Tag Archive | adventures

Saturday Adventures

image

Saturday we went to see the Spheres of Hope art project down at MacArthur Park in downtown LA. If you have some time on the next weekend or work downtown it is worth the trip over to the Lake to see it. The balls were all painted by kids and it is a glorious explosion of colour in the middle of downtown.

It’s this.  http://www.portraitsofhope.org/projects/spheres/

The weather was just plain weird though. I was incredibly hot and muggy and just as we had decided it was time to head back to the station it started to rain in huge drops. The rain felt lovely but it made it close to sauna conditions.

I love to take the subway and the trains around and this was right across from the MacArthur Park Station. I love to see all the art work that they have placed in the stations and every station is different. Most have painted tile work and they correspond to the history around each station. This station has two huge tile murals called El Sol and La Luna and several smaller tile installations of scenes around the park.

Our home station has giant round tile murals of things like orange groves and my beloved Amelia Earhart.

I had never been in the MacArthur Park station so it was adventure to see it and the spheres. The area around the station is a crowded vibrant patchwork of vendors selling all manner of things from food to folk art to cell phone accessories. The area is mostly central American so there is a lot of El Salvadoran and Guatemalan food, stores and  art work that dazzle the eye.

We had wanted to visit Olvera St and make it a full day out but it was just too hot and my right leg decided to go numb and I couldn’t feel it. It normally only does that if I’m lying down so I didn’t expect it when I was out walking. It feels totally creepy when it happens almost like my flesh doesn’t belong to me so when that happened I just wanted to go home. And it was so hot and swampy it was miserable. My sister wasn’t happy about going home but soon it will be cooler and we can try again.

LIFE IS FOR LIVING, LIVE IT!

Life is for living

And love is for giving

And joy is for passing around

Join hands with each other

And love one another

And let’s let the music abound

Life is too short to waste it on gloom

Don’t let your love slip away so soon

Join hands with each other

And love one another

And let’s celebrate this good day.

I’ve always loved this song but it has hit me lately that people seem to have forgotten the first line. LIFE IS FOR LIVING. I bring this up because yet another person has said a something that drives me buggy. “You’ve done so much in your life”. If it’s said by a woman it goes with a look that is either envious or is followed by the question, “Didn’t you ever want to get married and have kids?” Then I get a pitying look or confused when I say “no”.

If a guy says it, they are either disapproving or wondering how I did stuff. I tell them I take chances and that at 60 I’ve had time to do shit. Girls can do anything they choose to do. Life had no gender.

Either way, it makes me wonder about people. You can’t do things or have adventures if you don’t get off the couch and live.

I don’t live my life wrapped in cotton wool and I grew up in the age where the predominant button worn was “Question Authority.” Now kids are taught do what you are told. Don’t question authority, be a good little girl. Bad things don’t happen and if you don’t like something, say you don’t want to do it and you won’t have to. BULL SHIT!

When those things don’t line up and they fail at something or bad things happen, they yell “TRIGGER WARNING”. Well, if you are always avoiding life, you are going to have a big surprise when life doesn’t avoid you.

People die, bad things happen to you, and sometimes you have to do things you don’t like. DEAL WITH IT!

When I was a little girl, I played with the boys most of the time because a dirt clod war in the tree house was more fun than tea in my play house. When I had to play with a Barbie, we sent her down the Amazon to explore not to put stupid fashions on her. As I recall she ended up hanging from a tree and we left her there.

When I was two I jumped off the roof because if Mary Martin could fly in Peter Pan if I got up high enough yelling “I can Fly!” I should be able to, uh no but it didn’t stop me from trying. Things happened that were bad. My dad beat the shit out of me and I would tell myself I was saving my mom and little brother from being hit and I probably was. I got molested by the man next door and never told a soul at home. My dad taught me how to defend myself when I was in 7th grade and I used what he had taught me in college when I was almost raped two different times. What did it teach me? It taught me that I was strong and could take life when it got bad. Being born blind in one eye taught me I could get along if I needed to and I could take the bullying that I got for it. And that I could protect others by standing up to bullies and that that scared bullies. When I was at an event at a college a blind girl attended and I remember being so mad at her. She was absolutely helpless even though she had a cane. She insisted she be walked everywhere even places she had already been taken. She had a cane! It was a college campus with braille markings and wide cement walkways. There was no excuse to be helpless except that her parents had taught her she was.

