Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
56Trip End Ongoing
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My friend Jose was living in Wrightwood as part of a small team building a zipline course. When I had visited him the prior weekend (see entry here), he had told me that Saturday was going to be a free friends and family day for people to see the course. Although I really wanted to get on the road, how often do you get to go on an awesome zipline course that your friend helped build for free? I was able to kill enough time in southern California and make an appearance.
A product of Navitat Canopy Tours, the course was actually built by Bonsai. We ran the course in small groups of 8 or so, departing around noontime. We suited up in our sexy harnesses, loaded on to a army-like vehicle that moved at a sloth's pace but could probably crawl up a straight wall, drove up a dirt road through the trees that was almost as steep as a wall, and made a short little hike to the first launch zone
The course was, needless to say, awesome! About 10 zips total, the highest of which is 300 feet off the ground, and the longest zip being 1600 feet long (that's almost 1/3 mile)! I have some pictures and a video uploaded here, but be sure to check out the point of view videos on the Navitat website. A few are on ground level, but most of the launch and landing zones are actually up in a tree, where large wooden platforms give you space to move around and wait for your group to arrive. The line humming like a transmission when someone is zipping down it, getting higher and higher in pitch as they pick up speed. Zipping just feet from trees and boulders, passing birds with WTF faces. Numerous rope bridges, a few rappels, and the Sky Stairs - a staircase made of rope and wood that spans maybe 50 feet between two trees and gains 20 feet in the process. At one point, a zip ends on a platform way up in a tree, you rappel down to another platform (still 50 feet up in the tree), cross one rope bridge to another tree, reach another platform, and then cross another bridge before reaching the next launch area
That night, in celebration, Bonsai acquired four kegs and a MASSIVE amount of food (mostly meat) and invited everyone to drive up into the mountains to camp and celebrate. And celebrate we did! Four pony kegs of local microbrew, along with plenty brought along by individuals, hamburgers, steaks, ribs, bacon-wrapped asparagus, salmon burgers, all the fixins, music provided by someone's pickup truck. Did I mention the pinata? And of course, what mountain celebration is complete without a campfire? Just a small one, which we kept a close eye on since the mountainsides were covered with dry grass. After a while, once the stars and distant lights of Victorville were shining brightly, and everyone was feeling pretty good, the guitars broke out
So there's a girl. I have loved her more deeply than I have ever loved anyone before. And she hurt me more deeply than I have ever been hurt, hopefully ever again. She loved me more deeply than I have ever been loved before, more than I have ever let anyone love me. And I hurt her more than she had ever been hurt before, or hopefully ever again. We dated each other, we hated each other, we held each other's bare bodies out of love, out of loneliness, out of weakness, out of spite, out of fun, out of longing, out of pure contentedness. We saw each other through other lovers (if you could even call them that, in some cases) and, for better or worse, came together again and again. My last night in Denver, we held each other in the bed of my truck. We have been everywhere together, through everything. We brought each other the lightest times of our lives; we brought each other the darkest nights. We have been to hell and back, with each other, because of each other, and for each other. We have helped each other find our true selves, and have utterly and completely destroyed each other. Through it all and after it all, somehow, we have maintained this deep, indescribable love for each other. She is nothing but light to me. Our fucked up love is so much more, so greatly transcendent to any kind of romantic love. So much more than soulmates. Intrinsically connected and intertwined. Twin souls.
Recently I started writing a song to try to capture some of this. A happy song. For those of you who know me, you know that I don't write happy shit. Long after the jam session at the fire, I found myself playing solo. At one point, I played this song. I was singing just a whisper, for many reasons: one, because the words were not quite complete, but moreso because I promised this girl that she would be the first to hear it. Before I left Colorado, I gave her a card that read "...someday maybe I will write a happy song about all of the beautiful things you have given me. And if I do, you will be the first to hear it." And so I played and I sang. Although my voice was quiet, my body, my whole being was shining and singing with everything it had. After I was done, Mark, sitting next to me, looked up and said, "You sing really softly, so I don't really know that you were singing about... but it must be something really beautiful," drawing out the last words in emphasis. It is, Mark. It is.
After that I played my rendition of Duran Duran's Come Undone. Slightly slower, more intimate, a little more dynamic in some ways. This is another song that I don't perform with my hands and voice - it comes from within me and usually leaves me a little spent and tired. When I was done another voice from a few chairs away said, "I really like what you did with that song." "Oh, you recognized it?" I asked in surprise since most people don't
Please don't think I am trying to brag. Quite the opposite. Both of these events left me so humble, so appreciative, and so encouraged. So much higher than the fancy tobacco I smoked could have ever taken me. I just love that Mark felt so much from a song whose words he couldn't even hear. That the song contains so much energy and holds so much meaning that words are not even needed to feel it. Just a pure, basic, natural energetic connection.
So there's another girl. (Two in one entry? Absurd, I know.) She had been in another zipline group during the day. I first saw her after we were all done, figuring out some final logistics for the night in the parking lot. We were all dressed in our raggy outdoor gear, prepared for ziplining and dirt and pitch, hardly there to impress. We had spent all day outside in the sun and breeze. But for some reason from the first time I looked at her I could not keep my eyes off. She had these sparkling emerald green eyes that held so much life, so much energy. The kind of eyes that, when you look at them, you feel as if they can see right into your soul. She caught me looking at her time and time again, I would usually inwardly panic for a moment and look away, only to return to her eyes a few moments later. However, I never felt like she was rejecting my glances or felt uncomfortable by them. Her eyes were kind.
Genevieve. Throughout the evening and into the night we found ourselves in conversation numerous times
After this preliminary sneak into the woods is when all of the jamming and music occurred, described earlier. Quite some time passed, her emerald eyes glimmering in the fire, beckoning me to lose myself in them (which I did). I retrieved a constellation chart from my truck, returned to the fire, and showed her my discovery. She surprised and thrilled me with her next words, "Maybe we should go somewhere a little darker to look at them."
Eh, no thanks
Over the next few minutes we gradually moved closer and closer together, like an eclipse, the shadow of the earth moving ever so slowly across the moon. It wasn't rushed, it wasn't forced, it was hardly conscious... and then there she was, back pressed against my chest, her hands in her pockets, my hands gently wrapped around her wrists, my chin resting against the side of her head. It was a beautifully intimate moment, as if we had known and trusted and embraced each other beforein the arms of a lover. A lover unknown, but so familiar.
But all good things must come to an end. My persistence eventually got the best of me and led to that awkward moment where two faces perform ungraceful two-step shuffles to different rhythms. I could not believe that I had just ruined such an amazing moment, crushing an obvious but intangible connection. I felt like a fool. I was a fool. She had her reasons, and I grossly disrespected her by not honoring them. I'm gonna brush my teeth and go to bed. And I watched her walk away, becoming one with the dark.
I went back to the fire and just sat for a long time, taking sips of the tequila and champagne that were being passed around. Playing my stupidity over and over again in my head. Letting myself just dissolve into my surroundings, hoping that nobody would address me and bring me out into the open. Eventually I grew weary, returned to my castle, and drifted to sleep
Although I was sure it would probably be useless, I hoped to see her in the morning and apologize. As I was crawling out of the bed of my truck, she and a couple others were just passing by, being shuttled down on one of the company's quads. Seeing her again in the daylight, I was reminded of those eyes, drawn right back in, having to force myself to glance at the others and not just state at her alone. She had a Mona Lisa smile on her face. Slight. Not entirely readable. But when our eyes met, I did not feel unkindness. Her eyes, kind, emerald and soul seeing, could hopefully see the apology and sincerity in my own.