Evergreen

I tread two thousand miles over mesa valleys, vineyards, naked mountains, the River of Lost Souls, the rugged desert, and finally, mining towns– in hopes that one of these landscapes would pull me down from the star I float upon and into a more grounded state of being. I bypassed the forest canyon on my first stop without looking back or thinking twice about it, paying no heed to its personality or character. It was a place I’d driven through inside cars before, after all– nothing too foreign. It was only 130 miles from home. Why should it ever demand my full attention?

I should know better than to ignore a living landscape and judge its level of magic by proximity to my own homeland, which is in itself magic after all – albeit a magic I’ve become too accustomed to after a number of years. I should have known all along that of all the places I was attracted to, this land would be the one to call me back if only to defy my judgemental interpretation, my underestimation. If you return, I shall give you breath. I shall give you life.

The most profound contrast of this move is the quality of breath. Not the air, necessarily, but the breath. I believe it has to do with the aromatic properties emanating from the pines, which have many healing and magical properties that have significantly reduced the inflammation of my swollen tubercles and eliminated all my sinus congestion to such a state of clarity, that I can ACTUALLY BREATHE! I had attempted to resolve my sinus inflammation through a multitude of actions for three years. Doctors could not define the origin or explanation, and could never recommend anything that didn’t worsen the issue. Some kind of magic in the air.

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The difference between breathing clearly versus shallow breathing is that you may begin to see, hear, and interpret things to an even more extreme intensity than before. Your intuition may become even stronger, and your emotions may come even closer to surface. Memories may begin to flood your mind, and you may recognize in remorse how many experiences and opportunities were shattered by your former congestion and shallow breathing, unable to process or express their significance properly in the moment.

So this change of location is not about finding myself, as I’m sure many have interpreted. I am myself and will always be; it’s more about finding oxygen and from there, remembering myself. Remembering my passions, remembering how to define myself as a true artist and how to live the creative, crazy spiritual artist lifestyle in the healthiest, most balanced way possible. It’s about starting anew and trying to make sense of all the connections and opportunities I’ve lost because of my inability to be present and process. Before breathing clearly, I was only half (or less than half) alive.

Since my ability to integrate my travel experiences and live my daily experiences with full breath, I’ve felt the true magic in the air and have noticed odd patterns which make me wonder who is responsible for writing my life as though it is a mystical fairytale fiction novel– not quite the one I’m writing with my own hand. Then I quickly remember there are, in fact, a few suspects {wink}.

The fairytale is very clever and witty. The characters are truly authentic and eccentric, involving mysticism, wizards, fairies, angels, saints, witches, dwarfs, giants, potions, apples, mushrooms, numerology, astrology, and a play on names when it comes to town names and people names (including my own). The key theme is immortality, hence the town’s name “Evergreen”– it’s definition meaning forever young, or never-aging. I assume it an effect of the landscape and perhaps the timeless fairies floating amongst the pines here which cause the inhabitants to believe in such a thing as immortality. At times I have guessed that perhaps my middle-aged protagonist, whom I portray in first person, has thrown me into this mystical place to regain my own identity separate from hers in order to reverse my age. It is one thing being an old soul… another to completely take on physical aspects of old age which nobody seems to understand.

The metaphors are deeply defined and overwhelming in number. The plot is an everlasting comical twist that ascends in deeper, more complicated bends every day and every hour. However, the setting is a bit stereotypical, taking place in a mystical forest land where time is irrelevant and which nobody seems able to place in geography… and the author, whomever she may be, has apparently experienced a block in creativity when it comes to naming characters. I plead no offense to any of the multiple unique variations of Adrian’s, Adrienne’s, and Adrianne’s; Kathy’s, Cathy’s, and Katherine’s; Valerie’s or Victoria’s; Kevin’s or KevinAnn’s; Elizabeth’s and Beth’s; and Brooke’s– this greatly simplifies the process of remembering for which I am grateful and amused, but also confused.

Well, what more can you expect to find when you literally throw your fate to the winds of cosmic destiny?

