Monday, September 9, 2013

Late summer inventory

I have lived in this warm, sultry, green and overgrown place for three weeks. Things are sliding into place around me; I can almost hear the faint click as things snap together, like when I figured out that I live in North Asheville, which is not obvious in this town of skewed cardinal directions and mislabeled highways, or when Erich showed me the best espresso in town, which is in West Asheville next to the Baptist church. Everything clicks during the day, my very own world building and building around me, and then at night everything settles, relaxes into itself. I'm like a ship in my bed, anchored more deeply with the end of each day, the ropes connecting me to this new corner of the country stretching and creaking, getting accustomed.   

Five years into this project of writing everything and I still have not run out of ship metaphors.

But at least I'm not writing about birds any more, to the enormous relief of myself and, I would wager a bet, anyone who reads this. When I told my old friend Ryan that I was moving, at an empty bar in Greenwood in North Seattle, I remember the way he looked at me, one eyebrow raised, arms crossed. He drank some of his beer and said, in his typical take no prisoners approach, "Why? Wherever you go, Lina, it's still going to be you."
I know what he meant, and I concede he knows me almost better than I know myself, and yet I can't help but feel that location has a lot to do with things. At least that's true with me, with my life.

It turns out, and this is not a surprise in any way, that all that frustration I felt in Seattle last spring, the irritation I could never give a name to welling up inside of me, that stuff that caused me to throw silverware and dream endlessly of birds banging into glass walls, it was all for a purpose. A sea change building momentum so quickly that it became impossible to ignore.

The other night I was chopping onions in my kitchen and my friend said, 'I'm glad that bird hit the plane.' I'm glad it did, too, and gave me one more day in Asheville. It was on that day that it became mysteriously obvious that I needed to move here.  

I'm very, very happy that I did.
Yesterday, Chelsea and I went bouldering at Grandmother Mountain near my old home of Boone. Chelsea is extremely strong and limber and good, and was able to talk me through a lot of moves I wasn't sure I'd be able to do.

The woods up there were much cooler then in town, the problems seemed endless and I spilled a whole flask of whiskey into the ground. She told me all about the nearby places to climb, the Red and the Obed and the New, newly cleaned and bolted sport crags opening up and all the traditional routes at Table Rock and the Linville.

"Around here you climb all the way though the winter," she explained. "If you don't mind the occasional iced over hold."

I don't mind the occasional ice. I thought about days on the rock in sweaters and wool hats and drinking hot coffee between problems and right now on this sweating hot September day, I can't fathom anything better.
The drive home from the boulders no longer takes me on highway 2 past the Sultan bakery or memory soaked Index; and I don't return to a bright city with perfect coffee and overpriced apartments where my best friends live, the ubiquitous traffic on 1-5 crawling past Lake Washington. 

Instead we wind down the blue ridge parkway, enveloped in green mountains, and stop at a place called Famous Louise's. The bathroom is decorated with pictures of naked children sitting on pots and praising the lord. I think the art is questionable, but I chalk it up to 'things i still don't understand about the south.' Like chiggers. I don't even know where to begin about the chiggers.

We buy slices of pie for the road- strawberry rhubarb, peach and blueberry, also a coffee that's served lukewarm in a styrofoam cup with a straw. Like a coke.

Win some, lose some I guess.
In  evening I take the what's left of the pie over to Dave's house, my hands red and throbbing from the rocks. He's banging away on the porch piano as I make my way up the wide green lawn.

That's another thing about the South- everything takes on a new significance if it's done on the front porch. On this particular evening, I have my first front porch pie, drink my first porch pale ale. He tells me about his recent run down the Green and I tell him how I finally got the heal hook move and how I desperately want to go to the Mountain State Fair over in Fletcher. He laughs. "You think you're ready for that? That's going to be some serious Western North Carolina craziness."

Every night before I fall asleep, with the riggers and the ropes creaking away, I think about all the new things I have. My inventory. Tonight I have a climbing partner and a running partner, a roommate who says he loves me every time I make him laugh, someone who will join me at a cafe to work during the week, a working car and torn up finger tips, a new bar in west asheville that grates fresh ginger into their liquor drinks and a good job.

We all know that life spins constantly, cranking up and down, birds and boats and black sand, so I hope you'll bear with me as I record every single thing that happens right now, an early autumn still disguised as summer when life feels so new and fresh and playful.


Erin said...

I heart this post and your happiness.

Melina said...

@erin, I love that now I'm a north carolina girl, just like you!

Nicolette Gawthrop said...

i love this because i can feel where you are because i once lived where you are. i found pieces of myself- strength, adventure, beauty- in Asheville that i'll forever be thankful for. enjoy your stay, and i'll sure enjoy reading about your stay.

Jillian22 said...

Please record every single detail! I love hearing more.

R y Recker said...

Maybe I should move too somewhere with less memories and new drives to places.

Erin said...

And one day, sweet Lina, I will ate pie and drink espresso with you in Asheville and another, you will drink local Pale Ale with me in Surf City.

SmithShack71 said...

excellent inventory.
it all sounds so good, minus the chiggars... those little bitches.

Catherine said...

It's so good to here about all those great things! Great to hear about your happiness! The place where we are has a lot to do about how we feel... I know something about that!

Sean and Lia said...

I really liked this post. It felt fresh and the pictures were beautiful. I love that feeling of being somewhere new - when every little thing is exciting and every new person you meet has the potential of being super important in your life. I also love husband proposed there, it holds the best memories. I hope to get back soon.

Sian said...

I am loving that your are recording everything that is happening right now! I'm hooked and cant wait to read what's next x

Anonymous said...

your life is just so pretty. I love scrolling up and down just taking in the pictures! (love you words as well.)

Reem from said...

I'm so happy you're adjusting! Btw this is one of
My top blogs that I always get super excited when updated! Yours and Kelle hampton's:)

Sara, Plain and Tall said...

this quiet sunday morning i'm sipping my coffee and smiling. wherever we go there we are, yes it's true, but something about changing the view can do wonders on changing the lens from which we view ourselves. proud of you.

Heather Goodell said...

Glad to hear you're loving it. And yes, the Red is a wonderful place to climb.