Thursday, October 29, 2015

Buried in paperwork and loss

Pictures show beautiful places and adventure, they don't hint at hours spent plotting details checking maps. They don't show letters and follow up on the bearocratic side of things. There's no easy way to check a box that says itinerant entertainer trading good company and help with everything from technology to yard work and cooking. There's no easy way to say "I have no fixed address, no actual home. My income goes to meeting survival needs and occasionally towards appreciating the breathtaking sights of the country. I value life more than money." 

This year my community has been torn by unexpected deaths of young vibrant souls. Brave youth who lived and gave us amazing memories. Yesterday we got word that our friend Stephen Ommerle passed away. Word came hesitant, slowly reaching us all. We visited with him in Taos earlier this year. I drank in the sparkle in his eyes, so young despite his age and failing health. His spirit was noble and bold. He was genuine and genuinely incredible. Omms, as he went by, was the original bad guy to Taso's hero. Omms was the villain you loved or loved to hate. He was never the sort to ask for anything. We got there to find his fridge empty, his cupboards sparse. His tire went flat but he couldn't afford a patch. Even though I only had enough money to make it to my next gig and Danny had no excess either we filled his fridge, cooked him real food and listened to a lifetime of captivating stories. We called friends, but when they offered to assist, Omms, proud as ever, played down his need.
He spent his time watching news, shows, socializing with his beloved cat and smoking cigarettes while he waited for death. His sense of humor was profound. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer ten years ago, yet for that time death was distracted and left him waiting. He mentioned in jousting and stunts he'd broken over 60 bones in his body.

I picture him now, on the porch smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee waiting pensively for Death. I picture the relief on his face, he'd come to terms with death and dying in the years he lived in between. Waiting in a little apartment in Taos, noble and brave. Distancing himself to face his next journey alone.

As we left he gave me one of his shirts. A knight with little left, yet he still gave. It's beautiful and now it's priceless. It's the gift of a friend we were heading to visit next. A friend we were plotting to help financially this fall. A friend we embraced this past May, wondering if we'd see him alive again.

As these thoughts and feelings play through my head I type letters and organize medical bills from Danny's treatment this summer so the beaurocrats in his county address them. An ocean of numbers, itemized everything stacks up and folds into a priority tracked envelope with signature confirmation to prevent another claimed loss of paperwork. I redid forms four times with him for his medical coverage between May and August.

Work travel plans tug at me, I'm reminded I need to reserve hotels, rental cars and forward receipts to my boss. I've got to show where the travel money goes legitimately.

Outside the sun shines, somewhere lions dream and I see Omms bright eyes and smile. He was a lion, a lover, a fighter and a friend.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Where Would You Go: Florida

