PART 1: We Get on the Road
PART 2: Hot Springs, Arkansas
PART 3: Adventures with Starr
PART 4: The Tennessee Loop
PART 5: The Intensive with Starr
PART 6: The Way to North Carolina
PART 7: The NorthEast Loop
PART 8: Washington D.C.

PART 9: Movin' West to Columbus
PART 10: We Cross the Great Plains
PART 11: Montana Adventures

PART 12: Oregon
PART 13: Northern California

PART 14: Central California Adventures
PART 15: Southern California Adventures
PART 16: The Return

Part Twelve; Oregon

The Passage Through Idaho and Washington

We drove out of Judy and Tom’s driveway on a cool day, glad that we had visited when we had and before the really cold weather came in. On our way out, we took the road back down Flathead Lake to see an ex-neighbor of ours from Plantation. Starrflower (now calling herself Starr just like Starr Fuentes) had lived two blocks from us in Florida and when both her parents eventually died, she inherited their estate and house as their only child.  Starr had fallen in love with Montana, although she had lived in various states around the country, and so she came back to Florida to sell her house. It was the peak of the housing market, so she had no trouble finding a buyer who paid a good price for it. We went to her final clearance/garage sale to say goodbye. At that time, she invited us to stop by her place in Montana. She emphasized how much cheaper it was to live there and we imagined a rustic cheap place with overgrown grass and a shack for a shed. Maybe there would be an old dead car rotting in the high grass.

But when we arrived at her place, I was happy to see that her place was quite wonderful. With her inheritance money, she was financially independent and had bought a beautiful house in a lovely neighborhood overlooking Flathead Lake. She had decorated it with beautiful things and created a spa for spiritual healing there. Always the beekeeper, she had hives in the back yard and did “bee sting therapy.” This entailed grabbing a bee and placing it on a person’s inflamed arthritic or nerve damaged spot. If the bee cooperated, it would sting the person and the formic acid venom would stimulate healing. I had heard that bee sting therapy was especially good for MS patients. She also had a hot pool and herbs growing around it. On one side, she was adding a meditation sunroom with radiant heat in a 6-sided design. Arches covered with beautiful wood gave the room a churchy quality. We could feel the peace and calm already there.

She had a lovely guest room for the lucky client that would come for her healing gifts. As we admired the décor, we noticed a strange contraption in one corner of the room. This, Starr told us, was a Molecular Enhancer. There was a plate to put one’s feet upon while holding a bulb, similar to a light bulb, in one’s hands. With electrical power, this created a field. Both Daniel and I in turn sat in the chair and put our feet on the plate and held the bulb. I noticed that the more contact I had with the machine the stronger the energy current came as it went through my feet and radiated out the bulb to the chosen area of focus. When the current was too intense, I could lift my heels or peel off my fingers from the bulb and it would be lighter. I put the bulb on my heart/thymus for an immune system focus. I was hesitant to place the bulb in any lower area of my body as I have a tendency to be ungrounded. This means that excess electrical energy would not discharge harmlessly through my legs like other peoples’, creating more tingling and nervous system overload stress. But this was gentle enough that I was willing to risk some work with it. I did feel stronger with more energy afterwards. So did Daniel.

Starr also uses various healing modalities for the person, such as Jin Shin Jysutsu, DNA Activation, RBC Microscopic Analysis, “Ancient Oriental Harmonzing” and Cellular Rejuvenation. She summed up what she was doing as “giving on what my parents gave me.” I was moved to see that her parents’ deaths were going to enable others to heal, even if the parents never understood what Starr’s healing work was about. She was having several dilemmas common to spiritual people as we try to envision where we are going with our work. So I sat down and channeled Galexis for her. She is such a generous and loving person; it was a pleasure to do something for her. She enjoyed the reading and glowed with pleasure afterwards.


On To Idaho and More Trouble

Our time was over way too soon. Daniel and I had to continue. So we said our goodbyes and headed “on to Idaho!” Heading south back through the construction once again, we took a side road through the Flathead (Salish) Indian Reservation and the Lolo National Forest. It was simply beautiful and gloriously wild! We were just about the only ones on the road for miles. We drove through gorges by a sparkling river and passed through flat fertile valleys. Finally we returned to the interstate and began climbing yet more mountains to go into Idaho. Up and up we went. The truck strained harder and harder and the fan came on very very loudly. Finally, Daniel sounded alarmed. “The truck’s overheating!” He pulled off the road, still on an incline, although I could see that the top of the hill ahead was actually the very top of the pass, only about 1000 feet ahead.

