My mind let slip the fact that I was overdue for my “solo day.” This is a very nice practice CB and I have done for quite a while, to take a monthly break from living and working in each others’ pockets 24/7 to refresh our knowledge of who each of us is, at the core. I’d looked forward to going to the SFMOMA to see the Icelandic installation “Visitors” again, for maybe the 8th or 9th time; it had just begun a repeat run after its 2016-17 conquest of the entire upper floor. Covid has made visits to San Francisco more problematic, since hostels are not a current option for us. I immediately checked out the availability website for the sweetest close-by campground I know, Bicentennial.
I love that place. It’s only three tent sites, a little pocket gem nestled behind the Marin foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. No bells and whistles, one porta-potty and three picnic tables, very cheap, and most of the times I’ve been there I’m the only one. No traffic, no tourists, no noise, snuggled on a wooded hillside, it’s like a meditation center; it’s so wonderful it feels illegal. I was very surprised to find that during my target week it was almost fully-booked. I had not looked carefully at the dates for “Visitors” and thought it was closing in January of 2023, so my time was limited. I immediately booked for Friday night.
Thursday night my camping preparations were complete and I had a nice late-night schmooze with Conrad by the bedroom fireplace. As usual, I snuggled in his direction once we were in sleep-mode, then turned over to my usual right-side sleep-pose, facing the big eastern glass doors. Wham. The moon was past full but still mighty, and the white vertical blinds were blazing with woodcut-sharp outlines of the pine boughs.
I was so startled by this sudden display that sleep fled for quite a while. That was OK. I found myself revisiting my many late-night walks with the moon, usually at festivals, barefoot on soft sandy paths in the woods, happy, safe, and moon-struck. For most of the first part of my life I was terrified of the dark, and once I got past that, the dark became one of my sweetest friends. I avoided flashlights and developed what I called night-vision. I must have drifted for an hour from Starwood in upper New York to Stones Rising in the southeast corner of Pennsylvania to Firedance in the Santa Cruz mountains, walking the night barefoot in their woods. It was an ecstatic journey.
The next day, yes, a joyous reunion with the The Visitors, an hour-long multi-screen video created by Icelandic musicians in a huge rural New York mansion. There’s a wonderful article from the Washington Times that gives a clear and loving glimpse into what they did.
(Later, I found I hadn’t read the SFMOMA flyer dates carefully. It will be there for a whole year. Think about going to see it.)
Then I more or less slept at Bicentennial, waking at one point to a blazing clear view of the constellation Orion. I still think of it as the Irish constellation, because when I was I kid I thought it was called O’Brien.
The next day, Saturday, we had the first in-person meeting of our Oral Tradition Poetry Salon in three years. It was two hours of intense reconnection.
I was so overstimulated that I don’t think I slept Saturday night, and I don’t regret it at all. Now I’m looking forward to a small Solstice circle with our across-the-street neighbors. For a dark season in a dark time, the light is surely rising.
Thanks, Elizabeth: “the light is surely rising.”