Published: July 26th 2011July 25th 2011
My room is powder blue. I share it with a Buddha who holds an Amethyst bigger than his belly. It smells like practice in here, I like that. Practice smells something like sweet musk, cedar, and natural body odor all mixed up, into a smell cloud that rests like a mustache under my nose - - organic, delicious. The descent into Medford from Portland was smooth this time. I’ve come to accept the reality that there is no way to arrive in Medford, Oregon by plane without riding in an air-born craft with propellers. Maybe it is my acceptance of this that has made it easier. It’s not planes I am weary of … its’ more the size of the vehicle hurtling through the air combined with chance wind. It is the chance wind. I’m relieved to be traveling in the less windy season. Still, I find myself believing Medford should be a less impossible place to get to from the Midwest, less than twelve hours of travel and three planes. I like how my house host puts it, she says:
“Flying into Medford from anywhere is like taking the family van,”
Yes, a flying family van. So, naturally,
there will be some breakdowns, breakthroughs, cramped quarters, laughs and cancellations, complete with curious complimentary beverages limited to: apple juice, cranberry juice, chilled Chardonnay, water, or Pale Ale….period. I kind of wanted each of them a little bit…and I was kind of reminded of family dinner:
“milk, water, or Hi-C ?”
(I always chose Hi-C). I felt a little more comfortable this time riding into the mountains, and I didn’t mind the strobe light show coming from the propeller either. Once they started up, the light show was soothing; hypnotic….the dancing lights reminded me of what it must look like in my brain between nerve impulses, electricity jumping cell to cell across synapse. And then ahh…the Rogue Valley opening out between fuzzy mountains - sweet, sunny, mellow…..the smiling Sissikiyou. The body of these mountains are made from trees which seem like little green paintbrush puffs blanketed over jagged crevasses. They make the sharp terrain seem soft. I remember now, midsummer brings out the stark contrast between the two sides of the valley. One side lush green with its’ luminous Christmas trees, the other side, light tan, arid dry crackling branch scrubs – direction one/direction two – face the
front/face the back. It gives the bowl of the valley a really distinct feeling, like stitching together two different biomes...I can’t seem to find the seam though. But somehow, it goes together.
Well, maybe the seam is the highway. Our drive from Medford south to Ashland takes 10 minutes. Ashland, a town of 20,000 permanents doubles in size during tourist season…it is tourist season. Tourists come to Ashland for the Shakespeare festival, which goes on for several months. What it looks like is lots of booths with fairy clothing along the road which is filled with people eating ice cream cones who are dressed up in costumes ranging from princess make-up face to awkward “something or another.” To give a fuller picture, there are also a lot of congregations of ladies with jangly bracelets shopping at spirituality boutiques (which are pretty neat-o), and all organic dog biscuit shops. And to fill in the missing piece, there are the tourists like me, eccentric photo taker artist writer mountain gaper, not quite hippy, not quite not here to “do psycho-spiritual work” - - yoga, Hakomi, meditation, dancing, -- - a new fangled make-shift modern seeker. Yep. I fit right in here.
My house host, friend, airport driver, Diane says Ashland is the “woo-woo” town of these parts. I’m no stranger to “woo-woo.” I told her,
“I come from the woo-woo town of my parts to.”
I’d like to have a t-shirt that says that. I am no longer shy to admit, I’m a woo-woo person from a somewhat woo-woo town. I recognize that I have taken a dive into the practical applications of eccentric woo-woo isms these days. I am pleased to have found my way to this destination rather than some other “available” routes. There is no turning back now. My time in woo-woo Ashland promises to be wide.
There are more photos below