Walkabout: Day 65, Chewing on Vulture

December 23, 2016 ~ Friday

6:30a Morning Pages ~ Vero Beach, FL w/Jim Baird

I slept long last night, and reasonably well. The bed and room were very comfortable, and I am still quite sore from my fall.

7:30a Transfer to Cameron & Julia’s house. I may have to write in fits and starts today. Cameron asked me to help with Grayson while he is at work.

I spent the hour visiting with Jim this morning instead of writing. I have a Facebook post to construct and a couple of messages to reply to also. It’s going to be a busy day between juggling the baby and my writing needs. Fortunately, Grayson and Julia are sleeping now. I have some time to begin. And while I am sure tempted to jump into other fun writing, I know I need to honor my commitment to the morning pages. It’s opening the door to everything else.

I am feeling more fatigue and hunger these days. Perhaps the adrenaline from the travel is wearing off, as I am more settled now and life has taken on a more predictable pattern these last two weeks. I haven’t had the energy to attend to all of my personal business, and I haven’t seen the gaggle of friends I thought I would, being here in Vero again.

I feel badly about that, but my objective was Grayson. All of my available time and energy is being devoted to my tiny new grandbaby. Who is stirring… 🙂

I moved the bassinet into the living room, so I can keep an eye on Grayson and catch him before he gets too fussy. I hope I can get at least my second page done before he is fully roused and needs my attention.

I brewed myself a second cup of camp style coffee, following the keurig cup that Jim brewed for me this morning. The water got to full boil, and the coffee is still too hot to drink. I’m going to try to blow it cool, as I am anxious to sip on it as I write.

There was a message from vulture in my camp at Blue Cypress Lake. I didn’t realize it until the day I left. I had noticed the vultures – there were so many of them. I would see them circling overhead at some near point in the sky from time to time, and I would think two things – Wow! How many!! and Ew!

I know vultures feed on dead animals, and the presence of this many vultures could only signal the presence of many dead animals as well.

They would come near to the campsites, pecking the ground. I imagine they were scavenging for food scraps. They would spread their wings from time to time, particularly in the morning sun, and it is here where I first thought how beautiful they were. There are cream colored tips under all of that black, and the wing span was immense.

They seemed also powerful – and cocky in it, walking around like they owned the place. But if I walked near, they would casually hop off a couple of steps, spread their wings, and lift themselves just out of my way. They did not appear to be frightened, they just didn’t want me too close.

My last morning at camp was cool, damp and overcast. It had rained at 5a, and the rain still hung in the air, like the sky had not given up her all. I knew there would be no visible sunrise, but I wanted to spend my last morning by the water anyway. The mosquitoes were too think and aggressive, so I retreated to the car.

As the light came, I watched the vultures make their way into my camp. I had never seen them so near to my belongings before. They seemed to understand my presence, as they would look directly at me in the car, then nudge themselves a little closer to camp. Look at me in the car, nudge themselves a little closer.

I thought, what odd behavior. Do you know I am here? What do you want with my camp? There is no food out there.

One began to actually peck at one of my tent poles! Once, twice, three times before leaving it be.

Then one flew up onto the back of my camp chair! He balanced himself there for the longest time, and beaked the armrest a couple of times too. Then he fanned out his wings to catch a ray of fleeting sunlight. It was then I wondered… Do you have a message for me?

Vulture is a non-conformist. He does his own thing, unapologetically.

He is resourceful and patient. He does not hunt, and yet his needs are always met.

He is unafraid, and he eats death for breakfast.

He opens his wings to welcome each new day and allows the morning sun to warm and purify him.

Vulture is not the harbinger of death, but he transforms death into life.

He does not coo nor call. He does nothing to announce himself. He knows the power of silence.

He uses all of his senses to detect the resources abundant around him and exercises great patience in claiming his share.

Though most believe him unsightly, he walks with a regal air.

He makes quick work of his work, working smart, not hard. He moves with grace and ease in the sky, circling, watching and waiting until the time is right.

