Travel interludes

I’m in a cabin by a lake, not far from where my mom grew up, and where we used to spend time some summers, visiting her family when I was a kid. I haven’t been back here in many years; I’ve rarely been to Minnesota as an adult. But my youngest cousin is getting married, and I thought it would be nice to see a lot of people I’ve barely seen in years.

This past weekend, I went to the Viridis Genii Symposium. It is a very well-run event, and very interesting. During one break between lectures, I ended up talking with another person and mentioning how I’d ended up working at an architecture firm (not doing architectural work) after being Told to stop pursuing architecture as a career, and how getting that job felt a like real twist of the knife.

He said something about how the path spirals, which means parts of it kind of look the same, because you’re going around in a circle, but you’re still progressing.

. . . True. (Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had that sort of repetition since things got Weird.)

I had to switch planes in Denver.

On the first flight, I started thinking about how I was actually going to (kind of, very briefly) see Denver again, and how actually emotional I expected to be over that, and how, gosh, wow, I moved away 8.5 years ago which means, holy shit, I moved to Denver eleven years ago and I kind of can’t handle how long it’s been since I went to grad school, since it means it’s been that long since then, and what I hoped/expected my life to be now is very much different.

It was while I was in Denver that I was first triggered, as in, trauma trigger, and despite having some intellectual familiarity with that concept, it took me a while to understand what the FUCK had happened, especially since what had actually happened was pretty fucking benign, but my reaction was pretty intense. (A classmate, a bit testy at the end of the semester, said something that sent me from the room with great force – panic, really, though I felt almost nothing but “” and then I spent an hour crying in a stairwell.)

I really liked living in Denver. Especially after several years in Boston, which was always never the place. Denver reminded me a lot of home.

I gave up my window seat on the first flight to a man who asked, because he had some sort of back pain. He promptly closed the window shade, and it stayed that way most of the flight. I was really peeved at that; I really enjoy watching the ground, or clouds, or whatever. Towards the end of the flight, there was some very slight turbulence, and I felt a shift in the energy, too. It didn’t occur to me to reach out and see if Someone was trying to reach me, but a short while later, the guy opened the shade, and I could see rugged mountains below, and I was joyful – and they greeted me very positively, and then I had to wipe away tears. I was not expecting anything like that, not that far from the area I call home.

When I got to the airport in the morning, I noticed my suitcase had a tag on with my married name on it. UGH. THIS WILL NOT DO. I ripped it off and stuck it in my pocket, I’ll deal with that later.

I had an hour in the Denver airport (and more tears seeing downtown from the air), so I took a looooooooooooong walk/trip on the moving sidewalks to get to the west end of the terminal to see the mountains for a while. There were some lowish clouds between me and them, and clouds on the mountains, so it wasn’t the most amazing view ever, but they were still THERE and I could see them, and it had been so long, and they were one of the best things about being in Denver.

It was an emotional view, the Front Range, and the amazing clouds in between them and me (the Denver area greats such fantastic cloud formations), and history, and stuff.

Having my ex on my mind, I remembered the luggage tag. I decided I would get it out, and rip his name off (we hyphenated our names when we married; some years after the divorce, I changed my name back, so periodically I find old crap that needs his name removed from it). I’d barely registered what address was actually on the tag, but yes, it was my second Denver address. Of course it was.

I waffled on whether to put the scrap with his name in the trash, or the paper recycling (symbolism . . . what do I want???), and decided on the trash. Be gone with you, be buried! I put the scrap with my name back in my pocket, I’ll deal with that later.

I felt remarkable good after that. And then I realized what to do with the rest of the luggage tag; on my (even longer) walk back through the terminal to my departure gate, I stopped to put the remains of it, with my name, into a recycling bin.