The truck was steaming and bubbles of water were pushing out of the radiator under the cap. Yep, we were overheating! Daniel looked at the cell phone – no bars, or maybe just one bar. Same with mine. So he climbed on top of the RV to call Sprint Roadside Assistance. When he got them, he kept getting disconnected. Daniel was very upset with them too, because they would transfer him to another place and lose him. Finally the kicker came when they asked him “what city are you in?” He said, “I’m not in a city. I’m out in the countryside several miles east of Mullan at Lookout Pass.” They said, “We can’t help you unless you are in a city.” Daniel hollered at them or at the air. I heard his venting some distance away as I was walking towards the top of the Pass. Across the highway was a restaurant or something to check out. Maybe they had a phone. After his outburst, I turned around and returned down to the truck and RV.

Daniel climbed down and checked the radiator again. It looked quiet and we could see the water level was low. So very very carefully, Daniel loosened the lid. It hissed at him but otherwise let itself be opened and this time, an amazing amount of boiling water overflowed. As we were observing this, a trucker stopped and asked us if there was anything he could do. No, we told him, we were just overheating. He left. Presently another trucker stopped nearer the top of the pass and walked back, barefoot with long hair (I’ve seen all kinds of people trucking, from hippies to cool blacks to grandmamas with their poodles to yarmulke wearing Jews!) to help if he could. Obviously he was a native, because to me it was definitely too cool to go barefoot. He and Daniel talked for a few minutes about how to help the truck tote an uphill load better, and he too offered water. We thanked him for his concern. Feeling touched at his support, we said we had plenty, so he left. People are so good! And truckers especially. We’ve really felt closer to them as we frequent truck stops, look for diesel, and maneuver big loads up hills like they do. We knew we had a lot of water in little cheap water bottles we’d gotten at a drugstore in Kalispell. After we had emptied every last one into the radiator, we found to our surprise that the water level still wasn’t high enough! So the only bottled water we had left was Penta water – yes, the expensive stuff! We gave the truck our Penta water too, laughing about how the truck needed the very finest water for hydration!

Since we were not going to get any help at all from Sprint’s Roadside Assistance, we decided to get to the top of the Pass and coast down where we could. Although the truck threatened to overheat again, we made it to the top and over Lookout Pass. We coasted downward to Osburn Idaho and since now it was too late to seek out a repair shop, we parked in an RV Park there. Fortunately there was a space left, in the middle of the road it seemed. All night long, cars passed on the gravel outside my window. In the a.m., without the RV, the truck seemed fine. Daniel drove off to see if he could find a local radiator repair place. Shortly he returned with the news that no one could fix radiators or fans in Osborn. The man there had said that the radiator should get cleaned out after 100,000 miles and we were at 126,000 by now.

So we traveled slowly and carefully, still mostly downhill, to Coeur d’Alene, a much larger city. There we found a radiator place not far from the highway. The 40 something fellow looked under the hood like a doctor examining his patient. He felt the radiator all over and said there were no blockages. If there had been, he would have found a strong difference in temperatures between one area and another. Hurray for that! He thought that perhaps we ought to flush the radiator and replace the fan clutch and thermostat. We realized that except for the fan not kicking in at the appropriate times or soon enough, we probably could travel further without incident. So we made the choice to keep going and promised Aylar that if anything acted up we’d stop and have it fixed. Fortunately for Aylar it was all downhill and then pretty flat through eastern Washington.

Between Spokane and Pasco, we saw streets named “Thor” and “Freya.” Two towns we passed were “Steptoe” and “Paka Packard.” We saw “dust devils” or mini-tornadoes made of dust freely available in the dry fields. We passed through barren desert with a big river running through it. The contrast of this kind of thing, like fire and water, struck me as odd. All the water’s in the river and none on the hillsides? It would be kind of scary if we broke down here in this remote place. To reinforce my concern, I saw lots of burned areas and the burns must’ve been really hot because the posts by the road were burned and even some of the guardrails were melted! We passed one dry gulch after another. It was a relief to reach the outpost of civilization that was Pasco; a flat spread-out town filled with dust or the maybe it was because everything was the color of dust. We stayed at the Sandy Heights RV Park where all the RV’s were jammed together in very narrow spaces in several rows. Despite these seemingly annoying conditions, the park was pretty full with lots of full-timers. I was exhausted because I had held my breath for almost every hill we climbed throughout the afternoon!

