March 9, 2017
I forgot to tell you about a very important connection I made during my time in the Bay Area. That was my time with my KM group (Kalyana Mitta – spiritual friends). It was such a wonderful a visit when Joanne hosted an incredible dinner in my honor. It was very special. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of this group or the event itself. I can tell you it was quite beautiful and I thank the group for making it so special.
Since my visit with friends and family in the Bay Area, I have spent time in Los Angeles, Phoenix, AZ, Las Cruces, NM, Alpine, TX, San Antonio, TX, Austin, TX, and Houston. My next spots are Lafayette, LA and then New Orleans.
LA: Matt just had his first authored one-act play performed with the theater company he co-partners. Heard it went great! Michele of the dream group met me in Monrovia, east and north of downtown LA. Wonderful time spent with both of them.
Michele with another dreamer, Mark Twain. Cute town.
Don’t have a pic of Matt, but you all know what he looks like! It was wonderful to be with him.
After Matt, I went to Las Cruces, NM. That was a worthy trip. I visited the Old Town Mesilla, White Sands Nat’l Monument.
White Sands National Monument, NM where people could rent out sleds and sleigh down the dunes.
I was able to see my brother, Roy in Phoenix, AZ, as I had mentioned in the last posting. Not long after Roy left me, the furnace, the refrigerator, and the water heater stopped working! I had no idea why. I found a guy to call, he was in the next state over and could not make a home visit, but walked me through the steps to find the problem. He determined it probably was a fuse. I had to run to the store as it was late at night and would soon close for the night, I bought several, and went through the process of seeing if it was one of fuses that blew. A process, but found the culprit! I was thrilled to have all my appliances working again! I know this is not a big deal story for most of you, but for me it was. I didn’t even know what it should look like if a fuse was blown!
The most eventful though, was my time in San Antonio, TX where not 5 miles from my campground 4 – 6 tornadoes hit down in the city. Yes, there was real damage and I was really frightened. At 11:30 pm I was not quite sure what to do. I knew what was happening by an alert on my phone. Lympia and I sat in her bed and fretted for hours. Then, another alert came later about flooding – no instructions as to where to go. I kind of panicked and stayed up a lot longer trying to decide if I should knock on the neighbor’s door camper for help. I did do some important packing – the usual- photos, insurance, etc. As nobody was leaving, I decided to ride it out (!!). The next morning, I found out there were evacuations in the campground itself and one camper who came in around 4:30 am tried to park, thought there was a site, but it was the creek rising – he had to be towed out!
Flooding in campground, San Antonio, TX
After the flood, campground
I spoke with the office personnel the next morning and found there is a plan in place for the campground. We would have had 4 hours and a place to be sent. Whew!
Now in Austin, I am calmed down and have really enjoyed, as much as I can, the city. After leaving my friends and family it has been a lonely road for me. I think I am still grieving the loss of Tom, though it’s been almost 3 years. Can you believe that? And, I can’t want him any more than I do now. And, I am fully living my life, enjoying what the world is offering, and experiencing a lot. So, it’s not one or the other, it’s both/and.
Graffiti Hill, stories of old foundations given over to artwork by anyone who wishes to express themselves. Austin, TX
Texas. Let me try and find worthy items of note for you: I did enjoy a little town called Alpine north of Big Bend National Park. From here, I explored Fort Davis and the park. Wow. On the day I went the winds were ferocious! It gave me a good sense of how difficult it might be to live there.
Fort Davis was interesting because it was mostly manned by black soldiers, the Buffalo Soldiers, in the 1860s. They were there to “protect” the citizens from the Native Americans. They did not see much battle so what the fort showed was how they all lived together at that time under government orders. A lot of buildings were restored and several were original. Worth seeing.
Just down the road was a botanical garden and being winter, it was lacking lushness. Though, I did see some flowering! Nice grounds and interesting work they are doing, botanically speaking.
Flowering Mexican Redbud
When I visited Big Bend, the weather was warm and sunny. I found this park to be very interesting because there was varying terrain. Some areas reminded me of the Grand Canyon, some Sedona, AZ, and some of the hoo doos of Bryce Canyon in Utah. Pretty gorgeous and I highly recommend going!
Big Bend National Park, Tx
Austin is so obviously a liberal city! The overheard conversations are radically (but no, not radical!) different here than elsewhere in Texas. For example, and this is a shout out to Courtney, I was in ‘Austin Java’, a coffee house, when two women spoke of their right to decide what to do with their own bodies. The first woman, a thirty-something, was adamant: No one should have the right to decide on my future or what I will do with my body! I found her coming back to this point several times during my lunch there. The second, a twenty-something, nodded in agreement repeatedly. Woman number one was relaying her time at the hospital, obviously a health care worker, she sounded like a nurse or doctor. Vehemently expressing herself, I found this unusual in my travels.
Most conversations I have overheard are ones of a relatively light nature: what other people have said and what they think of it; the food, the weather, some about god but in a way to acknowledge the help from ‘him’; most about family members and their plight. Never politics! Yeah, I eavesdrop! I love to gauge the mood of the city I am in and to see what is important to the folks there. And, it really does seem to be different from state to state, from city to city.
Wildlife in Austin Parks
Now, in a small town near Houston – Highlands, TX, I find myself wanting to get to more lush surroundings. It is an industrial city, polluted and not very pretty. I am on the San Jacinto River and it is part lovely and part ugly. I did like Austin because it was a green friendly city, with lots of parks, water features and kind to pets. Another feature I find of the most interesting cities is the inclusion of hills. Not often, in my experience, are there attractive and desirable cities that are completely flat.
Here is the view from my campground in Highlands:
Not too bad. From here, Lympia and I could watch 2 brown pelicans each day scoop up their meals. And, there were Forster’s Terns whose dives rivaled those of the pelicans! (We also could see the fires from smokestacks that went on 24/7)
One of the greatest places we have been is to the Baytown Nature Center in Baytown, TX. Here, one could walk for miles smack dab in the middle of industrial activity and not even know it. I was able to see great blue herons, egrets and a Roseate Spoonbill! That was exciting. She was too far away for pictures, though.
Can you see the owl house?
This was such an incredible place that I spent hours walking and driving around the grounds.
As I have loads of time at some of these places I stay because there is nothing around, I do listen to dharma talks and old music. One day I was listening to Cat Stevens, On the Road to Find Out. The answer lies within! Though he beseeches us to ‘pick up the good book now’, I will be content just to listen to his incredible songs.
I will report more as I venture into Louisiana, hoping to see good friends in New Orleans and have Deble visit me there.
I am at once glad to be on the road and sad to do this alone. I am really appreciating my friends and family right now. Miss you all so much,