Across the Atlantic we go

November 17, 2014

Sitting at Java U at the YUL airport (Pierre Elliot Trudeau) … ah that name… Trudeau, there is a lot of talk about Trudeau the son, who is running for the Liberal party, something his father did eons ago, Canada’s politics are frightening right now, with Harper grand standing in front of Putin, as if he had any weight to pull around… Mind you, his waist line really has weight… fat cat that he is… I always had a problem with politicians being too fat. It feels like they are plucking too many rewards… but anyways… I realize I am a tourist in my place of birth. Conversations show me that I have not really a clue as to what really goes on. My knowledge is one of first impressions, yeah, a tourist. I must listen much more than I speak. The visit was great. Seeing my family, which is a very small nucleus, but my nucleus nonetheless was a good thing. it’s never been so evident as it is now how much time has passed since I left. Everyone has grayed quite a bit and shrunk a little.

I don’t like to think of life in terms of time, age, accepted landmarks of human lives, this has too much the potential of stopping you dreaming, hoping, growing. The spirit is timeless, the moments are timeless. Love is timeless so I try to roam those roads instead of the too deeply carved highways of human existence as dictated by our societies. Of course there are inevitabilities, but I prefer the magic of not knowing, not predicting.

Snow this morning, I woke up seeing the white roof on the neighbor’s house, covered in snow and the calm that seems to envelop everything when the snow falls. I have a thought of delayed airplanes and missed connections but it will turn to rain I am told by the taxi driver who took me to the Metro station. He’s a man “d’un certain age” as he told me. ( of a certain age meaning older) he is gentle, drives carefully. He’s a bit dismayed by the amount of luggage I have, yeah, for one who likes to travel light (I am a caravan by myself right now, backpack, suitcase and gigantic guitar.) I twisted my back really badly two days ago and this task is daunting. He speaks to me of the weather, tells me of recently discussing with his wife of the fast coming of Christmas, 30 some days he says, he tells me how now it’s all about money. I can imagine him and a woman sitting quietly at a kitchen table somewhere, the temperature a bit too hot, drinking coffee in worn mugs and talking about the world going ’round around them. He helps me get the stuff out of the trunk, whish me well and I am on my way into the metro station.

Everything is going like clockwork, I’m actually a bit early here but it’s OK. My back throbs now as I write this. I need to get back to doing yoga and my meditations, that is the best remedy for everything…

I have launched into a journey that will take about 40 hours from door to door. I’m ready. In motion I am. See you on the other side.

Advertisements

A leaving and a landing

November 15, 2014

a33

Blurs.

The days have gone by like blurs… I see Mona’s face, her her audacious fire red mohawk, the blue flower pinned on there, she took me to the airport but beforehand we stopped and ate at the Gratitude cafe and I see this image in my mind of her face surrounded by the subdued off white background.

a37

I see Forrest running around the house with me trying to find my glasses. Forrest getting late because of me and not saying a word of reproach. Forrest having to go to the post office for me because of the time we lost trying to find the glasses I lost didn’t allow for me to visit the post office myself.

I see and hear Kimberly, that laughter, the sunshine of her beingness, she is getting more and more beautiful as time goes by and I am moved to just know her. Like I want to keep quiet, not say anything just feel her being her.

I see Sunny in many moments, the way she pays attention to everything, the way she cares. The way she brushes the cat whose smiley face I now can never forget. I see Steve cooking for all of us, glasses on top of his head.

I think of Hector’s face as Steve and Sunny explained the ins and outs of taking care of a sickly cat. His sense of humor, and then I am remembering how he kept showing up all over Greater Los Angeles just to help me.

a50

Heather, Crystal, Michael her father and Michael my new friend who now houses my stone horses. Oh and Seraphim. Seraphim, how I didn’t want to leave the house there… I really hope we can have a trip one of these not too far away days. Irene which I didn’t get to see, Rye whom I saw for just a little bit bit it was so goo, David who took me for lunch, Tom and Dana which I didn’t expect to see, Aaron and Flip, whom I really wanted to see… Marguerite with whom I had a delightful time over iced tea. The little blue trail bike that took me all over the place and reminded me how much I love riding.

a44

Then a cut. There was an uncomfortable night flight, a landing in Philadelphia, a change of aircraft and suddenly we are landing in Montreal.

