So, Mr. Jackpot did not conspire to end my days in the midst of the redwoods, but he did take me to Devil’s Churn, where I surely could have met my death had a rogue wave chosen to engulf me and drag me to sea. I’d fit right in with the mermaids. That is until the sea water bloated my body beyond recognition and my extremities turned blue. Then I’d be just another dumb landlubber with questionable balance who got too close to the water’s edge at the exact wrong time.
Devil’s Churn sits just south of the town of Yachats. Black lava rock stretches out to the sea in a deep and narrow ‘U’ shape, creating a gorge where the water rushes in to fill the void. The outgoing surge meets the incoming waves like boys high-fiving each other after braving the most rambunctious roller coaster known to man, rushing to get to the end of line to do it all over again.
The most remarkable thing about Devil’s Churn is the sound the rocks that fill up the gorge, to some unknown depth, make when the young boys retreat en masse. It’s the most grounding sound I’ve ever heard. Earthy, guttural, like the blue marble’s version of white noise. I didn’t even notice it at first. It was lost in the sound of the waves crashing relentlessly over the shelves of lava upon which I stood. But once Mr. Jackpot pointed it out, Devil’s Churn had a voice. And it was speaking to me.
Which was a good thing, because Mr. Jackpot was not. Not much, anyway. I could chalk that up to the need to unwind after a marathon sprint at work, but it was something more. Something deeper. For me, I couldn’t shake the feeling I had when he arrived to pick me up. I sensed he didn’t want to go. As if it was an obligation. Or maybe, as some have suggested here, he was ‘punishing’ me for altering the plans. Whatever it was that had him near mute on our departure, it didn’t make me feel all that welcome. And he didn’t lighten up much. Even after discovering the Madrone tree or witnessing the eclipse.
I felt disoriented. It was only a couple weeks ago that we were laughing while he pointed out stars or a planet, and now if felt like an obligation, or maybe just being done out of habit. But certainly not for the joy of sharing. We had our moments, like the night we took a walk along the beach and sat on a piece of driftwood, watching the fog roll in. (In Oregon, a piece of driftwood is usually something just shy of the whole freaking tree.) It was fun, splashing in tidal pools and spying on clusters of tiny birds playing in the surf. But you’d have to be dead to not feel the disconnect. I needed to understand why this shift had occurred. I won’t leave you on the cliff with this one…I still don’t understand why.
I spent the vast majority of my waking hours deep inside myself. (That started from the moment we left. I certainly contributed my fair share to the disconnect.) I felt the need to really center myself and not get caught up in the wanting to fix Mr. Jackpot’s mood or control the outcome. I just wanted to let it unfold as it may and not judge it. While I was inside myself, I did a little digging. How do I feel? What morsels of enlightenment and wisdom are hiding in the sand, waiting for my rain boots to kick them up so I can catch them in my wet hands and tuck them away to read later, by the fire? The past three days have, by nature’s standards, been mind-blowing. Why is our interaction so, well, not mind-blowing? Why is it so uncomfortable? So different from what it’s always been?
The eclipse was all about alignment. The Madrone tree was about grounding. Devil’s Churn was all about balance. The Universe wasn’t scrimping on the metaphors for me. I reminded myself over and over to remain centered and to see, with eyes wide open, all that was being placed in front of me. To be on this coast, trying to absorb the beauty of its emerald green forests collapsing on a near-black sand beach pounded by the grey waves of an excitable sea, was to be in the perfect place to experience human disconnection. I just needed to remain connected to the blue marble and everything would be fine. I knew before we departed that this trip would be intense. My intuition did not disappoint me.
It was to be as we all expected. Mr. Jackpot and I went on a holiday alone. Each of us, alone. We just happened to be together. Our interaction was different because we weren’t supposed to be interacting much. We were there to stir up stuff in each other. By not actually being alone we had the opportunity to throw the wrinkle of an encounter into the soul-searching mix. (I’m going to write a post on why I believe you should have encounters with people with whom you may become romantically involved as soon as you can handle it. Remind me…please…) But it was clear to me. We were both there to deal individually with our s…tuff. And no magical night of stargazing was going to get in the way of that.
The next day, after sleeping in (so luxurious!), I awoke to the crackling of a fire and the smell of coffee. Mr. Jackpot makes some mighty fine jet fuel. With a dead SIM card, and no Apple store for miles and miles, I booted up my computer to get my first Yachats post up and to check in on email.
Oh, look! One from The Genius. Joy.
I read HGM. I am not ok with this.
I smiled. Life is spicy. Could it be any more perfect that I’m enveloped in the powerful arms of nature when this went down? I was more grateful than an arachnid who snagged two flies mating after weaving only half a web.
So much for agreeing to not read the blog.
Anyone surprised by this? I thought not…
He asked that I remove him, his family, the boys and The Happy Dance Chick from the blog and any promotional materials. Any what? Promotional materials? What do you think I’m doing? Handing out flyers at the 7-11? Promotional materials? Dude. Seriously?
I am writing about my life. I’ll remove the car rental reference and the reference to your family’s track record of infidelity, but I’m writing the blog.
(BTW, both of those references are true, as is every single word I’ve typed over the last several months.)
So, you delicious, amazing, supportive, hilarious, wisdom-filled super gaggle of loyal readers, we have a new reader to welcome to HGM. And guess what? It won’t change what I write or how I write in the least bit. Because it’s not about him. Or his family. And I think The Happy Dance Chick has taken up about 100 words out of 30,000, so it’s safe to say she’s barely a blip. It’s not about any of them. It’s about me. It’s about how I am navigating betrayal and divorce, working in tandem with the Universe to create magic out of muck. It’s about all of you. How you have been drawn here, grabbed a cushion and settled in to hold my hand as this tale unfolds.
And it will continue to unfold. I hope one day you will say, “Remember when she used to talk about The Genius?”
So there I sit, at a dining room table in a rented house in Yachats, with Mr. Jackpot playing some ridiculously hard video game that only Mensa kittens can navigate while laying on the couch, a fire in the fireplace, the rain beating the window, the waves doing what waves do so well, and the knowledge that every word I’ve written here has been read by The Genius himself.
So I got some more coffee and went out to the deck to breath. And to check in and see how I was doing inside.
I have to admit, I was flat out surprised by what I discovered.