In the morning we first stopped at the post office to drop off some mail. Daniel just “knew” where it was, which was fine by me. Once we had found a big spot large enough to park Aylar and Shungo, we headed towards the door. Suddenly, on our right, a woman fell on the sidewalk. We rushed to her aid. “Are you all right?” we asked. “No,” she said. I hurt my arm right where I have had surgery.” She was distressed. We helped her into the post office and stayed with her while she filed her complaint about the huge bump in the sidewalk she had tripped over.

The employees in the post office were distressed. Perhaps they thought there was a lawsuit coming. The man in charge kept disappearing to make phone calls. Police arrived to make a report as an ambulance arrive to administer first aid and perhaps take her to the hospital. We sat with her and held her hand and wrist, now swollen. We ran healing energy into it and into her to calm her down. I realized that if she had been a client of ours, we would definitely have had to look at her issue about her wrist. Two injuries in the same place speak of an unresolved issue there. The surgery had been for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Daniel and I were questioned too and we agreed to be witnesses. Evidently, this was seen as some kind of scam. We were told that a post office employee “witnessed” that she fell out of our truck, so suspicions of us ran high. It only took us a moment to convince the investigator however, that we had never seen her before and lived out of state. If we had not been there, she would not have had any chance to get help, as she was rather poor (although very well educated). The three of us talked and shared addresses and numbers. Again, I felt as if I knew her and had known her for a long time. Is this more of the “oneness?” Eventually, they took her to the hospital.

After leaving the post office, we headed out of town southward through more dry territory along the Columbia River. I had heard the Columbia Gorge was beautiful and since it was low along the river we didn’t have to go through mountains and risk the truck overheating. The Columbia Gorge was striking in its immensity, but the river didn’t flow freely. We passed at least three dams making a lot of hydroelectric power. I got out my catalogs of RV parks and called around. None of the RV parks along this area had room for one more, especially since it was one of the last Saturdays before school started. So we kept going.

Finally we found a place available just before Portland, next to a river at the Fairview RV Park. We missed the narrow turn into the park and so had to drive Shungo several blocks down the road to make a turn, always a chore, in a parking lot. The day was late and we’d driven a long time, especially with all the anxious concerns we had about Aylar. We were exhausted and distressed to see railroad tracks next to the park, but along came a train and surprise!  The horns didn’t sound right at our spot. Nevertheless, I was so tired that I would’ve slept through them anyway. The river was fun and blackberries growing along the path were tasty. Families were wading in the cold water, enjoying the end of summer vacation. We stayed here an extra day for rest and we both needed it. No worrying about radiators and such.

Sunday we went into Portland to visit my cousin Donald Lawton, son of aunt Marguerite who was sister to my father. We drove into a very clean and pleasant city, more attractive than most. We had no trouble winding through the residential streets according to Donald’s directions. He and his wife Abigail and their very shy dog live in a charming neighborhood southwest of Portland. He is retired and she still works part time. They were about to go to France the following week for two weeks, so their suitcases were out. The house smelled very clean despite having a pet. Donald was proud of this and showed us his unobtrusive and totally silent air purifier. I resolved immediately to get one of the silent ones for myself since most air purifiers hiss so loudly I don’t want to sleep with them on. (Perhaps it was the week afterwards when Dr Mercola sent me his newsletter with information on the latest and greatest silent air purifier! So my question as to which one would be good for me was answered.)


Holly’s Heaven

Monday afternoon, we drove south from Portland into the long north-south valley. Eugene is near the southern end of it. We were on our way to Holly’s place near Eugene. I had gotten an email from Holly about the presence of field burning in the region. Since I was sensitive to smoke, I was concerned but hopeful all would work out. I called on some magic. We had been moving for hours through the midst of a vast plain with blue mountains on either side when we began to see the plumes of smoke ahead. These were grass seed field burnings, not for the assistance to a fire-based ecosystem like the prescribed burns in Florida. No, these were farm fields and the flames went high.

