26 September 2012

The Journey from CA

 I'm in Holly Springs MS -- a small town in the northern part of the state. Just across the TN state line. 

Looks like I'll be here for awhile so I'll resume my blog presence with the story of the journey here; I'll be talking about what it's like to live in Holly Springs a lot after this post. 

After being fairly solidly based in Berkeley CA for almost a year, I was politely unhinged from that location during my last month on the West Coast. It was as though once my host got a whiff of my plans to relocate to MS in August, she was anxious for me to go.  Probably more accurate to say she was anxious to have her house to herself again.

I know that feeling from my distant past, when I lived in Oakland and had an apartment. I invited a friend who was relocating from KY to crash at my place until he got on his feet.  The days stretched into weeks and in the second month I asked him about his plan for getting a place....and suggested some places to look for work.

Granted, he was a hoarder and tended to "sprawl"; whereas I am what many friends call a "fanatic" about maintaining a tidy, uncluttered living space. I was even tidier in the home of my Berkeley host.  It was less a case of taking up physical space and more a case of physical and psychic proximity.  Though the structure had four levels, three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a beautiful out-back garden, she had lived there alone since her mother's death the year before I moved in and she felt a little invaded. She was polite about it but, nevertheless, she felt invaded.


After making the decision to move to MS, I faced three primary tasks:

1.  Make a reconnaissance journey east to kiss New Orleans, check out Holly Springs, spend Father's day with Daddy and visit my maternal grandmother and help a friend in Chicago pack up his home and lead an improv workshop there.

2.   Complete the Santa Cruz Fringe Festival project:  writing and rehearsing and performing;

3.  Close out everything on the West Coast and leave.

The story of the reconnaissance journey still wants blogging, as does the Fringe Festival experience. Perhaps later...

Several house-sitting opportunities presented when I returned from the journey east, including  two, back-to-back, that ran through the end of the Fringe Festival.  Perfect!

Despite the relatively small pile of "stuff" I had in CA, I pared down even further to make the move "easy," i.e., cheap to ship. 

I didn't sleep a lot that last night in Santa Cruz. I was excited and ready to begin the Holly Springs adventure. I was looking forward to three days on a train.  I love train travel. On Amtrak's FB page, I wrote:
Train travel makes me lonely in a very comfortable way. Or maybe that’s the distinction between loneliness and solitude? I have a strong sense of how nothing stays the same and we are always in motion, on our way to somewhere else, a new moment, a new experience….and yet something, someone, the one who makes the journey and witnesses the change – the watcher? the Awareness – is unchanged. Is constant. The stillness within.
This young French woman was my seat mate from Los Angeles to New Orleans. She was on a grand American tour, bunking with members of CouchSurfing  I couldn't have chosen a better long-distance travel partner.  She spent a lot of time hanging out with people her age in the lounge car, including nights, so I had the luxury of lying down to sleep.

We saw each other at smoke breaks off the train and, when she occasionally returned to her seat, we shared snacks and had interesting conversation.

It's funny I can't remember her name today.  We are FB friends but she uses an alias.

I passed the time reading, visiting with "strangers," napping, doodling with the music manuscript app on my laptop.  Mostly I stared out the window...

 Some things I did right in planning for the trip:

  • I carried my laptop.  In CA, I had free Internet access on the train. It was fun to post FB updates as I traveled. Perhaps Amtrak will extend the service to include the stretch from Los Angeles to NO.
  • I packed food.  A little too much food as it turned out but I saved a lot of money and I had favorite snacks for comfort when I needed it.
  • I packed several frozen bottles of water:  served as an ice pack for other food in the cooler and drinking water after they melted.
  • I carried a travel pillow and blanket and packed warm socks in my purse...a purse with compartments...makes finding stuff easy.
  • I dressed in layers of comfortable, travel-well fabrics.
Next trip:

  • carry a decent camera
  • put batteries in the tape recorder
  • bring travel size liquid soap
  • pack less food
  • find luggage that fits and/or binds together easily with rollers
I don't miss CA.  I miss fresh produce and bookstores and a decent library in the same town. I miss insect-free living. I miss Peet's coffee and Whole Foods Market.

And I'll be alright without all of those things.  So begins my second sojourn in Mississippi. I've requested a copy of "Mississippi:  The Closed Society" from the local library.  They've ordered it from Jackson (librarian called this morning at 9 to let me know she'd ordered it...) and it should be in "by Monday or Tuesday at the latest."

216 Johnson Park, Holly Springs MS, "Plum House", 29 September 2012