Sunday, October 16, 2011

Me... A High Plains Drifter.....

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I survived the plane rides and the subsequent 90 minute journey to my final destination. I felt as if I was caught in some surreal suspended animation. As the miles evaporated below me, it seemed I was watching it happen through someone else's eyes.

I would have pinched myself to make sure it was real. Even if I'd tried, I think I was too numb for the experiment to have succeeded. My mom adored flying even tho' she only flew twice in her 8 decades. What a pity that I didn't get that gene.

Pecos, NM
It is quiet now. I am far from the hustle and bustle of the airports and my normal life. I don't think I've heard this kind of quiet since my childhood days on the Outer Banks of NC. Then, as now, the loudest night noise was the wind, and the brightest night light was the moon. I am waiting for the howl of coyotes or the strains of the theme song to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. So far, the quiet echoes into infinity.

I am both peaceful and on edge simultaneously. It has been 2 decades since I was this 'alone'. I have never been this alone in this kind of quiet. In an ironic twist, my early arrival provided for yet another singular experience. I am the ONLY resident of this entire inn. I think there are some folks in the next lodge over on the conference center grounds. But, for tonight, I have the place to myself. Ain't that special?

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Have I been signed up for fraidy cat boot camp and didn't know it? Maybe it is a good thing I don't hear coyotes howling in the wind. If Jack Nicholson shows up, I'm OUT of here! If Clint Eastwood shows up, I could be persuaded to stay. Would you believe it? On cue, the coyotes just started singing at the moon. It's a conspiracy, I tell ya!

I wonder what tomorrow will hold. What have I really come here to do? Ultimately, the trip was about pushing back the boundaries of my fraidy cat existence. Practically speaking, I am here to work on my 'craft'. Realistically, I am here to continue to prove to myself that I can keep walking toward the me I've always wanted to be and that in the process, I will walk, and write, my way back to God.

Last May, I arrived at the writer's conference on the east coast so rattled I locked my keys in my car before I got to my room. I guess I've grown up a bit since then. I'm all tucked into the lodge I own for the night and have all my faculties and belongings intact, even the car keys. Ok...I guess we could debate about my grip on my faculties, but humor me here. It has been a long day.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
If you had asked me the odds on my being in New Mexico while Son #1 was in Australia, you know what my reaction would have been. I'd have surreptitiously snipped a bit of your hair in an effort to identify the medicinal herbs in which you had been partaking. Because the odds were zero.

What a difference a season of the year makes. He enjoyed his 1st hot air balloon ride the same day as my 1st post-9/11 plane flight. Wonder of wonders, I survived it all without pharmacological sustenance. Unless you count a Tylenol for a headache.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Son #1 is in Australia because of a single bit of information I picked up in one class during last May's conference. This blog grew out of a single thought during that conference. I wonder what gift this week holds and when and how I will unwrap it.

Tonight in the quiet chill of this high plains desert, I wonder, what is God doing...really? For the long dark season of loss, I thought I knew. I came to a point of concluding that, in the end, he was really up to nothing in particular when it came to me. And yet, in the worst of times when my soul was bruised and emptied, there was a fierceness in me that just would not give up.

I could hear myself in a voice from long ago. A friend and I were having much the same conversation that Richard Branson and his friend had the night his Necker Island home burned down a few months ago. I was giddy in love with the God I had grown up knowing. She was an indifferent skeptic. We were both waxing philosophical.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
My voice echoed back to me in faint whispers: “There is a God. He is real. He does care about the minutia of your life. He has a plan for you, and it is a good, good plan. He put it into motion when he threw the stars up into space. He knows your name.”

Dear God, My name is Carol Anne. I'm a fraidy cat. Can we talk about that good, good plan?

Psalm 139:16 (Bible in Basic English)
Courtesy B. Creasy your book all my days were recorded, even those which were purposed before they had come into being.

Phillipians 1:6 (NLT)
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

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