Note; only a few days later, I received an environmental alert about this area, so I learned about what was going on, fires et al. Around 70 percent of all the grass seed in the country is grown here, and in late summer the farmers burn their fields of straw as preparation for the spring. Over 100,000 acres were burned until after several people died in a massive car accident on I-5 due to the smoke. Then public opinion turned against the burning and the state reduced the number of acres to around 50,000. I would think that’s still too much particulate pollution!

Others obviously agree with me, as I found out that legislation is proposed to ban it altogether. Professors at Oregon State University are researching how to turn straw into fuel, not just useless ash. And the state of Oregon is planning to meet 25 percent of its energy needs by renewable technologies in only a few years. Fires like these are already banned in Washington, after several doctors showed the health destruction it causes. But this is not the only environmental danger. It seems that a genetically modified grass has escaped cultivation in this valley and spread into the wild. Is this one more environmental disaster in the making?

The fires were all around us as we exited the highway just north of Eugene. Again, we missed a turn and had to go down the narrow road bordered by deep ditches to find a place where we could turn around. Daniel was getting really good at all this maneuvering by now, but it still wasn’t a heck of a lot of fun. But we finally found the road, grumbling about how Mapquest was inaccurate. From that road, Daniel skillfully maneuvered Shungo up and down some hilly streets as we climbed up the mountain Holly lived on. Then we found her driveway and everything changed into magic.

We drove into a beautiful and remote place, opening to a wide parking area next to a house and cottage on the hill. From there, we could see a gorgeous view of the whole valley over to the mountains on the other side. Holly wasn’t there but her parents, Cork and Carolyn, came out of the cottage to greet us and help us size up the place we could park. We were lucky there was room to turn the RV around and back it up next to the house. By the time we were situated, Holly returned. I was amazed at the beauty and quiet of this spot, despite a faint smell of smoke. Holly lives in paradise! After awhile, Daniel went off to a market nearby and got blocks to prop up the tripod just as we did at Judy’s. It was nice and warm. I felt very comfortable in this place and with Holly and her parents.

After enjoying Holly’s company, it was late at night. Then it was time for me to take my shower and head for bed. When we park with people, we use their bathrooms. Then we don’t have to empty out the gray and black water tanks of the RV. Without going inside, we would have at most two days in the RV before we’d have to hitch and drive it to a dump station. The weather was nippy in the bathroom but okay with the windows shut. The water was well water and softened. We had had that at Judy and Tom’s too and I still didn’t get used to it here either. It feels like I cannot get clean but that my skin remains soapy or slimy. However, I’ve learned to ignore that because if I tried to fully rinse myself, I would only succeed in drying out my skin further and getting itchy. After toweling off, however, I felt great. With the clean and cool night air, I fell into bed weary and slept well.

In the morning, I awakened to the noises of wild creatures walking about. I heard the telltale “gobble” of turkeys almost under my window. And when I got up, I saw deer standing by the road waiting to be fed at the feeding station rigged there by Holly and her folks. Holly invited me and Daniel to come out and join her. She emptied some rolled corn in the feeder tray and when we stood at least 40 feet away, the deer came and stuck their heads into it. She also had several apples that she cut expertly one at a time in her hand with a small paring knife. Then she threw each small piece towards one of the 4 or 5 deer that had gathered. Holly mentioned that the deer have very small mouths and so they can eat the little pieces but not a whole apple. It was fun throwing a piece of apple to the fawn – possibly its first taste of apple – without the mother getting it first.

Eagerly, the deer would try to edge the others out of the way to get the next piece. Deer may look sweet but they are not cooperative in this situation. They stomp at and butt heads with each other. So the biggest buck will get first shot at everything. Nevertheless, the deer were fun to watch. They appeared dainty with their small mouths, small pointy hooves (which they placed just so in each step,) and delicate features with big gentle eyes. They moved lightly in their lithe slender bodies.  I pulled myself away to have some breakfast and prepare for the day.

