There are times I’m prepared to pay $52 for the luxury of having 24 hours to take two baths, a hot shower, do three loads of laundry, update my iPad and phone, take a swim, buy water, make important phone calls, clean the inside of the van, wash out my fridge, download music and be within walking distance for supplies. Today was that time.
I come off the road for a day about once every six weeks. I think of it as an “administrative spa-day.”
I choose a mid-priced motel with ground-floor parking outside the room so it’s easy to access the van and clothes. The baths are refreshing and I take extra care of my feet, which crack and bleed when I’m in the desert. Sometimes I even blow-dry my hair!
I always request two beds, so Pippa can enjoy all the pillows. She’s all about the pillows.
It’s nice to have a little extra luxury today, as I re-group and prepare for the next part of this journey. Which started off rather oddly.
This morning I sat for a long time in the warm sunshine after my friend headed out, reflecting on the many places we explored and adventures we had; allowing myself to feel the bumpy re-entry into solo travel that I have come to expect as I move in, out and through various nomadic communities and to and from people who are becoming important to me.
I love, and need, both experiences, but acknowledge the turbulence that comes with travelling in either direction. You know how when you change altitude quickly and your ears pop? It’s like that. It’s uncomfortable and a achy and I just know there’s nothing to do but wait for my internal cabin pressure to adjust. So, I sit in the sunshine and wait.
It’s know it’s time for me to head to New Mexico where I’lll soon meet Indigo for ten days of mother-daughter adventure. I need a bit of time alone before she comes, but I’m a bit discombobulated.
Right about then, Pippa sends a telepathic message requesting my attention, and I look up. I’m not sure how she does this, but she has the skill.
She is some distance away, standing dead still, with something that looks like a largish white bone in her mouth. She is waiting for a “yay or nay” from me and once I acknowledge her request with a positive but distracted “And what have you got?” she takes this to mean- rightly- that she is to continue, and goes about burying it in the grass.
I greatly delight in this display of canine behaviour. So often she behaves like a teenage girl at Starbucks, which makes it very comical to see her doing something so… doggish. Like me, Pippa appears to be connecting with her wild-self. At this rate, we should both be feral by May.
I return to my turbulent re-entry procedure, but decide I best have a look at that bone first. Which turns out isn’t a bone at all, but a rabbit’s foot.
A perfectly severed front foot, clean and lacking in the “ewwww” factor that you are probably imaging. It was clean, mostly soft and … well…I guess what I’m trying to say is that it didn’t gross me out like I would have expected. It could have been on a keychain, but I knew it hadn’t been.
I asked for it, and Pippa gave it to me. I’m sure she was as surprised as I was when I put it on the table and just looked at it, instead of finishing the burial ceremony.
At this point I have to mention that it has been rabbit week in the desert. Cottontail Rabbits and Jack Rabbits and baby bunnies hopping about at both our recent campsites. It was also Spring Equinox and Full Moon which means Easter is also coming. The season of the Germanic Goddess Oester, who lends her name to the Christian celebration; also connected to rebirth and renewal. I painted a rabbit this week. One I imagined to be quite magical.
And now, Pippa literally brings me a rabbit’s foot.
Why is it a symbol of luck? I must look into that. It certainly doesn’t represent any kind of conventional luck for the rabbit. Perhaps I am to contemplate the coyote’s good fortune?
Don’t judge me but I took the rabbit’s foot. I have it. It’s on my dashboard right now. I don’t know why, and there is definitely a yuck factor, but I think it will become clear to me. It feels weirdly powerful, or auspicious. Plus, Pippa asked me if she could bury it and she only does that with very special things. What does it mean? That I need to slow down? (You know, like a three legged rabbit) That luck isn’t as it appears? That I need to take better care of my feet… or … else?
This receiving of the rabbit’s foot seemed to end my bumpy transition, and I feel it’s time to leave; maybe it was simply a reminder to get moving. Our time here now seems complete, and we drive out of the desert. At this point, I’m not even clear where I am going.
As I begin contemplating my next move, a large white deer appears alongside the van and keeps a slow, even pace with me for about half a kilometre. I was going slow and felt her purposeful strides. She stayed beside me, neck in and neck, until I rolled to an almost stop, and she crossed the road in front of me, disappearing little by little. It was all very purposeful, and I had felt no sense of danger. I even had time to take a picture.
Now all of my senses are on full alert. I touch the furry talisman I have placed on my dashboard and laugh. I swear that deer looked right in through the passenger window and challenged me to think about direction. Where am I off to now? Why the hurry? Pace yourself!
She also reminds me that sometimes we walk side by side with others, and sometimes we have to go our own way.
There is definitely something …. afoot.