Decompression/Recompression

My life is best described as a flurry.  Not quite a full-force blizzard, but close enough.  It’s just hectic enough to make people wonder if they should come out and build a snowman with me, or huddle under blankets by the fireplace, safely in their own abodes, letting me rampage on my own outdoors.

Today marks the one week anniversary of our official arrival in Boulder.  One week into classes, into work, into my new life.  I came off the tail of a grand adventure with no time to breathe before launching into the next – but if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably already guessed – this is how I roll.

I hate being bored.  It drives me bonkers.  Makes me angrier than if someone ate the last of the ice cream the day that a bus splashed dirty street water on me as I was walking toward some really bad news.  Boredom is generated and controlled by no one and nothing but yourself, so I take it as a personal failure when I feel bored.  The world at my fingertips, and I can’t figure out what to occupy my time with?  That’s ridiculous.

I’m almost settled into the new place.  I have to figure out how to get my desktop hooked up to the wifi in the apartment, and there are a few lingering boxes, and I’m not quite sure how to store my yarn with the limited space that I have, but I have to think that I’m almost finished settling in, or I think I might just snap and spend the rest of my “free” time sitting in a corner chewing on boxes.  I went on a tear through my boxes, knowing I saw the cord for my cameras and tucked them somewhere that made sense, but now I can’t seem to find them in any of the places that make sense, nor any of the places that the Mad Hatter would consider appropriate.

I’ll edit to add pictures when the item is found, but until then – stories, because words are still important to convey my experience.

I had one week between the end of the Aerial Dance Festival and the start of Burning Man.  One week, with no obligations, very little money available to spend, a child, and a car.  There is a lot you can accomplish in one week, and still I wish we had more time.  Ellette and I picked up our friend Ari from the Denver Airport on Thursday, which was the earliest he could fly out to meet us, and we started driving West.

Excitement was high at this point.  Freedom and a roadtrip have a habit of creating that feeling.  (4 days later we were extremely happy to have arrived at our destination where we could take a break from being in a car, and being stuck with no one’s company but our own).

We drove through the mountains towards the Grand Canyon, because I gave Ellette free reign over our destination, and that’s what she chose.  Knowing we had time to kill, however, led us to stop when the desire took hold.  Utah is a beautiful state, and I highly recommend taking a leisurely drive through it.  There were so many view points, that we eventually had to put a cap on how many we would actually stop for.  They were gorgeous.  I really don’t have any other words to describe it.

To break up the immobility of sitting in a car, I tried to handstand my way across the country.  I did a lot during the trip, but completely forgot once we got to Burning Man.  I did remember to do one when the man burned on Saturday, and had someone photograph it for me, but that was the only handstand accomplished.

The Grand Canyon was more breathtaking than the last time i was there in 2009.  That time was just me and a guy was I on-again-off-again dating, and the experience was just not very enjoyable because of outside emotions.  This trip, i had a clear head and a clear heart, and Ellette and I loved exploring together.  We climbed everything we could get a grip on and resolved to return in the future for a longer stretch of time, with better gear, so that we can hike and camp and experience it closer.

We continued driving West after that, through Nevada until we reached Black Rock City.  We had a minor detour at a town called Rachel, which is located on Extraterrestrial Highway and caused us to stop by the presence of several flying saucers.  The town had a couple of trailers and a bar.  We stopped for a drink, chatted with the bartender, and left a dollar bill taped to the ceiling with our names written across it.

And then Black Rock City.

My birthday was spent in the line, waiting to get in.  I enjoyed meandering up and down the line of cars, offering chocolate covered doughnuts to other burners.  It wasn’t until I received my first hug on the playa that I realized what I needed this year.  It was a long and close hug, each of us holding on tight and welcoming each other home, and I settled in to it.  All of the anxiety, jitteriness, and excitement started to quiet, and I could feel my breathing deepen.  This was to be the burn of hugs.

It had been just me for the summer – no significant other, physically removed from my close friends, and constantly bustling through my adventures, that I had forgotten how nice it is to share a moment with another individual – a hug, a handhold, a side lean.  And here I was, tossed into a crowd of 60,000 people all ready and willing to hug the breath out of me if I just asked for it.  I found myself seeking out that contact – giving camp mates hugs every morning, holding on long and tight with each one.  I wanted to forge connections, I wanted stories and laughter that would sustain itself off the playa.

Ellette and I didn’t leave camp as much as we did last year, but I’m alright with that.  I got my chances to explore, even having an entire night out on the playa, as an adult, jumping from camp to camp, meeting new people, biking into the deep darkness, chasing a vision of people and lights, and falling asleep briefly inside of a giant genie bottle, only to be woken by gentle chatter just before sunrise.  My companion and I wandered to the 7am burn, where we watched two larger-than-life lovers locked in Embrace turn to dust and smoke as the sun came up.  I wandered back to camp, only to doze off on a couch on top of a school bus before making it to my tent.

We had such a brilliant time and built a few lasting friendships, along with meeting more lovely people than we can ever keep straight.  We have little stories tucked into our arsenals that simply cannot exist in the blogosphere appropriately, and we’ve come back very satisfied.

Now, entering the default world on our return.  I had been curious how decompression would strike us.  Ellette is like puddy, adapting fluidly with the changing situations.  I have been keeping my focus pointing forward as I knock to-do’s off the list, hoping that the brunt of depression would be deflected by being in the studio 30 hours a week working on what I love.

And then I realized that I’m craving human connection.  I’m craving sitting in the dust watching the sunset, a cold beer in my hand and good conversation afoot.  I’m craving quiet moments standing close to people as we share our thoughts on a towering art structure.  I’m still finding my footing here, carving out my place and setting my schedule so spontaneity is a possibility, and lacking the freedom I had all summer is taking it’s toll.

I realize also that I haven’t knit in over a month.  This could be contributing to my feelings.

Photos to come, I promise. I see that reading through this all a second time isn’t quite adequate in describing the thoughts and feelings coursing through me right now.  If only I could think like the March Hare for a little while to find that elusive cord…

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