Florida isn't a small state, tucked in every corner there are fascinating sights and experiences from Miami Beach nightlife to the Sponge Museum in Tarpon Springs.
When people think of Florida they think of beaches and bikinis. I think of friends who travel or traveled renaissance festival circuit. I think of random conversations with gregarious locals and spontaneous adventures nudged into existence by the recommendations of friends. 
When I got here I was excited to stay in a Hostel just to see what it was like. 
In my mind I had set several goals: go to beaches, see cool places, maybe ride on a boat, swim, go to the Keys, visit friends. 
I have always wanted to see the Florida Keys. Sometimes I tease Danny because he'll get so set on a specific food or place that we arrange travel routes around his attraction to various eateries. I have that obsession with the Keys. I read a book called The Phantom Deer as a child. I've always wanted to visit the Keys because of that book. Silly maybe, but it was agonizing to know I was only two hours away and driving further and further out of range. I considered driving six hours to go anyways but reason won out. I could spend twelve hours driving in Florida for a glimpse of the Keys or I could explore around me and have time to appreciate what I found. Danny encouraged me to explore Indian Rocks, Tampa area. Reluctantly, I shelved my dream and in doing so, I opened myself to beauty, art, and adventures I had not anticipated. I never dreamed of Clearwater, because I'd never known about it. Discovering new dreams is like realizing the Sun is not the only star in the sky. 
I had a lot of work to do, friends I wanted to see in person that I've only been in touch with digitally. I also wanted to explore. 
In Miami Beach I stayed in a Hostel to see what it was like. Picture bunk beds, locked foot lockers for personal effects, unisex showers, full kitchen and a pool that closed before  I wandered in. Also picture the traveler's ire, the Hostel neglected to mention all the parking in the area cost $20 a night, making that $26 a night price suddenly equal to the price of a private hotel room where you don't share the room with thirty people or make your own bed. It felt like summer camp and would be fun in the right situation and location. It wasn't stellar with a complicated travel and scenario schedule to meet. I decided even if I had a busy day I would still try to do something to explore Florida. 
Wednesday morning I got up before the city. I made my way to South Pointe Beach, I met the stray cats along the path down to the pier. I walked in the sand, watched a huge cargo boat arriving with the dawn. I thought of how many bright lights, how many special people we've lost this year. Time, health, circumstance has gently carried them beyond the grasp of our hands and in doing so, has nestled their touch in our hearts. 
I finished working in the evening, I saw more traffic, more roads than anything else that week. I met friends and enjoyed a wonderful visit before racing away in the morning. Away from Miami, away from the Keys, west. 
I fought a headache, continued completing work assignments. I put on different identities every day, they pack in my mind, the TSA can't search them, airlines can't charge for them but when I'm working my head is full of synthetic, prefabricated baggage. It sheds as I walk out the door and pick up the next character. Keeping the aspects and nuances different for my own entertainment. Sometimes as I travel, these other people I create are my company as I'm alone in yet another rental car. I swear sometimes, I wonder when Tyler Durdin will get in and start navigating my routes while cynically describing the life endangering flaws on various cars we pass.  
Head trying to ache, rainbows in my vision I persevered. I went to the Mote Laboratory and Ringling Circus Museum that day. I loved the carved detail on the circus wagons, the giant banyan trees, the palace by the sea. My heart was warmed by just watching the manatees play and eat, learning about sea turtle rescue and seeing amazing sealife including inside out jelly fish and seeing shark pods. 
The friendliest corner of Florida, Clearwater. I met RickDaddy, who makes scrumptious spice blends and hot sauces. I enjoyed the best fish tacos I've ever had at his restaurant, Eatin Fresh. His goal is to serve twenty five people a day an excellent lunch. He does. He's working on putting in a beer garden, starting to bloom to connect with buskers who might be interested in setting an entertainment schedule with him there - offering permission to busk, promotion by venue, and pay based on draw. Very cool to see a venue growing, offering locals and tourists the chance to entertain and be entertained. 
I went to Big Cat Rescue and saw the rescue work they're doing, the education, and watched the various large cats enjoy a beautiful day. I went to the Dali museum and marveled at the works of Dali and Escher as both were on display. I added my wristband to the ribbon tree and walked the labyrinth there- the fourth one I've walked this year. 
I stayed with a friend north of Tampa, helped with technology quandaries and shared great conversations in the evenings while venturing out to the Sponge Museum, dolphin and shelling boat tour from Tarpon Springs; and walked the trails in Tampa Park. 
I walked trails in Baypoint, appreciated the flora at the Sunken Gardens and bought delicious chocolate ginger cookies to bring home from the St. Pete's bakery. 
I was more drawn to St Pete's than Orlando. I spent my time in Orlando visiting friends, swapping hugs and stories. 
I headed toward Jacksonville and the end of this journey. More road, more cheesy radio stations, more work. It was too late to hit St Augustine. I swear, as much as I'd like to go there that I'm jinxed. I always end up able to be there after five pm: which is too late to really see the oldest fort in the country, the Ripley's Museum. This time I was serene and picked a random park near Jacksonville. I went to Big Talbot Island State Park. It was a natural barrier reef. It was wild, desolate on that grey day and I was the only on there. Me and a translucent tiny crab that raced warily around in sand dunes.

If you go to Florida, explore the parks, talk to gregarious locals, make new friends and try places you may never have heard of. You won't regret the choice. The memories will be the best souvenirs you take home.

I still have a lot on my Florida would like to do list. I want to kayak in the Gulf. I want to see friends again. Someday. I appreciate that, for the moment I've got the illusion of being financially flush. The only way I could afford this adventure was because work sent me. Work pinned locations, receipts were gathered and it was the priority but that didn't detract from the excitement and adventure of exploring new places.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

And there goes the drive shaft...

