the sun vanishes over the rim of the canyon
at what seems an unconscionably early hour.
(we have had to dig flat spots to stand or walk),
which means it also takes quite a while
for the sun make its way back
over the opposite hills
in the morning.
But getting up before the sun isn't too hard
in these modern times,
thanks to a couple of old solar panels
(one light at time to preserve the batteries,
and a very warm old parka.
And since there is no internet, phone, radio or cell service
if short on natural light,
are long on time.
Unscheduled and uninterrupted hours
are the reason
that I fill a cooler with food,
pack a thousand projects
(few of which I work on),
gather a stack of books
(most of which I don't read),
and head off by myself.
are always remarkable in some way --
if rarely easy.
Endless uphill and downhills can be hard on the legs.
And I can almost guarantee
that on the first day
I will be awash in what I've taken to calling
a thing I cannot like but am learning to embrace
(or at least accept),
as an elemental if uncomfortable part
of shifting into a different gear.
"This was SUCH a bad idea,"
I mutter as I unpack the absurd pile of projects.
But the next morning (at least so far)
I can hardly wait to get up
light the fire,
and get started.
On other trips I've been glued to my loom,
or gathered lichen for wood cookstove dye experiments,
or carved magic wands from sticks.
There was one memorable one
when I was drawing a naked self portrait
(I was weaving a lot of nudes then, and not so prone to getting cold),
when an old friend knocked in the door
walked in and introduced me to his his brother, who I'd never met.
They had just walked across the canyon
and were mostly interested in scrounging some lunch.
I became obsessed with:
trying to play my old recorder,
drawing hourly (ish) comics.
and gathering stuff
(dead plants, coffee filters, grocery receipt),
to twist into cordage.
Oh yeah -- and playing the Cello suites by headlamp.
(Actually only the Allemande from the G major suite
which I play in D major on a baritone concertina,
which I'm sure is exactly what Bach had in mind....).
about these solo visits to the canyon,
is getting to practice being how I am
when no one else is around.
With minimal outside input,
and no emotional labor,
(other than dealing with myself that is),
I can immerse myself utterly
in whatever takes my fancy--
really notice how it feels,
and remember that once upon a time
I was good at solitude.
way easier than to get back into it, at least for me.
And these days, even when seemingly alone,
our devices are usually there
to connect and distract.
And that's a wonderful thing.
Until, sometimes, it is just too much,
especially around this time of year
when everyone seems to be trying to sell something,
or ramp us up about how perfect things should be.
So it's nice to step away,
to gather weeds
to gather myself together.