I spent the Saturday after my encounter with Mr. Jackpot on Mt. Tam, hiking with a friend. It was nice to have some company for a change. I needed a break from ‘grad school’. I haven’t gone on a hike since September that hasn’t been nearly completely focused on all things self-discovery. The pace was calm, we only logged 14 miles, and the conversation was spirited. And the fog! It settled deep in the hills, allowing their heads to pop free above the foamy, drifting white blanket. Stinson Beach vanished, with the sound of the waves being the only clue that the ocean was just over there.
One day I will discover why the fog moves me so. I find it undeniably sexy and warm and alive. I want to be in it, have it drifting around me. Some people flip over double rainbows. I flip over being in the right place at the right time to see the first wisp of fog slink its way over the hills from the west, from the sea.
That evening I cuddled up with the boys and read stories and talked about summiting Mt. Everest. (It’s all happening right now! So excited for them. Wishing I was ready and there.) As I bid the evening farewell, my body aching to be horizontal, I was at peace with all that had transpired over the last 24 hours.
Mr. Jackpot and I had accomplished a great deal during dinner on Friday night. He was going to Yachats alone. I felt that the timing of his solo voyage was perfect. I was looking forward to his return, to hearing the tales of what bubbled to the surface for him as he pondered what was behind the doors opening in his core, the emotions that were being stirred, the patterns of the past that needed attention and then, perhaps, needed to be broken.
I wished I was going. I envisioned how much progress I would make on my journey being surrounded by the brutal beauty of the Oregon coast for a solid week without interruption. I’d be content and happy, though, with a day or two at Limantour and a few open water swims to start my training for the Alcatraz to Chrissy Field crossing.
So imagine my reaction when I answered the phone on Sunday morning and The Genius told me his trip was cancelled. He wanted to know if I would still like to go away for the week. If not, he would make other plans. (Like sleep at a car rental counter at LAX?)
I could hear the call to Mr. Jackpot…So, about that trip. You know, the one where I cancelled on you, and you let me know just how much that sucked? For an hour straight? Even though I could do nothing about it? Yea! That one!
Maybe I shouldn’t even tell him and just venture off on my own. I have a tent, a sleeping bag, and a stove. Why not just head to the hills and spend a week hiking alone? I’ve never camped by myself before, but I was game. It’s what I planned to do initially, anyway. Me, the bears and cats, a smattering of arachnids, communing as one. Early morning hikes without having to leave anyone behind at camp. What’s the worst that could happen? I lose my keys deep in the forest, discovering it only when I reach the car…at the exact same time as getting my period?
Now that I envisioned that scenario I’ll be sure to bring tampons.
Then I started to ponder the meaning behind the shift, yet again, in plans. Am I being rewarded for working through a challenging and tense encounter with Mr. Jackpot, bringing it to a peaceful conclusion like a grown-up? Or am I being gifted an opportunity to be gentle and flexible with The Genius to pave the way for a co-parenting relationship that supports our children’s needs? (As an aside, when The Genius told me of the change in plans I could sense he felt like a complete heel.) Both? I could just stay home as planned. Or I could go, as also planned.
The first message I received was that the boys needed to be with their Dad. So it was clear I had to vacate the house. They are in school and shouldn’t have their schedule disrupted, and they would really like having their Dad stay at the home they thought they were going to be living in with him. It would be good for all three. I would figure out a Plan B.
The second message I received was that I needed to tell Mr. Jackpot, regardless of my decision as to how I would spend the week. Just over 24 hours before he was laying his emotions out on a bistro table for me to toy with or digest. I digested. Were he to return from his solo journey to find that I spent the week in the wilderness alone, well, I don’t think that would sit very well with him. Understandably so. He would think I wasn’t being straightforward with him. That I never wanted to go to Yachats in the first place.
Oh, goodness…this all seemed so scattered. Why these gyrations? I needed to understand why.
Because I have to learn how to be comfortable when I’m not in the driver’s seat. Both literally and figuratively. I need to learn how to remain centered and flexible in the face of upheaval. I’m being challenged continually to remain present, so I can observe and respond rather than react when life moves in unexpected directions. Not just when the direction looks exciting, but all the time. Every moment of every day.
I decided to call Mr. Jackpot.
I dove right in.
The Genius’ trip has been cancelled. He’s coming back and staying at the house. Do you still want to go to Yachats with me or would you prefer to go alone? You don’t have to tell me now.
Okay. I’ll call you later.