Over seven hundred miles behind us with an estimate of thirty eight minutes to go on our journey. Blue skies with light fluffy clouds had been with us from Minnesota to Colorado, telling us everything is gonna be alright. We're arriving two days before I fly out for work. We argue about work, Danny feels bad I work so hard to paid even a little bit. I feel like the travel I'm doing makes up for the hours of driving, flying, away and bouncing on hectic schedules. It seems like wherever I work, no matter than I work hard either my employers can't afford to pay me well or choose to pay and promote others while I do their work. Gripe. I focus forward and on the positive. I remember I'm flying not falling. Who and what stays with me, always has my loyalty, my love, and whatever I can give them from pictures of beautiful flowers, stories, an ear, a birthday present when I do have a little money.
No matter how hard you work, it's not really yours. I never work for money. I work to get the tools to live. The money is one of the tools- I pay my bills, buy food, help friends, try to invest in plans. Every time I get ahead, my phone gets vandalized. My tires need replacing. Something.
Nothing was on the horizon, I felt like I should be wary but it was nice to think I had a cushion started. After next week it would be a real cushion. I thought that as I went under an overpass. Thirty eight minutes when Danny's van slowed a little. It hesitated, then he swerved slightly before evening out. We had just transitioned from 76 west to 70 west outside Denver.
A long cylinder like a muffler but shaped like a footsie roll came out from beneath Danny's van spinning and bouncing out into the road! He was slowing down, I avoided hitting the object and other cars. We sped down the shoulder. Was it his muffler? Was it something he hit? Fluid was overheating, something was wrong as I watched white smoke escape up the back of his van. He stopped. I thought he parked. I parked. He suddenly started backing up. I screamed into my walkie talkie as I frantically clutched at my shifter. His trailerhit me as I started backing up. No answer came from the walkie. Ground control had asked questions all the way in, every thought had raced out my mouth into the walkie. Major Tom and Danny were equally verbose.
I backed up. Curse words bounced around inside my car. What the hell?
Danny's van and trailer stopped. I waited. When they didn't roll again I parked. Traffic went by less than a foot away. Danny and I got out and played frogger to meet in the middle. Hearing was almost impossible. Traffic roared endlessly.
Did you see my drive shaft he asked. I asked if it was a large silver tootsie roll, got a nod back. Nodded back. Danny gave me his phone, triple Aaa number and told me call 911 too. He went to loomfor the drive shaft. I juggled two simultaneous calls on two smartphones.
The trailer would cost us to tow, a little 4x6 with Danny's everything inside it.
Just tow it. It's just money.
Twenty minutes they said. The police arrived first. A wonderful female officer. She blocked the road with her lights on, warned to stay beyond the barrier as people often hit police cars. A fire truck was on the way. People don't aim at fire trucks. Please don't aim at Police cars people.
The fire truck arrived. Arvada Police and Fire kept us safe and we appreciated their gregarious support. We told them we would both donate performances to fundraise for them if they ever want us to.
Half an hour later the tow truck arrived. Traffic had not let him through. People. Three rules of driving sense: don't gawk focus on the road to prevent secondary fender benders, let emergency vehicles through including tow trucks- it will actually help congested traffic more if the problem can be quickly handled, three never pass a snow plow.
I suppose a fourth is don't have your transmission seize and rip your drive shaft in half, mangle your wire harness into useless frayed ends and really don't have your engine seize.
The mechanics looked up under the metal corpse as it bled the last of its transmission fluid on the bed of the tow truck.
The damage was severe. Engine. Transmission. Drive shaft. Wire harness.
All would need replacing. Wire harness may never function right again, which is like saying your spinal cord may not ever work right again.
They eased us into the knowledge that the van is totaled. No injuries. It's good for spare parts, a new van is the diagnosis.
Flying, falling. Aiming up. Carrying it. Sitting by a stack of medical bills, knowing I've got to deal with maddening beaurocracy as Danny's heart issues happened out of his home state. Medicaid would have been simple to deal with on this, compartmentalized care has offered states deniability. I may or may not have success. I've got no cushion. It's going toward a functional vehicle for Danny. We support each other.
It's not enough. Some days I wish I could make enough to take care of things like this.  To give friends more when they struggle. It's a tool. It's not important. It's just stress, a dead van, and the hope for more work.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Life with Pain

