Dazzling morning sunshine. I stride out of Arnold Hall. Behind me a small circle of tough men and women are winding up after a lovely Christmas Carol workshop.
I get into the jeep. I change my glasses for sunglasses and button the engine on. Four miles through empty fields to get to the gate. I drive past deer and cyclists, young men and women training, a B52 bomber – on display. Past the guards with their sidearms. Through the gate. And off duty. Off duty.
America, you have been remarkable. Through ups and downs our little unit of five has stayed upbeat and kind. We have held our tongue when we needed to and spoken when we had to. We have looked after each other and the show, expending or husbanding energy as needed, and we have taken care of huge numbers of very different young women and men in the classes that we have been invited into.
Now I have a little tiny gap. The first I’ve had since June. I’ll be thinking about Scrooge, and keeping this show alive for the London shows. But this is about to be a whole week off. I literally have no idea what I’m going to do other than that it involves landing in San Francisco tomorrow afternoon and having a hire car available. North through the redwoods? Down to the Big Sur? Back to LA? I guess I’ll find out. It might be dictated by the economy of room prices. It might be affected by the location of various huge fires. I have long been comfortable with the unknown and right now I’m as likely to abandon the plans that I’ve been playing with as I am to go through with them. It’ll just be me I guess, so nobody will be worrying about where I’ll sleep.
I’ve now booked some Airbnbs. “You’ll only end up sleeping in the car. I’m not going to let you sleep in the car.” Thank God for true friends. Turns out there are people who worry where I’ll sleep.
I’m staying one night in somebody’s house on Airbnb, south of the golden gate. Then I’m banging up the coast northwards. I’m in quest of trees and solitude before the inevitable energyspam as Scrooge.
Today we found a large amount of rocks. We went to “The Garden of the Gods,” one of those parts of this ancient land where the red rock has been eroded into strange shapes over thousands of years. One of those places with ancient history and ancient story that is almost completely suppressed by the narrative of the new arrivals. I left no wiser than I came about the actual history of the place. I read a bit about some guys in the 1800’s, basically yesterday. And the usual single part of a sentence “used to be of interest to the native Americans of the area until…” Nothing beside remains. We joined the crowds of Veteran’s Day weekend tourists as they fumbled around the concrete paths with their howling children and their overheating dogs.
And in the process we took in the beauty, and started the long process of winding this glorious job out of our hearts as the reality of life beckons us back.