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Posts Tagged ‘place’

Redwoods – june 10,11?

land of the trees

I am in the redwoods – i made it here – to the land of the ancient giants. The sun is going down and i will soon sleep beneath these trees. As i walked over to the hiker biker camp, here in Jedidiah Smith State Park, where i was a year ago, my right arm began to move – circling on its own. I walked back along the empty road, me and the trees and the ferns below, and it began to move again on its own – a circle – as if dowsing some energies here. I ask, what energies lay in this place, the zone of the trees by the smith river.

I have entered into the land ruled by trees – first the forests inland – as i crossed yesterday from Klamath Falls to Medford, through a land of lakes and trees in mountain zone, and today as i headed out here – but now am among these ancient giants who dwell in this narrow zone. And the hotsprings of this morning, and the town of this afternoon seem so far away in both time and space. On the bus riding through the beautiful land of hills and trees i felt lonely once again – lonely for an area also lived in by human beings – a land where all live harmoniously, I am back in California, but somehow it seems to me more like oregon.

A giant downed tree trunk sprouting life, not only moss, but plants and leaves and other trees growing on it as it decomposes. As it is all around, life growing from decay, life growing from life, a cycle to be completed and renewed.

the cycle of life - from death and decay sprouts new growth and life renewed

Thin soil covers the earth, hiding the rocks beneath, the spirits that have not yet emerged. The high canopy of the redwoods blocks out much of the sky. This zone is contained, life on the surface, between the above and the below – neither too visible, and not the focus, the focus is on the life that sprouts, that is, the colour of green, the colour of plant life form. It forms a bowl or a cocoon, not from the sides like valley walls, but from the bottom and the top, and you cannot see far, the vista is short, for forest surrounds.

I feel small and insignificant beneath these trees towering above, and their girth is wide. I am surrounded by the living, and i am just a small part, i am so small. There is so much here. it presses in. like a city in some ways, but so different, but the pulse is strong, all emit energy and the dance is dense. I feel small in a different way than when i travelled across the deserts a few days ago, on the train, with little life and green to be seen – the earth and the sky so vast, so large, and i, the train, so small, so little breathing life, so little dancing around, the above and below in full force. I longed for the dance of life on the surface, and now it is here, i longed for trees, and now i am in their land.

Redwoods Towering above

I sit beneath the redwoods. although they are not the only trees here, it is their land. The narrow strip in which they still grow, where they remain, looking over the land and us, providing a zone where the other plants may thrive. Where they may thrive beneath the guardians of this land, beneath those that have witnessed so much, who communicate between earth and sky. They are the survivors in this small place, in the groves that have been preserved, only small patches of what once was. For so many have been decimated, in the early days, chopped down with eyes for profit and their use. It feels lonely and heavy. The sun, now giving way to clouds or fog, does not shine through and the eye does not see very far.

I am back to the zone of the familiar- returned to the shore once again. I lost sight of it for a while as i went inland and above, but now i am back, and i am not sure how i feel. The route is known and the intensity is gone. I have come back down, closer to sea level once again, I leave the park, to go to the store, one that i know is there. I have been on this road before, going the other way.

I feel the life around pressing in – as i need not process it all. I know where the bathrooms are, where so much it, and realize that i feel similar to how i felt before, a feeling i had forgotten about when i was out of this locale. Two kids hitch on the road in front, how small and insignificant we appear but in such a different way than in the desert with broad spanses and vistas, and a seemingly lack of life – the bare earth, the sky and us. Here is it the life forms that are much greater – trees and ferns and salal and more – both the earth and sky hard to see, for life abounds, and we are just such a small part of it. Life on the surface that is so visible, all manifesting into form, all manifesting so large and grand.

Ferns are some of the oldest life forms around, and the redwoods are ancient trees, which once lived in so many other locales, their range now limited to this narrow strip of land. Here ancient forms are still alive, ancient life continuing on into the present, living in the here and now – not merely emerging from rocks and stone. All becomes manifested into the 3D. I feel the density of it all though i am 10 miles inland, out of the deep fog belt of the coast, where air condenses into a thick haze. Here the element of water, of emotions, is so present, though now the sun shines on through.

The life i called forth – life in the trees, where the life of people is in harmony, different elements dancing together. Here the plant life grows in harmony – it is us who can seem out of place. It is not merely the redwood trees, but the diversity of life forms – the ferns, the sorrel, the moss, the rhododendrons, berries, alder, salal, trillium and more that grow together, intermingle, give each other life. we focus on the largest, the tallest, but they are all part of this zone, they all are part of the intricate dance – a dance that includes the animals and birds, and yes, today, us.

The sky is now grey – much more typical of this twilight zone, this zone where the giants thrive. I walk around, no people about, myself and the trees and the plants, green live thrives, lush and magnificence. All forms in denseness become manifest – in morphological fields. It is a twilight zone – i imagine dinosaurs roaming around, giants of the past, and wonder if they still do, invisible to us now. All feels so old and enduring, the past living on, clinging on, taking hold. I remember the petrified forest in Arizona, huge logs turned to stone, all dry and barren, with fossils of dinosaurs and ancient forests about, destroyed in some great cataclysm. I remember that place that felt of life destroyed, and i remember this images that came to me the last time i was here, of waves seeping over the land.

For now all life is showing, the life that remains. It is green, more green than i imagined, the green that i so yearned for, the green of the heart and of life. Still it feels heavy, pressing down, so much energy caught in moisture, and what has become form. Thought forms hang on, emotions come alive, energy condenses in bodies and in my joints, even the redwoods have burls. And i am a small part of this all.
Mosquitoes fly around my face, a nibble here and there. I feel insignificant – then i look at the tree stumps, those that were cut down, and i see how much power (wo)man can have, despite our size – how we have cut so much of this down. A mosquito bites again – i remember their power – able to cut us down – malaria, dengue, west nile and more. how they can cut us down with the poisons that lay inside, that they transmit, that have taken hold in them. size has little to do with power, and as another bites, i realize i am just a part of the chain of life. I sleep beneath the trees once again.

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Observing Place

I recently wrote about my sense of disconnection and i know it is a theme that appears throughout my writing. I realize that i often write about the energies of place from the standpoint of the observer, and not a participant. I know that the observer is never really separate, for the observer effects what is observed, but still, the energies i feel are from the point of view of the watcher, and the outsider.
I have gone through most of my life observing and not engaging. I travel through space and place but rarely connect. I seek to connect but do not know how. And i wonder is my role in life to stand outside watching? What does it mean to observe? Is it a valid place? Do i merely suck the energies in and not give back? And how does what i perceive both with my senses and energetically differ from that which i would if i were more engaged? Is writing a form of engagement?

Observing the energy of a place is much different than participating in an environment or an activity. I often wonder, do you “see” more clearly? do you really fail to “see” at all? Do you just “see” differently – that is from another perspective? For instance i remember my trip this summer; walking and cycling down the coast have different energies; sitting outside a campfire circle or quietly within, are different experience than building and maintaining a campfire, or participating in a conversation or drum circle there. Dancing, listening, singing or playing along to music are very different experiences, and while different types of music produce different energetic responses, the way which we engage also transforms both the energetic response and the energy itself. Likewise with sitting beside, walking beside, swimming in, boating on, or crossing over water; the form that the water takes – be it a small creek, a polluted river, a mountain lake, or an active ocean all elicit different responses and moods, but the manner in which we engage does even more. There is a great difference in how you will feel the energies of a small lake if you are watching children splash around in the water or it you are splashing around in it yourself. The action that we take, as well as our feelings and thought, are all forms of energy that in turn transform a place and affect other beings around.

