iridium: (corbin-moon)
I'm off to the woods again for a bit, then down to the Gulf Coast. I had a moment of quiet to myself for the solstice, and this year I'll be watching the sunrise on the first day of the new year from a beach on the edge of the Gulf instead of out by the Atlantic. As usual, I've got scraps and threads of thoughts, but haven't been keeping up with lj or made much time for writing...and right now, I need to get back on the road so that I'm not trying to drive the twisty highways past midnight. ("A bit late for that," says the Monty-Python-esque voice in my head, rolling its eyes.)

So, in lieu of my own words, I'm offering a friend's. This is taken wholly from [ profile] tamnonlinear's winter solstice post, because she keeps on articulating thoughts that bounce around in my head, echo my own patchworks, set up such lovely resonances.

Thoughts for the dark of the year:

Live with the understanding that the choices you make matter.

We are at the time when the turn of the seasons is about to reach the longest night of the year. It's a good time to think about the paths we take in dark places, and how we guide ourselves.

Live not as if you might die tomorrow (though it's good to live a fearless life, now and again), but as if you will live a hundred more, building on the actions you choose now.

Live with the understanding of the power of that, and the beautiful responsibility that goes with it.

It matters.

This is not a scolding or a lecture, though those tones are present. This is a call to understand the wonder and beauty of connection, the joy in knowing we can make a difference, on being the pebble in the landslide, the butterfly flapping its wings in a foreign land, the saving grace that alters the moment.

We matter.

People will tell you to live without hesitation, leap without looking, as if these were synonymous with joy and bravery, as if consequence-free living was the only way to have what you want.

Life matters.

I'm telling you it is not so. Look when you're leaping, not to hold back from leaping, but so you're at least aiming for something, seeing what is around you that makes the leap (and even the fall, if it comes) worth it. Take the daring action not in ignorance of the consequences, but knowing, embracing, encouraging the change it will bring. There is bravery in taking the action with the knowledge of what it means and what it costs, and in doing so making the statement that it is important and vital. There is pride, without arrogance, in accomplishing a task with the full knowledge of what it entails and why it is worth risking and worth doing. There are tasks we cannot set aside or ignore, as a matter of being fully adult people.

Choices matter.

Assume there will be consequence, and believe in the ability of things to change for the better by chosen action. Believe yourself to be of the strength and integrity to handle that, to be someone who can not only stand but can soar, who can not only pull their weight but add strength to the rest of the world as well, by encouraging the connections that require commitment and consistency. Have the integrity to stand by your actions, the morality to know your choices define you, and live with that not as a limit but a support, as part of the basis of living a significant life.

Be foolish and frivolous and spontaneous, not out of thoughtlessness, but out of the wisdom of knowing the value of these things as well, knowing them as part of loving the world's complexity, not rejecting it as meaningless.

Living without forethought may sound spontaneous, but in the end it's a form of cowardice. It's denying your own power, your own ability, the importance of others, the very things in the end that makes life rich and strong and achingly beautiful.

This is not a weight. If you think that consequence and responsibility is a burden, you've missed the greatest joys in life. There is a wonderful, soul-shaking beauty to the thought that you can make someone's life better, you can save something that might be lost, you can understand and educate and change. You can be part of what alters the world. Your existence is of significance. Live with and within that truth. It is the difference between merely reacting and truly responding, carrying the understanding of your own part in the dance of it all.

It's frighteningly hard at times to accept this, and sometimes it's as simple and easy as choosing to hold a door, say a kind word, give a little money to a charity, leave a space for a someone else, allow room for a wild creature, take a moment to consider a course, evaluate your place in the scheme of things. It is the big actions as well, though those come along less frequently, and require rejecting the weakness of saying that you are not one to choose.

This is the balance of life.

It is a beautiful thing.

Choose well.

Encourage the light.

Shine with it.


Dec. 11th, 2006 01:15 pm
iridium: (matilda_sunset)
it's a very small roadtrip, but... roadtrip!

hopefully the rain will hold off, and the twisty coast-highway will be beautiful, and at the end of it there will be good food and a warm place to sleep by the ocean.

back tomorrow evening, in time for class.
iridium: (matilda_sunset)
unpacked the last bits of travel-debris from Waltzing Matilda: three hats, one bag of fancy funky clothes, one pair of old sneakers, two pairs of boots that never got worn, one box of miscellany for making-things, and the last batch of maps, ephemera, and roughly three pounds of tourist-info for the Dakotas, Idaho, and the southwestern bit of Wisconsin. and my huge black cold-weather trenchcoat.

it feels, finished. but every time i get in the car, i'm tempted to just keep going, find some little twisty highway to nowhere and drive until i'm falling asleep, with road-music on the stereo and a neverending cup of bitter gas-station coffee in my hand. i don't drive every day, here, and Matilda grumbles and stutters when i haven't driven in a while, takes a few miles to warm up and settle down into the low rolling roar i'm tuned to...but then the subtle tension goes out of my shoulders, and we could just keep on going. not yet, i know; i know this is the time for rootedness and focus, for remembering my sense of home in this place so that i can figure out what comes next. not yet, but sometime not too far off, i think.

