Monday, June 29, 1981

Vashon Island

I finally get an answer from my friends living on Vashon Island. But a woman named Jan answers the phone, she says that Barbara and Mike moved back to California yesterday, but to come on by anyway and see the house as it's empty. 

Later, at dinner Jan tells me of Barbara's behavior, her long swims in the bay to deserted islands, her being in the hospital, in a straight jacket, on lithium. How Barbara, in five-years time, had finally reach the out zone.

I wrap my mind around the idea that Barbara's going crazy. I'm sitting here in her house with a stranger, haunted by dreams of craziness. All around I look, the unfamiliar lights the bay, a too short couch. Familiar things from home. Whose couch is it anyway? Where am I? Is this a taste of madness, my own future madness?

My mom is on lithium, Barbara is on lithium. Lithium becomes the thread between passive and active madness. What is it that women do to themselves anyway? Is it the active doing? Non-doing?  Or interpreters of another otherworld, Lemurians under Mt. Shasta, the sunken realms of Atlantis, or Mu? My grandmother talking about the mythological lost continent of Hy Breseal. Or the land of the Ever-young, Tír na nÓg.

The wild ducks are asleep on the porch. They drink water from a cracked ceramic bread bowl. Pete Sutton made that bowl back in Forest Knolls maybe seven years ago.

If you leave the sliding glass door open, she says, the ducks will come in, I'm told, but they shit in the house. Nothing to be done about that. Fowls fouling the nest.

When I went to visit Leonard Cirilo, he had left for good, two days before. Off his meds. He came back though, so strange being in other people’s houses when they're gone on a journey that lasts forever. There's no coming back from that.

Sunday, June 28, 1981

Alaska Bound

Alan who is kayaking from Seattle to Juneau, sent a postcard to Pam from Prince Rupert Island, saying I'm putting a patch on my boat. I hope it will hold. Love Alan.

Pam and Michael will play before they start searching for jobs. Trips, kayaking etc. I want to go. I have no money for the boat ticket.

Michael will try for a job on a fishing boat. Maybe replace someone who doesn't want to go out again for the season. Pam won't work in a cannery because she doesn't believe in killing anything.

In Alaska there are no vegetables.
How is Pam, a vegetarian, going to survive?

Saturday, June 27, 1981

Red Tide

Pam, Michael, and I walked past Point Gamble on the Hood Canal. There were oysters lying on the beaches, and cockles stranded on the sand. The ebb of a king tide had caught them short. We gathered them up. Free food just lying there. I dove and swam, I was a mermaid bringing in the sea's bounty by the armload. I taught Michael how clean the shellfish, we fried them up for dinner. We were watching a news broadcast on the TV. A rare red tide has been reported on the other side of Kitsat Peninsula. A rare occurrence this far north. But I saw no red bloom in the water. We waited with trepidation for our tongues to grow numb.

Thursday, June 25, 1981

3 DREAM SEQUENCES, Hurricane Ridge journal, Elwah River

Dream sequence number one

I'm standing facing downstream
I'm standing in the stream of a metaphor
The river is a metaphor of life
Cats teeth almost as tall as my waist
The river becomes a thin sheet
it stretches and snags on the cats teeth
so dazzlingly white, enough to blind you.

Dream sequence number two

I wake up. It's clear and beautiful out.
Second sunny day in Washington since April.
We brought the sun with us from California.
I think either I'm dead and that's heaven –
Washington when it's sunny,
or our luck held and we will get to go
up Hurricane Ridge in sunlight.

Dream sequence number three

I'm with my friend, Pam.
She's wearing one of my dresses.
We are both about seven years old
except we're really 28 and 33.
Her dress is navy blue.
Her birthday is June 28.
Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth
are coming to visit us.
I'm sitting on Lee's lap
and he holds me close.
We're having a spelling bee
like old times and relatives abound.
Lee drops his arms.
The queen has arrived.
The royal We.

Tomorrow I will take Pam and Michael to the plane. Then I'm on my way without a planned destination. My friends on Vashon Island don't seem to answer their phone. Pam's birthday is June 28. I have a sunburn from Hurricane Ridge. Lake Crescent is enormous. There are log snags along its shores. Pam wants to water ski on it. It looks too cold. It's like Falling Leaf Lake in Tahoe. Deep, dark, treacherous.

Michael and Leo used to live in Grass Valley. They got busted in the first major grass raid in California. I remember hearing about in 1972. It really does become a smaller world. I just met Leo three days ago and Michael I've known for two years.

I got mad when Pam fed most of our food to the deer on Hurricane Ridge. It looks so diseased. Aren't we tampering with its natural life cycle enough even though what we feed it is healthy food? The deer began to eat Michael's pants. It must be the salt. Later, at the Elwah River, we saw normal deer who ran away from people. It made me feel so much better to see the balance restored.

Notes from the Olympic Peninsula

Hurricane Ridge was so unreal, I didn't comprehend it, I couldn't react until I spent a couple of hours taking it in. We saw overly tame deer and  friendlyRocky Mountain goats. Leo slide down a steep cliff to retrieve masses of goat hair for for Terry to weave.

The mountains have the capacity
for absorbing sound
And they emit only silence.

Wednesday, June 24, 1981

Elwah River Hot Springs

Hot Springs above the Elwah River
Seven natural pools. The one at the top
is the hottest.

In the seventh pool of the Elwah River
I met Toni and Honey from Port Townsend
they both knew Sharon Dubiago.
Small world.