I saw a vulture feather on the ground behind my far. While I have been collecting feathers, I did not want this one. Ew – a vulture feather?! But I failed to see and understand the message this majestic bird had for me. I will try to appreciate him as much as his message, and I wish now that I had not left that feather lying there.

Walkabout: Day 64, Vulture comes to call

December 22, 2016 ~ Thursday

7a Morning Pages ~ Blue Cypress Lake, FL

I am fairly recovered from my day of debauchery, from the effects of the alcohol anyway. My face and especially my shoulder will take more time in mending.

I will break camp today and head to Jim Baird’s house. I am grateful for the offer of his guest room, and I think it lovely and divine that I will get to spend the Christmas holiday with him and his wife, Karen.

I almost decided to take the tent down last night, as it was dry. But I couldn’t bear the thought of sleeping in the car in such muggy heat again, like in Charleston, with mosquitoes so bad. I can hardly crack the windows. Sure enough, it rained last night.

The tent held up under the rain far better than under the condensation. There was very little water intrusion, compared to the mornings of fog.

There is a decent breeze blowing, but it is also overcast, so I don’t know how long it will take for the tent to dry. If I need to, I can always collapse it as is and set it back up to dry in Jim’s yard – or even Cameron’s. I have options.

I did not sleep well last night. I crawled into my bag at 9p and drifted off easily. But I was wide awake before 2a and struggled to go back out, for an hour or so. I was up for good at 5:30, and my head was thick and foggy. I feel a general malaise and sadness.

I know I can do better than this. I know I can be better than this. I know I can win this fight for my dreams. I know I can.

I positioned my camp chair just off the water to enjoy the sunrise this morning. But within seconds, the mosquitoes swarmed. I swear it was like they called a meeting on my lap! I retreated to the car. I needed to charge my cell phone anyway.

I will stay in Vero through Christmas, then I will head north to meet Edward in Asheville for New Year’s Eve. He found a deck arrangement on Airbnb, but we haven’t actually made the reservation yet. It’s quite a hike from Brevard, which is where we will be celebrating the 1st.

Another year has flown by. But this year, I can say that I am actually closer to my dreams. I have taken steps. I have taken a leap of faith. I am eagerly going after what I want – to be outdoors and close to nature, to travel, to be a writer, to go to school, to be sober.

I have actually gotten invited to travel to Italy next October. I don’t know that I will, I have already been to Italy after all, but I think it marvelous that Victoria Day thought so highly of me to extend the invitation. I really like her.

I can’t seem to stop scratching at my feet and legs this morning. I know some skeeters followed me in and are continuing to snack on me. I’m taking them down one by one though.

How do I get over being angry at Edward? Can I really marry him like this? He continues to fall through on me in a number of areas. Just when I think I have made up my mind to love him anyway, I have an angry explosion. It isn’t fair. I don’t know what to do about it. I really do think I need to see a therapist, to air, sort through, and analyze my feelings and strange behaviors.

I will take a shower here before I head to Jim’s house. I do not believe I will go for a run. I just want to spend these last few hours thinking, maybe even a little planning. I have some big steps ahead of me.

Plus, I hardly ate again yesterday. I had a bag of salad mix for breakfast, a cheap Wendy’s double stack for lunch, and a half a small bag of “natural” mango jalapeno crackers with an orange for dinner. I can hardly wait to have a real meal again.

Thinking about the reality of living in the woods in Brevard while I look for work and build a new life. I know there are services for the homeless, where I can at least eat a good meal once a day. I wonder what other services might be available to me? Where will I shower? Can I get academic assistance? Where is my “in the meantime” job waiting for me? How often will I actually see Edward?

It’s going to be cold. I believe I am prepared for that. I will start immediately on The Artist’s Way. I will research how to write memoir, and I will start outlining my book. Should I start a blog? What would the topic be? My journey to become a writer? The process I follow in chasing my dream? My aspirations, fears, doubts and elations? Is this valuable material?