-- the numbers --
months: 3
mileage leaving Oakland: 58,160
mileage in SC, new engine installed: 63,486
mileage arriving in Oakland: 69,931
on the side (not with Matilda): 1,800 miles
states: 33 (plus Canada and D.C.)

the full list )

...which means 11,771 miles in Matilda, and 13,571 miles total. more than half the circumference of the earth.

*little smile*
a long road, and a good one.

... *mad grin & laughter* indeed, indeed. oh, there'll be travelling again before long, i'm sure, with stories and comings-home and many, many other kinds of madness and adventure on the way.

. . .
iridium: (matilda_sunset)
home, indeed. woke up this morning in my own bed for the first time in three months, got smiles and good-morning hugs from Megan, and now i'm running out to meet Clare at Mama's Royale for breakfast and coffee and stories and catching-up and laughter.

today is unpacking, settling in. tomorrow is my farmer's market, more unpacking, and whatever else i feel like doing. [ profile] fyfer, [ profile] cerevisae, other bay-area people: anyone up for a bit of a picnic at the landfill tomorrow afternoon?

life is good.
iridium: (matilda_sunset)
we just spent two days camping in Yellowstone, and the couple of days before that in the Badlands, Black Hills, and driving across South Dakota and Wyoming. this is a beautiful place.

today we've left Wyoming and Yellowstone and the buffalo, crossed the continental divide, and finally found free wireless access at a restaurant/motel/casino named Scharf's, across from an old state penitentiary that's now a museum. possibly even two museums. with cars in them, as best i can tell. we've got a good bit more driving on I-90 to do today. not sure where we're staying, but i think it'll either be Potlatch, ID or sleeping in the car somewhere along the road. we'll make Seattle by tomorrow night.

places i haven't yet been, that i want to go:
- Glacier National Park (the Going to the Sun Road is still closed, so we're not going there tonight)
- Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary
- out on long rides in the hills and mountains and sagebrush deserts

been feeling a bit rough, and a little ill, lately. got bits and pieces of difficult things in my head that i need to deal with, but now is not the right time or place. in the meantime...i am travelling, a long way yet from home, but i've come a much longer way already. for now i have the mountains, and the sky, and horses of all colors keeping me company along the highways. i have my Waltzing Matilda, the long roads, the snow and the sage. i have sunset and sunrise, and i have the cool Northwest to look forward to, rivers and the cold Pacific, redwoods and sequoias, friends and laughter and motorcycles.

life is good.
iridium: (matilda_sunset)
it's still raining, but the car is mostly packed, we've had breakfast, and it's time to hit the road. next stop: Syracuse, New York.

westward ho!
iridium: (blue hair)
Matilda, [ profile] desultor, and i made it to Boston late last night, just in time for me to catch [ profile] nacht_musik and [ profile] coraline and go to 400 Highland in Davis for dinner. a fine way to finish this stretch of travelling.

we arrived in New York yesterday evening, fought through some nasty horrible traffic that caused Matilda to overheat for a second or two just before the Holland Tunnel, drove through Chinatown and across Manhattan, and managed to find our way to Wonderland in Queens. driving an enormous old stationwagon across NYC is...well, really, a bit ridiculous. or terrifying. or something. but fortunately [ profile] desultor is an excellent navigator, and even managed to get us out of NYC again at ~5pm on a Monday without getting caught in any horrible traffic. at least not until we got to Connecticut, but at least the parkway was a pretty drive.

less than 24 hours in NYC, and now i'm in Somerville, well-fed and well-rested, and it's time to get out and wander a bit.

if you're in the area: call me, or send email, if you want to catch up and hang out. and/or come find me at Roast, because there will be fire and music and stories. i'll most likely be heading out of town again, westbound, at the end of next week, so find me before then.

iridium: (matilda_sunset)
in DC (rather, Chevy Chase, Maryland, with [ profile] desultor) now, heading out for an oil change, coffee with Todd & Jenn, and New York City very soon. should be in NYC tonight and part of tomorrow, most likely heading to Boston tomorrow afternoon. (there's some chance we'll stay in NYC through Tuesday morning, but the plan is to head out on Monday.)

new engine is doing ok so far. i've lost another hubcap, which means i'm down to one, which i'm going to pull off and stick in the wayback so it doesn't fall off too. any suggestions for hubcap sources near Boston? i'd prefer similar ones, from an old Ford or Caddilac, but anything with style that suits Matilda is fine.
iridium: (matilda_sunset)
at approximately 63,485 miles, Waltzing Matilda got a new engine. i've driven 50 miles listening close to the engine and keeping an eye on everything, and so far she runs sweet and smooth and quiet. the persistent over-rev problem has at the least not shown up again since i picked her up from the mechanic.

tonight i drove all around Charleston:
first out the winding long way to the night beach at Folly, where i watch the sun rise on New Year's Day. i walked down to the ocean and watched the low breakers roll in, and the sky was full of stars. there was no moon, just the orange criscross lights of the pier, and there was no one else on the beach. i picked up one shell in the dark to take with me, touched my fingers to the edges of the waves, and said goodnight to all of it. then back through the smooth winding highway, across the peninsula, and over the wide new bridge with its heavy suspension cables and bright lights stretched out over the river. drove down the northbound highway almost out to Isle of Palms, then took an unfamiliar turn onto a familiar road, passed neighborhoods where old friends used to live, and then back again to the bridge and home.