I think back to my studies in sociology back in the 1980s when the paradigms were much different. My areas of study were social change and methodology, a seemingly contradiction, but both play into my current writing. The question of the role of the researcher, the observer, often came into play – is it possible to have an unbiased study? can you understand without participating? How does one’s presence effect what is being studied? The goal of the researcher was not to effect what was being studied. How much of that identity have i unconsciously drawn in, and how much have i attracted because it is my natural role?

With the change in paradigm, and the knowledge of the new physics and the discovery that yes, even with particles and waves, the observer effects what is observed, i think most accept that true objectivity does not exist. (what do you look at, what questions to you ask, what do you see and fail to see, just what lens do you wear for all is interpreted through a lens, what energies do you put out and attract). we all play a role in this cosmic dance and i wonder if i have been sitting on the sidelines for too long. (but then again, the bench or wall in a dancehall is as much of a place as the center of the floor)

I know that one of the reasons that the energies of a place often overcome me is because of my role as an observer – i let them come in, and do not put them out (but that is false, for energies are always put out), but i do not often seek to engage with or transform what is there. i am not neutral and what i write about is often my energy as well as that which the place emits. But is this a valid role? Do i need to accept this role as mine in life? And while i see myself as an observer, it there truly such a thing? Or am i in my small way, an enlightener after all?
 
 

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I feel disengaged from this place and that is an action i have taken. or is it the result of actions not taken? This feeling of lifelessness is so familiar and remembered and i wonder just how much of it has to do with the place. I begin to think it has little to do with this specific place per se, for the feeling is more a result of disconnection than of anything else – of life not flowing, of it being stuck in a puddle or a large shallow lake. It is more the zone that i am in that drags me down – the zone of disconnection.

That zone is lifeless and bland where little energy flows in or out, and it is the zone where i have felt that i am supposed to be according to the designs of others and society. It is a zone without passions or strong feelings in any direction, a zone of getting through day-to-day, of going through the motions, of survival and of not truly living. It is a zone where i do not feel quite alive. i wander around without a destination; my eyes are clouded and i do not see; my ears hear little, my senses dull and my body becomes heavy to me. it has been a while (so i believe) since i have had this sinking feeling, and i know it often happens in the fall. The days are getting shorter and all around is preparing for winter – the trees will soon drop their leaves, and all turns within, slowing and shutting down, crawling inside. The harvest will soon be done, the harvest of the food and of the experiences that were set out to grow in spring.

And we crawl inside – i crawl inside – disconnected from that which is around. but it is not just the time of year. i am in a city, a leafy one yes, but still i feel cut off from nature. I see the full moon glowing above the mountains that surround, above the buildings, and i know it still affects us all, but i feel disconnected from its powers and the mountains appear as but distant scenery. i sit inside and am shut off, and yes protected to an extent, from that which is outside the walls. I sit in front of the computer and that becomes my world. i crawl into myself and the thoughts become it, and i become disconnected from my body once again.

I know what i feel is the energy of disconnection, an energy, which like all other energetic forms, feeds upon itself and grows. I see little around which calls for my engagement which fuels that sense of standing outside, but because i feel lifeless and apart, i see little to connect with. As i seek to engage with the energies of a place, that renders me lifeless, and i feel caught in a downward spiral for i do feel the energies strongly, and that which i feel is disconnection.

I wonder how much of this i brought on myself – both in terms of the ego self and that of the soul self. I was more engaged my first days here – down at temple square – visiting the centres, watching the films, seeing the buildings, talking with few of the sisters – learning about mormon history and beliefs. some of what i saw intrigued, and some felt sad, and i have not finished writing about the energies there – the gradual change from the seeking and building zion to the city and culture that now is but i felt alive. I also felt pain and confusion inside, and thus pulled away and disengaged. And before i came, i thought maybe i would stay, but as i looked i saw nothing in mainstream american life that called – the materialism and sprawl – i felt it strong, and when i thought of joining in i felt empty and my heart sunk and i was disconnected from all that and did not wish to connect. like the air i found it hard to breathe in when i first was here, so i started breathing more shallowly, shallow like the lake.

But often when if has been time to stop, i feel my heart a sinking – for i know that what i feel that i am “supposed to do” feeds it not at all, but rather than listen to what calls, i pull away and it sinks some more, and i wander lost once again. But how to engage i ask myself, for what calls is so far away. The sprawl that i see, the cars and stores, drain me and i feel that voice saying just give up, join in, do empty work that harms and feeds the cycle, consume distractions in order to fill that empty space that yearns – for something. And then i wonder, is that not what i do anyways. But i yearn for something positive to connect to.

I still can see the beauty of some of this place – like when i went up to a park and looked down at the green valley below and the mountains that surround, of when i walk the neighbourhoods of older victorian homes and trees that are starting to turn – leaves becoming orange and yellow, but what i realize is that they are but pleasant scenery for me. They are nice to walk by, and i appreciate them, but they are not what calls.

I engaged for a few days at the Family History library, doing research on my paternal side. For two days i sat there looking at census records and other documents and was in an active curious zone, I took a break and a burrito cart on the corner near the symphony, and smiled as i ate it one the grass by the fountain where the construction workers with orange vests took their breaks. I went across the street and into temple square and sat by the small fountain crowned by seagull, the state bird, and a bird i love. For a few days i felt alive, on a quest, and while engaged with an activity rather than a place.
The place caught up with me, i was sitting inside in front of a screen all day, and my body began to slump. And i wanted to connect, feel part of something larger than me and saw that was what i was doing – looking for connections back in time, but so many unanswered questions, and no connection with anyone alive that i know beyond my father, was i grappling for something that did not exist. And i knew that i was grappling for that sense of connection that eludes me so. And for a bit i felt engaged, in the moment, see now that sense of connection i had been seeking was what i was looking for. To be connected to something larger than myself and to be a part of the living world. And seeing those names upon the screen eventually led me to feel alone once again, for that is what they are to me, but name on a screen – i know that there is more there but in the end it brought back the feeling of being cut off. And in their culture, which focuses on the family, that sadness at the brokenness of my own hurts me more.

I started this yesterday, and then let it be, for it brought out a sadness in me, so i engaged in something else and disconnected from this. I will put it out and be done with it, for that sense of alienation has returned to me. that sense of alienation from society, and of not having a place to be, a place to life full and not merely survive. But in writing about that i feed the energy, and it is time to put it aside for a while. I did today, and became engaged with theories of place, but i ask myself why am i here, not merely in this city or on this couch, but on this planet earth? For i know there is a reason, there is for each of us, but i only wish i knew what my purpose was. This disconnection is also with the source, and i need to reconnect somehow. But i think it is speaking in this jumble in my mind, this jumble that is even less clearly written than this entry itself.

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i arrived in brookings about 3pm – rode the bus this time. was not sure if it ran today but after standing on the side of the road by humbug mountain for almost three hours, at times almost descending to tears, i prayed that it did. and i have to admit i was glad to be out of there. And i am not too sure why – for it was a beautiful place; set along a stream, with mountains on each side, plenty of trees and some with leaves rather than just needles, and access to the scenic beach. But after my first night when i moved from the overflow to the real hiker biker camp my mood started to change. was it something about the specific locale, on a hill instead of in a wide area of brown grass beside the stream, something in the air, the influence of the sun, or was it just me.