There are people who were born with a clear motive on how to direct their life paths, hurdling effortlessly over any obstacles; those are the people who breathe clearly and have a strong mindset that won’t let judgements of others get in their way. This is not the way I was at the time I made a “decision” to move. At this time two months ago, I wasn’t even sure when I was making decisions or when I wasn’t. I was in such a miserable state of confusion in which all my former “career paths” had fallen through, and I was so accustomed to letting others make decisions for me that I couldn’t trust my own intuition although I had greatly defined it during the course of my solo travels. I wanted the best for myself, but had no idea how to go about that at this point. I heard Elizabeth Gilbert’s voice in my head, Not this. God, not this. Anything but this. I hadn’t a clue how Cheyenne was negatively affecting my physical, emotional, and spiritual health but I knew my time here was becoming less and less purposeful. It was taking too much effort to be in sync with the flow. I couldn’t find a flow there anymore.

In a mere state of amusement and curiosity, I found myself making a list of intentions under the header, A Place I Will Call Home. Among this list of 11 intentions were: (6) Genuinely happy people (7) People to play music with (8) Able to express myself freely… (10) Always healthy. I then proceeded to brainstorm places I thought might be potential candidates for such specific qualities of change I desired in my life. Just for the fun of it. This list of towns began with the places I dreamed of most, places I thought my soul obviously belonged like Taos, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Durango, or Grand Junction. I even included Laramie and Fort Collins just to be fair to them because I could logically pinpoint potential, though I’d lived in both cities before and couldn’t find a reason to stay. Just as I was cutting up each of these places to set into a box, I heard a voice in my head that clearly whispered, “Evergreen”.

It was a word that had been showing up in my path for about a year, so nothing compared to all my four billion North Carolina or California signs.  My first impression of Evergreen’s significance in my path was that perhaps it was a parallel town to that of my fiction novel I’ve been attempting to write for over seven years now. I thought maybe I was supposed to retreat in a log cabin for awhile to gain more experience and write. It never occurred in my mind that I would live here in official residency and work on living my own life instead of writing fiction; I wasn’t necessarily a fan of snow or hidden tourist-y mountain towns where driving a car every day is mandatory. Regardless, I jotted Evergreen onto my paper and threw it in the box with all my other fantasy town options. Asking for guidance from the highest source, I called upon my intentions and highest guides as I pulled my answer.

Evergreen.

Alright, Universe. I’d already made my intentions clear, so was it possible this could actually be the answer? I didn’t doubt it. I decided to go with it instead of fighting against it. Evergreen, Colorado is a town of less than 10,000 people. All I knew was that I needed a new, fulfilling job and a place to live asap. I began looking right away, and found some possible opportunities in Golden, Colorado so I thought perhaps the Universe had been leading me towards a town a little more realistic to thrive in. Still, I couldn’t forget that voice in my head. Why would I hear such a specific answer, albeit random and unusual? I applied for some jobs in Golden, not anticipating much to happen. While I waited for a response or some kind of clearer answer towards my life direction, I spent the week applying for jobs in Cheyenne in case that really was my only option.

A week later, I still hadn’t heard anything from any of the places I’d applied at! (Except for one in Taos, but for some reason I couldn’t make myself call back). I began searching for jobs again, following any spark of inspiration that popped into my head. My fingers led me to click after click, guided by something other than my logical mind. I found myself searching all Natural Grocers positions in Colorado. I scrolled and found multiple different cities, but there was one that stood out to me. I began applying to the Evergreen Natural Grocers, somewhat peeved I had to go through the process of applying after I’d applied for the Cheyenne location so many times and my well-thought-out responses had seemingly been lost somewhere in cyberspace, unread. I shouldn’t have to try so hard, I thought. This was a phrase that had been in my subconscious mind quite frequently.

In the middle of filling out the application, my phone rang with the caller ID reading Denver, Colorado.  I answered, inquisitively. It was the manager of the Evergreen Natural Grocers..! I was bewildered. How was this possible, when I hadn’t even submitted my application? He wanted me to come in for an interview. Though it was two hours away, I agreed to coming in three days later because what else could I do with my time while I waited for the right opportunity?  It was as though we had a psychic connection somewhere in the cosmos as the mutual agreement happened to be on a Thursday. I remembered this was also the day a popular coffee shop in town held an open mic, and began to get excited.

The outcome? “Well, we’re definitely interested. It’s just going to be difficult finding a place to live here in the middle of October, so give us a call if you find a place to live!” Both managers and all the workers possessed such genuine, humorous and lighthearted qualities I hadn’t seen in any of my previous jobs situations. I had a feeling something would work out, I just didn’t see how. I did have a cousin who lived in the area, just not ideally close. After the interview, I stopped at a crystal/metaphysical shop where I had a thorough conversation about abundance and manifestation with an intuitive witch who wore a witch hat, along with two customers named Jeannie and Jeanine. I was persuaded into purchasing citrine for better luck with abundance. All three women encouraged me that I would find the perfect place to live; they were certain I was heading in the right direction already and everything would fall into place. I believed them, and was reminded of this every time I held the golden citrine.

