Hello again, for the last time, from the last frontier!
My Mom loved to plan trips. She could spend months mapping out driving routes, making motel reservations, preparing clothes, driving us batty. The actual trip, I believe, never quite lived up to the thrill of the planning for her and the end of the trip was a sad time followed by a month long mourning period. I’m not quite that bad, but between her and my Dad I was given a healthy dose of travel fever and a dread of “endings”. And so I come to the end of our stay in Baja with mixed feelings – the excitement of the highway and more travels ahead, the despondency of leaving the people and places I love.
But I am learning that there are no real beginnings or endings, just a never ending circle of experiences.
Today is a little bittersweet for me. We have Miz Liz here at long last and what a joy it is to have her back in the 30th Palm. She has come to celebrate the ending of the tortuous ten year legal battle I wrote of in the last Chronicle and she came bearing dark chocolate which makes her visit doubly exciting (hooray Easter Bunny!). Today is also the one year anniversary of the day we lost her beloved husband and our dear, dear friend Big Wave Dave. It is hard to believe that a year has passed. I know for Liz there is still pain, still grief, loss, longing. Physically Dave is gone and is most desperately missed by all who knew him… but it is not an ending.
Knowing Dave made me a better person. I am convinced of that. And if my being a better person affects someone else out there, through words or actions, causing them to be a better person, and so on and so on, then he lives on. He lives on in Liz, lives on in his children and their children, lives on in the communities (29Palms and Posada) that he loved, in his friends his spirit thrives, he’s in the walls of this house, he is all around us. No, there is no end to Dave.
I am glad that Liz has chosen to be here at this time; under the Baja sun, drinking beers, getting sunburnt even though she knows better, sharing laughter and stories with friends is exactly where Dave would want her to be.
We can measure our lives by what we’ve lost, what we’ve missed or left behind. We can dwell on our failures, on all of the “what could have been’s”, or we can keep our feet firmly planted in the now and our eyes on the horizon of what’s to come. The past can be a nice place to visit but you don’t want to live there.
I am learning, every day I am learning to embrace change, to savour the unexpected and to stop clinging so hopelessly to what was. When Prez and I gave it all up to move to the Bahamas and start a new life I thought I was ready – I was kidding myself. Each moment of wonder was clouded by the ache I felt for the friends I’d left behind. I could do without the luxuries but being so far from all the people I loved was painful. As we traveled to Florida, then Costa Rica, then Mexico, I imagined the glorious day when I would be reunited with my friends. What I found was, much like my mom planning our summer vacations, reality will never live up to my imagination.
Make no mistake, it was GREAT to see all of our old buddies again, but the road had changed me in ways I had yet to discover. In the year we were gone, life for our friends had gone on as per usual, but we were different now and we always will be. There is nothing normal about our lives. At first the unpredictability was stressful but now we are addicted to it. Whenever someone starts asking me about when we plan on “settling down” or “putting down roots” my belly starts doing these wild flip flops and visions of being held down with chains start popping into my head. Our first year back in Canada was as hard, if not harder, than our first year away. The words you can never go back haunted me but they are true.
So I leave Baja on Tuesday morning and I will weep. I’ll miss the endless impromptu dinner parties, walking barefoot on the beach, feeling “dressed up” just because I’ve had a shower, driving in the Chilito (Liz’s Volkswagen Thing) with the wind in my hair and the car threatening to shimmy apart underneath me, morning tennis with the occasional dog on the court, the grocery shopping Olympics at Saul’s, camping at Estero Coyote, beating the pants off the guys in poker, the water, the sky, the air, the cactus, rush hour being considered the time you wait for a cow to get off the road, and the feeling of freedom that hangs so thick in the air here you can practically eat it with a spoon. I may even miss Max’s room-clearing dog farts and Tally’s obsessive compulsive ball chasing. Mostly I’ll miss the people though.
Of all the people the Prez and I have met through the years, Baja people may be the ones we have the most in common with. Baja people know all about leaving friends and family for the want of scratching itchy travel feet. These folks don’t mind casting aside civilization. They understand how it feels to be “different” from other folks, even friends they love like crazy.
Yes, I will miss Baja but Baja never ends. Baja and all my friends here live on in me every day – they are always with me. No, there is no end to Baja.
So Tuesday we’ll start the drive north, not a meandering sightseeing tour this time but a straight shot to Vancouver. I can’t wait to see all our friends again, catch up on the comings and goings, savour some sushi (yum, yum, yum), take in some tall, green trees. And when we leave, BC, our friends, our family, will stay with us in our hearts until the circle brings us back around again. No beginnings, no endings.
Thank you to all our Baja buddies who made this season so memorable, and to those who took time to visit while passing through. Special thanks to Miz Liz for letting us enjoy a hang-out as groovy as the 30th Palm. And innumerable thank you’s to CB and the Roneys without whom we could never live this gypsy life! And readers, thank you so much for taking this journey with me, I hope I’ve given you a few laughs along the way.
To finish, I asked myself what Dave would say to all of you if he were here and the answer was almost too easy – Someday is this day! Stop putting off your dreams, they have an expiry date whether you realize it or not. Walk up to the dinner table of life and make a complete pig of yourself. Eat it up, drink it in, go back for seconds, thirds, fourths, savour it all. It’s not a contest to see who has the most money in their bank account at the end; invest in friendship the dividends are out of this world! If you are alive, if you are healthy, then you are a king.
Live! Live!! LIVE!!!
Until next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!