I wake up in the sun and the sun shines throughout the day. and i am no longer in that twilight zone. I spend the day at humbug mountain – not feeling like moving on. i am nearing the border to california and running out of oregon state parks. I awake and the sun is shining and it shines throughout the day – and how different i feel now that i am no longer in twilight zone – the movement inside is no longer sluggish, and crackles a bit.

I am at peace and then i move from the overflow to the real hiker biker area and i feel the energy change – i don’t know what it was and i feel better now – was it the threat of being moved in on and wanting one of the designated areas to myself and feeling greedy about that which made me feel this way. is it the sun itself or maybe limited caffeine.

I tell myself i will climb up humbug mountain itself – to get views up and down the coast and walk through some old growth that is there – but part of me just wants to relax and read and not put on my hiking boots. i sit in the sun feeling warm and then feel yes i should go for a hike – i put on my boots and across to the well groomed and graded trail, and begin my hike, thinking oh lethargy will just go away, always better once you start- i go about a mile up, see two families coming down, the trail is fine – ferns, salal, trees with some old growth giants, and a fair amount of poison oak – but i still do not want to hike. i continue on where the circle is and then turn around. yes, this is what i am supposed to do here – but it does not call to me.

and i have been feeling a bit like a fraud again – not a true hiker on the oregon coast trail, making much of my way by thumb and bus and i feel like i should be hiking more – and should is the operative word. i remember how last summer as i bussed around lake tahoe camping at the few hiker sites, i then too felt like i fraud, like i should be doing the pacific crest trail, as many of the other hikers were. but i know i am not a backpacker in the long distance hiking sense of the word, and while i love the wildlands, at times i prefer tamer parks.

And while the rvers and tenters come to relax and enjoy the sea, here i feel i should be hiking. and a place often calls up an activity and do you feel it inside. And there are places for hiking, for working – of different sorts, for partying, and for so much else. and do you jive with the activity to be performed? If not, you often feel out of kilter and out of tune with the dominant vibe. And the activities often define a place – be it in a home – a bedroom or sleeping place, the cooking place, and the place to pee, and within cities there are now so many specialized zones, and likewise with areas of the country or towns up and down the coast. And i here i feel out of kilter

in the evening i go down to the beach to watch the sunset over the sea and the standing monoliths or rocks offshore. but i do not feel calm and become impatient with how long it takes to descend; and have to chuckle when a man on a nearby log boos when it goes behind the bank of fog that remains offshore here.

I get up in morning and it is sunny again – and i feel a floating agitation coming over me. and this is what i wrote as i sat at my picnic table before i left – feeling off balance here. The fog is gone and the light is clear and i feel unnerved, crackling and sad and this has happened before – many a time in fact. The veils of the fog are gone, and that heaviness and twilight sense of a dream disappear, and the illusions are revealed as the edges become sharper and more is seen, And at times you wish the fog to return, those veils that made all so much softer and slower, and a different type of comfort despite the chill. It has been warm here, i did not shiver in my tent, and even awoke in a sweat after my afternoon nap in the sun, and though it is beautiful here, i sense a different loneliness and being off the path that seems more intense – and it is the intensity that the brightness brings, a shock to the system and movement of all that gathered in the grey. It seems harder, harsher like the the bright paintings in bright primary colors with well defined shapes, not muted or blurring into one another, a vision of separateness, and in the greys all mingles more. and i feel like i am not camper or hiker girl though i can do both and it is a part of me, and i do not wish to be a vagrant upon this land.

I stand by the road and watch the cars pass me on by and a feel like a leper, a taker of life. i stand for an hour and then wonder if i will hit the trail, i go back to find it, and the ascent is steep, too steep for me with all my gear, as it heads over a smaller mountain. the road curved before me, and i am by a long wide pullout – rvs and cars and all go by and i wonder if i should cross the road and ask myself what the hell am i doing here – i start to dissolve, my smile to the cars is ultra forced, and they probably sense the discomfort in me. i am almost out of food – an energy bar and a few peanuts, and some instant oatmeal that i guess i can eat dry, and i have not had a real coffee in two days – some tea made with warm tap water, and a can of seattle’s best latte, if i stay here will i climb into the bush? I go up check out the trail but the ascent is way too steep for me. I know the day is nice and i am in a beautiful locale, but i am feeling desperate now – what the hell brought me to this place. i wonder if it was port orford, the town 6 miles up the road, with that strange vibe, and undertow of sorts, like a hippyville gone bad. and some others at the campground also commented on that town. And i felt it coming through a couple of years ago – and even in the 80s this was the place where thumbing was not good. and i wonder if it is because i am closer to california, and i regret leaving the kindness of the people to the north behind. And i tell myself i am heading to nothing, what is down this road for me?

The bus finally comes – glad the schedule that showed 5 days a week instead of the old 3 was correct, and pulls over when i flag it down. The driver is grumpy, and the signs telling passengers not to eat or drink have none of the kindness of those in the other county bus systems. he is curt, and i pay my fare – expensive here in Curry county – $4 to gold river and another $4 to brookings. There is one other passenger, a wanderer just like me, had all his belongings stolen when he left them in some bushes in port orford as he looked for a place to hitch – or so the story goes. his voucher he had gotten for food was in the pack and gone but the charities there gave him a voucher for the bus on down to here – looking for help in brookings where he might spend the night – walked out of a bad relationship in michigan two years ago and has been walking ever since – to florida for the winter, Tennessee in the fall.

The coast is beautiful here with the rugged cliffs and rocks offshore but grey has come in once again. The bus whizzes by so many
lookout points where i would love to stop but i pass on through. We get to gold river – another long spread out town with another weird vibe to it and a girl in jeans about 5 sizes too large gets on. The ride is beautiful, but i wonder if i am going the right way.

I am sad when we get to brookings – another ugly sprawl along the road. i grab a coffee at an espresso stand and then go grocery shopping at the large fred meyers wheeling by backpack around in the cart. here at least the state park is closer to town than listed in the brochure – the 1.6 miles walk seems easy despite the weight of the food.

A nice woman greets me at the check-in gate, chat with her and there is a good hikerbiker site with space and plenty of trees – I take a hot shower and now i do my laundry (yes a laundromat here) and now feel better, like a different person, having eaten a meal and now wearing clean clothes.

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It feels weird to be typing this in a tent -and i see my battery is not as charged as it was when i turned off this machine the other day.

I slept long last night – with intense dreams – saw a script though i do not remember what it said, a scroll of sorts. my dreams out here and the sleep have been full, a good part of my time it seems in that other world. the sleep was deep, though i still feel i need padding for my hips. Clouds or fog have come in and it seems that all around have slept late.

I heard the ocean last night, it caressed me and became part of me, lulling me to sleep, and i felt like i was in a womb. I crawled into my tent, the clouds above forming a container with the ground beneath – and so many containers, or now that i type this maybe veils – the wind-blown distorted straggling low-lying spruce that form a roof, then my tent beneath, and within my sleeping bag pulled up over my head – and the ocean continues, and it feels like a womb, that i am being lapped in the salty water.

An interesting sunset last night as a low bank of  clouds came in off the ocean, and another, slightly higher, came down from the north, meeting and starting to join just as the sun was falling behind – the yellow ball hidden from sight, but rays of gold streamed through the gap reflecting off the water below, beaming through like in one of those old religious paintings. (tonight it was different, the sun did wobble above the clouds, felt a haze around it, then it appeared to balance on top of the thick grey, and then it sank behind – and i though of the earth turning and of the moons rotation as i looked to the south and saw it in the sky.