As the aircraft approached YUL, it was just fields and fields and fields… space. So much of it. At the airport I took my time, the place was deserted… the whole airport at 8:50 AM just empty. I walked to the passport checkpoint. There were questions and somehow these border agents always make me so nervous. They asked if I bought anything, and I didn’t so I say no, but I wonder if they’ll believe me because who goes away for so long and does not buy anything? And I had the guitar, which I had acquired in Canada years ago, but I didn’t carry the little green card with me, proof that it was purchased in Canada so technically they could stop me and charge me with sales taxes for it… Then they asked all these questions about how long I’ve been gone, and it’s been a while and they don’t like it. But it unfurled without problems so I proceeded on towards the baggage claim. Got all my stuff in a big cart and walked out. Again, empty. About 10 people in the whole place. I figured out the bus, the money exchange, and slowly headed out.

It’s cold. It’s sunny. Montreal. The same. But it does feel different as I am the one who changed. I can’t see anything the same way I used to. I can parallel my past viewpoints with the new ones and I see how different they are, some things once seen cannot be unlearned. Things are big, spacious, comfortable, quiet here, a slow moving full bellied, mainly content ship Canada is.

I see mom, my sister, my nephew, friends, when I am asked something, I get asked about my future what goals and ambitions I have. I get asked about my life and there isn’t much more to say than that I am living it. I am enjoying it. That I don’t need much of anything. That the West is daunting with its needs and wants and appetite. And when will I come back? Well I really don`t know.

Snow flakes. The sun was bright but is now hidden. I walk the deserted concrete sidewalk in the pretty neighborhood. Trees, dying flowers, phone numbers on plastic posts for snow removal outfits at many driveways, a new thing to me. Few cars go by, no honks of irritating horns. Women, of all ages, sitting in the subway, so relaxed, just doing their thing. Union propaganda stickers glued to all the wagons. Unions are big here. A policeman wearing camouflage pants… I learned later that they are protesting in a battle with the province for salaries. Blond bobs, spotless coats of the always well dressed Quebecois housewives. It’s nice, pretty. it`s too quiet for a city… I am getting zillions of fast fading memories triggered by a word, by the color of a tree, the angle of the light, the height of a window. Could this ever be home again? Everything is possible, right now home is the world, home is possibilities and now I have no desire to grow roots anywhere. I have an inkling that there is much more exploring to be done first.

I’ll need to digest all this. But one thing sure, is the beauty of the people surrounding me. I don’t deserve half of their generous, selfless, gracious presence. Thank you, all of you… you make life amazing.

a45

Up to Felton we went

November 5, 2014

I woke up in the quiet morning of Felton, a small town just a bit north of Santa Cruz. The house is completely silent. This is going to be Arkadaş’ new home for the next while. I drove from Lancaster yesterday, the bike in the back of the truck, up the I-5 then into a succession of smallish roads winding their way here.

a01

Yesterday the other bike, my trusted IO was also going towards his new home. Joe came, also with a blue pick up truck and loaded him up and drove away into a new future. Joe is a motorcycle mechanic, loves the 80’s Suzukis GS and Katanas. We talked a bit and every issue with IO that seemed unsurmountable to me are just details to him. So it’s a perfect home for it. Joe says there’s an engine waiting, with only 15 000 miles on it, this bike will have a new heart and someone who can deal with any issue. I felt good and I also felt a sadness to see my road partner, the machine that changed my life irremediably for the better, disappear on the horizon. But such is life.