Walkabout: Day 63, Messy resolutions

December 21, 2016 ~ Wednesday

5p Morning Pages ~ Blue Cypress Lake, FL

I made a mess of myself last night. I drank way too much and ate way too little. Make that nothing. I ate nothing, besides the bean burrito I had after my morning run.

I built a fire, but I hardly remember any of my time before it.

I tore Edward up over the Ivonne issue, which I thought I was completely over.

I have hardly a recollection of the day or night at all.

At some point I face-planted, and I think I may have broken my right clavicle. My face is skinned from my chin to my right eye, and I had to uncake dried blood from my right nostril this morning.

I hurt. I ache. And I am so tired of alcohol. I will never give up setting myself free. 2017 is my year. All I have to do is do it. And I know I can do it.

The sun is setting, and it is much cooler today.

I made it into town, and I got my labs done for my thyroid. Thank goodness too, because I have only four pills left. I’m proud of myself for getting it done, and it only cost me $10.

I made a stretch post of Facebook last night, about me being a closet writer. And about the fact that I now have no money nor means to support myself. Someone asked me who will play me in the movie. lol Oh how I wish I were good enough to make a story of.

And I am. I just have to hold to that belief, and the Universe is bound to bring it to fruition. I have a voice, and people value what I have to say. They tell me so, in so many surprising ways.

Walkabout: Day 62, Secret to a fault

December 20, 2016 ~ Tuesday

7:15a ~ Morning Pages ~ Blue Cypress Lake, FL

I think I will have extra coffee this morning. 🙂 Either I will buy some (if they serve it) at the bait shop, or I will fire up my camp stove and brew some more myself. I have no reason to leave camp today. I need fuel, but I can head to Yeehaw Junction for that, as opposed to the thirty minute trip to the outskirts of Vero.

I may or may not pick up alcohol for the evening. I do want to build a fire today.

I need to run, but I feel undecided in that arena. It’s already 70* and muggy. If I run, I will need to shower, and I don’t feel like getting naked today.

I have been serving the kids since my arrival ten days ago. I have had very little time to myself, and I have missed making full use and enjoyment of my camp. I feel like I would rather spend the day reading, writing and ruminating than being responsible.

Still, a good run would cost me less than an hour and would pay greater dividends than that investment. I love my athletic body. I love what discipline has made it capable of. I love who I am when I am active. I love not having to worry over calories so damn much.

I think that settles it. I shall run. Next question – when? The later it gets, the hotter it gets. It would be in my best interest to go out sooner rather than later. If I am spending the day writing anyway, I can continue my morning pages post sweat.

Decided. I will finish my coffee and gear up, get my glory on, then return for my cool down.

9:30a I went out solo today. It was only 70*, foggy and overcast, so I left Justice in the car. I have a concern about running her next to the canal, where I know there are gators present, especially since she likes to stop behind me to sniff around periodically.

So I was able to really assess my pace today, flying solo. The first half mile was 10:30 and continued dropping. I ended at an average pace of 10:02. I am reasonably pleased at this, since my running has been so inconsistent.

I felt good and strong, despite the humidity. I practiced running from my energetic body, not just my physical one. I enjoyed the music shuffle, boosting me at times, and teaching me about myself.

It will remain overcast today with a 50% chance of afternoon showers. The “real feel” high is 75*. Should be a perfect day for lounging around a campfire. With the cool and lack of sun, I could bum it all day.

I hope the smoke keeps the mosquitoes off me. They have been getting worse – or just getting more friendly. My legs are covered in bright red dots. At least they don’t itch. But I would NOT wear a dress right now. Oh no, no.

I did brew a second batch of coffee, which I am sipping on. I will make myself a burrito when I am done writing. That should make for a good, hearty recovery meal. I put in four miles today. That earned me 461 calories and a silver star for effort.

I should construct a new Facebook post today. Whatever shall I say?

I received a private message from C**** a few days ago. It seems he is trying to forge a deeper connection between us. He has asked me to keep our conversations private and has told me he has a problem with trust. Of course, my mars in pisces really ate that up, and I am enjoying our private back and forth.