Today the sun has gone, or has hidden away, and i come back to a coast i remember so well and i did not want to crawl out of my cocoon. but the day has come, and the roar of the traffic on the 101 joins that of the ocean, and i can spend no more time in that other world.

And i feel a bit weak – my diet i wonder – switching more to that packaged american fare – the stuff we call ‘food’ that comes from a package or a factory or is shipped hundreds or thousands of miles. I bought broccoli last night and it was bad, spit it out and it churns in my stomach. I lay in bed, or in my bag, before the ocean entered in, longing for fresh food, sun, from the garden, harvested then and there, a true farmers stand and seasonal bounty not stuff made in a factory or shipped from away, the seasons irrelevant, where time and place matter no more. i thought of fish and the oceans bounty, and all i have had is tuna from a can. But soon i will eat my organic peanut butter and conventional banana sandwich on whole wheat bread and i drink my coffee from a can. I feel a slight chill from the ocean air but i dare not long for the heat, for a week ago as i sweltered under the blazing sun i longed for the cool, and to appreciate what is here. like the food i crave, to be here now, in this time and space.

Last night i sat behind an outcropping – a barrier from the wind. a woman came over with her cane, said what a good location, and her adult kids brought her over a chair. “these bags i have are full of sand, i make beaches from my grandniece back east – sand and shells and rocks from where i go, her little beaches in a jar. She has never seen a beach, and probably never will.” i say “you never know, the beaches you gave may call her forth one of these years”. “times are tough all over’, she says, “they may never get to travel.”

A family sits not far away, later she says they are from wisconsin, living in their van, all their possessions piled in there, the dad looking for work across the country and now down the coast. I think “they have nothing, and are on the road, a different type of travel you see” and i remember all those i have met living on the road – the home a van, an rv, a car or a tent. an old dog tries to run with the kids, and they cook hotdogs on sticks on a fire of found wood as the sun is setting, laughing, making lemonade from the lemons in life – and part of me says how lucky those kids are.

I talk to the woman – she has been in the state just over a year and tells me some of her life; “when you see me staring up in the sky at planes, you know i have been somewhere too long.” “If i were 40 again i would become a truck driver and see the country that way” – she smiles as she recollects the two years she rode with her son in his truck. I love to travel solo, but the world was not ready for me – different then – a woman travelling on her own. And i rejoice in the stories and a moment shared.
But that was last night and now it is morning.

I walked to Waldport on the beach, and back again – between 3-4 miles each way depending on which map you read. The tide was out and the beach was wide, and with the grey sky the winds of days gone by had mellowed into merely a breeze. As i walked i felt myself on the edge of the continent – wondering why with this immense land mass i cling to the edge – the edge where it descends into the sea, another world not for us humans to live – a different place where i or others will never truly understand. and i thought of the gulf coast and imagined the oil slick and the animals and life that was suffering there and i prayed. Then i turned the corner into the small alesea bay, up towards the town and i realized that the ground or sand i was walking on had been part of that other world, under the water, just a few hours before and it would be again.

when i got to waldport i asked myself why? why had i come? as i know i have done time and time again. The sky was grey and the town felt empty and sad – as it had before from time to time. the resto with the fish and chips had changed hands and it was empty inside and many more places seemed empty or shut on the road that makes up the town. I sat by the bay with a weak coffee, and remembered my thoughts of earlier that day.

Thoughts of the return to the familiar – how i have done it once again, and i thought back to that time in monterey when i first was truly conscious of my tiredness of exploration and how i was doing so little of that anymore. The familiar – need not search out for much. you have an idea of what you will encounter – though it is never truly the same and what you had forgotten comes back and you see the sameness once again. And with the clouds of today the familiarity of the coast came back and Walport, the more blue-collar town – though that world doesn’t really exist out here anymore – with its flea market, and laundromat and wifi not to be found on a sunday with the library closed, made me think of robert and doing laundry on a cold rainy day, and my search for books, and how it seems to be more his type of town – life goes on – such a different vibe than yachats a mere 8 miles down the road, and where i sleep is in between the two, and i feel that way myself. then i went into Rays, the grocery store, more down to earth, with much lower prices, and friendly service all around; they were cooking chicken in the deli, and put aside a piece for me upon my return. and it is the genuine kindness of the place i will remember – though i know it can hold back as well.

I walk through the town one last time before heading back to camp – i feel sad, nothing here for me, as i go through this small town. I walk on back, the tide’s coming in, so i walk down the highway a bit, a half a mile to where i can cut down to the open beach again. The miles seem longer going this way, the return to my place a more arduous journey. The day had warmed up and i am hot and feel sweat before i remove a layer, and i am carrying a few extra pounds of food. My legs feel heavy and i am hungry for i did not eat in town – i can wait i say until i get back to camp. I walk houses in view, but the small headland is not the one i thought – still one more to go, and i want to sit and rest on one of the few logs. a group is when i left them, playing croquet or something similar, a few hours before, seeming the same and i think all that has passed through me in the few hours since i came the other way. I am almost there – my feet are hot – and i take off my boots and walk barefoot in the sand – and how much freer i feel and a patch of blue grows in the sky. I walk across the parking lot, the uneven concrete felt upon my bare feet.

At times i dream of cities or larger small towns – but what am i to do and how am i to survive there? I think of the kids i saw by the bench where i smoked on my way out of waldport – young with huge sleeping bags and ragtag gear making their way on down the coast. And how it is a kinder, gentler life out here. And i remember that roadtrip with robert, after we left this place for i just had to get out, hiding away in a motel room feeling like i was shrinking everyday – a trip to the inner lands – the valleys of california, arizona, new mexico and beyond, with some such hard-scrabble trailer small towns – beaten down with a harsher glare – that we passed though, and at times it seemed not quick enough – and now as i type i remember there was kindness there too, at least in many places. and in waldport too are the posters “meth kills” and the vibe of the kids who hang out behind the store. But here the strange health food/pet food store has expanded and moved across the street – not better times but cheaper rent so i was told as the storefront where it once was sits vacant – just up a bit from the drive through espresso stand.

I come back to camp and talk to a new arrival – a guy on a bike riding north against the winds; a circle around the country he hopes, started in Florida a year ago – the winter spent in colorado. he goes off to scavage free firewood. The kids who were here yesterday have also stayed and have a tinny radio with hard rock on low volume that sounds like it comes from headphones that bleed. i get agitated, and then i say to myself, this is all our place too and moments later go on over and talk to them. she has gone off, but i ask him where their journey goes – on foot as well and i am curious – started in Astoria a few days ago – packs too heavy – his almost 100 pounds, and walk and hitch as well – hope to make it to Maine, may take a couple of years with the winter down south – texas or so where family is – day four of the trip now and hopes are high. I think of my old dreams of crisscrossing the country that way – dreams that sometimes come to mind until i put on my pack and stand on the road and then long for a place to stay. Sun comes out and i take a nap as showers are being cleaned – and i forget the radio and when i get up it is off as it is for rest of the day.

It is another day and the sky is grey once again after the brief respite of yesterday’s late afternoon sun. And this is familiar – too familiar as the greyness seeps into me. The robins still sing so why not i?

But coming back to familiarity, that comfort we crave, the knowing of where one may stop, find a bathroom or a bite to eat. but there is the other side too, both the joys and the sorrows that come back in – and all is simultaneously as one remembers and so different too – not just the fact that a store has moved, or the sunset is different each day, but of that landscape inside, brought back in time, yet incorporating, however buried, all that has happened in between – but it takes time for that in between to arise again, because for a moment, be it a short or long one, one is thrust back into time, into the place that one was.