Working at camp I had adventures, I got struck by lightning. I learned if I had to kill a rattlesnake that I could even though it scared me. I took kids on backpack trips in the wilderness. We dealt with the pervert that was spying on the staff at night. When I was still at home my dad and I went down the American River when it was at flood and a Class iv not once but twice and I got a 3rd degree sunburn with the scars to match but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world because it was amazing. One of the most fun things I’ve ever done. I took rock climbing because to get my degree I had to either take sailing or rock climbing and I broke my foot on a rock face. I still got an A in the class because I kept coming on crutches. I learned that I really hated the idea of falling but if I had to I could climb and that I could trust the guy on the other end of the rope. I chose rock climbing because I really hate to get wet or swim.

I was always one of a few girls in those classes. My specialty was Outdoor Resource Management/ Naturalist Interpreter. I took a lot of math and science to get that degree and I also took Survival, backpacking, High Risk Outdoor Adventuring (which mostly involved how wilderness could kill you) and a lot of other classes that women just did not take. The women in the Rec dept were taking Recreation for the disabled, Playground management and all the acceptable “girl” courses and they were boring as shit.

You do not grow without doing something, without taking chances, without getting bruised and broken and burnt. I still have a lot of growing to do but I’ve learned to love and lose when most of my family has died starting with my great-grandma when I was 5. I’ve had my heartbroken when I lost family, friends and lovers, pets or jobs and I get back up and I don’t yell “TRIGGER WARNING”. Real life doesn’t have trigger warnings. I’m not saying anything is easy. It isn’t and it can be very hard. I’ve had deep depressions, and I have tried to leave the planet when I was younger because my heart hurt. I won’t ever do it again unless I get a terminal diagnosis but if I do I will have lived first.

I have to say that my grandmother was the one who taught me to be brave and to have adventures. She went to the Yukon Gold Rush in 1906 when she was 16 with her girlfriend on a freighter. Before there were cruise ships or even very many phones, no planes if it got scary. She arrived in San Francisco shortly after the quake and came home with postcards of the devastation. When she was here in LA she climbed the local mountains before there were roads in the Angeles National Forest. Those wouldn’t be built until the 1930s. She was a silversmith, a leather worker. She did all kinds of needlework. She read constantly. She taught me divination and I have no idea where she learned it. When I was little she and my grandpa drove me all over LA to have adventures and see and do things. The first gift I got after my eye surgery was a beautiful book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales because she wanted to let me know she knew I would be able to see when everyone else was wondering if the operation would work. She taught me to trust and to try and I have for the most part. I have learned there are things to fear in life but courage means do it if you can and if you can’t accept that part of you to but you have to at least try.

Always remember to live or you will be old and wonder what you’ve missed and you will say to someone, “Wow, you’ve done a lot.” And you won’t ever have done anything. If I hadn’t learned those things I wouldn’t have come out in 1979 when very few were out of the closet. I wouldn’t have left the safe but boring and non-working for me, haven of the Presbyterian church I was raised in to be a pagan. I wouldn’t have been able to write my stories because I wouldn’t have had the experience to able to write.

Go out today and do something you’ve wondered about. Do something new. Learn something. Do something that might hurt, read something hard or painful. Face life with a full heart. Life is an adventure and you will miss the adventure if you don’t. Why watch Indiana Jones when you can be Indiana Jones even in a small way. BE AN ADVENTURER!.

How I learned I could fly

The Spring of ’76 we were running Outdoor Ed camps for private schools all springs which led to a big discovery. On the north end of camp there were several flat boulders that held metates. (A metate is a grain or seed grinding stone, in this case acorn meal.) There were also holes that had been hollowed out as storage for acorns next to the grinding stones. Some boys from camp were playing where they shouldn’t have been in the ravine where one of the streams flowed through that was quite dense with brush. It was off limits due to rattlesnakes but they went there anyway and made a discovery. They found more metates and they also found pictographs and carving on some of the large stones above the creek.

The next day one of the women from the Cahuilla tribe was coming to visit so we showed her the boys find and it promptly went off limits again while the local tribe came to investigate. They decided that it would be kept secret because it was on protected private land. What we didn’t know was that within a year the camp would close but that is a whole ‘nother tale.

Knowing it was off limits to the greater world didn’t mean it was off limits to the staff and we fascinated as was the D, anthropologist/storyteller/ shaman for the tribe and ran their tribal museum at the time, and she would come up just to visit. She continued to do this through the summer and since she was in her 80’s we asked her to always take one of us with her as they weren’t in an easy place to get to and we were afraid she’d fall. They were down a really steep hillside.