In the early afternoon I did some channeling. During my afternoon break, Daniel and I discovered the incredible blackberries – sweet fruit all over and around the property. Remote from road dust and car exhaust or any environmental stress, the fruit was delicious. Maybe it wasn’t just the physical cleanliness of the environment. Magic was in this land.  Huge Ponderosa pines covered with lichen gave the air a wonderful fragrance.

Daniel, Holly and I took Aylar in to the shop (as promised) and Holly drove us back. On the way back, Holly stopped at a feed store to get more rolled corn for the deer. While she was ordering her 50 pound bag, Daniel and I toured the fascinating store. At the entrance were shelves of miniature animals, done very lifelike. You can get any farm animal in different sizes and almost every breed of dog. The hodgepodge of the store included country, native American, outdoor sportsman, suburban and farm items together under one roof. I finally bought my first pair of mud boots and would’ve bought a pair of sturdy outdoor hiking style boots if I had found any that were flexible enough for my feet.

Wednesday was channeling day. While in trance, I/Galexis heard turkeys going by. A peek out the back window revealed a whole flock coming out of the back yard and passing between the RV and the house. The birds made muffled “chuckles,” sounding a little like doves. Daniel got a message on his cell that the truck was not yet done, so there was nowhere to go but take a walk around the magical place and check out more blackberries. We also found quite a few turkey feathers, which everyone insisted that we keep. Seems there are always many feathers left near the feed bin back in the bushes or under the trees. Cork and Carolyn invited us for an early dinner in their cottage since I had to channel afterwards in the evening. The food was delicious and very nurturing and the conversation fun.  For desert, Carolyn made her delicious blackberry pie.  It was hard to get up from the dinner table and the great company to go work the evening. That’s the disadvantage when you are contracting your time rather than a product. While I was channeling, Daniel, Holly, Cork and Carolyn chat into the night.

Thursday, I was getting antsy to find some woodland path to walk rather than up and down the driveway and the nearby road. So Holly took us to one of her favorite places, Spencer’s Butte, just south of Eugene. On the way through town, we stopped by a small health food store. Immediately as I walked in, I had a sense of déjà vu. It was the ‘70’s all over again. Even the young people working there dressed as I did in 1972 - long hair, skimpy T-shirts, and bellbottom-flared jeans. A couple of white guys working there had massive dreadlocks and everyone wore lots of tie-dyes. Holly explained that Eugene has a lot of ex-hippies. She was right. I wanted to exclaim “wow, groovy, far out!”

Spencer’s Butte was a peaceful place, creating almost the same hush as that a large public library as we walked under the tall and majestic redwood trees. We climbed a dirt path around tree roots and zigzagged up the Butte to the near top with its great view. Somehow, the trees and the land held their stately energies in such as way that the place was seemingly untouched energetically by all the human presence. The feeling of mystery and beauty is something Daniel and I want in a place we’d like to have in the future. We felt revitalized and energized and ready to pick up the truck, but although it was done by closing, the mechanic went home. So the truck had first to be checked by the mechanics in the morning before they would release it. So Holly drove us back up the mountain to her aerie.



The next day, Friday, I channeled in the afternoon while Daniel and Holly went and got the truck. I cancelled the evening hours because I had channeled so much Tuesday and had a lot of things to do. My hair had grown so long and bedraggled, I needed a haircut badly! Carolyn worked a miracle for me by getting me an appointment for me with her hairdresser who was usually booked, and Holly drove me there.  The design was actually shorter than I usually wore it but cute to the max! I returned, proudly sporting my hairstyle, and as we arrived in the parking area, Carolyn came out to greet me. She loved the style.

But Daniel didn’t seem pleased as he leaned out of the trailer while us girls talked about my hairdo and the hairdresser. Somber-faced, he demanded that I come in the trailer and stop chatting with Carolyn and Holly outside. It was so strange of him to do this that I came in and sat down. Daniel told me that my sister had called from Tennessee where my mother, Virginia Lockmiller, had had a massive stroke. She was found in her apartment unconscious and the doctors thought that she had been there almost 12 hours. She had been brought to Summit Hospital near her residence and was not expected to live more than a few more days because the of brain swelling and other complications. I felt shock. “I guess it’s time,” I said numbly.