They started when I was ten years old. The pain was like a branding iron through my neck into my skull. No escape. Initially doctors said children can't get headaches while I curled into a ball and tried not to exist. No physical cause like a knife or a steel trap to remove. No healing that signifies the end of suffering. My father gave me imitrex from his prescription. Sometimes I could understand why he was mostly emotionless. Emotions are a luxury you can't afford when pain controls your nerves. By the time I hit my twenties I'd become adept at appearing functional while feeling sharp, white hot waves of torment and nausea. You quietly excuse yourself to vomit. Drink two pots of coffee. Eat Tylenol, ibuprofen, naproxen like you own stock. You count the good days when there's no pressure or pain carving out your skull. There is no escape. You contemplate whether it's really worth it to live. Why do you have to survive like this? Who thought it was a good idea to genetically reproduce when this relentless genetically induced torture lies like a dragon in your nerves?
The neurologist wasn't surprised to meet me. He'd treated most of my father's side of the family, generations even. He went through the motions, tests, and MRI finally. In black and grey my brain looked like a wrinkly brain, perhaps to a knowledgeable eye there were things to see. He offered drugs. Drugs to hide symptoms, drugs to wear out other systems or make them reduce function. My brain goes too fast, it's constantly on and taking things in, anticipating threats, obstacles, stressors, and trying to find an escape before the next time the Dragon bites. The neurologist explained how my family has a flaw. The trigmental nerve is supposed to run parallel to the blood vessels going into my brain instead they circle each other like two enemies hell bent on destroying each other.
Instead of his pills I chose to learn self hypnosis to try to master my body. Some days I win. Some weeks are pain free like a reprieve for a dying convict only to wake because hot angry lightening is reverberating through my skull. In those moments I think of what a burden I am, how much I love my friends, how thinking of them distracts away from the agony.
Logic goes out the window, spoken words are torrential rain pounding into my ears without meaning just pressure. I have to form words and thoughts carefully, move like I'm going to explode as sometimes motor skills drop to the level of someone who's drunk. Hours pass, ebbing and crescendoes in the pain are unpredictable. I can look normal, sound normal and get by through it. I can't always recall things clearly afterwards as the focus it takes to function takes up the space memory would occupy. Normally my memories would be like a library, each area different books with pictures to recall specific facts, experiences, or trivia instead for the five to six days of pain there is chaos. One episode left me with a memory of pain, a cabin at a camp, uncomfortable bunk bed, and being asked repeatedly "what causes them?" Like being in Guantanamo and being questioned, all I could say was "strawberries can cause them." Strawberries have never caused any of my headaches. I've been allergy tested. Not allergy related. Chiropractors help sometimes to reduce the long endless stretches of furious nerves and muscle rioting. I remember many years where I had less than one good day in ten, good years where I have a hundred good days out of three hundred sixty five.
Your priorities are different when you live with Pain over your head and in it. You live for the good moments, savor the good feelings and moments. You capture them, wrestle them into your grasp and break apart obstacles for the priceless moments of beauty, kindness, and love. You listen to birds, crickets, waterfalls and rivers. You don't care about looks, makeup, perfume, fashion. You don't like wasting the good moments with pettiness or conflict. There is enough conflict in your head.
You rationalize, you beg your own mind for reprieve, you try barter. You try. You try. You end up having to stop taking NSAIDs because they've wrecked your digestive tract. You stop caring about laws when you find hash and cannabis with high CBD content cut the pain down to where it isn't a demon you contend with for control. The world doesn't look two dimensional, sounds stop being too loud and knife edged. Hypersensitivity in hearing, touch, vision drop back to human levels. My mind always wants to understand why I can only have negative impact hypersensitivity, shouldn't I get some compensation? There is none. Genetics does not care. It is relentless. It's written in my bones and blood. A myofascial dentist who practiced for over thirty years said I was the only true case of migraines he had ever encountered. There is a point where you can touch an end of the trignental nerve above your upper gun line. When he touched mine I flew out of the chair. Electrical shock lashed through my brain. I choked, gasped and shrieked. He apologized and had his aide get ice. Temporary cure: put ice on your neck or upper gumline in front of your molars. In about twenty minutes the pain will decrease. It may or may not go away, it may lie low until you think it's gone only to rise up just as wicked as before. A lot of things get labeled migraine because of symptoms. It's a catchall for headaches on one side of the head. I've blacked out before. I fight them sometimes. I forget that makes them worse. I have a hard time conceding to squiggly blood vessels and nerves with no IQ of their own. Nothing more humiliating than to lose to your own thoughtless tissue. Might as well have defective tattooed on your forehead.
When you live with Pain, you have a hard time connecting with others fully. You feel for others and you try to reduce their pain, you know you can handle it and you don't wish it on anyone else.
You shut off sensations in your body and learn to ignore them until they hit the wall.
A friend once asked why anyone would choose to live in pain. It's not a choice. It is. Choosing not to live would be admitting I'm not as strong as my genes. Many days I wish I wasn't born, I'm grateful for the good moments without pain but there's always the lurking enemy waiting for stress, muscle pain, nerve flares to give it the tools to overtake me again.
Emotions play across like shadows on the ground, not like ocean waves. They have little depth but stark appearances. It's hard to feel beyond the hot biting Dragon curled around your spine, knowing there's no song to put the beast to sleep.
This week I've started accupuncture at a sliding scale community clinic, Nadia is kind and gentle. She plans on using a technique called cupping to draw the coils of the dragons tail out. When I travel, she's encouraged me to continue treatment as it's likely five or six sessions may be needed. My friend Tama does accupuncture and said they've had many cases like mine, where they've pinned the proverbial Dragon down. I'm done wanting it dead, it's a part of me, I want it to heal. If they can do this it will be the best gift I've ever been given. I'm thirty nine. I've suffered for twenty nine years. I'd have done less time and had less pain if I were in solitary confinement for capital crimes. My only crime was being born.
I run through my days, drinking sunsets and friendship. I pause smelling roses, Ben gay, and Dragon balm. I feel the Sun, the warm hugs and the touch of friends as they endlessly try to work the muscles out. I memorize the flowers, the antics of squirrels, the soft playful nuzzling from my cat. I wrap my hands around life I draw it around me like a silk scarf in the breeze. I try to laugh. I challenge constantly, hoping the next hurdle will make me well enough to heal the Dragon and put it to rest for once and always.