The feeling of loneliness arises again today – a feeling that has been gnawing at me out here on this coast – or maybe everywhere i go.
The wind blows down and the highway – the 101 – runs north to south, nestled between the waters and this narrow strip of land – movement – up, down, passing through. I think there is a reason why this land is so sparsely populated and it feels lonely here – and maybe that is what i have felt before. Yes the calm and the beauty draw me in, but then that loneliness seeps in – and maybe that is why people reach out. Or become hunkered down under the skies when they cry endlessly, bracing against the winds.

And once again i feel the need to rejoin the rest of humanity – the slowness enters in and i want to reach out and dance with others – to step out of this cocoon i have wrapped myself in. To engage in life, but what does that mean? and just how to connect – for here i meet others with stories, those which i feel inside. And i wonder what is the me – the i – who is she – already i forget that person who existed but a week ago in eugene and i wonder why she thought as she did – but veils have already been draped, and events and peoples and memories have been revisited so many times, the story line altering a bit each time, and i wonder what was, what was merely part of the script i wrote, and what is now just part of the story i write. but as i reflect back, to then and so many other times since i have last been here, i remember the people, the teachers in life, and all i had to learn and give – and i did not always see the lessons, and my face in the mirror, and did not see what i gave or failed to give in return as well. and i thank those teachers – the people passing through – for though nature and solitude have taught me well, and given a quiet to incorporate lessons from more hectic times, it is from one another we learn and grow.

Roads lead inland, over the mountains to another valley more unknown to me, and over more mountains to a world beyond. and what is it that holds me back – has my life become stuck upon the groove, to take one of them, or is it fear or the knowing that i cannot run away from the lessons i have to learn. It is cool and damp and i must soon pack up my tent and venture on up the road – when will i turn to join the dance of life once again.

The sun came out as i packed up camp and i remembered the joys off this place. earlier i remembered a time a few years back taking down a soggy tent with one glove on and wondering where the second had gone. i was late – almost noon as i prepared to leave, and the south tempted me once again – and i remember the last time here – the man walking with his cat and how the sky turned to blue and i decided to walk down that way. And the temptation arose but it was late in the day – and it made me wonder (again) if i came out to florence this time hoping for a miracle, a rescue of sorts, as i had been “rescued” last time – the solo journey south aborted there, and i stood on the road not wanting to go to Eugene. He appeared and the story has unfolded and i am back here alone, coming out from eugene as i had on my first camping trip to this coast.

but as i stepped on the lonely road to wait for the bus, i felt lonely again. and the sun is out and the wind is up and i send this from the library in waldport – on monday and there is wifi. and i head up to newport for a day or two and another chapter to be written.

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Months ago i set out to write about the energies and spirit of place but what this blog has ended up being is part travel journal and part a chronicle of my moods and emotions and has rarely achieved its purpose. I know that the story emerges as you write, but at the same time i want to try to get back to some of the original intent of this blog.

However, the more i become aware, the more i realize that it is impossible to separate the ‘i’ from the place where ‘i’ am, or even the place i wish to write about. especially now – as i realize the importance of the intangibles of a place – its spirit – not only in nature or in elements, but that which lies behind or beyond the 3D – the spirits of the human presence – of love, fear, caring, conflict, closure, that can be felt and that linger on – and the spirits of the elements and that which we have created in the material realm.

For with everything, our perception is selective, and i can never be sure – is it the place or is it me? Especially when i visit places that i have been before, and that have been significant to me, for part of what lay there is ‘my’ history and the remnants of my own thoughts and feelings are part of the energies that lay there. At times i talk to others and hear a confirmation of what i feel – but other times there are a multitude of feelings about a given place – or occasionally a dichotomy, of perceptions diametrically opposed. And what is the relation between the actors and the locale of the action. Thus all i write is selective, and can change from day to day.

Places have a mood and an ambiance beyond my personal view of it – and in all i am an actor and not merely an observer who stands outside. What is the relationship between the ‘i’ and the locale – how much of the ‘i’ is projected, and how much does the locale impact the ‘i’? How much are ones vibrational patterns in or out of sync with the dominant vibrations in a place. And at times i still must wonder if all is but a dream. Why is one drawn to a place and what pushes one away. And just what do ‘i’ focus on? what is filtered through my lens? what energies do i attract, manifest or push away? For the interplay is continuous and multi-levelled – in terms of thoughts, feelings, experiences, consciousness, and energetic or vibrational interchange. There is so much interplay of which we are barely aware, but that is no less real. And of what are we consciously aware – in terms of sight, smell, sound, touch, taste, feeling, vibrations – and how much more do we register inside.

What is the relation between the material, and that which lay beyond the five senses with which we are accustomed to perceive? Every place has its histories, and how much of it is felt in what one experiences now – and in what way does one feel the impact of what has gone on before though one does not ‘know” and what does it mean to ‘know’ – like those times you have had a feeling and only read or heard something later that confirms what came to you. And what is more enduring or cyclical as if “belonging” to the place, and what is much more temporary “belonging” more to the moment at hand. Then again, what is ‘a moment’ and can you separate time and space?

Precisely what does one mean by place – where do the boundaries begin and end? For within every place there are a multitude of larger and smaller overlapping zones, and there are zones that encompass many geographically dispersed physical places – each similar but unique. And what about places without a physical locale – for instance, the zones in cyberspace. What is the relation between the places we encounter on the material realm and those in other dimensions?

So i guess this blog will still be haphazard for it is so hard to bring it all together. And i know i will continue to write my feelings, memories and about the mystical/peak/trancendent experiences i have,  – but hopefully without getting too caught up in the “me”, and about the material world and  dimensions  and the spirit of a place. soon i hope to have a focus and to write some more of my generalized thoughts, insights and philosophies.

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The pond is a world of its own. Birds flutter about with narrow pointed wings. an eagle soars and dives into the water, snatching something behind one of the hundreds of lilipads with bright yellow flowers that dot the surface. the pond is circled by densely packed trees in a second growth forest, mainly douglas firs, but a few across the way with bright shiny leaves. I cannot see beyond the perimeters of the pond, and thus it becomes contained unto itself. One cannot see beyond, and if one were born here, could one imagine that something lay outside. Today clouds form a layer above adding to the containment. Only the sound of planes above remind me that this is not all there is.

The pond is just a few minutes walk through forest paths from the hostel where i stay. But sitting here, or there, there is no indication that the other exists just a few hundred metres away. The hostel grounds with a huge lawn with teepees and camping spots are surrounded by a thick stand of douglas firs that you cannot see through, fronted by scotch broom in bloom. The trees form a barrier that encloses and marks the boundaries of the lawn containing what is within. If i had not once been told about the path that leads out, or seen the vaguely placed sign, would i have known the pond was there at all? Would i have walked the perimeter of the lawn, ventured around the edge, and found the path through the thick forest that leads to the world of the pond and beyond?

As i sat on a bench looking out on the lawn, before i ventured into the forest, i felt the trees closing in on me and realized that i have felt this way before. In many ways they form a fence or a wall, and all you are aware of is what is contained within. And they can seem to oppress and hold you in. There are no vistas to stretch the imagination, a visible place beyond where you may go or not. For this seems to be all there is. I feel less expansive here, closing in onto myself. At the same time I feel an urge to press on through but lack the vision of how and where, unable to see beyond. Nothing catches my eye or calls me forth. i see a barrier in front of me and i feel trapped.

