Is this just another crazy idea for a road trip? It uses the same logic (sic) that Carl and I used for our last cross-country trip: a book and a mission. For Bittersweet Manor, the idea was that we would support local bookstores and public transportation while in the process of selling lots of books. Thus we birthed the Cross-country, Whistle-stop Book Tour with Flash Readings. Amtrak took us across the country and, yes, back. The shake, rattle and roll of it was the excuse I used for the fact that I didn’t manage to write a treatise on our why’s and wherefores en route. So the videos we uploaded onto YouTube—still to be found, if you can believe that—were repetitive at best, though they did progress through the book, first paragraph of each chapter by chapter in front of various bookstores across the country. And, because I’m such a fabulous salesperson and publicity stunt promoter? We didn’t manage to sell even the fifty books we brought with us. (I gave most of them away.)
The mission this time is four-fold and incorporates the evolution we have gone through since 2014-15. We own a zippy Model 3 Tesla and what better way to learn about, promote and raise awareness of the feasibility of electric vehicles and things renewable energy than to drive a Tesla across the country? And back. What better way to meet and learn about animal sanctuaries than to visit them en route? Or to be reminded of the values, history, geography and politics of this country than to review its story, warts and all, where it happened as we drive through the vast prairies and vertiginous mountains? Or to understand the true meaning of “food desert” by comparing foraging for organic vegetables in Jaffrey to doing so in the middle of the country? In short, energy, history, food and animals will be the mission of our EH?FA road trip.
I’ll have to work on the acronym.
Carl and I tentatively began the planning yesterday afternoon. We had both, at the same time, opted to take a moment and read in front of the wood stove. Having read a record one page of the book I began a month ago and am currently on page 23 of—Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein—I looked over at Carl.
“Why does it feel as if we never do this?” Meaning sitting still in the living room and reading.
“Because we never do this.”
I nodded and looked back to the page of my book. Fifteen seconds later.
“Where’s that map?”
“The one with all the historical monuments and places to go that we bought of the U.S. of A..”
Miraculously, Carl knew exactly where it had ended up in all the dither of these past months of moving furniture and reorganizing and still so much clutter and stuff. He got up to get the map. We opened it up and laid it out in front of us on the ground. I narrowed my eyes at the expanse.
“This is a big country.” Carl agreed. “How long is it going to take us to get all the way across . . ..”
At this point, Nick came to see what we were looking at, given we clearly were not looking at him. He sat down.
Studied the situation.
He wasn’t quite sure about the whole idea and need a nap.
I, on the other hand, was certain that this was a very bad idea. I am quite sure that I don’t want to leave home for the 3-6 weeks it could potentially take us to get aaaaaaaalll the way over to Portland, Oregon and aaaaaaaalll the way down the coast to L.A. and all the way over to Phoenix, AZ and who knew all the places in between and still most of the country to drive back through. So many points of interest so far apart.
It isn’t, per se, the chickens I am worried about. We have chicken sitters. They aren’t me and don’t put in the relentless hours of worry but, still, we tend to return home and all the chickens are alive and well. Cat care? Nope. I trust no one with Nick, who is far more mortal now that Nora has gone the way of all flesh than he has ever seemed to be. Scruffy like an old cat (which Carl, shockingly, points out he is). Excessively picky about his food. (Carl points out he is only picky when I’m around.) And meowing constantly. (Carl delicately suggests that Nick meows because I pay attention to him when he meows thereby begging this question: have I ever said that I rule this roost? Chickens are why we are here, and the cat is why we stay. Fact.)
But what about the lack of routine, which is how I keep my self sane? Quiet and calm in the mornings. Journaling. Writing. At times, my flute. All that does not suggest a road trip, rocketing along highways, backseat driver brake pedal firmly pressed against the floor.
When At Crossroads with Chickens comes out—May 8th!?—the saying is that I’ll have six weeks to sell a whole bunch of books, at which point my book must make way for other, newer, shinier books. That means, May 8-June 19, I have to be flexible, adaptable, ready to go.
I’m doing the 21-day Meditation with Deepak Chopra. I am three days behind because I started three days late. Which isn’t good for me because every day, I bring the site up on my computer and panic because did I somehow miss a day? “They” are already at Day 12. I’m only on Day 9. Should I do two a day until I catch up? Isn’t that missing the point? Not to rush but to be?
My point being, is the idea of this road trip entirely ignoring who I am: stressed, anxious and in need of stillness? Or is it allowing the adventurer in me to explore outside the bounds of stress and anxiety?
Note: No one in this world can answer this question but me. I might ask them to. They might tell me their opinions. Think “duh, is she so unaware of her self?” But I have to sit and think and determine what do I want? Why? How?
Interesting because this is the same kind of question I must ask the characters in my play: What do you want? Why? How will you get it? What’s stopping you?
Does this road trip actually have anything to do with At Crossroads with Chickens? Absolutely. It is the excuse and the reason. As are Lulu and her new baby, Ash, and my family in Portland, OR. And friends there, too. And our friends and family in San Francisco, and Santa Cruz. And Carl’s & my nephew Jonathan and Jenn and their baby. And Carl’s sister in Arizona. And then there’s Austin. New Orleans.
The idea, I must say, is fabulous and shiny. What a life experience, to drive across the country and back. Instead of hunkering down, staying still, being inner, not outer. Like a belly button. Which am I?