April 30: day 1

Goats are way cuter than I imagined. There’s chickens, thank the lord, because eggs and entertainment. There are 4 ducklings that are deathly afraid of humans. And a huge black bunny, bigger than the cat. 2 cats. One is skiddish and one has an eye ulcer.

It’s so insanely beautiful here. It feels the way Trinity did to me in the spring, and it brings back all those feelings of bliss and invincibility. Until I’m laying here at the end of the day half paralyzed from hours of digging and gardening and running and sunshine (because I’ve been so lazy for the past 6 months)…!

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April 29

I have arrived at Twin Pear Farm. How did I not know that this lush, beautiful, picturesque Applegate Valley exists? I love this place already just based on the drive in. My trailer is nice as fuck. Came equipped with a ton of coffee, towels, aloe and sustainably sourced facial tissue. The trailer is decked out with camo decour. The sheets, the blanket, curtains, lampshade. So great. Westi was sure to explain that it came that way, they did not, and would not ever, choose that pattern.

April 28

A breeze is already moving through the yard at 8:30. The scene before me is so alive with bird activity – finches singing from the trees, orioles calling from the big oak, doves singing from the north, a pewee off to the south, a sparrow singing from so deep in the brush it’s almost inaudible, there’s a Cal towhee stretching its wings in the shade, and cowbirds at the feeder. I’d be lying if I said they’re not beautiful, the way their brown heads glow chestnut in the morning sun against their cloaks of midnight.

When Papa Claude tells you to do something, you do it, because he knows best. Yesterday he could see I was discontent so he told me to go for a ride in the quad, so I did. And it was fun! I feel like a little kid when I’m here a lot of times. We went on down to Walmart to get a new band for my watch. I drove Joe (GI Joe, the 1945 army jeep). And then we went for a ride in the Model A and I got to drive! Yes, I feel like a little kid. We also worked together to make a new cap for my power steering fluid! It’s been a fun and heartwarming day.

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I am off to start WWOOFing at Twin Pear Farm tomorrow. I feel similar to when I left here for the ranch a year ago – ready for a salvation from the road and a place to exist for more than just a few days. I am manifesting so much positivity, though trying not to have hopes or expectations.

April 24

Mountains appeared on the horizon this morning just before 10. I knew they were coming, as the roadsides started showing topography upon entering Wyoming. I am in the west now. The American West. I first set foot in this state 4 years ago and it looked the same as it does today – pale, light blue sky, strewn with thin, wispy clouds, and green hills, with freight trains inching by. I’m sure they’re not actually inching, they probably travel at high speeds, but the landscape is so massive that they appear to just crawl along.

I was greeted warmly by Bill and Jo as I pulled up, and I was told to stay for days. Bill got the sauna going and we sat in there for a while chatting. It was nowhere near as hot as the sweat lodge, but still intense. Upon entry the warmth was a comfort from the wind outside, but very quickly my face seemed to be melting off. You think that is a figure of speech, but I used my hand to investigate the situation multiple times, pushing my cheeks back into place. He threw water with peppermint oil on the rocks, which was an odd sensation, as adding water makes steam that intensifies the heat, but the mint entering your orifices and gaping pores feels cool. It is easy to forget there is a world out there when you are sweating. When I re-entered the yard I was overwhelmed by the deep gray clouds and pare aspen shaking in the wind. I staggered to the creek side feeling cleansed and rejuvenated, though dizzy and drenched in my own sweat, and I remembered why I am here. Not in Wyoming, but in existence.

April 23: day 2 on the road

MORNING

I crossed the Mississippi last night as dusk settled on the plains. In Illinois the trees of Michigan and Indiana turned into fields, and at times, the air was heavy with chemicals. I just said goodbye to someone I’ve spent nearly the past 120 days with. Friends and family frown and ask me why I am leaving then. Well, I am always leaving something behind. I couldn’t stay right now anyway.

I slept on some hunting grounds north of Des Moines. Those places are always good because it’s public land. The night was mild with starry skies and I awoke only once from coyote cries blaring from just beyond the bushes. It had been so long since I’d heard such sounds and the volume alarmed me at first, until my sleep soul remembered they are just fiends in the night. In the morning I awoke just after sunrise to a full choir of red-winged blackbirds and a screeching jay leading the bunch. It is Sunday morning.

 

EVENING

Exhausting being on the road – lots of time for the mind to wander. I made it within 20 miles of Wyoming but I can’t go any further tonight. Very defeating to drive through Nebraska all day and not make it out. Driving straight into the wind, might I add. I had no sleeping locations in mind tonight but I found a park on the map that I was hoping I could sneak into for the night. Turned out to be a free campground… so I am not even breaking any rules this time. I am excited to sleep under the stars for the first time since the fall. I hear a duck from the dark void to my right which is the reservoir. A few chirping frogs. Something unknown. Periodic splashes, large ones – geese? Distant drone of highway men. So happy to be horizontal (and) on the earth.