i'm still getting used to the new sound of the engine, but as far as i can tell, everything's good to go. the camping gear is in the car, and the rest of my bags are (mostly) packed and sitting by the door. now is time for sleeping; tomorrow i wake early, load everything in the car, and head north.

wish me luck.

iridium: (me & fence)
it's been a hard week, for some reasons i understand and for some i haven't figured out yet, some big serious ones and some little nasty bitey ones. i need to sit and write and talk through it all sometime soon, but not tonight. tonight i need to get to sleep (before 3am, even) so that i can get up early and hit the road tomorrow.

Matilda's still in the shop, waiting. the engine arrived from the factory yesterday, and they said they'll get started with the installation on Monday...i'll talk with them again Monday morning and hopefully know more about when she'll be ready and what kind of break-in she'll need then. *little smile* i think some part of my fretting comes from that a large bit of my immediate sense of home is currently tied to Waltzing Matilda; for these three months, she is what is constant, she is the (only) space that belongs to me.

so, on the road again, but in a big silver VW van this time, and heading up to the Georgia woods for just a few days to see Fence and ride 'til i'm too sore to walk, again. ([ profile] violin, if you're free and want to come & hang out in the woods for an evening, you're welcome to...but i'm assuming that Sunday & Monday nights probably don't work so well for you, and i know it's a long drive.) no internet, but my phone does seem to work out there. (ooh! just remembered...we have a fire-circle by the house now, so i can burn things! fire fire fire fire fire!)

...and the Extended Roadtrip Mix from [ profile] nacht_musik arrived, complete with many lovely stamps (the Buckminster Fuller one rocks), so i'll have more new music to listen to for the drive. *smile*
iridium: (butterflies)
google tells me that Charleston to DC is a bit over 11 hours, which may be more than i can manage alone in one day. Charleston to Durham is pretty much on the way, and is ~6 hours. *sigh* i was hoping to borrow/rent a car and make it to Georgia, Asheville, & Durham between Saturday and Wednesday, then drive straight up to DC as soon as Matilda's ready, but doing all of that may be beyond my capabilities. i'll very likely go back out to Bowman/Peyton Ferry this weekend, and i might make it out to Asheville, but i'm not sure.

[ profile] sholladay, you up for a visit sometime either this weekendish, early next week, or late next week? if Matilda's ready to go by the end of the workday on Wednesday, i may head out up the east coast on Thursday...

also, i need to check and see if a new/rebuilt engine requires any particular sort of care for breaking it in.

current extremely-tentative schedule )
iridium: (skull)
today i woke early, showered, put on presentable normal-people clothes, and went to the hospital with my dad. and then, of course, switched out of the presentable normal-people clothes into scrubs, so that i could come watch his cases.
shadowing at the hospital. warning: brief descriptions of procedures, mild gore. )


...and then i came home and called the mechanic.

the short form is that the oil leaks i've been seeing over the past several months may be partly due to old gaskets, but that the root problem is internal blow-by. the good solution to this problem is to either overhauling the engine or putting in a 'new' rebuilt one. his take was it makes more sense to put in a new engine, because after labor costs at his shop and the machine shop, overhauling the current engine costs more, and a factory-rebuilt engine comes with a 100,000mi/3yr warranty.
options and choices... )
...there are no choices that are not painful. but in the end...well, right now, i can (kinda) afford to fix Matilda properly. i was hoping to save that money, but i hadn't yet decided what i'd be saving for, or where i'd put it, or anything. and this roadtrip has been time spent travelling, living, learning, joyous, difficult...but always intensely interesting, always full. and travelling in this particular car has made it so that even the time spent behind the wheel is wide-eyed laughing beautiful life; it lends another dimension, a little more soul. and, dammit, i'm only halfway around! there's miles and miles to go!

more practically, putting in a rebuilt, under-warranty engine would mean she should run well for at least a few more years with minimal maintenance...and if i want to sell her, i'm a hell of a lot more likely to be able to do it when she's got a new engine, as opposed to wonky rings, blow-by, and a multitude of oil leaks.

so, a little unexpectedly, it's still worth it. there was a little question, but not much. my mother put it together before i did, said, "Look, it seems pretty clear that what you really want is to fix this car." and my dad said, "I think you're making the right decision, given the situation. But in the future...don't ever give your car a name." *laugh*

(since i started making the plans for this roadtrip, i've been saying "10,000 miles or as far as the car will take me," and saying that if she died on the road i'd just ditch, ship everything back in boxes, and fly home. but...i failed to consider exactly how attached i am to this vehicle, and more importantly, that driving all over lovely twisty highways and having a ridiculously powerfully good time would make it that much harder to just let Waltzing Matilda go, especially to such a rough and ungraceful end.)

more detailed car geekery... )

and now the day is done. time for sleeping, soon. tomorrow is another full day.
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