After I left, I knew I should have gone to explore Evergreen more thoroughly if this was a potential place of residency. For some reason, I drove in the opposite direction. In the time I had before the open mic, I drove down Highway 73 in admiration of the foothills’ golden beauty. This specific drive along 73 was so familiar with ancient beauty, and though I’d travelled this highway before, I was always seeing something new and interesting. I didn’t know where I was going. Morrison? I didn’t really feel like traveling that far before the open mic. About 7 miles down, I had a spontaneous thought to stop at the nearest park to practice with my guitalele so I would be prepared. The weather was beautiful and the sun was still shining at around 5pm. I immediately spotted Lair O the Bear wildlife lookout and park, just as soon as I had this thought. I made a sharp fork downward into the canyon floor.

There were three different paths to take as I exited my car with my guitalele in hand. I followed my intuition straight into the forest of aspens and cottonwoods, much contrasting the forest of pines, conifers, and firs that made up Evergreen just a few miles away. I stumbled upon the lively creek (Bear Creek, another recurring name I’d encountered all throughout my travel journey) where I heard bluegrass music mingling with the rushing of the creek. Two older men stood at the bank with instruments in hand, while their wives and another couple sat listening on the man-made tiers of the bank. They all greeted me with warm, amused smiles as I encroached upon their setting.

“I guess I came to join the jam,” I said.

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They were overjoyed by my presence, as I was with theirs. We jammed together for about an hour, drinking wine by the creek. These were also humorous, light-hearted people whom I felt a sense of kinship with, as though I’d already known them all before we introduced ourselves. We took pictures and exchanged numbers. All of them lived in Denver, so I felt fortunate to have met them at such a strange time! I drove back into town feeling rejuvenated by the Bear Creek air. Already my breath and my mind were a little clearer; I didn’t feel so overwhelmed. I felt at home, like I’d found a rare treasure in this landscape.

The magical witch showed up at the open mic to see me, along with her Brazilian friend and another musician friend. I connected with this other friend right away, and again we spoke of the way crystals and positive affirmations manifest abundance. She said she was excited to play music with me. “Wait, you’re not going to Cheyenne tonight, are you?” She invited me over to her home to play music afterwards. So just like that, I had a new friend to play music with. This was the highlight of my Evergreen experience that day, and we spoke of a potential cabin which might be available for me to rent around December.

However, I came back to Cheyenne the next day carrying the weight of finding a living situation if I were serious about taking this new job. For a single day, I was in a frantic frenzy over it. Then, suddenly, I remembered my new friend Jennifer was from Idaho Springs and I acted on my spontaneity to ask her if she knew anyone who might be able to rent a room. I hadn’t expected anything significant in return, but it was an idea. Jennifer gladly posted this inquiry for me on an online Facebook site, and sent me back a response the next day. This had been the only response, posted by a woman named Cathy. I called Cathy the next day, who openly stated she enjoyed talking to me. By the time our conversation ended, she concluded that she was so excited for my move as though she’d already made the decision to have me live with her although we hadn’t met.

Exactly one week later, I was settled into the magical purple room in the forest and working happily at Natural Grocers– the place I’d associated with “home” in my south-most travels explained in Day 14: I-25 NM Decisions & Conclusions. Working in a health-focused environment in the Denver-metro forest would turn out to be the perfect place of retreat and rejuvenation for my mind, body, and spirit. At first, I was moving with the flow… the flow of Bear Creek. At times, however, there are certain stones we must swim around. I couldn’t simply toil upon a stone at the edge of the bank, growing mold forever. I was taking the path of least resistance, but there has been much expansive work to do here.

More details of the forest fairytale to be continued…

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‘We’ve all got holes to fill, and them holes are all that’s real. Some fall on you like a stone, sometimes you dig your own. The choice is yours to make, and time is yours to take. Some dive into the sea, some toil upon the stone.’ – To Live is to Fly

‘Now she stands on the forest floor, among the pines and towering firs. Rock still firm beneath her feet; bird perched high above her, singing songs of love’s betrayal. ‘I offered you my endless sky. You countered with hoods and chains. This song I sing will be the last I sing to be inspired by your memory.’ – “Rock and Bird”, Cowboy Junkies

® Camille M. Garcia, 2016

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