Although my mother was 95 years old, she had been in remarkably good health earlier in the summer when we visited. Virginia was her usual animated and enthusiastic self and able to walk briskly for a long walk with us. We took her in the big truck over to our RV in the nearby Park, where she had enjoyed the idea of traveling around the country fancy-free. It felt good at that time that she no longer was frightened over our futures since we had sold our beautiful home. The pleasure and interest in my trip had continued with every phone call since that time as I filled her in with details as to where I was and what I was doing and where I would go next. 

My sister and second cousin Steven had been with her in the hospital. By the time I got this message from Daniel, visiting and phone hours (Central Time) were over.
I called anyway and spoke to the head nurse, telling her that my mother was dying and with a broken, emotionally laden voice, I wished to say goodbye to her before she goes. The nurse responded that she was stable, and paused. I repeated what I said and finally the woman patched me into my mother’s room. A cheerful nurse sounding like a young girl picked up the phone by her bedside and gave my mother the phone. I said “I love you” several times and she responded coherently with “I love you too, dahling,” although her voice was slurred. She was evidently unclear as to what had happened to her. She asks me “where are you?” I tell her “I’m in the woods in Oregon.” “And where are you heading next?” “California,” I said. Gratefully, I could understand her okay.

When I hung up, I was shaken and very disturbed and at the same time, yet detached. It was odd to watch my responses as if they belonged to someone else. Daniel, Holly and I ate dinner together, each bringing our own favorite food.  We then brought out the Arkansas crystals and Bob’s remaining crystals and played with them, feeling them and enjoying their presence. We decided that the big beautiful crystal that had broken in two was worth fixing. (Remember? The big one that fell off the shelf by itself and broke in two the day after Bob died.) Later, Daniel packed both pieces in a sturdy box to send to Lawrence Stoller. Lawrence has done impressive crystal and jewelry work for many years and Daniel studied with him for about a week learning how to polish crystals. Daniel no longer polishes crystals as we came to the conclusion that we liked them “raw” and unpolished. Check out some of Stoller’s amazing work at http://www.crystalworks.com.

While we were occupied with the crystals and talking, I suddenly felt a shift from my disturbed, low-immune system (achy chest) state into a peace that “descended” on me. I realized that I was “done” with all the psychological processing I’d had to do throughout my adult life on the relationship with my mother and the deep Soul wounding I experienced at her hand. However, by bedtime, I was tense and disturbed again.

That night I sleep poorly, tense and anxious (about what?). I tossed and turned in the wee hours, thinking. It is my time to deal with death now, I told myself. So many of my friends have had to deal with long drawn out rituals of death with their parents and here I have only a window of a few days. Should I fly to Tennessee or not? I debated the pros and cons. The pros meant that I could say goodbye in person and hold her hand, although with my sister around organizing and running things as she did, that this would not play out as the ideal scene I’d fantasized. The cons meant that I would have to leave this beautiful place and fly (which I dislike intensely since 9/11) to Tennessee for who knows how many days and delay our schedule by at least a week or more. I felt we were already running late since we had cut the trip a month short. On the other hand, I didn’t want to stay here only as a matter of convenience. How selfish and petty of me! If I really were a good daughter I’d fly there, right? Still, it would make little difference if I did and my health could possibly suffer (I always seemed to get sick after flying). My sister was there. Should I go to show her support? No, she would probably find me underfoot and get impatient with me. That would not be helpful for either one of us.

Saturday, Holly thought we’d enjoy going to a local arts and craft show. So the three of us hopped into Aylar, now purring smoothly, and drove more than 45 minutes through pretty forests on a weaving narrow-laned road. We found the tents in a lovely park but there were few artists showing and most of them were amateurs. I bought a couple of interesting note-cards, idly intending to send them but knowing down deep that I probably never would. I am simply not a letter writer, but give me email and I’m loquacious! The weather was warm and the day glorious but not hot. Oregon was putting its best foot forward, giving us ideal weather.

This setting gave me some sunshine and an opportunity to continue thinking about my decision to travel or not. I called mother again and she sounded better, more like her old usual self. Again she asked me “Where are you?” “In the woods in Oregon,” I answered, as if this was the first time she’d asked. “And where are you going next?” she asked. “California,” I replied. Jean told me that the doctors were impressed with how well she was doing and how stable she was. If she continued to improve against the odds like she was, she would need to be moved to a nursing home. Now Jean was faced with having to find and hire someone to be with mother full time, and she would have to choose a nursing home too. Jean didn’t know any place locally there, nor did she feel she had the time to do the research, since there was always some little crisis going on with mother.