When i came out here to the northwest i initially loved the denseness of the forests and many of the island channels and narrow valleys for they nurtured me and contained. I felt nurtured walking through the dense forest with is floor so lush and trees so grand. I wanted to crawl into narrow valleys, bays, sounds and fjords to receive the hug that they called forth. And in these locales i felt embraced, but then would feel the need to press beyond as the walls began to close in.

And the trees are forming one dense wall. I know there is a world beyond – after all i found the pond. But i do not see the paths, and there is nothing that calls. Do i need to crawl inside before i venture on out once again? I wished a place to rest and reflect, and i have done that to a certain extent. But i feel cut off and isolated and that barrier reminds me of that which sometimes exists between myself and the rest of the world. I know that all is interconnected, even that which is not visible at the time, and there is a way through.  but sometimes it is so hard to visualize when i cannot see the other side.

The hostel itself seems like the remnants of a dream, i can see the glory of what once was and imagine the days when it was full of life with all the teepees and wagons and dorm beds full. The hostel is still here and cared for with only a few guests, but the passion is gone . The place hangs on though the dream has died, and is that what i feel inside. Has the wall closed in on others too. But it is a wall of life, and one that can be passed through. And it can teach that the vision must come from inside – after all the pond is full of life.

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This entry is so difficult to write, but i need to finish it and put it out there, move beyond the zone that this is about. Port Townsend felt to me like a fort, and i feel guilty writing what i wish to say, that i am not being fair or right, that i dare not feel this way. And i don’t know what is “the truth” if there can ever be just one, and what is my perception and the lens i saw all through. For the lens has come to me before in Port Townsend and other such locales, so how much of it is the place that brings this lens out in me, and how much of it is the lens itself that helps continue to create such a place so as to keep the lens on.

Port Townsend is such a wonderful place, the ideal, i hear people say. And in many ways it is true, but i feel something amiss and sad inside. The town has so much that i value and thought i wanted, and maybe still do. Independent bookstores, cafes, galleries and shops selling herbs and ecological clothes dot the downtown. While a safeway and McDonalds are out by the park and ride, a large food coop is closer to downtown, and a farmer’s market happens every Saturday. Organic farms with CSA box programs dot the area. Festivals happen throughout the year, arts and culture schools and classes abound, and it is a place that seems to have a sense of community, of connection and voluntarism and people who make things happen. i know that i once wrote that this place was a beacon of light, but now it feels more like a fort, like the place where i stay. Another woman looking for a place to land, to call home, told me this a few days ago so i know the feeling is not just me. And i have heard before, that for some it can be a tough town to break into. While nice to visit, it is tough to stay, and the community that seems so nice as you look on from afar, has boundaries and walls thicker than you saw at first glance. And i feel locked outside its gates. And i also ask myself do i really want in – and is my reason for saying no that it truly isn’t me, or that i reject what i feel has rejected me. And honestly it is a bit of both.

And i have to admit, the town felt a bit staid and closed, that despite a lingering progressive granola air and the arts culture, i felt a lot like i could have been in New England. there is a reserve, and a feeling of it being a very established place, where the energy flow has been set, and a bubble created that blocks much new energy from entering in.. For though i had come to visit, it was a place that appealed as a potential home, but somehow i felt that i would not be welcome there. I have been drawn here before and left it with the same feeling, but something draws me back, the idealness of it all. It represent the community that i say i want with the homes with gardens and sidewalks on many of the streets, a real downtown where people go, and active community groups. It is the type of place i imagined i wanted to live, but something pushes me away. Maybe i just do not fit in, a single childless broke middle aged woman in a community that seems to have more families and retires, though statistically i am about the median age. But i think it is more than that. For though i have been drawn to these types of places in many locales, there seems to be something that pushes me aside.

While i was there a heavy dark energy clung to me, one that i could not shake off for very long, but that disappeared when i left town. Though the weekend turned sunny, a dark cloud hung over me. I felt like i was suffocating as a dense energy crawled inside. I walked on the beach under the cliffs to and from town hoping to shake it off, but often i did not see what was around. I tried to stretch a bit on my last day there, a Sunday when i walked around the bunkers at fort worden, for all felt so condensed inside. It came and went and came back again. And i feel guilty for saying this, that it is i who is wrong, for it is not a place to feel bad or criticize, how can you dare say that about here, And it is precisely that belief that i must hold all inside, that made me feel like i was to suffocate. Or was it the belief that i was shut out that

I am not exactly certain what brought this on, for i know it was not the first time i felt those emotions and heaviness there. I stayed out at the hostel at Fort Worden and the whole town seemed to me a bit like a fort – guarded and hesitant as to what it would let in. Was it the town per se, my activities or lack of them there, the hostel in the fort itself, or something in the air? Or was it that i was trying to return to what fits no more, and though part of me still yearns for it, i cannot be let in no more? Or was it that this type of place was really never quite me, or that i was reminded of being shut out in previous locales. Or is it because it represents something i want so badly but have not been able to achieve?

For beneath the politeness of the place, there is a reserve, and a wariness of the people they greet. the vibe here reminds me a bit of victoria and seems a bit canadian, When i came through in 2001 or another time, i felt what i called a city vibe here, people not as friendly, more reserved and i noticed after being in other small towns they do not say hello on the street, though cars stop for pedestrians. it is polite, that it the word. And proper in an alternative type way, no one would call someone a name, it would be the cold shoulder, or snubbery or exclusion instead, a certain judgment that exists beneath the stated openness. And i felt the established older boomers in comfortable clothes looking at me, a wariness on their faces, and the old energy around, yes, there are many grey ponytails and creative types, and a tolerance towards some, but still a feeling that i do not belong. And that feeling that i am not welcome changed my energy, and i became someone who would not be welcomed with the dark cloud that hung around. And does this place remind me of others where i was not allowed in. And it still brings out the edge in me. For that feeling of rejection cuts me deep, and i tune into it, though there are other more open people around – and i did chat with some in the cute stores or on the streets.

And maybe some of it has to do with the hostile – oops Olympic Hostel at Fort Worden where i stayed. I felt my energy shift as i sat out on the bench, waiting for opening time. a young woman with smooth shoulder length blond hair and a hard look on her face got out of her car, walked determinedly right by me and i felt her eyes glare. She went up the stairs and into the residence – an employee i asked myself, but the realized that she was the managers daughter or friend. But something there got my defenses up, a generalized vibe, buried memories or a brief interaction at the visitors centre when i went to pick up my bag and the second woman was not nearly as welcoming as the first.

I went around the corner to where the office was. A guy in his mid forties was opening up – he looked at me blocking the entry and asked what is it you want in not the most hospitable tone. I do not remember his exact words, but i remember the tone and felt like i was being checked out as he looked at my backpack and my attire. I said i had a reservation, and he paused and let me through. When i went to pay, he asked if it were for all five nights, and he asked me twice, i went to say yes, but then something in his tone set off some alarms so i said no just two for now. We talked a bit and he opened up and became friendly but as i walked away the manager came in and questioned my paying for only two nights in a slightly accusing way. I had known the woman who had worked there before, and had a similar feeling from her off and on during the times i stayed there and it was a vibe i detected in many people in town.

I went down to the dorm, which had been moved, and there was one bed taken but the belongings piled around and on top made me believe it was someone who had been there for a while and that i was invading her space. There were two huge suitcases, the biggest you can buy, and bags and boxes and more that extended into the areas of 2 of the other 5 beds. It struck that cord in me saying you are pushing into someone elses space and made me wonder how welcome i would be down there. I went upstairs to ask about her, and was told that she was leaving the next day, had been here over three weeks and may have found a place, and it was time for her to move on. instead of sympathizing with her plight, i felt defensive in wanting my space too.

