Today I head out at dawn, buoyed by a stronger-than-usual cup of Altura coffee. Honey is so delirious with pent-up energy from missing a walk last night that at first I can’t stop to write.
I love that I can step out into nature unkempt, unbathed, wearing the same old soft clothes that I slept in, old beach thongs on my feet, wrapped in a wool cape that I bought at Kindred Spirit many moons ago. It’s just starting to get light out, the air is refreshingly cold, a light breeze flows from the direction of Matilija Canyon, and all is quiet . . . no forceful winds like the storm I walked into the other night.
I’m so aware of the wonderful freedom I have at this time of my life. Sometimes I flash on all the years I lingered in bed with a man . . . but now daybreak is the time for heading out the door. My mind flits in all directions. My two black dogs run way ahead—the other morning Nubio chased a coyote off the property that was probably eying one of the cats. Poor Chico; I dare not unleash him. Each time I stop to write he has to wait . . .
Last night I had dinner with two of my lifelong women friends. It took us three months to find a date when we could all get together. I’ve known them since the seventies, from way back in the hippie-married-child-raising-homeschooling-organic-gardening-commune days. It seems both strange and normal that we are now in our sixties. We are like those women in Fried Green Tomatoes who tell each other everything; I was laughing my head off before I even walked in the door.
We weren’t that hungry yet, so the early Thanksgiving nut loaf, mashed potatoes with gravy, and arugula salad sat waiting in the kitchen while we sat around and sipped champagne that turned pink when we dropped in frozen organic raspberries.
At some point in the conversation I heard myself say, “I would not trade this stage of life,” or maybe I said “this present state of mind,” “for all the youth in the world.” And then I launched into the romantic escapades of some of the midlife and younger women in my life—women that I run into who’ve read my dating memoir and consequently feel free to tell me just about anything. I told the story of one woman who flew to Texas to meet up with a man she had been friends with for many years. This woman had confided to me that after he picked her up at the airport, on the way to his home, he stopped to buy a brand-new bed! She described how they stopped at another store and together picked out beautiful new sheets, pillows, and covers, because, as he told her, he wanted her to sleep in a bed that no other woman had ever slept in before.
When I told my two friends this story last night, I knew they would laugh along with me when I commented, “Where did I go wrong? Back in my youth the men I met lived in cob houses and we slept on the floor . . .”
As I write, the landscape grows brighter, the sky grows ever more illuminated. The air is still crisp; the sun has not yet risen, but already her powerful rays are bathing the mountains behind me in light. I walk and wait . . . it’s been too many days since I’ve been out here before sunrise. Soon the sky above the mountains is dazzingly bright, and now the majestic fiery ball of the sun rises above the mountains in all her full glory. The light is blinding. The landscape is all lit up—every blade, every leaf, shimmers and sparkles brand-new.
It feels safe now to unleash Chico, and we all run home. Time to do our dharma.