After I said goodbye to Jean, I didn’t hang up immediately. And obviously neither did Jean. I heard her put the phone down. Mother was calling to her to change the channel of music on the radio. Jean changed from channel to channel for mother to hear the selections. Jean sounded impatient, and mother sounded urgent and intense. I listened for a while and realized how Jean was now dealing with the moment-by-moment needs of my mother and experiencing a lot of the emotional connection that I had had with Virginia in the past. Jean and mother had been mildly distant, possibly because Jean had always been trying to make mother’s big decisions for her. Mother would resist and then relent, and later become resentful and resigned. Interesting dynamic. Eventually I hung up. I would stay.

On Sunday, Jean told me that mother’s brain was swelling and so she had headaches. They had put cold packs on mother’s head and given her some painkillers. The drugs eased the pain, but of course they made her harder to understand. So when I told her I loved her, she responded with a “whhmahmmiwah” type of response. Neither Jean nor I had a clue what she was trying to say, so I just kept telling her I loved her. I imagine she was probably asking, “Where are you?” and “Where are you going next?”

At one point, Jean said, mother had stopped breathing and she had to go get help. Jean felt as if she had to stay on top of everything all day, and was unable to take a break except to get fast food from downstairs or go to the bathroom. I asked Jean if she and mother had had any intimate emotional conversations and she answered cryptically, “Bridges were built. Fences were mended.” I was glad that Jean had come to a meaningful resolution in her relationship to mother as I had. After I hung up, I felt disturbed. My chest ached and I was feeling somewhat depressed. So Daniel and I went walking around the property to help me get my mind off things or to get clearer, one or the other. We picked up some more turkey feathers.

Sunday came and we did our last load of laundry. Daniel showed Holly some technological computer stuff while I sat in the yard looking at the beautiful view of the valley down below and thought about my mother. I saw her in her various attributes or personalities and let each one lovingly go. I was feeling more and more freedom and peace. Strange, I thought. Why wasn ’t I crying and being all “emotional?” Can I go deeper? I could feel the love I had for her and the diminishment of myself I chose to have with her so that she would not feel threatened by my spiritual path which was in direct conflict (she thought) with hers. How could I have told her that her sin, judgment and punishment stuff wasn’t really from Jesus, who was the embodiment of divine Love and compassion without invalidating her and creating resistance and judgment? Here’s a view of Holly’s lovely valley from the road outside her property.


Onward Towards California

Then it was time to go. We had someone to visit on the way south, an ex-neighbor from my hometown of Lebanon Tennessee. Betsy Gwynn had grown up next door to me. She and my sister were close in age. Betsy’s younger brother Bobby was my age and the two of us had played Lone Ranger (Bobby) and Tonto (me, obviously playing the native American tracker) around our back yard and in the woods next to us. Betsy had joined the freedom riders back in the 50’s during integration days, a shocking thing for a fine southern lady to do. She went to Columbia and got her Doctorate of Divinity and was involved with the development of the women’s liberation movement in the ‘70’s. Then I lost track of her. It would be fun to see where she ended up! When Jean gave me her number and we saw that Betsy (now named “Bethroot”) was on our way, I called her and made arrangements. Her voice wasn’t even familiar, so this was going to be interesting!

We agreed to meet at a park in nearby Myrtle Creek at the base of a hill since it was moot if Shungo could make it to her place in the mountains and also that the land was for women only – no men allowed! Myrtle Creek was a small charming town, like so many we saw in Oregon. We parked and waited in the dry heat of midday. We talked with a Hispanic couple that had come looking at the park and seeking the public facilities there. By the time Betsy/Bethroot had arrived, we felt we knew these people – typical of the magic on the road.

Thankfully we were in a huge white RV, so Bethroot would not have mistaken who we were. We certainly could not have identified each other at all if we’d tried. We had both changed so very very much in our appearance. It was not due so much to age as to changes in weight for her and for me, my jaw surgery that had changed my face. We laughed and talked and “caught up” the best we could in an hour’s visit. In the late ‘70’s, Betsy turned lesbian and co-founded a commune with her partner in Oregon where they grew crops and held feminist Goddess rituals. At this point, she changed her name to Bethroot, the name for a healing herb.

