*10 am at Wander Goat Coffee House*
Where to camp? The pacific seems to be burning up, and it’s like the wildfires are chasing us.
We left a fire in Trinity county, and then followed one up to Oregon, between Ashland and Eugene, which was only fifteen percent contained as of yesterday. Regardless of fire, everyone is filling up the campsites, and we realize that we need to put a little more planning and research into all of this….
*1 pm at the ranger’s station*
I walk into the ranger’s station outside of Eugene, and ask for a campsite. They take their time, making small talk, and don’t realize what a make-it-or-break-it situation this is for me. I look down at the chihuahuas paling around on the floor, and ask if I can pet them. Molly and Mojo, they are the calmest chihuahuas I’ve ever seen, and they soothe me.
I get a spot for the night, and thank the rangers from the bottom of my heart. They tell me to call Silver Falls in the morning, and see what the wildfire situation is looking like before we head on. There are fires up north, as well.
*2 pm at the laundromat*
I needed to get away. I’ve taken the car by myself for the day, and am doing laundry, eating a gross fried burrito, and reading the local Eugene activist newspaper. And I’m learning. I can feel it. I’m finding some sort of balance, and some sort of calm and progress.
The Eugene paper talks about nothing but climate change, in a variety of ways that I’ve never imagined possible for human beings to express. One commentary that catches my eye, “To stop climate change, we have to interrupt the rampant industrial capitalism. One good way to do this: drastically reduce our dependence on money. People less dependent on money seek less profit and more respect from their community and from humanity.” The writer urges people to drop out: start anarcho-collectives growing their own food, arranging free campsites for the globalized traveling community at large, and developing radical media to create resonance with the people that are waiting for empowerment. Those unable to afford the luxury of dropping out will experience and continue a localized ripple effect in urban areas.
The paper included its weekly “spray schedule”: a list of all of the areas in town that would be sprayed with pesticides during the week, giving time and place so that community members could organize, show up and protest the act. Which I love the idea of. And want to run with in the future.
*3:30 pm enjoying the music and the shade outside of some grocery store*
It’s peaceful. And I finish the paper. Check my email. Clean the car.
*6 pm at El Super Burrito*
I’ve bought a four dollar vegetarian burrito that is as big as you imagine, and is full of beans, guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce and salsa. I was going to take it to go, but I decide to post up in the corner of the shop, and watch people filter in as I eat. I’ve found my sweet spot again, I’ve stumbled back closer to the flow of connecting with the world.
The cashier at El Super Burrito was this sweet young guy who stumbled over his words, and remedied this with even more word stumbling. I smiled, and pretended like none of this had happened, continuing on the conversation. As I’m sure many people have done for me in the past.
*7 pm at the Campsite*
Set up the tent, and met the neighbors. Ben and the guy next door were going on and on about some bobcat in the area, and I got bored and walked away mid story. My brother told me the next day that I’m not exactly rude, I just seem autistic in social situations like that. He championed damage control for my abrupt exit. I tell him that I’ve just learned that there are too many people in the world to engage someone for long who’s not inspiring you.
I head over to the picnic table, and read the paper with the setting sun. And then I walk over to the river and give New York a call. And then I head back to the tent, and read poetry for the rest of the night, taking furious notes by flashlight.
Today I’m MoroccanMintTea at the Eugene Tea House. Posted up at the window as people truck by on the summer streets.
So many dirty traveling kids walking past. Mostly loner guys, stopping and asking the street crowd on the corner for directions. But then there are groups as well, big backpacks with sleeping bags attached. Boots, dreadlocks, growlers. A posse.
This is a great, grungy travel town. A great place to be free and anonymous. We’re going to stay a few days.
“I’ll have the breakfast tostada, please. But can I make that vegan?”
“Yeah, so no cheese.”
“And no eggs as well, right?”
“Oh, god no! Sorry, I guess I don’t want the vegan option. EGGS. All of the eggs, please.”
Cell phones are not allowed at the tables, and it’s a serve yourself your own water kind of place.
I throw on my flannel jacket to gain insider status.
The food is beautiful, and my brother and I sit outside, chowing down.
And we’re questioning my social suave?
Grandma butt dials my brother while she is engaged with the police this morning, and I realize how ready I am to come back to Kansas and see everyone.
We pay, and the girl behind the counter is one of the most present people I’ve ever met in my life. She asks us about our lives, and where we’re headed next. And looks deep into our eyes, and pauses more than is kosher in our fast paced society. I feel like I could take a few lessons from her ambience.
My brother just found me at the Tea House, and tells me he’s spent the morning downing beers with Will, our camp neighbor from last night. Bobcat man. He tells me that Will is coming over tonight for drinks with his wife Fatima. Fatima is sweet and from Mexico City, but I really don’t want to hang out with anyone tonight. I ask Ben if I can take the car for the evening and escape, but he insists on me being social.
I don’t think I will.
I’m headed somewhere with coffee, now.