The site consisted of an upright slab with red handprints and drawings of deer in red and other small drawings. This stone was a pretty large slab facing the south into the sun. On a slab facing east was the only carving and it was of a very large snake. And just below that was a sort of cave made by two smaller upright stone and a very large stone that laid across the two small upright stones which made a cave of about 5 ft deep and at one end it was about 2 ½ feet tall and then sloped down lower toward the back. It had been totally blackened from fire on the inside and had a nasty feeling to it. One of those places you instinctively know not to go in but D, our anthropologist from the tribe was totally enthralled with it. G, R and I wanted no part of it and we were her usual escorts. The cave at some point had had a fire in it so intense that it cracked one of the large side rocks that held the stone above.

D had come up to visit and was doing workshops with the girls at the north stones and showing how acorns were ground and prepared for eating and after lunch some of us who were her big fans would get her talking and telling stories. That day, she kept wanting to go down to the cave but none of us were free at the time and wouldn’t be until later and she said she would wait. We shouldn’t have believed her.

That summer the Asst Camp Director, R and I had started reading Carlos Castaneda’s books and they were the topic of much discussion among us and with D who wasn’t sure about them. So we were already primed toward the kind of events that were about to occur.

Around 3 pm I noticed D had disappeared from the stones. I could see that area from Arts and Crafts and got a really intense feeling of something awful happening and took off to find R and G who also had the same feeling and were already moving in the direction of the road and we took off running for the cave and found D almost to the area on the road above. And she told us to come along, she was going with or without us and that we were being stupid. She had decided to go by the creek and climb up from there and so we went with her. We spent some time sitting below the large upright slab talking about the various symbols. D’s theory was that it was a coming of age spot for girls of the tribe that were using the site as a summer camping area. That makes a lot of sense from the size of the handprints on the rock. All seemed normal and I think we all felt like we had been a little nuts for jumping to a conclusion.

We were all looking at the stone when D disappeared around the back side of the cave and crawled in the smaller end. This can’t have been easy because she was elderly and not a small woman but she said she felt compelled to sit inside the cave. Once she had gotten herself in there she started to feel intense pressure on her chest and to have trouble breathing. So she yelled and got our attention and of course we dove for the larger size entrance just behind us. The three of us tried to get her to come out. R even tried to pull her out, he was a fairly big guy and he couldn’t get her to move. She said she couldn’t and wouldn’t move but she thought she was having a heart attack and couldn’t get her breath and that she was having intense feelings of evil from whomever the last man to use it was and that he was really pissed.

While she was relating this to us the three of us found out we could not move. It felt like someone was pinning us to the earth. I remember trying to force myself to my feet so that I could run and I just couldn’t move. It was one of scariest and weird sensations I’ve ever felt. Like my legs had been cemented to the earth. Later G and R said they had felt the same way. I finally broke free and started to run up the hill and down the road for main camp to get help. The other two still couldn’t move not could D.

G and R said it was one of the strangest things they had ever seen. They told me I was off the ground going up the hillside. I don’t remember that, I just remember running like hell and how difficult it seemed to move at first. The farther I got away the easier it was to run. As I reached Main Camp my boss was running to the camp van with the keys to come and get us. They had been eating dinner when she said she felt me yelling for her to come to us. I hadn’t even started to yell at that point I was running too hard.

I jumped in the moving van and we hauled down the road to above the site. Somehow after I broke free D had too and R and G were helping her up the hillside when we got there. I don’t remember how we got the van turned around but we did and hauled ass to camp where we had an ambulance already on the way from the forest station.

They got D down to the hospital to be treated for what everyonewas sure was a heart attack. She had all the symptoms. We got an anxiously awaited phone call from D a few hours later. Could she come back to camp in the morning, the hospital says there is nothing wrong with her??!!

They had told her after she had a completely normal EKG that her heart showed no signs of trauma nor did any of her blood work. So they let her go home and told her to take it easy for a few days so of course she wanted to come back to camp.

I don’t think any of us ever went near the cave after that for the rest of the summer. Not even D wanted to do it. She said she had had enough of whoever had been there before. We’d go see the pictographs and I went and drew them. Still have my sketchbook but no way was I ever going in that cave again.

The adventure

I made the mistake of forgetting it was spring break when I went Hollyweird this afternoon and the 3 Stooges premiere is tonight at Grauman’s Chinese. Oh dopey me!

Wall to wall tourists, the oddlings who dress up everyday to have their pictures taken with tourists,  people touting tours of the stars homes, and hundreds of people looking down at the stars on the sidewalk and not where they are going and then stopping dead to take a picture. Enough to drive a native mad. And the only one who said a normal hello was the guy manning the door of the porn show.

I took the pics I wanted and scrambled back to the subway, hungry because there is nowhere normal to eat down there. The Hard Rock Cafe is not normal!

You are just have to wait til tomorrow for the first of the new goddessses.