And although she was no longer in the relationship, the two women now share the land in separate houses while Bethroot works on a beautiful yearly women’s calendar. She gave me a copy. The colorful and creative women’s We’Moon calendar is dedicated to women around the globe “who are On Purpose, working to heal our planet.” It has an astrological guide, the moon calendar, and honors the rhythms of the earth and the seasons in true “womyn” pagan style. In between all this information and symbols are inserted beautiful images of art, inspirational stories, and poetry. Interested? Check out the website for yourself at http://www.wemoon.ws.

As Bethroot and I parted, she gently pressed a small bag of yellow cherry tomatoes which she had grown herself organically on the womyn’s land. She grows almost all of her own food here in the fertile valley. With goodbye hugs, we parted and Daniel and I hauled Shungo up the steep hill from the park to continue on our way. That night we sampled the tomatoes and found them exquisitely yummy. We made it to Ashland and turned off towards the RV Park we wanted. As we drove the four or so miles along the country road, we passed the very street we were to visit the next morning. We laughed at the synchronicity. Now we weren’t going to have to Mapquest Anitah’s place or call her for any elaborate directions. Magic again!


The Ashland Visit

The camp was hot, dry and dusty, but campfires were going nevertheless. We were near a stream that was hard to hear unless you were parked virtually on top it as a few dry-dockers (no hookups) were doing in the tent camping area. We saw some birds we didn’t recognize although they resembled jays. It had been a long day and so we prepared for bed right away. I put out my Barefoot Pad stake and a man walking by with his small daughter stopped with curiosity. I explained to him that it helped me ground electrically and was equivalent to walking for at least a half an hour or more barefoot on the earth. He smiled with total non-comprehension and thanked me. I wonder what he told his family and friends, if he did. Maybe “weird people in space 10!”

With the morning, we journeyed back to the street we had seen earlier and easily found Anitah’s place. This was consistent with the magic in finding places we’d had the whole trip. Anitah was living on the edge of the city in a home on the top of a small hill with a glorious panorama of the mountains and valley on the east side of Ashland. We didn’t have much time to visit. Daniel and I had made an appointment in Mount Shasta for later in the day and Anitah had a luncheon date within the hour. So we enjoyed the beautiful environment she had created. Lovely lighting highlighted a select number of individualistic and tasteful art pieces around her place. The walls held rich and balanced color that gave energy to everything. It seemed to me that she could easily have made a great livelihood in interior design. I felt a good “feng shui” there and a sense of harmony and peace.

Anitah was excited upon hearing of our Mount Shasta trip and suggested that we may find something of interest there. She left and returned with an unusually shaped piece of glass. This is “Andara” crystal, she told us. Quartz and minerals (mostly silica) melted together long ago to naturally form a glass-crystal piece that some new-agers felt was very powerful for transformation and positive healing change. There is only one area of the world in which this occurs naturally and it is near here. As I held the beautiful piece, I admit that I didn’t feel much, but I was intrigued with the story and new-ager’s enthusiasm behind the piece. Anitah told us that a trip to Mount Shasta would not be complete unless we went to the phenomenal crystal store that was there, called “Middle Earth.” There we could see the Andara crystal-glass pieces and find other unusual items. She had a round pyrite ball that glittered and shone that she had bought there. Getting one of those, I figured, would also be worth the trip to the store.

After some pleasant conversation, we all had to leave. Daniel and I headed out of Ashland towards California. My heart quickened. I felt a draw to the state although I have never had much inclination to live there. In a matter of a few miles, we moved into California and into more hilly terrain. As I watched the terrain change, I called my sister on the cell. Mother was sleeping all the time now, but I still had more to say to her. I asked Jean to put the phone up next to mother’s ear. Jean said “she can’t hear you,” but I answered, “her subconscious and unconscious minds can.” So Jean put the phone by her and I heard her heavy breathing, fairly rapid and deep. I said some things that included, “I love you. You did a great job. Thank you. Go in peace. I love you.” It felt strange, being here on the road in the boonies in California, knowing that my mother was on the verge of passing over. And I was grateful that my sister was there to hold her hand for both of us.

Next installment; Northern California