Being in the moment, it is a practice that needs practice.
I opened the bedroom-balcony door wide open despite the rushing winds and the cold. I wanted to feel as outside as possible from my bed. And i wanted as much sun as possible to come in through the clouds and between the rains and across the Puget sound. As soon as the confident sun walked into the room, I left. I needed to be drinking coffee with this moment. I could not stop myself. I had to have coffee in bed while the sun shone through. I knew going to make the nagging cup of coffee that I might miss the sun entirely. Waiting for the coffee to boil, my head voices repeating why can you not live in the moment? Why can you not bloody fucking hell just live in the fucking moment? And then I see the deer. I have been waiting for him for days (since the time I saw him and did not live the moment and got too excited and wanted everything out of that experience: I called for Ola too loud and reached for my phone too fast and the deer ran and Ola hurt her arm. If only I had just surrendered to the moment and watched it looking for apples or something under the tree in the front yard, I had just told Alma the night before that our spot was great but not where deer came through. Wrong!). There he was, under the tree. Why he? Because deer in Arabic is a male noun غزال and not like a cat who is she but rather like a dog who is he. And I decided to experience the moment. He moved a little, I wondered if he had eaten any of the apples I had left for him, licked his side, looked this way and that, I sipped the coffee looking at the deer through the window, for a minute or two until I prayed for its safety when it crossed the street and he was gone. So was the sun. I am not closing the balcony door just in case she (the sun is female) chose to visit.
Best quotes from a conversation with neighbors in Bakersville, NC
“If he does become a dictator, we will fight him, the American people is the biggest army on earth.”
“Britain is to blame for it all.”
“Of course i have a gun. If a person comes to my house and knocks at my door and i ask who is it and they do not answer i will shoot him, of course i will.”
(“But, but what if he was deaf? Or just could not speak English?” I suggest)
“Truth is, I cannot even understand what people around here are saying half the time.”
“Have another beer.”
Jumana gave me a camping workshop in her backyard in Oakland before i left to the road trip. I got a refresher from Linda in Grosse Point Park and she gave us her tent and a sleeping bag ++.
Our first camping experience, a spot by the water in the Everglades in February or was it March? Tobias gave us his mosquito shirts and they sure were useful against the attack of the nasty mosquitoes. We set up camp, tent and all, but the spot did not feel right, it was not as pretty as the pictures. Then, just at sunset, we found the right spot, the beautiful spot by the water. We had but ten minutes to break and set camp. Tent folded with the our gear in it stuffed rolled up and held outside the window, most doors still open we quickly shoved everything in and miraculously, challenging physics, we made it.
Over the period of a year, Ola and i camped a total of one night and i barely slept. We were meant to camp for two but a storm came and we evacuated.
Did it ever happen?
I am not sure how and why we found ourselves in the car driving up to the Roan Mountain tip during a snowstorm. As if we were unable to go against a pull, a pull to the top through a snow blizzard.
There was silence and white and wind and cold and we continued upward. It was also really hard to make a u-turn. At Carver’s Gap, Suad and Ola stepped out of the car while I stayed at the wheel, turned around, picked them up after they got a 30-second kick and went back home. The trip has acquired, as early as during it, a sense of magic and nonsense and fiction. Like a dream or simply an act of folly.
After this trip Suad no longer asked why we did not go for longer walks. 1) walks are subject to the availability of publicly accessible land (or be gunned down for trespassing), 2) it was fucking freezing.
I am happy to revisit my love here,
The Roan Mountain https://www.roccafamily.org/single-post/2017/04/10/note-12-goodbye-my-love
The curse of a grilled freshly caught octopus on a Greek island
After you have experienced that: a fuss free dinner of freshly caught and simply cooked seafood and a drink and a smoke exactly by the water, very few experiences will ever match up to it. Searching for a no-fuss place by the water to eat something from the same water has proved near impossible. Not when we were in California and nowhere along the Pacific Coast. Ola had high hopes for Oysterville, WA. Hopes based on the suggestions of its name. We drove through it until we double, triple, quadruple checked that the town indeed was closed. The whole place, for the season, for ever, I am not sure.
The best near to Greek island magic was buying shrimp and fish off the boat. Looks like this boat tours the islands and docks for a couple of days to sell its Alaskan seafood. Ola risked her life across the turbulent tongue extended into the ocean to buy shrimp and salmon. So far the shrimp has been a beautiful reward for much searching (marinate for at least an hour with fresh ginger, tamari sauce and crushed chili from New Mexico, for not-a-second-longer-than-three-minutes, stir fry), and I am excited to try the salmon.
I have learned that some seafood caught in the Pacific near the USA coast makes the trip all the way to China to get processed and travels back to be sold as local. The Greek Island story here is told in tales of sinking town economies, small swallowed up by large, lost the competition to corporations, nuclear matters, commercial and health regulations, etc.
The joys of friendship and bears
I have been pining for figs for over two years (at least). I walked into Sarah’s house to find a bowl of figs and I could not control myself. Sarah was very understanding and realized I needed more. Later in the evening, I joined the Ferocious Fig Hunters guided by Turtle armed with a flashlight and basket. I have since become a happier person.
No one asked me where I was from
We stopped for the night in Window Rock, Navajo Nation and I have never been in a time or a place in the USA where most people around me were locals.
To attend the Pueblo feast day, we went to Ohkay Owingeh, in New Mexico on June 24th. We attended some of the festivities open to the public, we watched and did as the crowds did, walked around and learned. And, we also had what became known as the Road trip #1 Meal: A fried bread burger. Ola and I stood in line and ordered it and we each took her burger and we sat in a plaza to eat it and were rather consumed by it.
Did you know that Bakersville, NC was dry country? I had never been anywhere that was dry in my whole life and it was “different.” The funny thing is, I had never seen wine bottle so large as those I saw in the town next door.
After we could not get a drink on a Sunday evening through Kentucky, I learned this (disclaimer: I did not research nor confirm the definitions below):
Dry — All sales of alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
Wet — Sales of alcoholic beverages for on-site or off-site consumption are allowed in at least some areas outside of an incorporated city. However, many "wet" counties have dry precincts. Kentucky's two consolidated city-county governments, Louisville and Lexington, are both wet, although as noted below, a few precincts in Louisville are dry.
Moist — The ABC uses this term strictly to refer to otherwise dry counties where one or more specific cities have voted to allow alcohol sales for off-premises consumption.
Limited — A county in which at least some otherwise dry territory has approved the sale of alcohol by the drink at qualifying restaurants. Under this category, the ABC has secondary classifications of "Limited (100)" and "Limited (50)", with the numbers referring to the seating capacity required for a restaurant to apply for a license.
Golf Course — A county in which at least some otherwise dry territory has approved the sale of alcohol by the drink at a qualifying golf course.
Winery — A county in which at least some otherwise dry territory has approved the operation of a winery.
Qualified Historic Site (QHS) — A county in which at least some otherwise dry territory has approved the sale of alcohol by the drink at a qualifying historic site.