That's what life is like with chronic pain.
Forty hour weeks aren't possible. Desk jobs aren't realistic. You do what you can when you can at a hundred percent. You can bluff your way through a few hours, even days. You can survive. That's it sometimes.

If you have someone with chronic pain in your life. Share the beautiful moments. Offer massage, hugs, laughter. Take them places that draw them beyond their hurt. Give them foods that distract and nourish them. Give them memories worth fighting for. Forgive them and understand why they don't always talk about it. We don't want pity. It doesn't help. Don't treat us like we're glass. We're diamonds. We cut. We may cut you, lashing out at our inner demons. I apologize. I may be elusive. Distant. I'm facing monsters you can't see in my smile.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Going Places from Public Transportation to Thought

My life has become points on a map, appointments and landmarks, roses and signs. Signs telling me where to go, how fast, when to go, what to do.
Still having visions of a bouncing, spinning drive shaft spiraling around the sound and sight of the new van Danny's getting next week. Two days from accident to flight. Work can't wait, sometimes life has to flex around work so enough can be earned to address immediate needs again. I'm certain, after ten years of getting by that no matter how ugh you've got it never seems enough. It never gets beyond the horizon. Brushfires have be one a way of life. Gig to gig, check to check, hoping it's enough and that more gigs line up. No time to work on new skills, no time to communicate, self promote or dialog for theater or event gigs. Soon maybe. Hopefully. Nothing like rapt listeners to infuse life and smiles into a storyteller's day.
Public transportation has become important. Shuttles, buses, light rail lines. Schedules, tickets and maps that can sometimes only recognized by locals.
I've found my favorite transit is the Skyway in Minneapolis. The Skyway is a walkway above the streets that is enclosed from weather and offers beautiful urban views, food and other businesses. It's nice to stand above the streets watching traffic. Eye catching art and architecture from the Convention center, Target Field all the way beyond the Government Center.
Do you know what Public transportation and walkways are in your area? Have you taken time to experience them?
I loved taking the light rail, walking a mile in the Skyway to Fanfest last summer at the Convention center. I was Tony the Tiger, giving high fives, hugs, and mugging for pictures. Those memories bring a smile, even though the event is long past.

What places bring bright memories to the front of your mind? What puts a skip in your step and laughter in your voice?
Has it been too long since you sought them out?

You can spend time complaining about schedules, transportation stress or you can focus on the lighter parts. Friendly travelers, different sights, tastes, sounds, history and culture or days wasted griping, venting and stuck in the mud of misery.