I asked about the wifi, and he said it was by donation, and showed the can with suggested donation $3-$5 clearly marked. I balked at that, saying at all hostels i’ve been at it has been free. His response was that it was expensive $1200 a year (which by my calculations works out to just over $3 a day for the entire hostel including business use, or about 10 cents per bed – yes most stood empty but) and that it was in the spirit of hosteling like donations for coffee or breakfast, which on my reservation was included in the price. I became defensive, and he said in a clippy dismissive tone, think about it and said there is wifi out at the commons building in the park (which was closed and i could not connect there). i did not check it that night, and the manager was hostile to me, i did give a donation of a dollar for the wifi and started off on a bad foot. I felt like i was being nicked and dimed and wondered where those “donations” went, and did not feel welcomed in the least and he reminded me of those judgemental closed liberals who i have encountered too many times before. And hearing that clippy dismissive tone, i got into that old pattern of mine, and searching for problems and problems i did find. And i think that help colour my view of the town, for where you stay effects your impressions of a place. But i also felt that he was representative of one element in the place.

And i think that was it, the hostel was not meant to be too welcoming, with the all day lockout and more. And i felt bad for not thinking it was all wonderful – one other said something about the lack of heat in the room where one night i needed three blankets just to keep warm (it was in the low 40s at night). But i feel bad writing this, as if i am the one who is wrong, for there is much good about the place, but the (un)welcome i received brought out the negative side of me.

i feel that it is wrong for me to write this about the place that it was i who was bad, and thus proved it, deserved that kind of reaction. but i know it was an energy at play, feeding each other, i dismissed and judged and feeling that closedness reacted in a way that “proved” the person right, for when one is looked down upon or seen as lesser, it is easy to slip into reactive behaviour and become the judge myself. And i think now of the power of love, and the energy it has, not romantic love but that of people and others in general, and when it is shut down, or when there is distrust, it brings forth a new energy entirely of its own.

The woman with the bags came in and we talked, and it was such a relief – she was trying to relocate and had problems finding a place to stay, saying these places are illusionary, not as open or friendly as at first glance, and while she had found something very temporary, she did not know if she could find a longer term place, for as doors opened up they shut firm just as hard, and the town seemed closed to people like her – a wandering woman spent years in alaska, childless, single, and with a roaming path, and she had tried other communities, cute and liberal too, and found that there was little place for her. i could relate, and it felt we shared, but then i went down and to bed.

She came in about five to ten, just as i was ready to turn off the light on my bed and go to sleep and said i hope you are not going to sleep quite yet, i need to pack, and that set me off – for i saw her bags and stuff strewn around, and i was exhausted and 10pm was quite time. so i spoke up, and then we got in a fight and instead of making a friend i made an enemy. Did i see in her situation, the frustration of my own? It was not like she was packing a single suitcase, and she’s been back at the hostel for a few hours and waited until then to walk back and forth, stacking bag after bag in the aisle that was right by my bed. I should have been more generous, and was made to feel that i was wrong, spoke to the manager about the posted quiet times who just said curtly and unsympathically well she needs to pack. And i just felt more defensive like i should hide away and all my boundaries are wrong. And i am the bad one and maybe that is what i became. I asked the manager about cancellations the next day, they had a 48 hour policy and he said don’t worry about it, and now that i think about it i should have left. But the town i still imagined as ideal, a place i desperately thought i might want to stay, after all it is why i had come all this way. I’m not sure to the extent that my lens were clouded or to what extent i saw the underside clear, but after that the town felt more like a fort to me.

I feel guilty writing this – oh, it is such a wonderful place, how dare you write anything that is not entirely good – and maybe that is why i have felt like i am suffocating. Though it is by the sea, tides roll in and out, but it feels like a place where you don’t dare make waves or rock the boat, and there are so many boats being built and sitting in the harbour, how does a person like me, an outsider, not rock any one. And maybe that is why i am locked outside, not only from this place but from so many around.

I don’t know why i should feel this way, for there is so much nice here, and maybe that is it, nice is the word. And bland, and i think that is it. But all feels so bland and conventional and proper in a left coast type of way. And my writing has become bland as well, as i feel my energy sucked out of me, I feel passionless here, and i pick up on that although i know many must have passion to create all that is around. And so many do live their passions in their daily lives. It feels a bit like a place of “do-gooders” with whom i never really fit, even when i lived this lifestyle, too rough around the edge. Those who were nice, but never really let me in. In some ways it reminds me of N who i dated a long time ago, so perfect on paper, a sensitive progressive artsy guy, but something was missing, something that i could not put my finger onto, though when he turned my aside i was still crushed. But i do feel a staidness to this place..

I felt it was not a place where i could see someone dancing or singing with life, no great outbursts of emotion of any kind. I can’t see drunk debauchery or even anyone driving to fast. And while this constraint bothers me, i wonder if it is just a mirror – for i know i get upset when people talk or play music too loud or step out of my bounds, and i avoid the drunken scene, So why does it bother me, and what does it say. And the town is so full of expression in many ways – the artists and writers and so many more, but what i perceive is a safety zone that i could never quite fit in, Though there is debate in the paper about different issues, i feel like you cannot step to far from the albeit progressive norm. I felt like this is a place of the good, and though i seek out the pure, the good often feels oppressive to me. i feel that what i am writing is wrong. Or it is merely that i could not sing here? Or is it that i have not pursued my passions, and thus really am not welcome here, And is it seeing my own failure to sing and dance that brings out the darkness in me, the darkness that no body wants here.

And is it that i feel that i am not allowed in, and others also say it is a hard place to break into. For i have too much of an edge, and being here it comes back more. But many are not too traditional and was redone by some hippies and this town in its first incarnation had a rougher edge. but i feel faces checking me out in a not too friendly way, look at my worn pants and my ripped shoes and while polite, turn away. But even on my visit here in 2001 when all was new, i still felt that way. I feel the judgment around typical of a certain progressive crowd. Judge not and ye not be judged, but i still feel a protective cautious atmosphere. And yes, the judge in me comes out.

It is established and settled and emits that vibe. And while it has gone through various transformations, uptown feels like it has often been that way with the old victorian homes and mainstream churches, i know that downtown was once rougher with bars along the docks.

it feels like a fortress, protecting what is and in that way is so much of america post 9/11. While a crunchy liberal vibe, rebuilt in part by hippies who rediscovered this town many years ago, it feels like the walls have been put up to keep the evil elements out. And it feel like more and more towns are this way, the ideals of starting over, and building anew, no longer possible in these places. Is this a cycle places go through, or is it part of the transformation america is going through – not longer a place of exploration or of any frontier, but of protection of all that is. and so the hoards wander more, knocking at the few doors, and we are turned away. Though here there aren’t the “no” signs you see to the south, or the watchful police, and kids still busk on the street and you see a few who seem to be known with backpacks or bicycles and more.

And in some ways who can blame the people here, it is ideal in so many ways, in an area where much has been stripped away, poor communities, a few nice island enclaves, some rougher places and those dying out, and other places like this but without the community spirit. And community has boundaries, those who are in and those who are out, and the welcome on mainstreet seems but superficial. And i feel like i don’t fit in, and it is not only here but in the port townsends in so many places.