I thought ‘later’, when said at noon, would mean later that day. No dice. So to bed I went not knowing where I would lay my head mere days away. Let go. Let go.
Late the next afternoon, Mr. Jackpot called.
I’ve had immature thoughts and mature thoughts, followed by immature thoughts.
And where did you land, I asked.
I haven’t decided yet. Can I call you tonight?
I remained gentle and centered.
Sure. Let’s talk later.
That evening Mr. Jackpot said yes, he wanted to proceed with our original plans, but not before telling me of his fleeting desires to be vindictive. It was the kind of confession that had us both laughing. We’ve all had an urge to get back at someone who we feel has hurt us. I’m glad neither of us chose that route. Ultimately, we both love to do the same things with our downtime and we have a blast together out in nature. It felt right to be going.
So we leave tomorrow morning.
I have no expectations of this holiday. Not a one. Except to be fully present for myself. To honor the opportunity for this experience by being completely free of the need to control any outcomes. To simply let it unfold out of respect for and trust in my ability to create exactly what I need. To be okay in the passenger seat. For 14 hours. Along the coast. Oh, God.
Oh, and one other expectation. To catch a King Salmon. I really want to do that. Badly.
Wait. One last one. To leave Yachats with an epiphany. I’m ready for a good old-fashioned epiphany.
Michael Anderson says
Don’t forget to eat what you catch. That’s the best part, IMHO.
Have a great trip.
There is no other way… Thanks for being here.
CLeo, lady, the quote below, from your last post is WHAT I’M A TALKIN ABOUT, girl! I too love fog, maybe because I’m Irish, and maybe because it cools you whilst hiking. OR maybe because my sister who died rented a tiny house on Calle Del Pinos, everyone’s childhood dream, and I love Stinson. It’s your exquisite writing I wanted to highlight here. And as you self appointed editor, “canceled” has ONE L. Should it come/not come in handy later, as in, you canceled rather than someone else canceled!
Your decisions, and Mr. Jackpot’s are brave and wonderful. I am surprised it took him so long to decide – he’s a careful person – I think that’s a good thing. But I hope he wasn’t just meting out punishment. If so he has great self restraint. Of course, had this happened to me, I would have said “Oh great, come on along with me” instantly, which really isn’t the right response either.
AUTHOR CLEO wrote:
“And the fog! It settled deep in the hills, allowing their heads to pop free above the foamy, drifting white blanket. Stinson Beach vanished, with the sound of the waves being the only clue that the ocean was just over there.
One day I will discover why the fog moves me so. I find it undeniably sexy and warm and alive. I want to be in it, have it drifting around me. Some people flip over double rainbows. I flip over being in the right place at the right time to see the first wisp of fog slink its way over the hills from the west, from the sea.”
You are so kind. I am all shimmery inside knowing my words touch you.
“But I hope he wasn’t just meting out punishment.” Hmmmm….that’s a distinct possibility. We shall see tonight as I try to capture what the last days of our Yachats getaway really meant. I’ve been sitting with it all weekend.
Spicy doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Thank you, love you, owe you.
A post mentioned “trying to impress you”. I have been listening to Joni Mitchell in the car all the time for a week or so – and one of my favorite songs is “I am a Woman of Heart and Mind” – check it out. Anyway, the greatest line is: “..the times you impress me most, are the times that you don’t try…”
Organic. Natural. Ease. Just being. I would rather be all that than impressed. A symbiotic encounter shouldn’t be stressful, but if impressing the other is the goal than it’s destined to be that way.
I am so excited for you. The first trip I went on with another man after my messy divorce was fraught with peril, LOL. I kept expecting him to disappoint me. Finally after 3 days of me holding me breath every time something unfolded, he turned to me exasperated and shouted ‘I’m Not HIM, please give me chance to make mistakes’. Be on your guard to give poor Mr. Jackpot the benefit of the doubt. Your blog has helped me immeasurable work through deep issues with my own divorce-so thank you, and open you heart and HAVE FUN on your week’s getaway.
You’re welcome, m’lady. I’m so grateful to have you here. I will wrap up the Yachats journey tonight. In the end we both got what we needed. Although I’m not sure Mr. Jackpot would agree.
Sorry if my English on the former post isn’t perfect I am reading this blog from Israel.
Couldn’t have been more perfect. Thank you so much for being here from all the way over there.
So thrilled for you.