I want to ask him for his birth information, so I can read his chart, but that would likely mean I would spend the day researching about him as opposed to thinking through my own life and situation.

Still, it could be pleasant entertainment for the day. I’ll have to give it some thought before I act. Plus, I already sent him a message this morning, and I don’t want to send another without first a reply from him. There is no romantic attraction on my part, I just enjoy the secret nature of it all, and the fact that I can perhaps share pieces of my story with him.

A question was posed in Your Mythic Journey – Would it be possible to construct the story of your life from what other people know about you? My answer would be no. I am private to a fault.

But I am trying to learn to open up and share more of myself. This with C***** is a chance to do that. I assume it is a safe place to share, but that could be a false assumption. I guess only time will tell.

Nearing the end of my morning pages now. I have some decisions to make about the flow of the rest of my day.

Cheers to that. 🙂

Walkabout: Day 61, Another solitary evening

December 19, 2016 ~ Monday

4p Morning Pages ~ Blue Cypress Lake, FL

Got a call from Cam late last night. He needed a ride to work. I needed to wrap gifts and visit the Post Office, plus I had already told Julia I would stop by and catch up the dishes today (I cooked dinner for the kids again last night), so it all worked out as a win-win for us.

On a side note, Justice rolled herself in something seriously FOUL this morning at camp, so I also needed to bathe her something fierce. It’s the first bath she has had in years – since that muddy hike in Woodinville. She’s just awesome like that.

I called Mom this afternoon to let her know that her Christmas package was on its way, since the office doesn’t always alert her to arriving packages. We started talking about our new lives in Asheville. I flew the idea of my staying in January. She responded with an idea to give our notice to buy out the lease in January. It would only save us a month and a half of expenses, but it would save us a month and a half of expenses, plust not paying for utilities and internet service. It really does make sense.

So this is getting serious. I am looking at the very real likelihood of camping in the winter in Asheville, while trying to find a means to support myself – and start writing my book. Oh and go back to school. Let’s not forget that!

What will I do with Justice? Will she be okay in the car while I am doing whatever it is I am doing? How will I bathe and stay presentable? Do I have to get a job?

I need a plan. I need a strategy. And I need to start thinking about it asap. In two weeks it will be January 2nd. Edward will be meeting me in Asheville on Thursday, December 29th, so there will not be much accomplished over those four days, except being a couple and celebrating the fact that we are indeed still together.

I keep thinking that I need to take this more seriously, but I also have this insanely sure feeling – instinct – that the right move will show itself at the right time, and not before. All I am called to do right now is rest, be present, and enjoy the gift I have been given.

I am in a beautiful campsite. I am lulled by the lapping water. I have ample room and food in my tent. I have gifts for the most precious people in my life. I have cheap Pinot Grigio. I hear birds chirping. I can take a warm shower after my run tomorrow. The scale at Publix says I am still only 134 lbs – hallelujah! I have water and a restroom and a pup who loves her mama. I am doing what many people dream of their whole lives – again.

It’s pointless thinking about Asheville until I get there. Honestly – what can I accomplish from here? The best thing I can do for myself is to stay responsible. Get that oil change. Take care of the tires. Renew my tabs. Pay my toll. See my friends. Determine where to stay until Christmas. Keep my tent in good condition. (I wish I could figure out the trick to the condensation rain.)

I think I will head north straight away after Christmas. I need to get situated and start scouting out my options. And I need to balance my books.

I am really making a mess of myself. But I don’t know why I am trying to protect these clothes anyway. I have been in them since Saturday. I won’t be trying to eek out another day. It’s different in Florida. I sweat. And things go sour much more rapidly.

I finished the first book my cousin Kathee gave me, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. I loved it. I am trying to think of who I might pass it on to. Seems like that would be the right thing to do. Maybe I will float the offer on Facebook – see if I have any takers. I think I will read The Crucible next. It is rather small, and it’s a classic. I need to lighten my load anyway.

