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HEADER PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Desert Storm
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Monday, February 16, 2015
Lindsey was young enough to be my granddaughter. She was wearing tights, black as her midnight hair, and had an innocent smile. So I began to relax and play along, curious, more than anything, about her odd request for me to video her dancing… something that would embarrass most people to an early grave. Truly, it was a magical setting though—an array of assorted granite boulders, basking in the amber glow of a western sunset and flung across the landscape like pebbles from the hand of an angry god. If completely honest—less inhibited, completely alone, female, and had it been dark—I would have danced, too. But, even in my boldest, most intoxicated moment, would I ever possess the balls to ask someone to video me strutting my stuff on a boulder. What if it got posted and went viral? So I envied Lindsey's free spirit—her child-like nonchalance and forwardness.
I asked Lindsey if she was going to post the video on Youtube. No, it was for "her people." Ok, who are "your people?" She waxed poetic about the healing power of serene places like Joshua… and yoga-dancing in tune with nature. "This is my purpose," she said. "It's what I was put here to do, to help others heal through purposeful movement, music, and meditation." I gathered that "her people" were clients and likeminded friends. She handed me her iPhone, and I took up a good lighting position while she removed her boots and socks. "When ever you are ready," I said, feeling a little silly.
There, without music, on a precipitously sloping boulder, a warm sunset glinting off her face, Lindsey began to dance. Her arms became wings, sweeping up and down, and she soared with lightness of being and grace. I could hear purposeful breathing as she glided around and around. With eyes closed Lindsey contracted and expanded, dancing as if she were all alone, with no fear of judgment or reprisal... oblivious to embarrassment. She was lost in a form of worship that I didn't really understand, but appreciated nonetheless.
We did a couple of "takes" in fading light… maybe 7 minutes total. She put her socks and boots back on and thanked me profusely. I asked if I could take a photo of her… maybe sitting in a yoga pose or something. She declined rather emphatically, "No, no, but thanks for asking." I felt like she must think I'm some sort of pervert… dirty old man. She offered to send me a copy of the video, but, still smarting from rejection, I declined her offer and bid her goodbye. She asked if I was staying in the campground, and if so, what site number, "Maybe I'll stop by." I told her that Bobbie had registered and didn't know the number. "Look for a beat up old Lazy Daze motorhome."
Bobbie and I were out hiking and exploring everyday.all day, so I never saw Lindsey again. Who knows, if she did stop by while we were gone and happened to note BCB's blog's address on Goldie's rear window, she may even be reading this. If so, Lindsey, I hope you don't mind me sharing our encounter. And please, send me that video. I regret not accepting your offer to email it to me.
It's nice to meet unencumbered people like Lindsey… people above the fray of worrying about what other people might think. People who could give a rat's ass about judgement. Lindsey found her purpose in life; good for her. I wish I could say the same. Purpose for me seems to be a moving target. I tried to find it in my work, then "on the road," years and years of trying on this and that and the other. Nothing fit. It was either too big or too small or too loud or too quiet.
In my final "Artful RV Adventures" post I wrote about surrender… that purpose was an elusive SOB, and that I, for one, was tired of searching. "Purpose knows where I am, and it is going to have to find me!"
Bobbie and I both struggle from time to time with the RV lifestyle, kind of a "Is that all there is" feeling. Shouldn't we be more "productive?" Do we just keep going round and round and round, taking in more than we give, revolving instead of evolving?
We talked about it yesterday while on a long hike up onto a cedar mesa across from our current boondock. We both feel ripe to blow up our "box," our routine. We freely associated wild-ass dreams and outrageous plans. Not sure what will come of it, really. But time marches on; we are not getting any younger… which is just another way of saying (a la Ms Joplin) "we've nothing left to lose."