So I’m at a cabin on a lake because there’s a family wedding, and so family is doing wedding-prep things, which includes my aunt (who I’d forgotten had not attended mine) asking about mine, which was back in the mid-90s. I couldn’t remember the exact date, only the year and month. HA. Hahahahahahahahahaaa. (My mom could remember the date.) I couldn’t remember other details about it my aunt was curious about that my mom did – decorating plans and other preparations. I’d forgotten my aunt had not attended, but she remarked how she wondered what she’d had going on that was “so important” that she hadn’t come. I did not start trouble by saying “You didn’t miss much” but I was tempted.

I have not talked to any of my family about my post-divorce realizations about how abusive the relationship was, or what I’ve been dealing with since then. The divorce was amiable . . .

So that was a conversation I was very uncomfortable with. I’m afraid that the topic may come up again, because, well. . . Oh well.

There are fish in the lake; I watched them doing some interesting territorial sorts of things near the end of the dock. They are making nests for spawning.

The lake was welcoming; she wants me to come in, but the water is COLD, so I will give it a try some hot afternoon.

Some of the other land-associated spirits I encountered between Denver and here were not so welcoming.

I was admiring a really lovely landscape feature, with complex rugged edges – a plateau or mesa of some kind – and thinking how great it was, how that complexity and ruggedness would be great to keep humans away, at least from that spot, and that’s great, because so very much of the land around it was all clearly ranching or farming or /something/. And then I was surprised to get a very angry “GET THE FUCK AWAY” image from a spirit of that place, who pulled back and became less hostile when I told it I did NOT want to harm it or intrude, and that I hoped very much it would remain safe. I stopped looking at the feature shortly after that; it felt like even looking was too much.

Not far from there was another similar feature – but this one had a straight perfect scar of a road partway across it, with some buildings at the end, and the land looked plowed . . . This one had some even more complex and wonderful edges, the kind of fractal pattern when many small streams and flowing down to join together. That place felt more subdued and resigned; I said “nothing lasts forever; you can outlast this.”

Then I felt like I had to stop looking at the land so much for a while. But after a while there was a dammed river, with thoughts of flowingrushing freely (“dams do not last forever”) and then we were getting close to our destination (acres and acres and acres of plowed land as far as the eye can see – where is any of the original prairie even left?!) and then again, I felt Something strong – and unpleasant.

Unlike the powers I felt near Denver, this one was angry, and bitter, and felt like someone who feels unable to do anything but rage against what is and has been done. He asked for a particular offering, and then when I agreed to it, somewhat scornfully asked if I really thought that would do any good. Compared to the scale of the problem, no, not really.

The conversation got a little easier after that. He said he’d be my guide while I am here. (Oh, lovely; an angry regional land Power wants to hang around.)

I can’t recall if I’ve always felt kind of sad or weird about the huge swathes of the continent covered by farms. I know people have to eat. But it’s so hard to see, especially being aware of the history of what’s been obliterated, the richness that is gone. And while I wasn’t born here, I am from here, after a fashion; I don’t recall offhand how many generations of ancestors I have in this specific area, but it’s a few, and my grandparents, and some people before them, they were farmers.

When there was a lull in the historic wedding discussion, I escaped to my room to get online and catch up with some communications – and to get runes out to have some more discussion with my “guide.”

I don’t know the specifics of what he needs from me, and he didn’t want to go into details, but I said I’d help. I got an official “yeah this looks fine” from Loki, so I’m not worried that lack of details will land me in trouble, but I did have a moment of suspicion (I HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE) and pulled runes to inquire as to whether this Really Truly Honestly actually about the land or whether it’s another cleverly-disguised way to get me to deal with my own shit. Because I’m really fuckin’ tired of the latter, I have enough going on as is, and I would like something that is simply what it appears to be.

If I read the runes right, it isn’t yet-another-can-we-nOT, but I expect I’m not going to be able to entirely avoid more of the awful topic no matter what.

Round and round we go, onward and – I hope – upward.


About Fjothr Lokakvan

More or less Northern Tradition polytheist.
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