the other way. Restart the engine : some play. OK good, stop the engine again and keep going in the same direction… A guy in a pick up truck asks : Are you OK? I say “My clutch is out” but he can’t hear me as I have the full face over my head and there is a lot of traffic noise. “Are you OK”? “Not really” I answer. He still can’t hear me and the traffic moved and he moved away with it. But I feel I can deal with this.

After a couple of adjustments the clutch is working well. I get back into traffic. I ride for a good while, we get in the mountains a bit, as usual some really slow driver stays in the fast lane accumulating a large number of unhappy followers who will after about 1 minute and a half try to pass him in any which way possible. I stay cool.

I get to the turn off for the 243 up the mountain, I try to downshift… Stiff as a rock. the clutch pedal won’t budge…. I roll to a stop out of gear and turn off the engine. I do the little process one more time. Testing 1,2,3 : it’s working. All right lets get up the mountain.


2000 ft, 3000 ft, 4000 ft, 5000 ft, 6000 ft. The frequencies of the engine sound drop as I climb from a whine to a low rumble. There is sand, gravel and plant stuff at the bottom of some of those curves, I take it easy, but it does feel good to zig and zag, it had been a while. My new tires are awesome. Oh my what a difference. Bikes need nice tires. Period.

I get to Idyllwild. It’s beautiful. Pale gold and evergreens reddish browns of the trees. It’s a sparse, elegant display of nature, no brambles or disorganization. Every tree has room. I feel enveloped and cushioned into the rarefied air, the rays of the sun and this grand extension towards the skies, mountains, trees and cabins all stretch up towards the heavens. Peace.

I have a performance booked for 7 PM. The venue is called “the Bistro”. It’s a sort of multi-purpose building with a kitchen at one end and a small stage at the other. There are couches, tables, chairs, the whole place has been decorated and has a Peace and Joy Christmasey like feel.

At seven there is no one there. Everyone is still at dinner. Star and I attempt to keep the thing alive by playing a couple of songs each. One or two people would walk in, then walk out. I’m getting sleepy.

At about 10 something, people started to walk in. They are in a festive mood. Soon the place is full. “Go play” said Star. I shook off the weariness and grabbed a guitar and started a song. Then another. Then another. The dance floor filled up. People were twirling, smiling, tripping. I was sweating a good sweat, sitting on a chair playing yet another borrowed instrument. No matter what I played they all were enjoying. No one asked for AC/DC.

I’m not sure how long I played, maybe an hour, I was drenched in sweat. There was to be an open stage so I gave my seat to other performers. A poet came on and read some poetry about men and women… Wish I could remember… something along the lines of letting women be free, loving them without owning them, and the men present seemed to agree…. hmm, hmmm…. interesting. People were staying close to each other, hugging, smiling, touching. The women in long flowing garments, sandals, loose hair. I was standing there alone in my leather boots and jeans and road gear. Yet again sticking out but definitely not feeling out of place.

I went outside. The music and festivities continue inside. As the door shuts the sounds fade and all that is left is a sky is of a dark, deep blackish blue. The stars are so bright like gems ensconced in the velvet background. So many hopes pinned in the sky and held by the outstretched arms of the pines and gigantic oaks.

Oh my. So beautiful. Last August I wrote in a song : “…this vaulted infinity is where I want to be”. Here I am.

It’s cold out, I feel the nice exhaustion that comes after playing, or if you would prefer: performing.

I head to the home in the mountain where I am to stay. It’s so quiet. Dark. Like night should be. I have a room, a bed on which I put on my sleeping bag. Suddenly I’m alone. I get Leo out of the bag and we go to sleep.

My phone rings. A text.

I jump up and look, it’s a friend. He will be here tomorrow. Night night he says. Nighty night I reply. I hold Leo closer. Lets sleep it will be a good day tomorrow.

An ugly nightmare wakes me up in the middle of the night. I rarely get those but when I do I wake up in terror. It’s always a situation where someone is about to do something infinitely evil to me, kill me with extreme pain. I try to shake it off. Try to sleep again looking around in the darkness for ill intentions faces that don’t exist.

