I sit at this very moment in a fast food place in Cookesville, TN, watching a father try to explain the cost of things to his skinny, and frankly assholish son of around 13.  While his daughter (10?) plays around with something that I can’t see from this angle, he picks up both of their cups and puts them next to each other in front of them, “This orange juice, ” he says as taps them on the table with that hollow thocking noise that empty paper cups make, “For the amount that I paid for these, we could have stopped and gotten a gallon and a half.”

Disinterested and distracted by his phone his son responds, “Yeah, I know.”  The father looks meaningfully at his child and then starts collecting the trash.

“Let’s throw this stuff away.”

“Do I have to get up?”

The girl haughtily strides after her father, “You don’t have to, ” she says airily, taking her colorful bag of trash to the bin.

Sunday, May 19 2013

The boards where all the projects and things to work on and goals to complete had all been erased.  I contemplated writing something bright and cheery on them, but decided against it because everything I had been trying to do was not helping Temp out of her upsets.  The dishes were clean (mostly), everything had been cleaned as much as I could bear to clean.  I set the library dvds and books next to the dvd rentals with a small blurb about their due dates.  I know Temp had wanted to watch a couple of them again and hadn’t already seen the others. If she was going into town to return the DVDs to Hastings then she could pass by the Library. If they were still there when I returned, well that would be one hell of a library fine, but I was willing to accept that.

My new journey began when, after a hell of a week of just bad emotions and feelings, I decided that it’s time to move on.  I had already written the note that I was gonna leave for Temperence.  Things have been stirred up and bad feelings were all around, this beautiful refuge from the world was becoming noxious with uncomfortable silence and a general air of despair.  It had become clear to me that with all the swirling resentments, I was becoming caught up in them and losing my hope.

So, tired of being stressed out by things that were beyond my control, I decided to zero myself out of the equation.  It took a couple hours to get to the highway when I received the call, which was hard.  The timing of the day was definitely not the best and being aware of that fact, I told her that I would come back and wait for a better time, but I was in a state of departure, and I would leave.  “If that’s what the descision is,  then you should just go.”  The call ended with Thank Yous, and Are you sures, and with everything still up in the air ( because both Temperence and I don’t put all that much weight on words, just actions ) I walked away.

I live my life with an overall sense that everything will be alright. How could I make a descision or do anything if I didn’t? And if things don’t, then I accept it.  The Nature Center is important and it will survive as long as Temp is there.  She’s never let me forget the fact that things will go on, whether I’m there or not.  Things may be a little more difficult for her, but she’s a warrior, she’ll get what needs to be done accomplished.

I walked to the gas station where I expect the bus station to be. It turned out that it had closed shortly after I returned to Texas. I quietly ate a tamale and toyed with the banana leaf that it was wrapped in.

Grabbing my things, I head out to try to hitchhike, but there seemed to be no good place to stop and just hold out my thumb so I walked and walked, and when I get out of sight of anything Nacogdoches, I realize I’m at the junction of two highways.  I don’t know which one would be best to take.  Out of any sort of wi-fi range and not having saved any maps to Tetra (the name of my tech), I curse my unpreparedness.

I called my Dad.  I feel super honored to have a Dad like my Dad.  He would support me in just about anything I did, whether he agreed fully or not.  This tends to lead to a lot of conversations where all he can do is just give an ambivalent sigh.

“Hey, are you by a computer?”

“Yes.”

“Good, things at the center have been kind of strained, and I thought it was best for all involved that I just go.  I’m at the junction of 59 and 259 outside of Nacogdoches.” Apparently I had walked 10 miles, and it really didn’t feel like it, “I’m not sure which way to go.”

He sighed.

The phone call is roughly 30 minutes as I patiently explain to him that if it’s not an interstate, then the best route is one that passes through a town every 10 or 15 miles, in case I don’t catch a ride and have to walk the entire way.  Overfull with details, and sighing we eventually agree that 259 is the best way to go, and that he wants me to call him as soon as I’ve reached the expected destination of Mt. Enterprise.

I get up, put on my heavy pack, and start up the ramp putting my thumb out or waving whenever cars pass.  As I’m about three quarters up the ramp, a car passes by and a voice, distorted by the doppler affect shouts, “Turtle!”  It pulls over to the side of the road and out hops Seth.

Seth is very good guy, with a bit of a sensitive streak, that I helped to rebuild the chicken coop at the Center. If I’ve made any friends in Nacogdoches other then Temperence, it would be Seth.  He and his friends were going to the Y ( about 7 miles up the road ) so they couldn’t take me far, but there was a truck stop on the way where I would likely be able to find a ride.

It was nice to not have to walk, and I was getting hungry, so of course I would accept.  Seth’s friend who was driving had a very thick southern(?) accent and he gave me some advice which felt like it was very prudent and wise, but that was a moment where subtitles for real life would have been very advantageous.

I sit in the gas station for a long time, stewing in the creeping depression and guilt over leaving an cancer-ridden elderly lady on her birthday to tend to 15 acres on her own.  I have no intention to move until I’m good and ready, there is a constant stream of trucks coming in and out of the station.  If I walked back to the center, it would only take about five hours. But how could I go back and deal with all of that angst? What if I get trapped in the cycle of wanting to leave, but feeling responsible for an ongoing project.

“Are you waiting for the bus to Longview?”

It was a man in a uniform of a light blue button-up and dark slacks. He had an earpiece and his hand was in his pocket the way I’ve seen people do when they hold onto their keys that they know they mustn’t lose.

“No, but I’m headed toward Longview, ” my mind is racing at this point because anything was better to think about than the dark thoughts. Longview has a train  and bus station, “Is there a way I can purchase a ticket from you right now so I can get there?” The words are weird, I’m not used to offering money for things. Since I spent my last 8 dollars about a year and a quarter ago, money has had less and less value. I’m still working on my ideas of value and expenditure and that huge can of. . . Well it’s not worms, more like whatever you can stuff into a can that you need to interact with society but know that it’s valuable and useless at the same time.  The closest thing I can think of are magically living venomous gummy spiders sprinkled with vitamin C.

The man considers for a moment and then says, “Grab your stuff, I’ll give you a free ride.” And he promptly walks away.

No need to tell me twice, in about 20 seconds all of my stuff is collected, stuffed and tied down and I’m rushing over toward the door.  The bus heads off and the thought slides from the back of my head over the top of my skull and settles in between my eyes, “Did I just leave my jacket and tent behind?”  I try to make some conversation with the bus driver, but he is concentrating on the road and already talking to people on his headset.  The guilt and depressed thoughts return, spiced with worry now, I lean my chin on my forearms, my stomach fluttering and stare out the window.  The road rushes towards me.

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The Nature Center is what’s keeping Temperence alive.  The ideas being put into use there may be what will keep us all alive.  That specific plot of land has something special about it, and I will return there, whether to mourn or rejoice, I will go back there.

I don’t update this blog enough.  So, the only thing I can offer is that Sarah and my “husband” Garth write more than I do, and also better, and they’ve been doing this sort of thing longer.  They pursue nothing, and live amazingly.

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