The universe works in such random (and frustrating at times) ways. Your decision to remain calm, (rather than lash out in anger towards the Genius) after plans changed yet again, inspires me. Every time you choose patience and forgiveness are such a valuable lessons to me….to breathe deep..take a moment…absorb…think…THEN respond. Easier said than done.
I also appreciate your willingness and bravery to reach out to Mr Jackpot (even with your tail between your legs). This shows me not be afraid to reach out to someone else, even timidly, to see what may happen.
Your readers are waving happily to you as you depart on your adventure. Bon Voyage! Be safe. Relax, enjoy, and know that we eagerly await tales of your travels.
“…to breathe deep..take a moment…absorb…think…THEN respond.” I would change one word: think. That one gets me in trouble. I’m best if I feel instead of think. If I tune in to my center and connect with what feels true. The mind has a way of bending things around to suit it’s need for survival.
I’m happy to be back home. I have taken the last four days to sit with all that transpired on the trip to Yachats and will attempt to craft it into a post tonight. Back on schedule, back home. Couldn’t be happier!
Thank you for your kind words and for being here. It means the world to me.
You really ought to try solo camping at some point. I did not do it until I was 48. As I am a frequent pee pot, I was up numerous times during the night. Then I’d return to my tent and warm sleeping bag, and listen to all the rustles outside. Thinking they were bears.
The next morning, I woke up Alone in Nature. All Alone.
It was glorious.
You–woman who hikes 14 miles like it’s nothing!–you need to camp solo.
But go have your fun with Jackpot in Oregon. You’ve earned it!
That’s all the push I needed to decide to camp alone – for at least part if the time – the week prior to my climb of Mt. Whitney. It will be a thrill.
Oregon sends rain, wind, fog and sea mist to you. Simply a gorgeous day.
Thank you, J.
“We only logged 14 miles.”
Uh, you are awesome?
You are so kind. Thank you.
On Sunday Mr. Jackpot and I set out to find a specific tree in the Redwoods. We thought it would be about a 4 mile hike round trip. It was 13. And I wore the 25 pound pack. I am still glowing from it. It was utterly magical and will feature prominently in a post.
Funny, how when you act from your truest heart, you get the best outcome…because if Mr. J. Had been all caught up in making your experience, he would have missed out on his; perhaps now he will make space for his own desires, as well as yours.
Cheers Best wishes have an exceptionally lovely holiday!
And thank you for sharing. That is bold and beautiful.
Brilliant. You’ve cleared the way for me to see one level of what Mr. Jackpot is dealing with – learning to tend to himself in a healthy way.
Thank you, love you, owe you.
i am very excited and happy for you! this will be an amazing trip i know it!! thank you for always replying to our comments. i am following each of your blogs in hopes that i will get as far as you have soon! i have had plenty of alone time to think and rethink and then think again, but i am in need of a “mr. jackpot” myself to go on a long trip like that and just enjoy nature!! have fun!! xoxo
Thank you. So far this experience has exceeded my expectations on every front. Not all good, either. Which is as beautiful as the day I am looking out at – the rain swept sideways by the wind, white caps as far as the eye can see, and fog. Glorious fog.
I have much to write about…
Benny June says
Guess the trip was meant to be. Enjoy whatever encounters come your way….and Mr. Jackpot.
I imagine it was meant to be. Except it is unlike that which I expected. But I’m lapping it up.
I have been reading your blog for the past few weeks. I cannot express how timely you have come into my life. Even though our experiences aren’t quite the same, even though I too have faced infidelity in my own marriage. What you are dealing with & learning is exactly what I need to hear, feel, & learn in my life right now. To sit in the passenger seat, roll with the punches, & most importantly to just “be”. Thank you for your bravery & boldness. Have a wonderful & much needed time w/ Mr. J., the coast, & nature!
Thank you so much for your kind words. Just moments ago I was thinking that I ought to tell Mr. Simplicity that his words of wisdom – Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems. – have changed my life. Now I know why. They might change yours, too. I hope you stay close, M.
Cleo (and Mr. Jackpot),
Here is an amazing poem that I think both of you can ingest and digest like some delectable freshly caught fish and exquisite wine…
“Love After Love”
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.”
― Derek Walcott
LOVE that poem, M! Thank you!
Me too! Thanks again, M!
How exciting! A well-deserved excursion for sure! Have a fabulous trip
It’s been a while since I’ve had some downtime. I’ve earned it. And it looks an feels nothing like I expected. I’m sure you’re not surprised by that. I’m not.