S. wanted to drive as he had a surprise place in mind. It turns out it was a small town called Jerome which is a small mining town turned artist community. Jerome is built on the extremely steep side of a mountain. The town is built along both sides of a long series of switchbacks. The view is incredible! The red rock cliffs of Sedona are clearly visible and dominate the landscape. Most buildings are old and really well restored. The houses range from older cuter and smaller to big and new and beautiful. Every building has an incredible view. When driving up a switchback, the only the roofs of the houses downhill can be seen, you could just step off the sidewalk onto the roof. S. explained that the thing to do was to have lunch on the deck at a place called, "The Haunted Hamburger." Though it was hot, it wasn't bad in the shade of the deck and the burgers were truly delicious.
While we waited for our food, a strongly accented lady in her mid-50s struck up a conversation with me for a few minutes. She was originally from Poland, then she had lived in New England for a time. She explained that she had visited Sedona many times for healing and that she lived in Sedona now and had so for about 26 years. I asked what she did for a living and she explained that she did psychic readings. I nodded and asked what sort of method she used. She said she would just look at a person and open herself up and let the information flow in. She also laughed a little and said sometimes she did tarot or pendulum stuff because "it was fun." She later said again that Sedona was her "healing place." Her friend returned and they left a moment later.
Our food arrived and after commenting on how good it was S. and I fell into eating in silence. I reflected on the word "healing" and asked myself what I needed. After a few moments I realized I was full and felt bloated and that I didn't need to finish the burger (even though it was, frankly, amazing.) In fact, after a couple more bites I realized I needed to stop eating it. I ate some of my coleslaw to taste it. I've never liked coleslaw in the past but found myself liking this immensely. Of course, coleslaw hasn't changed much over the years - it is I who have changed. As I ate the sweetened cabbage I ruminated that I felt blocked internally on many levels (emotionally, spiritually, developmentally, etc.) Heck, I'd even been a bit constipated in the past week and that never happens to me. I realized one think I need to keep working toward is a real getting in touch with my feelings and to stay more present in the immediate moment. This is something I've started focusing on since I started therapy about 5 or so weeks ago.
I started to suspect then and I am now fairly convinced that the woman saw I was in need of healing (not something that requires psychic talent, really) and was trying to tell me that I might find some here in Sedona. I recall both times she said the word, healing, that her whole body was facing me and she was looking intently and directly at me.
We paid for lunch and walked down to the Jerome museum. $2 got us into the museum and it was easily worth the price. The history is fascinating as are all the old photos and artifacts. As we headed out of town I took a number of pictures and we drove on.
We detoured briefly at Red Rock State Park. The visitors center is great and the middle aged woman ranger was warm and friendly and talkative.
We hiked maybe a mile or two along gentle well-tended paths under the trees along the stream. We hiked in our sandles (me) and flip flops (S.) without a problem. As soon as we got on the trail the spicy scent of pine and clay and I don't know what else strongly evoked memories in me of Boy Scouts and hiking and camping in Philmont, New Mexico. Wow. The scent of spring and the memories and the sunshine and the beautiful scenery all slammed into me in the most wonderful of ways. My little epiphany from lunch had been growing for the past 45 mintues and continued to be present. As we walked I recalled a line from the movie, 'Peaceful Warrier', (good but the book is much better) that I had just recently watched which went, "There are no ordinary moments." I started trying to become more aware of the present moment. I started to notice a lot more of my environment - small darting lizards, tiny ants, small delicate flowers. I tried to also become more aware of my interior dynamics and feelings. I thought to myself that a true balance would include an equal awareness of my interior environment along with a similarly weighted awareness of my exterior environment. To do this I would have to become familiar with all the myriad of internal things I've been ignoring for so long - my tiny ants, darting lizards, brilliant fragile flowers, and breathtaking vistas - if you will.
After the short hike we got back in the car and headed for Sedona.
Sedona is a long verdant valley set among strikingly red cliffs and rock formations. Sedona has history. Sedona has an immense amount of retail shops. We are here ahead of tourist season slightly and the number of tourists is already staggering. Sedona is all thes things and it is good.
We went to the chamber of commerce and were helped by some lovely people who recommmended hiking trails and found us a great price on a motel room ($80 + $11 tax). It's the Star Motel and it's smack dab in the middle of the shops and restaurants. We walked all around the shopping area and had an awesome dinner at the "Cowboy Club" which had been highly recommended. I had a couple pints of a locally brewed amber ale that was superb. Feeling a bit bloated still, I ordered a small spinach salad that had a warm balsamic dressing - it was exactly what I wanted and needed. We walked a bit more and S. got ice cream but I passed. We then drove up to a scenic overlook near the airport but we just missed the best portion of the sunset. Regardless, it was still beautiful to see the red light billowing up from behind the far rock formations. I went and stood down a bit from all the middle aged and retired tourists, balanced my weight over both feet, and looked out across the valley. At several points I was mostly quiet.
Back in the car and halfway back to the main drag, I had S. pull off so we could climb up on one of the "vortexes". I'm not really sure what these vortex things are supposed to be beyond some vague notion of "ley lines", "focal points" and "energy".
We climed quickly up the steep side and arrived on top a bit out of breath. The bulk of the tourists had left after the sunset and there was only 7 others present. I discovered that a middle aged couple who were leaving were from Lee's Summit, MO. They had drove as well but by a more direct route. Another woman, named K., was from Nova Scocia. She was quietly charming. The first thing I noticed was her remarkably dark black skin, I found her quite beautiful. We didn't talk much. She mentioned that she expected the nearly full moon to rise soon. We stopped talking and I sat tailor fashion on the red rock just, well, sat quietly. I felt as if I could sit there all night. I tried to just let go. I knew S. wouldn't want to stay long, and in fact, he kept on his feet and walked around a bit. Soon he asked if I was ready to go and I said simply, "sure". I knew that it was fast getting dark and that we didn't have a flashlight to help us climb down the rocks. K. walked down with us. She and I spoke lightly and at the bottom wished each otehr well on our vacations and said goodbye.
Back at the motel I dropped off my camera and film and went out to find a bench along the shops to sit and catch up on this journal (I'm using a Moleskine notebook". The weather is so cool and lovely I couldn't stay cooped up in the room. I've been out here 2 hours and now I think I'll call it quits for the evening.