It came to mind as we left Springdale, AR Sunday morning that @55 years ago my parents, sisters, and I were leaving to move to Tulsa and one year later, to California. This trip is another signal that the many circles of my life are closing or completing and I welcome these completions with gratitude and lumps in my throat. I get to take the journey again that began so many changes in my life; always saying goodbye to loved ones and moving towards new adventures, experiences, and new loved ones. From that first move in @ 1956 began 10 yearly cycles of vacations traveling back and forth from Burbank, CA to Springdale along the road called Rt. 66. As a child I was enchanted by the deserts of California, Arizona, and New Mexico because of the beauty and mystery. I would look across the terrain of nothingness and my eyes would see earth formations and transitions that called to me to be there, no there, where no other man or boy had dared set foot. Even today as I rode into New Mexico I claimed the first butte I saw as mine; I must climb to the top of it! I saw brother Raven as I crossed the border and he was on my right in a scrubby tree, watching. The raven is a large magnificent bird compared to the common crow and ravens soar, crows never do.
I loved driving through Oklahoma and Texas too as they and their occupants are tough yet loving folks. I pulled off for gas in western Oklahoma today and struggled to maneuver the bike with its loosened handlebars up the gravel hill to the gas pumps. I noticed the pumps didn’t take credit cards and then noticed the man sitting in his truck bed filling up an accessory tank of gas. When I turned the engined off he offered to trade tanks to fill and he had a smile that said welcome home. We chatted for awhile and I felt like we had been friends for most of our lives. He was preparing to sell 100 momma cows in order to make things meet and he advised they had been in a draught for two to three years. No crops, no water, little feed or water for the cattle and he said it was tough for those that had nothing else.
I love this land. My heart is in this part of the country all the way to the Pacific, ‘always has been. Big skies, big hearts, big love, and big Ravens. Big big gratitude.