After the hot springs we stopped for showers at the park in Sequim Bay. Michael, Pam, Leo and I take a mad 10 cent shower in the same stall in the men's room. We shriek and laugh as we soap down and rinse, such madness. It was a very high day. Terry and Misty waited in the car—not amused by our antics.

My jewelry is black from the hot springs. There are rainbows under my bracelets where my skin has worn the silver smooth. There were petroglyphs carved on the rocks at the springs. I couldn't tell if they were Indian or New Age hippie carvings. Who else would take the time?

Monday, June 22, 1981

Leaving Yreka

The bus driver left Yreka without her dog and we missed our turn off to Eureka. We drove almost all the way to Bend before she noticed. We drove back over the Siskiyous for the dog. She said her husband cheats at cards. I wonder what else.

"Can I ask you something? Are there any cheap hotels around here?" We're leaving Eugene. She gives us the Heartbreak Hotel.

The girl from New York who has a husband she isn't traveling with, has creamy white thighs. Thighs that have seen little sunlight. She must not be acclimatized to California sun worship, sun and skin the color of dry summer grasses, the rolling golden hills of California, as Kate sang.

Michael only reads bits of books, other people's books. As they depart with their books and luggage in tow, he borrows another book from someone else. He never finishes a story. How does he hold all those loose storylines in his head? How does he resolve them? It would drive me crazy. Most of the people on the bus have books spanning the great body of literature, it's like a bookmobile. A few chapters of Anna Karenina, followed by The Sun Also Rises, and Catcher in the Rye.

I've driven to Seattle enough times that I've seen the scenery. This time I'm going up north lying flat on my back the whole way. There are no seats! Some woman said the last time she rode the bus down from Seattle, she was making out with the guy the entire trip, she hoped she never see him again. Another woman, hearing her story, decided she liked the idea, and rode the bus up and back in the hopes of meeting someone.

Sunday, June 21, 1981


On the Gray Rabbit, a converted Greyhound bus, we're heading north. Am I the only one who thinks it's funny? Hound into hare. Steady laughter, the perfume of grass, oranges bursting into song. People kissing loved ones goodbye. Mr. Rabbit gives us page 2 of the rules again. Rabbit's rules of order, it's Gray Rabbit space, we are sardines juxtaposed between the sheets in the belly of the hare and hound.

The solstice sun dips into a mock orange sky. The patient sky spreads its wings behind black sculpted mountain. Tamalpais flaunts her woman's profile to the sky, a jealous husband asleep at her feet. 

Interstate five threads this day of solstice from San Francisco to Seattle. The flowers in my hair are made of silk, not real, they're the colors of sunset and the opalescent waters of the bay gives credence to the moon. Venus is the first to appear on the horizon, or is the sky one vast diaphragm with pinpricks of light filtering through? 

The rolling hills on forever, Shasta waits, silent. White. Lee said the women of Indiana have blonde hair and bovine eyes. A blonde woman boards the bus with a kneeler. I thought she was headed for the monastery. 

The other morning  on the way back home from the Sierras, I swam in the Yuba River, and Lake Berryessa. Lee sat and watched me. At sunset, Pope Valley spread before us like a bowl containing cattle and the grapes of the west. 

Pam and Michael are headed to Juneau. Her brother Alan's been living there for seven or eight years and she's been meaning to go up and visit for sometime now. There are 42 people lying around in this hound of a  bus. Three people to a mattress. It's all mattresses and pillows and people. I couldn't bring my typewriter. I brought it all the way to the bus and left it in Lee's car. 

Pam is stoned on those Thai sticks that that float in on the sea— seaweed. She's a mermaid. I'm eating dope brownies stuck together in a lump. Pam brought us dope cookies and tofu sandwiches from Cazadero. Three of the four food groups. She does pretty well for someone who doesn't know how to cook.

Headed for the Monastery

                        —for Lee Perron

Evening patiently threads wings of orange and vermilion, weaving an opalescent shroud of water and sky; a back-drop for the solstice moon. Venus on the horizon, the indigo sky—a vast dome fitted over the earth, stitched with stars. Headed for the monastery, a woman with a wooden kneeler boards the bus. You told me all the women of the northwest have bovine eyes and blonde hair. I wear silk flowers in my fiery dark hair, but I might as well be her. Shasta waits white, silent. Yesterday was so torrid, I swam my way across California—from the Sierra foothills and the Yuba River of morning, the coastal ranges of Lake Berryessa of afternoon, and the nameless creeks hidden in the gullies of evening. As you meditated on shore, you glistening with sweat; your eyes drinking my cool nakedness with a desert-honed thirst. At dusk, the Pope Valley spread before us, a vast wooded bowl brimming with the last frontier of cattle. Soon it will succumb to the sacrament of vineyards, like all the rest. The stars lazily drifted across the sky as we toyed with constellations; I understood the desire of the lover, but not of the coupling of desire, with the overcoming of desire. I was a novice; my avocation, not yet realized. You carry it with you always, this deep love of emptiness until there is nothing left to do but kneel like a lover before the open body of the land until the rains come.

rev 8/81

Solstice Dream: a River of Cat's Teeth

I'm dreaming that I'm standing in the river facing downstream. The river is littered with jagged cat's teeth almost as tall as my waist, surrounding me. I need to be careful so that I don't lose my balance. The river becomes thin as a brown plastic garbage bag and, as it stretches and snags over the cat's teeth, one can see that the teeth are sharp and white. The river is composed of the dirty metaphors of life. You didn't even wait for my bus to leave as you turned toward your car to go back home.

June 21, 1981
minor revisions added 7/17