Life doesn't always give us choices. Sometimes we have two days to find what we need, we have to go away to work, we have to deal with hurdles to jump. Resent the jump or make it your own. Be glad that in the midst of everything, at least the nerves in your head are asleep again, that keeping stress focused on one task at a time is holding back the ocean tide of overwhelming waves of what still needs to be done.

I'm grateful today for how many lives we touch. We don't always appreciate how much impact our loved ones have in others lives, how much impact we have until chance shakes it up.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Where would you go: Boise?

When the boss said Boise, I wondered what was there beyond work and potatoes. When I asked if any of my friends lived there, only one in several thousand responded that he had originally come from Idaho, the others pondered potatoes and mountains with me. Did anyone really live there or was it just a weird silhouette on the instant potato packets?

Boise wasn't a huge city. Idaho is one of the least populated states. I found a brochure boasting of museums, many free or low cost including military, state, black history, penitentiary, mining, and the World Birds of Prey center. One picture showed a lady mugging for the camera as if she was in a giant baked potato with a butter pat melting on her brow. I pictured myself in the baked potato, prepared myself for the absurdity. I arrived to find the State history museum closed for renovations, all the tantalizing truths and trivias of Idaho and the baked potato set locked away and dark.
I was distracted from my melancholy by a beautiful rose garden, the scent of roses was the scent of Boise. In October I seemed to find roses everywhere instead of potatoes. I wandered into the BAM, Boise Art Museum and enjoyed a myriad of well displayed ceramics, glass, paintings, photographs, and sculpture with absolutely no potatoes. Ansel Adams was well represented.
I enjoyed delicious sushi at Superb Sushi Downtown. I strolled past the Egyptian Theater showing Army of Darkness, and looked at the Capital building.
The next morning I started by visiting the Nature Center at the Department of Fish and Game. I stood on a bridge watching a seven foot long sturgeon slide through the water below, adept at moving without rippling the surface after twenty five years of swimming. I learned what science is doing to bolster Idaho salmon populations in the face to dams and other obstacles beyond current and waterfalls between Idaho and the sea. I went to the Mining museum on the State Penitentiary grounds. I learned about what stones come from Idaho, examined various stones with a handheld microscope that showed what it saw on a television. I appreciated an impressive black light exhibit.
I was deciding where to go next, hours to go before my flight when a man in uniform gave a bright smile and asked if I was going to stop at the Penitentiary. I wasn't, but seeing others going in, and such gregarious tour guides I decided to. I walked into the State Pen. I paid to get in. It closed in the seventies before I was born. I stepped into the courtyard. The walkways were surrounded by roses. Lovely, bright roses against stark stone and rusted iron. I went to the rose garden, a sign told me five prisoners were executed there. I snuck in to the buildings in the allowed areas and looked at the cells. My imagination was working overtime on escape plans even though I was free. I learned the history of prison tattoos and of events and colorful characters including escapees. There was a weapons display in one building with everything from grease guns, shoulder cannons to an early gatling gun. It was an Impressive display of grenades, mines, guns, swords and various accessories.
I left there with images of shells and mortars dancing in my head. I wandered next door into the Botanical gardens which were where one of the prison yards had been as well as several graves.
Scarecrows hinted at Autumn, roses, vegetables, pumpkins, sages and many vibrant landscapes unfolded as I explored.  An oriental chime which requested I toll it three times and make a wish. I wished that no challenges we face this year be greater than our strength and may our friends know our hearts.
I finished my exploration by seeking out the Bogus Basin park. I pictured a basin, water. I was dead wrong. I drove a ribbon of switchbacks higher and higher out of Boise. I ended fifteen miles out at a ski resort that still had up to go. Golden fall grasses were worn by soft edged rolling mountains around the basin were Boise nestled. Evergreens accented the heights, golden sage flowers and rust colored dried grasses played in the breeze at lonely vistas where I stood alone surveying miles without a soul in them.
Still no potatoes.
I had Mediterranean food, they tried giving me fries instead of rice but I turned down the potatoes when they finally tried to slip incongruously into my meal.
Lewis and Clark came through, geography happened from earthquakes to bottles of ash from Mount St Helens and the ground spreading and stretching with time, where once the Pacific shore was in Idaho.

Hard to get lost, not so many people and lots of wild places where perhaps once people worked in remote areas striving to bring the golden blood that brings a deadly fever of greed with it out of the ground.

That's where I went, where would you go?