The shadows are growing longer here in Flagstaff, AZ. Katie, me and Jamboree rolled into town just today. Treated ourselves to a round of sierra nevada pale ales, checked out the main downtown street and I’ve found myself in a rad vegan cafe among countless beautiful smiling faces. We’ve put the word out for showers and friends, hoping some sign of good life comes back to us soon. These ladies are of the grungy kind these days! And although I was certainly grateful to poach a schwanky jacuzzi in Sedona, something about the chlorine just doesn’t sit right with the layers of dirt, ya dig?
Sedona, AZ was less a hippie juju town, and more of a tourists mecca of blaring consumerism. Selling even the ancient ruins for a price quite astonishing. This energy was overpowered by free public lands to camp on, waking up to hot air balloons above us every morning, a few days in the back country exploring Secret Canyon and the pleasure of running into friends and road family, Maliya and Mat again.
Katie burned herself bad enough to produce a planet sized blister on her wrist, I blew through two books, both re reads, our mornings full of crafting, our days were filled with hiking, and our nights with campfires. Sedona had quite a bit to offer us, as long as we stayed far enough outside of town to make space for it.
Prior to Sedona feels like lifetimes ago. Phoenix resonated with open arms, Katie’s family and my dear friends from back East. Climbing at the rock gym with Dawn, a reunion with my slacklining skills, and an introduction to Katie’s. On this note I’ll take a moment to say Katie was born for wilderness skills, it’s just until recently that she knew! I baked and juiced and fried and dehydrated and generally danced away hours in Ilsen and Laura’s Kitchen. We rode bikes, found some great scores at the thrift store, and I got my ass kicked at hot yoga. I broke out the sewing machine- traded handmade goods for epic essentials. I’m glad to announce I now have THE belt; the perfect belt that will be worn with all pants with loops until it falls off my body. Highfives, Ilsen; Highfives barter.
If I dig far enough back in my crowded, jam packed colorful memory I can tell you that in between Joshua Tree, CA and Phoenix, AZ there is a special place like no other called the Slabs. The last free place on earth, they call it. With its gray jurisdiction, lack of laws, general sense of community, natural hot springs, refreshing cold canal waters, and blazing hot days, even in Mid March. There’s paint splattered Sam and puppy Sal in the airstream watching over Salvation Mountain, the never ending art project. Frank at the “We Remember Freedom” solar powered internet cafe- donations only and the hottest black coffee you’ll ever drink. Cuervo and his mules, the brilliant character that I swear waltzed right out of an old western tale and of course, there’s John with his renegade dune buggy, endless historical knowledge of this strange place in the desert, ever-present insistence on the preparation and his bunker full of guns and hand packed bullets. I had never shot a gun that would leave a bruise on my shoulder- and WHEW! was it exciting!
The Slabs are reminiscent of a place out of a story book, in fact they’ve found their way into many a book and movie. It was easy to get sucked into the vortex of good energy and sweltering hot hours; it’s a few hundred feet below sea level, this place. The rhythm of slow days, chats with strangers who are immediately friends, the splash in the canal and the evening soak in the spring. We even ran into the Kraken Kitchen Kids, again. We stoked up a raging fire in celebration, everyone ate to their satisfaction, RJ twanged excitedly on Katies bango and Sundance shared his favorite stories with us. We were graced with the wonderful company of Emily and Bee. Beyond grateful to be able to share space with our dear friends on their way West to a new home, even if only for one night.
A flat tire just after sunset while cruising East on I-10. Blasted out of my reverie, I jumped clear out of my seat and Katie calm as a cucumber handled the jarring experience like a champ. Road side assistance made the whole deal seem surreal- as if it wasn’t actually something that demanded attention or real action- the only part we gals were able to play was the laughable effort of yanking all three bicycles off the rack on the side of the WINDY highway with headlamps strapped on, so we could unearth the spare tire and wait patiently for someone to come with the tools and skills to lift a 27 foot house on wheels up and replace an inner back tire.
The shadows of the evening have disappeared for now, until the stars come out to dance with the moon, while she casts her full brilliance. Moon shadows have been prominent these days, have you noticed your own?
And soon, the desert will carry us into Utah and a feeling of home will wash over me. With bursts of excited anticipation, I remain grateful for here and now.
Happy Equinox, folks.