Looks like it will be an early night for me. I am half way through the Grigio, and Edward says he will call around 7p. The sun is setting. I will have to retreat into my tent soon to avoid the mosquitoes and make use of my lantern.

I thought about getting a string of garland for my tent, but it feels like a waste of money. At the same time, it feels like joy, like a little holiday spirit, and I have never, ever regretted spending my money on a little holiday spirit. Tomorrow I will ask if I can stay here through Christmas. If the answer is yes, then I will splurge a little and decorate the tent.

The bugs are already eating at me. I’m going to head into the tent and set myself up for another wonderful solitary walkabout evening.

Walkabout: Day 60, A chance to practice forgiveness

December 18, 2016 ~ Sunday

7:15a Morning Pages ~ Blue Cypress Lake, FL

The Universe gave me the opportunity to practice forgiveness yesterday.

I was sure to avoid Wanda, Larry, Kathy, and especially Becky at the funeral service. I assume all of them played a role in keeping me out of the hospital room. In the least, none of them defended me against Becky. I came, I saw, I wept, and then Cameron and I left as the food and fellowship started. That free meal sure looked better than the burrito waiting for me back at camp, but it wouldn’t be right to stay just for the food.

The Celebration of Life was at Rob & Re’s house, but not until 4p. I had a drink with Cameron and Julia (Julia had to resort to bottle and formula for the same reason I did, so now she can enjoy a beverage with us), and I got to feed Grayson and play with him a bit. I ran out to camp to eat and finish drying my tent, and I arrived at Rob’s place shortly after 4:30p.

Adam and Rob were outside smoking, so I sat and chatted with them. Lakota and Becky drove up a few minutes later. My heart sank into my stomach. Ah crap! I didn’t think she was invited. Adam and Rob both voiced their disappointment as well, and that they hoped she was not there to cause any trouble.

As she walked toward the house, I had a choice to make. I was not about to be the one to make a scene at Rob’s house, so in the least I had to be cordial and respectful. But as she approached, I realized that my RAGE had abated, and that I only wanted good for her.

She stood before me and said only, “Are we good?” No apology. I wanted to conjure up anger between us, to keep her at arm’s distance, to punish her for how she treated me, but it just wasn’t there. The real me had already made peace with her.

Damnit. And in the same vein, thank God.

It was awkward, but I was graceful. And now grateful that the issue has been laid to rest as the man who was the catalyst for it has too.

Is catalyst the right word? Does that assign responsibility on Papa Bob’s part? Is he partly responsible?, for not doing more to establish and heal familial relationships?

I have been wondering the same about myself. I have allowed myself to avoid people who hurt me, instead of attempting to bring about healing. Well, I make a few sporadic attempts, but I give up when they are unfruitful. I don’t keep trying.

And why would I? Why would I keep opening myself to that wounding, over and over again? But if I don’t, who will? And who is to blame when the family falls apart? Or in the case with Shirley and the kids, who is to blame when we never come together?Am I not an equal party in the blame, if I have accepted defeat? Deep down inside, I know the truth – that I bear responsibility.

8:30a I have taken a couple of breaks. I needed to feed Justice. I got some advice on fixing the “rainfall” in my tent from a couple of young would-be park rangers. And I moved into my car so I could charge my phone.

Perhaps Edward will have time to call me this morning (he did not last night).

I also need to look up specs on my tent, as suggested from my ranger neighbors. Turns out I can tie out additional rings on my rainfly to keep it more taut. This will help both with the condensation and with more extreme wind conditions, like those I had at Bastendorf Beach.

I am anxious to get on with my day, but I also want to honor my commitment to my morning pages.

I will do some Christmas shopping today! Cameron said I can leave Justice in her kennel at his place while I need to be out. If I can finish the shopping today, I can ship out the packages tomorrow, and all should arrive in time for Christmas.

I need to get Grayson’s Christmas Eve pajamas and the family ornament from Edward and me. I want to get Edward’s pajamas and gift, as well as one for Shirley, Jennifer and Chase. Who else beyond that?

