I departed Midnight's Farm on Tuesday afternoon. It was bittersweet. I may have cried a little. Faith and David and the extended family of Midnight's left hand prints on my heart and I will always have a special place in my heart for them and my time there. Also, I accidentally left a chair Faith gave me, so I may need to go back.
The day before I left, the funniest thing happened, which I will use one day in my writing.
I was invited to a dinner at Laurie's house the previous night and stayed out late, chatting. When I made it home, I was dead-tired and forgot to close the chickens into their coop, which was my responsibility. At 6:55am the following morning, the rooster and his little minions climbed up the few stairs to my glass door, stared into my room and began to crow incessantly. This isn't the first time he has done this and I still can't figure out why when he has the ENTIRE PROPERTY to roam, he crowds the gang up on my 2 by 4 porch and holds an auction.
I woke up out of my deep sleep in a rage. I acted quickly and violently. Leaning over the bed, I grabbed my work boot with one hand, turned the door knob with the other. The door opened suddenly, to his surprise and I hurled my large brown boot directly at his vocal chord. The scene was similar to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and the group of birds seemed to fly backwards in a single, squawking poof. The rooster, I was pleased to see, bore the brute force of a brute like me (Sylvia Plath reference).
In all actuality, it didn't hit him hard, losing momentum just inches before reaching his feet. It mostly just bounced into him. But it felt good. Without caring about the aftermath, I slammed the door back and rolled over, satisfied.
As I left for breakfast, I saw the shoe on the grass and figured I would grab it afterward, which I did. Breakfast was pleasant, as always, and me and Faith started our day feeding the pigs, working in the garden and helping clean up around the farm.
At lunch, David turned to me suddenly, with a sly grin on his face, and said something along the lines of, "So I noticed your boot was on the ground outside..." He knew. He knew I forgot to close the chickens in and now he knew I had suffered for it. He found this very amusing. I immediately admitted to the transgression and found it slightly funny that he had seen the shoe in the morning. All of the sudden, Faith's face lights up and tells this story that at first I didn't even realize was real.
"I was walking to yoga this morning (Around 7am everyday), and just as I was passing the barn, I heard the office door open really fast, Rebecca's boot come flying out, hitting the rooster, and then the door slam shut."
As she is talking, I think she is trying to re-enact the moment. She starts laughing and I realize she is telling the truth. This poor, wonderful human who loves animals, was peacefully walking to her morning yoga practice, when she sees the person she is hosting at her house hurl a shoe at her flock of chickens. I was mortified but couldn't stop laughing. I imagined the scene over and over in my head and it seemed funnier every time.
As we all laughed around the lunch table, I was so thankful that I had found people that understood me... or at least tolerated me with amused spirits. I'm forever amazed at how I got so lucky as to find them. Every day was filled with laughter and fulfilling work. The night before I left, I presented them with a poem titled, "Home" and a large piece of driftwood with "welcome" painted on it for their gate or yard.
I spent the night in Seattle, hanging out with Daniel. We sat at a beach for a while and watched all the groups of people converging around one another. There was an AA meeting, a birthday party and a small rave-like situation all happening in our view.
The next day, I left and drove to right outside of Eugene, OR. Before I made it, I scored a hefty speeding ticket. When I woke up the next morning, there was a Snapchat from Naomi, saying, "Don't forget to put oil in your car." I laughed out loud, because I had purchased oil the night before and needed to remember to put it in that morning. I don't know what I would do without her.
In Eugene, I posted something on Facebook and Malcolm, who rented my room out last summer when I was traveling messaged me. "I live in Eugene now!"
I hadn't planned to spend the day, so I asked if he wanted to meet up for food. He couldn't because he was going to an music audition, but recommended Glenwood restaurant. When I got there, the employees were so sweet and friendly. I ended up chatting with them about traveling and campers. I was fairly surprised by their friendliness and took it as a good indication of what Eugene was like. I had made arrangements to buy a Cannon Rebel digital camera from someone on CL, so I headed to the address. The roads were confusing and I ended up getting lost, taking a lot longer than I had planned. At this point it was almost 11:30 and I was feeling really anxious to get on the road if I was going to make it to San Fransisco that evening, an 8-9 hour drive. When I finally found the house, the seller was a very sweet, older asian man. He was very curious about my travels and where I was headed. He is from L.A. and when I told him that's where I was going, he said, "I think, by your personality, that Eugene would be a better fit for you."
I had been thinking in my head the entire drive that I felt this weird connection to Eugene. I hadn't experienced this before. When he said that to me, I was like "IT'S A SIGN!"
He gave me directions to the freeway and waved goodbye, enthusiastically, from his garage. Right then, I got a text from Malcolm, "Are you gone yet? I just finished." I wanted to stay, but felt like I couldn't. I already told my friend Kaeleen I would be there tonight. I texted back that I was gone.
As I merged onto the interstate, I felt my heart aching. I wanted to turn back. What if I'm supposed to be there today? What if I miss out on something? What if I'm meant to be there? All these weird superstitious questions were consuming me. About 15 miles down the interstate, I remembered the horse in the field - The feeling I got to turn around. I never would have had that experience if I hadn't listened to that feeling. I swerved to the right lane, emotions running rampant through my body and swung back onto the Interstate, going North to Eugene, OR.
For some reason, I started laughing out loud, to myself, alone. "What the hell, Rebecca."
I texted Malcolm and told him I was staying. He didn't ask any questions.
We ended up riding our bikes up and down the river. We have hardly spent any time together, maybe once or twice. And here we were, both outside of Alaska, trying to navigate this strange city. He recited his poetry out loud and told me of his Origami poem project in Seattle, where he left 70 origami poems around the city. People actually contacted him to thank him. We laid around the shade of a rose garden and debated global warming, Tinder dates, cringe-worthy subjects and people in India, who drink the urine and feces of cows for its "medical benefits." We took selfies and sent them to our mutual friends. It was the best day I've had in a while.
I must have laughed non-stop for hours. I still wanted to drive a bit that day, so he dropped me off at my car, helped me get my bike back on and we parted ways.
Turning around was definitely the right decision. I spent my evening driving to Redding, CA.
As I pulled away from Eugene and back onto the interstate, I recieved an email from the manager of a bar in Portland. I have been sending out emails in hopes of being booked somewhere to do my instant poetry. He said he would love to work something out when I come back through in November. "Let's make this happen." Were his exact words.
I felt like I had been rewarded by the universe. I couldn't believe someone wanted to book PoembyBecca. I felt the possibilities open up for the future. I didn't even think I was going to get ANY responses. I just thought I would try.
Today I woke up and cut west. I am getting ready to pass through the redwood forests and could not be more excited. Tonight, I'll be in San Leandro with Kaeleen, who I love to death and can't wait to hug.
I wouldn't recommend always following one's feelings. I'm just saying it's worked for me.