We want to want more. It would be nice if in some way it served a purpose. Maybe that's too much to ask, too naive, too greedy. By its itinerate nature, the RV lifestyle attracts restless souls. It's a treatment for the innate boredom of a stationary, work-a-day existence, but not a cure. Call it a phase? A diversion? A three act play? I don't know, but I feel the curtain coming down. I just hope that instead of "The End," it reads "New Beginnings."
See what you stirred up, Lindsey?
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Interesting the things that come along to make us reevaluate our lives. I too have wondered if this is all there is...but have not found a volunteering situation on the road that suits me. Our next phase is likely to include a stationary home somewhere and volunteering in whatever locale we settle down in...I figure that's where my purpose will come in to play...for now wandering and exploring is my purpose.ReplyDelete
I hope you share your evolution with you readers!
I like your style(s)Delete
Not sure if this counts but I really love reading your blog (only discovered it recently) and am most inspired by your beautiful photographs and prose about all sort of things. I am always pleased when I find a new post by you. We are still grounded to a house and a place and jobs but maybe someday will be able to just hit the road and go wherever! They say the grass is always greener on the other side. By the sounds of your posts you and Bobbie really are part of a very vital community on the internet as well as a RV lifestyle. Maybe you should try to publish something?ReplyDelete
Dear Sew and Sew,Delete
Thank you :)
Isn't life interesting. Like hiking in the desert, I think we all struggle with the purpose of life mirage. With no pictures of Lindsey maybe she was just an optical illusion to remind you all is well?ReplyDelete
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."Delete
As usual, spirit lifting prose and superb photos. Loved the story of sprite-like Lindsey. I've run into a few people like Lindsay in my time. And they are a salve for the soul. Wonderful as they are, though, I tend to think that they are generally young and in idealistic phases of their lives. If you caught up with Lindsay thirty years hence, you might find that she hadn't been dancing on boulders the entire time. And she might be asking herself some of the very same questions that you have about where it all leads. I certainly don't know where it all leads, but I'm OK with the mulligan stew of youthful exuberance and idealism mixed with the harsher bite of getting by, a dash of painful loss, and long slogs toward worthy goals. Even so, I wish with all my heart that Lindsey keeps dancing on boulders for as long as she possibly can.ReplyDelete
Me too, Joe. Me too.Delete
That is a great header picture. I love it! What monster lurks there in the rocks. But this is also a very thoughtful and disturbing post especially for me at the crossroads of 'OK, what now'. Sure wish you were close enough to sit by the campfire with a bottle of Baileys. As for Lindsay, she's young and naive and young and she's young and lots of things look like our "purpose" in our 20's. It seems to me, things have looked different for me at every decade. And now the last decades are staring me in the face and scaring the hell out of me. Of course, it doesn't help to be living with someone with a terminal cancer. Puts rather a downer on the view when you look out.ReplyDelete
Sherry, I'll bring the Baileys… and build the fire. But you are a long, long way from here :(.ReplyDelete
Your comment casts a different light on, not only this post, but everything. Yes, Lindsey was young…possibly naive, but that's part and parcel to innocence, is it not? I would hate to be the one to dump reality on our "children," snuff out their innocence, let them know that life is damn hard and there are no guarantees. It drove me away from "God," at least the one that was presented to me, when I realized that children die from cancer and other diseases, and starve to death in third world countries… and that Prayer does not heal them. Life is a crap shoot, at best. I was dealt a bad genetic hand (blood clots), and David has cancer. On the one hand, the "Last Decades" shouldn't be a downer; it is, after all, our golden years. Not to get too philosophical on you,and not that we have a choice, but disease late in life beats disease early on. As one who's dodged several "bullets" in the ER, I can say that I came away with a keener sense that every day is precious… a gift. It pushed me into the "now." Sometime I complain, wish things were different, wax on about the pressure I feel to get things done, preferably something that matters. Then I see someone who has it worse than me, far worse. I hear the clock, as I'm sure David hears it even louder. Lindsey's time will come. The bell tolls for all who live, so make every second count. That's not much, I know, but it's all I got.
