A Story about where I’m at, what I love and why I’m writing.
Average ER wait time is 7 mins.
I stare at the digital hospital sign across the intersection.
There’s new car smell. Children chirping in the back seat.
“Yea it’s a Subaru Crosstrek.” Ryan says, getting back into the driver’s seat. The door closes. His seat belt clicks. The light we are waiting at is still red. There’s a sleek black camaro to the right side of us, a suave looking black gentleman at the wheel.
Ryan tests the integrity of the car stereo system, which I wouldn’t say is better or louder than the one in our car but, it is fancier, with the little touch screen and all. Suddenly some kind of dub step, techno, chatter, crawls up my spine. (Ever since Ry discovered Lindsey Stirling he’s had a new appreciation for dub step, can’t say I blame him, the girl is dynamite) The kids cheer from the back seat but are soon drown out by bursts of vibration. Ry revs the engine like 5 times. He thinks the music will cover for him. I turn to him.
“No babe.” I say closing my eyes and shaking my head side to side slowly.
His laughter insures he “heard” me.
“We don’t need to race the loaner car.” I tell him.
“Racing that camaro would tell me all I need to know about this car babe. How fast we can go in second…(something about rpms) I think it won’t let me red line, even though I’ve got it in manual, it over rides. It’s like pulling teeth in first gear but second gets it!”
“Sounds like you know everything already.” I say.
“Yea…when you and the kids aren’t in the the car I rally the shit outta this thing! ” His deep earthy laughter turns over a list of confessions.
“Yesterday, I went from Down town to O’Malley in 9 minutes.” He boosts. – He was probably delivering eggs to a couple who we trade with often. Lately we’ve been swapping fresh eggs for raw Alaskan honey and King Straphoria mushrooms.
“And speed bumps, just full speed now.” He says seriously. “The shocks on this thing are solid.”
Ryan swaps whatever dub step/techno station it was on to the Miles Daves station. And instantly the kids attitudes change and their bickering ceases for a golden moment. For just a second the dusty jazz music takes us all to our private universes.
“Subaru loaner cars the commercial series!”Ry presents to me in his enthusiastic commercial voice. His thick laughter swells as he depicts several examples.
“I take my Subaru loaner and the dogs to the River!” .
“My Subaru loaner car parks for free at the meters down town!”
“It probably take diesel!” (At this point Ry decided this would make a good photo op project for facebook.)
“I take my Subaru loaner car for dump runs!”
We laugh at each other’s stupid Subaru loaner car commercial ideas a few more minutes. And wonder how we could get a picture of the loaner car at the dump with out actually paying for entry.
In Fairbanks (where Ryan and I met, as middle school kids) there is a beautiful dump system. Unlike here in Anchorage, where the dump trucks come to haul your trash weekly, in Fairbanks, you have to haul your own trash. So there are several transfer sites where dumpsters make a U shape around a gravel parking lot and a reuse awning on a concrete pad collects unwanted but (possibly) still usable items. Anything from food to furniture. I once found a beautiful, aqua, blue, full size, antique baby buggy at the dump.Which, I cleaned up and used for my daughter as a mobile bassinet when she was a baby. Half my wardrobe is undeniably dump victories and the last book that seriously moved me, from cover to cover, was found at the dump with my dad on his birthday. The dump system in Fairbanks is a beautiful display of horrific and holy sites. It’s a special place. If you’re ever in Fairbanks AK, do stop and check for treasures.
We are headed south on a curvy narrow highway that clips through the inlet. A high, jagged, cliff towers over us to the left, with tufts of green foliage carpeting the cliff face. On our right a rusted railway eats up the rest of the coast line and to the right of that is the ocean inlet with mountainous islands floating in the distance. Sometimes between the islands and the shore line you can see the whales traveling. My daughter looks knowingly for them. But no whales today, just schools of tourists blotted on every pull off. We are heading to a pull off that is directly across from a water spring that jets out of the rocks on the cliff side of the road. There is usually a pipe covered in stickers that funnels the water for easy retrieval. Every 3 or 4 weeks we come out here with a dozen 5 gallon jugs and collect drinking/cooking water. To me this is a gift. The wild water spills over my lips and into my mouth. Flowing deep into every pore of my essence. Cleaning me. Correcting me. Craving me. As I crave it.
It’s a rainy Sunday morning. I slip on a pair of black yoga pants, my puddle boots, a bra. And, rationalize victoriously the idea of just wearing the shirt I slept in, to church this morning. It is my most spiritual shirt after all.. It’s a medium blue color (whatever that means) and has a cartoon whale on it, a thought bubble over his head that says “Save the Humans”. I grab a sweater, my glasses, watch (I notice my watch is 4 hours behind but working fine….? My inner Mulder urges me to watch for other hints of space/time tamper-ment)
In the kitchen I drink a huge glass of water and pack a thermos of tea and a lunch bag w/ an apple, a banana, almond butter and vitamins. None of which I’ll eat. Except the vitamins of course. “Vitamins are not meals.” I remind myself, in my tallest, smartest, sweetest, mom voice. And I’m ready!
“I’m going to renew my spirit!” I tell my honey – “you got the kids?” I ask rhetorically.
“Yes, enjoy yourself!” he says.
I relish in the silence as I drive. My children are young and noisy (Young is 8 and Noisy is 4, And I am part warrior part delicate flower..slightly introvert, with a vata imbalance, if you ask Chopra.) So anyway, alone time is a ritual gift that I give myself as often as possible. I drive down the block in a teal ford ranger and decide that today “church” will happen at the library on the (park) side of the parking lot that looks out over a duck pond. Libraries with their quietness, their humble “hush”, their organization and heavy knowledge base offer a grounding presence for my usually noisy mind and thirsty soul to recenter in. The rain is light and steady and the chain of mountains that hug the city, sit like deities in the distant fog. Urging me to be strong…and to listen. For God’s sake!…just listen. And resist the urge to translate. I try. For a moment my mind doesn’t explain anything. It doesn’t know anything. It just sits with curiosity and passion. But I’ll explode if I don’t write something soon.