Now, years later, I am married to that writing partner. The writing has changed from free flow thought and midnight rants, to assignments with deadlines and purpose and platforms and frames and outlines. Or, has it. No one has placed those parameters, but me. I say that with impunity as I sit here on the floor of the Eggcellence, sharing the front space of Macy’s condo with her. She is in no way disturbed, breathing heavily just this side of a full on snore. She is comforted, I think having me down here sharing her space, while she slumbers on the fantastically comfortable pillow that Abby has made for her. It is her pink and grey fluffy super dog pillow and matches perfectly one of her sweaters Abby has also made. In the right setting, you can not tell where the pillow ends and the dog begins. Camouflage dog.
This morning, we are in west Texas having finally made our departure from home. It wasn’t a direct shot. We got here via a few freezing phalanges days, in Georgetown. Leaving home was a catapult into an easy drive we have made too many times...that leading to what seemed a bit like going to work, rather than hitting the road. The work was brief however, and as usual, Abby and I made the best of the cold weather, the errands and various things that needed to be accomplished by sprinkling in a little fun with a meal here and a beer there in between our simple meat and cheese charcuterie at camp, nestled within nights of mostly restful sleep.
This night’s slumber, clearly less restful for me. I have already gotten up and taken a midnight stroll to the bathroom here at the Davis Mountains State Park. It was such an invigorating walk, I came back to the camper and despite the most comfortable bed on the planet and my body appreciating every square inch, but my mind had gotten the spark that comes with gazing at more stars in the sky, than the treasury debt of the United States government. And now I am up.
Through broken reading glasses, not sure how that happened today (but thank you Kim W. for the 3 for 1 gift - can’t wait to look for the other pairs in the morning) and sipping an unidentified beer in the dark, I stare at this computer screen in disbelief and oncoming disillusionment. It goes something like this: Who do I think I am, to be so content? How did this happen? The shame and guilt which has underlined most of the themes previously modeling my life are suddenly uprooted and exposed for inspection as these things are put under the microscope. Meanwhile, in the present moment, I am afraid that one wrong keystroke in the dark will undo all that I have written here in the last few moments and who will know or care? That also happens to be the endgame for the previous thought.
I am 49 years old. If I am lucky, I have another half of my life to live and as Abby and I sat across from my father at his house today on the way here, I can’t help but feel like I have a pretty good shot at that. He is 83 and as animated on a chilly January day with his little dog as I have ever known him to be. More so than even that, in fact. What is his secret? Frankly, I believe, he doesn’t feel guilt or shame. He is independent as if afloat on an island, in the middle of a vast desert, in his own country on a continent of another planet, when it comes to these sort of anchors that weigh many humans. One might think that cold or indecent, as I have off and on for years. Truthfully it could be considered a mental affliction by many practitioners that believe they know right from wrong. But in truth, the heathen that he is, has mastered the art unbeknownst to him or perhaps, he is totally aware, but not in the universal God like way, that he...is not in control. And he doesn't’ really care. He might just be the smartest man I know. He couldn’t teach me my math homework, but he is welcome to teach me this.
Update: This week has been wonderful. Since we last spoke, Abby and I have gotten in at least two good hikes here at Mount Davis State Park, and a “Star Party” at the McDonald Observatory. After a morning of climbing Saturday morning, we took it a little bit easier Sunday, with lackadaisical breakfast and coffee, then a different sort of hike where Macy impressed upon us both, her ability to do just about anything with us. After, we took showers and headed to the triangle shaped small road trip of Ft. Davis, Alpine and Marfa. Highlights here included a chipotle burger, split at the General store in Ft. Davis. My half I enjoyed with an IBC root beer, Abby had a cream soda and we also splits some onion rings she ordered “extra crunchy”. After giving Macy her bite of onion ring it was off to Alpine where we abandoned all other sightseeing for a game of Scrabble (Abby wouldn’t let me keep score, but I am quite certain that I won) at the Big Bend Brewing Company. I recommend this brewery, the beer you see in the store as the Tejas brand and if you are lucky also under the Big Bend label. I enjoyed a couple of the La Frontera beer. Abby, a couple of the Dark Sky porter. Unfortunately, they could not sell us beer from this brewery, or I would definitely have made a purchase. Then it was on to Marfa, where we would not succumb to the “legend of the infamous lights” but rather sought out a recommended biergarten. Closed for the season. Ugh, this was not posted on the sight, but rather, Open Now. So it was back to the Hotel St. George that we saw coming into town. Who could help it, looks like a giant white hospital. I always note hospitals when entering a new town. We sat at the lovely bar and imbibed on good drink and notable fare. I had a house margherita, followed by a Tejas Clara while sharing Texas Wagyu Beef Tartare and a Short Rib Mac and Cheese with Abby. As a sacrilege to the Tartare Gods, we sort of shared bites back and forth when the little loaf of bread ran out. Amazingly, it worked.
Today, we sit in the library in Fort Davis to “work”. Never a dull moment. Many more notable things will happen between now and Thursday, but only so much time to borrow from readers…but looking forward to a drive to Arizona and a somewhat impromptu lunch with Abby’s parents on the way. I am certain Abby will get you caught up on her highlights next week!!