One January we drove to Sedona with my cousin Elise under the rumbling sky and an impending snowstorm chasing us the whole way. It was rather symbolic of the rocky relationships and turbulent life hounding us all. We lay down in the middle of the road with the long stretch of possibility lying out in front of us, just to capture the moment of what could or might be. We danced and sang to “She’s a Brick House” and brought back to the hotel a long-haired Jesus looking young man who refused to tell us his astrological sign because he thought it would box him in.
Years later we were at a Christmas work party at a very fancy home on the Laguna Beach cliffs. You couldn’t drink red wine in the dining room with the white carpet. So Cheri and I went to the balcony overlooking the churning ocean. We decided to go down and get our feet wet, and then we allowed the water to splash up to our ankles. Then, what the hell, we dove in with much of the party looking on. That’s how her husband Scott met the Cheri and Jamie combination.
Scott and Cheri have had many adventures of their own, including Burning Man, motorcycle rides up the coast, skeleton guises at the LA Cemetery for Dia de los Muertos and a backpack trip through East Asia. Cheri told me about admiring the intricate silver in the Laos bizarre and knowing she couldn’t carry all the baubles she admired. Instead she had found joy in the fact that these beautiful things existed in the world and she didn’t need to possess them. I loved that idea and carried it with me through the more difficult financial moments of my life.
Because they’ve inspired me so, I’ve made it a point to stop off at their home on my journeys northbound. It’s like just like as Scott says, hitching myself to their gypsy caravan – a traveling, funky, cozy respite, most welcoming to vagabonds. So last weekend I drove 3 hours to Scott’s 55th birthday party. We got into a wonderful conversation, as I knew we would.
We discussed how when you travel for a length of time, you sometimes have to break away from all who know you to form a new you – or the you that you want to become. When I’m with Cheri and Scott it’s like we stand in the woods between the worlds (from C.S. Lewis’ Magician’s Nephew).. or the open road where nothing is yet decided and the air tingles with possibilities.. the place where I’m just me without roles or responsibilities, hang ups or expectations, where I can just play…