I’d like to do Christmas cards, so I need to be active on Facebook to collect addresses. Let’s check down the list: FL Family – cards only, as I will be able to visit with Drake and Isabella. Pop! I need to order his Cooks Illustrated subscription. AL Family??? Should I send something for Dad and Nancy? The kids? A graduation gift for Taylor? VA Family – something for Noah? Shannen? There are just so many people to consider! AZ Family – card only. MT Family – cards only. Christmas Eve pajamas for Mom. 🙂 List time!

Walkabout: Day 59, Another puzzle to solve

December 17, 2016 ~ Saturday

5:30a Morning Pages ~ Blue Cypress Lake, FL

I have been hearing strange noises in my tent for about the last hour and a half. It sounded like a small animal was walking in or pecking at my tent. I was fairly certain that nothing was actually inside walking around, as the noise seemed to be coming from the same place – one at my head and one near my feet. It also sounded like the noise was too far interior to be some bird pecking from the outside.

So my next thought was maybe a large bug, like a beetle or palmetto was coming up from underground and was trapped under my tent, and the noise was the result of it hitting the tarp bottom repeatedly, trying to break up and out of the ground.

I finally had enough and rose to investigate. I had to use the restroom anyway.

Turns out it is raining in my tent! Condensation has formed on the underside of the rain fly, and it has accumulated in the areas where the fly is sagging, which is in two particular spots over the wings of my tent. So instead of running down the fly and dripping to the ground, it is puddling in two places inside my tent.

How strange – and fascinating.

Now I have to figure out what to do about it. I have already unzipped one window and the door to vent the area. I will need to pull the rain fly taut, once the sun rises and I can see a little better. But I want to avoid a full-on shower when doing so, as I don’t want my whole tent getting wet inside, along with the belongings I have inside, especially my sleeping bags. I am actually planning on taking a shower today, so I want my only towel to stay dry and useable.

Ah the joys of another puzzle to solve.

It is much cooler, now that I have vented the tent. I’m surprised at how much chill has entered in so quickly. I am waiting for 6a to unlock my car, charge my phone, and brew my coffee. Quiet hours at camp are 10p – 6a.

We had what sounded like a boy scout troop move in after dark last evening, and they were noisy at first, but in their tents and quiet by 10p, so I will return the favor. I’ll put my boots on for walking this morning, as my slippers were saturated by the dew yesterday.

My alarm just went off! Cha-ching!

7a I have been self-indulgent. 🙂 I have been just sitting in my tent, clearing and cleansing my mind. I know time was ticking, but I was feeling so calm and at peace, I didn’t want to return to these pages. Even now I am tempted to forego my planned jog in favor of another hour of quiet solitude.

Thankfully, temptation’s siren song is being broken by the troops that are rousing. Pretty soon, this place will be hopping, and there is no quiet that can be wrought from that.

The coffee is good, and I am so happy with my tiny camp stove. I have the process down to a science – how much water I need, the fact that I don’t have to wait for the whistle to produce a solid cup of coffee or tea. That saves me on fuel, which I should be able to stretch a bit longer now, not only because of my use modifications but also more cooperative weather. Very little wind, warmer, and no rain to contend with.

There is a paved road leading to this fish camp, and that is where I figure I will put in my jog. Oh snap! I need to charge my phone to run my GPS. Break!

I decided to run my car to charge my phone and save my external battery. It took the entire drive from Vero yesterday to charge it.

I need to gear up for my run as soon as I am done with my coffee and morning pages. I figure I’ll just put on the same dirty gear as before, as it has been almost a week since my last jog, and I haven’t worn them since. I figure no need to dirty up another set when I can just sweat into the same.

My main hope right now is that the shower is available and hot when I return. If not, I’ll just call Cameron and ask to use his. But I would like to avoid that if at all possible. Besides, I have yet to use a campground shower on this journey, so I feel like it is a must, even if – and especially if – it is cold. It’s just part of the life I have chosen for this season.