And are there any new places of dreams – there must be somewhere i hope. I guess i dreamed of this place as an ideal, and say little that would allow me to stay. And in the dream not only of there, but of many places like that, i turned to despair. And though i saw almost nothing for rent, maybe i could have stayed, but it most likely would have been on the edge. And what i want to be is in the included middle, a dream that i think was never for me, for all too often i have placed myself outside, and now in my life that is where i live, so far from the centre and i feel so cut off. And maybe to learn that it is ok to be on the outside, for in these types of places you will not be hunted if you are there, But the feel is that i would be tolerated, in the type of place that i so badly wanted to be accepted. Or did i?

As i read this i realize that this is the type of place that i have been taught to believe “is good”, the middle class, the artists, the community and more, the type of place that i was supposed to want. And yes it can be “good” but at the same time i also was taught (by who i am not sure) that other places and people were not so “good” and often in my life i have learned that is not at all true. For I know i have often felt more welcomed in rougher or simpler places that do not pride themselves on “being good” and maybe it is that disparity i see, and the beliefs that i still hold inside, beliefs that i thought i had let go of. For i have been to many of these places, the ideal liberal crunchy towns, believing that is where i am meant to be, and have left time and time again, feeling something off – that this is not the place for me, but still have clung to this ideal and that image of who i am and what i should be. I guess now is the time to lay it behind, keep the parts that i value, but stop clinging to this misplaced ideal.

I have left now, and it is time to put this out, for i have let this dark energy hang onto me too long. Part of me wonders if i should publish it, but if not i think i will hold it in.

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I am in Port Townsend and i feel like i have entered a time warp. It is not merely the historic downtown with the old brick buildings that line the main street or the victorian homes that dot uptown, or the emphasis on historic preservation here, that makes me feel this way. Nor is it because of the predominant vibe – a crunchy liberal in moderation one or what appears to be the average age, older than the norm, but not yet a seniors community, nor the traditional mainstream churches that exist in old buildings on many corners uptown. It is not the old Fort Worden, now a state park which houses the hostel where i stay along with many arts insitutions, and was made famous by that movie, an officer and a gentleman, that was filmed there now many years ago. nor that it is in many ways an ideal small town, with a downtown lined with cute independent shops and restaurants, safe tree-lined streets with older homes and sidewalks, a pretty mainstream arts scene, active marinas and boat building, an independent food coop, and community events all around. It is a small town that works, not swept away by the times we live in now, with a middle class that participates and while many are poor, there is not a visible underclass, or maybe that is because the town is extremely white. Port Townsend seems set back in time, the ideal(ized) place that is now rare to find, but it is also i who has stepped back in time.

My feeling that i have stepped backwards in time, has more to do with my return to this place, than the place itself. I am not only conscious of old memories returning, but also old emotions that come swooning forth, in relation to both what is remembered and in reaction to what is happening in the here and now. I find myself reacting in ways i once did, ways i thought i had dropped, and wonder what part of me it this which is coming out.

Not only do i walk down the same street or sit on the same bench as i have the times before, but i found myself picking up some books of the library shelves, and remembered i had looked at the very same books last time i was in this town. thought patterns come back too, not in relation to the here and now or the past, but also towards the future and my life situation. I feel like the same person i was back then, facing the same dilemmas and looking in the same old places with the feeling that i cannot crawl out again.

While part of the reason i came up here was to write about my journeys in these lands, knowing i would pull up old memories that were held in this place, i never imagined that i would relive so much of what has happened before, for it seems the past lived here has slipped into the present. In many ways it seems like i have never left, and that all the intervening chapters of my life have been erased of were but a dream. It seems like i have entered a container, or a parallel universe where time and space are but one.

The memories are contradictory, both soaring highs and crushing lows, and i still find myself experiencing both. But while the emotions are so real, consuming my being for a short time, somehow feel like i have stepped outside. In watching all this am i the witness they talk about, becoming more aware and conscious, or am i a ghost who has come back to live or am i just losing it? What emotions that i feel are endemic to my presence in or relation to this place, and which are triggered from memories? Am i here to become more aware or am i just playing a dangerous game?

For i feel that i have stepped backwards, gone back to a previous time, not only in terms of memories but in the way i react and that i feel. And i ask myself how i ended back here though i see both the steps i took and warning i received. Why didn’t i listen i ask myself now, plummeted down into depression again focused on just how can i get out, and with the return of the feeling there is no where for me to go. Why didn’t i let go, and take a leap, out to the future, unknown and open, just what was it clinging to me. Did i come back to let go, or did i come back to relive once more. If anything this trip here has helped bring some of the shadows to light, but have they been brought to light before.

I  reopen once familiar neural passageways – and have forgotten all else i have experienced. And i feel that i have not learned, that i have just willingly stepped back into a rut, one that i imagined that i was moving beyond. I am back in a place, not only physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually too. And can i step outside for i feel that something has grabbed onto me or is there a certain alice that exists here.

While i have stepped out of the time warp, another haze hangs over me, keeping me separate from all around, and leading me to flicker in and out of this place. I am caught up in thoughts, those that were held here before, and which greeted me with open arms on my return to here. And it is those thoughts of not belonging to this place, and being outside, those of sadness and hopelessness and anger hanging on, and this is what i see. What i experience now, is it new or am i wearing an old lens? For the emotions occur in reaction to what has happened now, or did these emotions create the experience? The outside is as blurry as the time warp i experienced yesterday, but it is that mental haze – the being that greeted me.

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(re)interpretation

I write several stories about my life and places i have been and passed through, stories of how i arrived and left, and how i shrunk and grew. But as i write, all seems different as i reach the end. Through writing the story i have interpreted the events through yet another lens.

Now living and telling/showing of a place are two very different things. In recollection you see all with new eyes, like coming back to a place after many years away. You are familiar with what is there but you seen it in light of where you have been. You know what happened and you know the outcome. You see the experiences that were to come as a result of being where and who you were. The living might have happened a few minutes, hours or years before, but in some ways does it matter, the time elapsed, for the remembering is never the same.

What is more real and true, the version as it happened at the time or the one that you tell about. For at the time you often were unaware and now write with the power of hindsight. And what is the story that pushes you along, the scene that happen, or the plot you now write. For often much is forgotten and details embellished along the way – but that is “truth” you live by.

I have found that when i return to a place, all is not as i remembered it to be – yes things have changed, and so have i, but what was it really like at the time? Is it that i have forgotten, or did i not notice in the first place. But as i come back to a place, memories and feelings return to me, some are familiar, but others were buried somewhere inside. And some are welcome, the times you smiled, but others you had pushed aside, and when they arise, you wish that you had left them behind. I have also found that when i return, the story in my mind is just that, a story that i wrote.

And i also find, when i leave a zone, part of the story is left behind. The details that were so clear seem fuzzy and far away. The passion i had and the clear lines and insights i recorded in my mind are faded, only possibly to return someday.

Even more is revealed to you when you write the story and you go back and edit each line. But how many times can it be revised before you need to say enough is enough and just move on. When is the original experience lost in the telling of it? Like when you tell a story of many years before, and someone points out something else or tells you how you were. When does the story take on a life of its own – with so many sequels based on that plot you wrote? But you write anyways, knowing that all is only partially true, for all is interpreted in the first place. And maybe it is not the events or places that shift, but merely the lens it is interpreted through. But that shifted lens also provides the theme for stories yet to come, and in writing them you alter the lens once again. All entries are partial, but my goal is to record them, though they might be reinterpreted several times over.

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