a03

a02
IO’s and Joe

I turned around and it was this other Suzuki, my Arkadaş, sitting in the back of the Ford. I felt anxiety, yeah humans like to hold on to things and situations and at that very moment all the changes, motions I’ve been setting in action since I’ve been here suddenly grabbed me and I felt insecurity. The when? Where? What? How? Of tomorrow. Yeah, it does happen to me at times.

a05
the two bikes

In the cab I jumped, started the engine and I too, headed down the road. Up the 14 North, West on the 138. I look around, the space. So much space. The road. So much road. How I love the roads of America, the land of this continent. That endlessness. Endlessness that gives a sense of hope and freedom. Possibilities.

a07

a09

Driving a pick up truck… it used to be part of my daily life when I had horses. My first very own vehicle was a red GMC so rusted you could see the road rush under the rubber mat on the passenger side. So this is not foreign, what is different that with this machine, 50 MPH just happens, 70 goes by with just a whisper of a foot on the gas pedal. It just goes. My GMC wasn’t so smooth.

a06

When I got off the 5 onto the 158 the views changed from dusty to dreamy, the sun setting on these rolling hills, lake, beautiful oak trees and burnt grass.. the moon hanging above this scene, almost full into a rose-bleuey sky, it was breath taking.

The way to Felton is winding into narrowish twisty, up the mountain sides roads. Thankfully I had a GPS device, Thanks to Sunny!! as I was saying “nah, I don’t need it, I know the way…” that device saved my butt as I was now in the dark not recognizing where I was. But I did make it to Seraphim’s home.

It’s now night. I find Seraphim in his garage, it is so good to see him. Big hug. We talk and talk. That’s one thing I’ve been doing too much maybe since I’m here, talking. I’ve missed talking to friends in this unbridled way. No language barrier or cultural ditches to fall into. We went to eat at this place we’d been the last time I was here, an organic pizza place. I stuffed myself to the rim, I hadn’t eaten all day. Then we went to tackle the bike.

Very methodically we proceeded. First, we positioned the truck in a depression in the ground so the tailgate was only about 12 inches from the ground. Then Seraphim got some lights to light the scene and a flashlight to see what we were doing. We removed the tailgate extender, Then he put air in the tires so we can manoeuvre the bike easily, we set the ramp down, then undid the ties, he carefully moved the front wheel of the bike out of the chock, I was stepping on the ramp so it wouldn’t slide, while Seraphim slowly, carefully rolled it back. And it was done.

I had to start the bike and take it to the back of the house, where the garage door is. Turned on the ignition, zzzttt then the roar of the engine… Oh I so wish I could have been riding this machine… I miss riding this machine… the sound… the feel of this machine; raw power along with a smoothness, a contradiction of sorts. I rode around the block and for a moment wish I’d never leave… just ride until we exhaust ourselves.

I feel wistfulness for leaving it behind. However this sounds, the only thing I really consistently missed while being away was riding. Last week riding the small blue dirtbike around, I got reminded of the joy of the ride, the incredible sense of freedom, of meditative space, endlessness, there isn’t quite anything like this in life. And, riding the tiny 250, I realized that it didn’t matter what kind of bike you ride. It’s the same experience. Detaching from the earth, gravity, feel the air, be engulfed in the wind, drinking in the smells. The world, from the top of a motorcycle, reveals itself generously. No walls or ceiling to separate you from the world. You’re in it. You’re it. It’s you, your molecules no longer isolated in a “me”. Yeah.

I’m about to hit the road back down south to Lancaster. Tomorrow it’s the sculptures that get moved away. Every day, I’m getting closer to achieving the mission I set out to achieve. Between now and Monday, when I fly away to Montreal, every minute will matter.

Seraphim and I had our goodbyes last night, as he was to get up in the wee morning hours to get to work, so I wasn’t going to see him in the morning. Friends… what a blessing. I hope we can manage, in a not too distant future to take a road trip on the bikes. See another corner of this incredible land from the back of a motorcycle. In the mean time, lets live, live fully, wildly, passionately.