I hope to meet you guys someday. I love Baileys on the rocks...
Thanks for your reply to Sherry! Life is precious and short in the scheme of things. Sometimes I think my purpose is to wake up in the morning, smile at the world, and carry on!ReplyDelete
It's interesting, no matter our age or situation in life, that we are never truly satisfied for long with what we have. At times, we think "Yes! this is it! this is what I have waited and worked for" And then, we will find ourselves wondering as you have said, "is this all there is? what is my purpose in life? What do I have to offer?" So very elusive, contentment with what we have or are.....humans are not meant to be content with this life - there is a higher purpose for which we were created.....it's available, if we know where to search.....ReplyDelete
Thank you for this. I love it when you write.ReplyDelete
Yay Mark has got his writing mojo back!ReplyDelete
Great essay but I no longer think much about what my purpose in life might be. I do envy the Lindseys of the world and wish I could have lived my life like this quote:
Dance like no one is watching, Love like you'll never be hurt, Sing like no one is listening, Live like it's heaven on earth. - William Purkey
I think I'm closer to that goal now in my later years but have a very hard time with the "live like it's heaven on earth" part.
The perfect antidote for this post! I'm glad you added it to the conversation.Delete
Hey! An hours drive northwest on 247 would have brought you to Apple Valley...and us, along with nearly 500,000 other desert dwellers in the immediate vicinity. I figure if it was good enough for Roy and Dale, it was good enough for us. Just far enough from L.A. not to BE L.A. We would have put the shrimp, er scorpions, on the Bar B. :)ReplyDelete
Ed @ Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets
Now you tell me!!! tho I am allergic to shellfish :)Delete
We already pondered the "is this all there is" question, which set us on the road to Rv'ing. Yes we still workamp, but oh, the things we've been able to see along the way! The friends we have made, and experiences are treasures to us. Al put in over 30 years of volunteer duty as a paramedic to our community and I feel he deserves all the fun I can find for him now. You never ever know when health issues will bring you to your knees, so lets give it all the gusto we can while we can. I surely enjoy your musings and of course your inspiring photos. Can't wait to get headed west again in April.ReplyDelete
Excellent set of posts, very well written. Mark meets a desert sorceress and she casts a spell that obviously affected him. I guess it goes to show that we can make our own "magic", an appreciation of the power of surroundings to affect our emotional state. It's just that the majority of us are to "emotionally constipated" to express our feelings, or run with them. No wonder old people tend to be cranky!ReplyDelete
I've been doing a yoga routine for years, originally started in an attempt to maintain flexibility, and found it induced a state of relaxation and calm. I realise that these are physiological effects, there's nothing spiritual involved, probably endorphins released in the rhythmic movements involved. I can easily imagine that doing my routine in beautiful settings would enhance the experience. My flexibility is excellent for my age, it has done for me what I wanted.
Beautiful photos and a great writing on Lindsey the free spirit !ReplyDelete
You DO know that you were SUPPOSED to cross paths with Lindsey...right? It's up to you to figure out why. Personally, I doubt it was intended to have you turn your life upside down, not that you are or will. You, Bobbie and I, as well as others posting here seem to be of similar age. The kind of thinking you are experiencing happens at our age more often, I think. We're all coming to grips with our own mortality. You more than others, it seems, are well aware of that.ReplyDelete
I can't walk in your moccasins except to say we're all in the same boat with similar thoughts. You truly have a gift for writing and the outdoors. Maybe we appreciate it more than you do. Maybe this "gift" is not your passion. If not, what IS your passion? And while I'm on my soapbox and "participating" here, don't give up on YOUR God. As for me, I have WAY too many evidences of God working in my life to turn my back on him. And it has not always been pleasant.
A hundred years and I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. To quote John Lennon, Life is what happens when you are making other plans.ReplyDelete
The job of working on it is all the fun.
We are a funny old species.