Morning comes. I am feeling the effects of the rarefied oxygen. I go down to my bike which is parked a the bottom of the steep incline where the house is and when I walk back up I am out of breath as if I had just sprinted 100 meters. Whoa… I just want to sleep…

I am waiting for my friend to arrive so I lie down on the couch and just take a nap, I can let go. Just relax. right then I realize that I have not done this since… probably April… No in April I was in Montreal recording… In March in was in Nashville recording… in February I think it was when I last had a home and a couch and my own quiet space among my stone horses and under my giant trees in my rented 100 years old character home. I can almost cry. These little moments catch me off guard from time to time. I have been this lone traveler with for only possession 3 shirts, a borrowed laptop, rain gear, some tools, a bike and a stuffed animal. I have been this speck of dust, this electron in the universe who only says goodbye after brief connections.

I went down the steep walk again to repack the bike and do the bike check ; tires, oil, chain… The phone rings, it’s Star who is the person who invited me to play here in Idyllwild. He is telling about the day, the shows, the house, the schedule…

Then I heard it. the deep throated V-Strom coming up the drive. I smile. This will be cool. It will be so cool because I am about to see a face again. A face met in one of these brief but incredibly intense connections… I got to hang up

I’m so glad to see him. How to explain… We met on the road months ago, I had just left Vancouver about 10 days prior. I was just getting into the journey… It had been a magical meeting, which I just learned had necessitated many twists of fate and U-turns on the road on his part to materialize.

It always makes me wonder. Fate. The detours and the red lights that will permit or deny the coincidental meetings that can change the course of our lives.

He had taken a bunch of detours, turn-arounds to end-up at the parking lot of the Starbucks where I had stopped for wi-fi and coffee that day. I had taken extra long in there as I had a fourth look at the maps because I was trying to decide which northern route to take to Las Vegas or if I should take the eastern road across the desert.

He had approached me and my bike saying : “ I have the same exact bike”… That will always get my attention. As a biker girl the best conversation openers are not about inviting me to dinner or tell me about how much stuff you got… Talk to me about Suzukis and I’ll be all ears.

So there he was months later, standing there right in front of me. With the kind of life I’ve had in the last months, seeing someone again is a rare gift. I usually leave them behind and move forward. Which can be sad, disorienting. Seeing a face again is a blessing.

I had to get to the Bistro for my 5 pm show. I grabbed the guitar, tuned up, I have my set list ready so I can remember that I actually know some songs… Here we go. 1,2,3,4. I play. It feels good. I don’t think there is 10 people there but the vibe is great. I feel good. It’s really conducive to getting into the sound, the notes, the lyrics, and radiating and feeling the radiations of the people there. I can’t stop smiling. Every song makes sense, has room to be and ears to go in. I played for a good 40 minutes or so. I’m sweating again. It’s good. I’ve played stages where I just stayed cold. Detached. A sort of surgical operation. Alone. Not here. Not lately. Not since this trip.

It’s as if my fears have melted on that road. Absorbed by the tarmac, absolved by the wind. Maybe it’s that I have learned to trust. Simply. Trust in me. Trust in life and trust that what happens is what must and that all that matters is how I react to it. Not where I end up or even who I end up being or not being.

These last few days I’ve been granted some incredibly heartbreaking moments of connection, of beauty, of such unexpected sweetness that I am just overwhelmed by the intensity. I can only cry. The cry is coming from a profound, deep place where all was lost and where now all just simply “is”.

“Are you OK?”

Oh yeah, I’m OK. I’m so much, much more than OK.


3 Responses to “Yeah, I’m OK.”

  1. Alan Says:

    Ha, this is fun….

    “I have been this lone traveler with for only possession 3 shirts, a borrowed laptop, rain gear, some tools, a bike and a stuffed animal.”

  2. Erika Says:

    Yeah more than okay is the day for you to lay tracks of abundant light way down into the night of your dreaming nightmares aside you own the road wide since you have traveled into and out of a destiny that is yours for the keeping all laid out from the beginning of time given to a wild woman so fine….

  3. Marsha Says:

    Danielle, you radiate goodness and unbounded energies of love. Your internal adventures and experiences are profoundly moving. Thank you for keeping us involved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: