Salt Air

I found my Hendrix CDs in the clutches of a torn, dirty box, and sliding one into the player, the notes of “Are You Experienced?” made my chest tingle.

Because there are sections of your life when the change within yourself is so big you can’t see it properly but your body holds it inside, where—like a hummingbird—it flutters soundlessly until your own noise subsides.

And so it was that 1988-1990 imprinted it’s experiences into me. Holding steady for me over all these years, like a truth whispering itself into being slowly over time. Like Jimi in the player 5/2020 rising out of speakers as something bigger than sound. Rising as a tingling in my breasts while staring out the window of my Honda, my body unearthing 1990 and the emotional archeology of a different life.

And the initial stage for the scene had been set when my family moved to Santa Cruz, CA in 1985. Suddenly—inexplicably—I started to feel truly alive. Even now when I smell the salty air wafting from the Great Salt Lake, I pause to just be still, breathing in and out, closing my eyes to come again into those moments of awakening. For we don’t see ourselves without the benefit of others, and in that spiritual infancy of my own life, the yin and yang being born needed S.C.’s freak flags and the opportunity to be quiet and watch. To be inside the creative force that is open to all things.

And from the vastness of time, I steeped for two years at the local junior college, then exited in 1988 from the meander of Hazel Dell Road (and my family dynamics) with the seeds of a remembering of self, my car packed, headed to UC Davis. My cassette tape companions not playing just music but rather the beginning beats of my entry into humanity’s inexhaustible march towards nirvana.

And during those moments, I hadn’t lived long enough to hear the fullness of what I’d set out upon. But from the vantage of the same song all these moments later, I hear it now.

For I was alone, and floating, not in abyss but in primordial beginnings.

And from the awakening in that salt air, came the sliver of sense that, for this life, I’d willingly navigate the deep lows so to avoid the larger-unfulfillment of not growing and being bored.

And processed now over the energy of eons of discovery—AKA, 30-ish years–my body holds the potency of the lows, of being pushed by self or other out of every known anchoring, and the bittersweet acceptance that that is what being fully alive looks like.

Because nestling inside a girl of 21—alive in 1990, singing to herself about holding hands and watching the sun rise from the bottom of the sea—is the growing, and the salt air, and the losses that are actually never gone, as she drives a plain white Subaru hatchback dubbed “Wallflower” down California’s Highway 37.

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