April 9: Grand Rapids porch sittin’

Feeling like I’m in a good, safe place. The robins take turns singing from their respective parts of the block. Slight breeze, green grass, bare feet. White disk brushes fingertips and rolls onto the sidewalk. Blonde bun, so hip. A stray mason jar of water on the rail, a birdie lies halfway between the wide open door and the wooden stairs. Footsteps on the roof. Swaying hammocks. This situation is very hip, it’s a pleasure to be here.

We recited poetry from the stairs after waking up dumb and dazed. Lazy morning. I guess it’s Sunday. Lazy Sunday morning turned afternoon, while we must have been looking away.

“The wind’s picking up.”

“Maybe I should go bring Taylor some mac and cheese.” We’re not 22 anymore, it seems.

“I feel like a winner today.”

The sound of trash rustling in the wind.
Did you write that one down? Please write that down.”

April 5: morning on the farm

 

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Two downy woodpeckers tap at the base of a bare tree. No buds yet. Robins sing from all directions; there’s one on the lawn, one on the road, two in the pine. There is a light rain, growing louder as I sip my coffee, but not an avian eyelash is batted – it is spring and there is too much to do. A red-bellied woodpecker has joined the downys. A song sparrow melody rings out from the shrubs beside the old barn. Two juncos tease each other from low branches. Red-winged blackbirds trill, there’s a few grackles too. I’m appreciating them, as I’ve been out of the east for some time. Appreciating robins too, despite their ordinariality and gutter-sucking habits. Their clucking and whinnying and constant jest lend to their good nature. They seem more like humans than other birds. Maybe that’s a large claim to make; I’ll just say that I, at least, identify with them. A few crows I hear in the distance now. It’s quieted down in the yard a bit. Cold toes, empty mug. I’m going inside.

 

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I spent some time wandering around the old barn, with a general sadness about how it was once a home for livestock and now all that remains are slouching doorways and splintering beams. It’s a project that wouldn’t be worth the investment. But as I came around the south side, I discovered that this old barn is, in fact, still a home. These Eastern Phoebes have claimed it for themselves this season. It made my day!

March 29

Beautiful robins poking in the grass made me smile today. I saw two mating yesterday – what a commotion!

I am concerned about my life. The magic of traveling can’t last forever. I’m somewhat done being homeless. I feel that I want to go home… though I am here in Michigan. That is supposed to be home. I would like my own place, though, and nobody to answer to. I’m tired of being a visitor everywhere I go. But I don’t really have much option at this point, do I? I should probably figure out how to make money.

Enough bellyaching… I am choosing to be miserable. Instead of whining I could take measures to move myself away from despair… startingggg NOW!

the month of March

I’m lacking written content for March. I covered a lot of ground and “didn’t have time” to put it all into words, so here are a slew of pictures taken during the journey from California to Michigan.

 

Arroyo Grande, CA: Every step I took, Christmas the Turkey was right behind me. Words cannot describe how much flattery he showed me in such little time.

 

Arroyo Grande, CA

 

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200 tree swallows at the Salton Sea

 

Milk and cookies on the tailgate. Steak dinner on the tailgate at Joshua Tree.

 

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Visited Joe Cannon and his bob-tailed cats in southern Arizona; Hiked on a trail called No Name in Carbondale, CO; Climbed to the top of Horsetooth Rock in Fort Collins, CO.

 

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Shout out to Nebraska for giving me 20,000 sandhill cranes to gawk at in the middle of a 10-hour drive through a state I have been in many a’times with little enthusiasm.

 

Feb 28 – Thrasher Surveys in Carrizo Plain, day 7

The mountains were bathed in pink at sunset again tonight, it never gets old. During my surveys today I was walking through the wash among the saltbush when I heard a very faint rustle in front of me. I knew, KNEW, it was a thrasher. I took another step, cautiously, and she dove out the back side of the bush with a single call to me. It was an intimate moment – her cry was a stern but helpless plea to leave her unborn children alone. Left me with a slight pang of guilt as I looked to the spot where she fled from and discovered a nest with turquoise eggs.

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I rest with sun-beat shoulders this evening. And something like a mind-beat spirit. Where is my mind? Need to practice quieting it. I decided today that I want to go to Michigan with Andrew. I want to see spring warblers and have Easter with mom. I want to be a little kid coming in for dinner with grass-stained feet after an early spring day of sunshine and opportunity. Driving across the country won’t get ya that, ya know? It’s in the past. But what have I got to lose by going, because I don’t feel that I’m finding my way here right now.

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