Pip and I walked at sunrise and didn’t see another awakened soul, even in this densely populated camp. Made my bed, put on coffee and sat in the sunshine, listening mostly to traffic and rounds being fired at a nearby gun club, until my friend arose. At other times, this might have irritated me in some way, but today I embrace it all.
When my friend-now-neighbour rose, she walked across the desert “street” and we visited all morning on my front porch. We skipped all the small talk and went right to Soul Matters. It was a bit hard to say “see ya!” but we both suspect our paths will cross again. We talked a lot about how this lifestyle is a place where one learns to cultivate deep relationships while at the same time holding them in a relaxed hand.
It seems like just yesterday it was threatening snow and now temperature has us seeking refuge at midday. I tried to take Pip for another little walk, but she wasn’t having anything to do with it.
I have my own coping mechanisms; soaking my hot feet in cool water, giving them a nice wash while they were there. For a while, we lay in the shade of the van with the sliders and back hatch open, looking at maps.
I’m heading to New Mexico, and really intended to just go, but this year is so different than last. I now have people I want to see as I go along. I’ve had practice at meandering and I’m getting good at it. I feel less inclined to make a run at another state. I can’t remember why I would even do that now.
When I’m on the road, I really don’t have an itinerary. I mostly wait, watch and listen. Today, while looking at the map, I realized I had no apparent reason to choose any one thing over another. All paths seemed equal and since I hadn’t been to any of the places I was contemplating, rather meaningless to engage any kind of logic. Plus, I suck at looking at maps.
So, all that was lacking was a sign. I decided I would just wait until it came to me; I would let it push me, rather than try to pull it. I call this economy of energy, and it is especially important in the heat! Ha Ha!
Sure enough, I soon received an online invitation to join another “online-friend-I-hadn’t-yet-met” at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, in Superior, Arizona. Generally where I’d just come from, but I immediately felt a yes in my body. She was all about plants, and had a connection to the centre, and I’ve been all about plants lately. Plus, dogs were welcome at the park. Had Pippa not been welcome, I wouldn’t have done this, as it’s too hot right now to leave her in the van. But she was, so we did.
So, that was that. We packed up and left the BLM in a cloud of hot dust, waving to dirty, smiling, bike-riding children on our way out.
There weren’t a lot of places identified in my trusty Allstays App, but I chose the one BLM site near Superior, and headed in that direction, stopping for groceries in town. Time to start working on those eating habits!
We eventually passed through a beautiful canyon, found the BLM area and settled in.
It was also a different little place, with a peculiar energy. Not bad, just different. A bit heavy maybe. There were a small number of makeshift structures made out of tin roofing, and some half-built shelters made of branches and grass. None appeared inhabited.
There was water flowing through the site, but it didn’t feel like either a river or a wash. There were signs that a gathering happening on the coming weekend, but it wasn’t clear what kind of gathering.
I was in full assessment mode because it was a bit unusual, but the people I saw on the way in were smiling and had good energy. I chatted with a couple of the groups nearby as Pip and I walked about, to get a sense of who my neighbours were; a group of rock-climbers from Michigan, and a retired couple who did woodworking out of their rig. I felt we were in good company and decided to stay. If I had felt any discomfort at all, I would have left at that point. I always leave time in the day to change my mind about a place. I never arrive after dark.
There was no cell service in the camping area, so Pip and I climbed the hill and found one bar on which to send a “location” message to a friend. It’s always good that someone knows where you are.
There was something about the land that felt very special. I found what seemed like Holly trees, and although I didn’t find any Oak, I sensed they were there. Or had been. I watched the sun set from the hill and gave thanks for our safe passage.
I made note to “cash in a curiosity card” and find out more about this site in the near future. My friend Kim and I created “curiousity” cards when we travelled together. We each got three a day, and were free to “cash them in” whenever we felt pulled to know more about something. It was a way of slowing us down – encouraging us to stop if something caught our eye – and it was a lot of fun. Oak Flats was getting one of mine.
We would go to bed soon, and get up early to meet our new plant-friend at the Arboretum.