And again…

After reconnecting with my friends at Burning Man, I realized I had spread myself pretty thin with all my commitments. Though I felt pretty busy and like I was always in a hurry to get somewhere, I still managed to deepen some of my connections. It happened to be with my co-workers, dispatchers and rangers, but I felt I got a good balance of social time. I even spent some time with my fellow Leopards at the Martini Lounge and fulfilled my commitments bartending and such. Well, more or less. I was on-call a lot so I had to run off and be responsible.

One night near the end of the week was especially fun because I got to have a playa adventure with my friends from home whom I hadn’t seen in what seems like years. We picked quite the night for it, having to navigate the worst dust storm I have seen in a while. It was exciting and fun, although challenging at times. By the end of our journey around the city, I was done. We went hard and I am so glad of it. I definitely got it out of my system.

I ended up getting a couple offers on my house while I was isolated in the middle of the desert. But luckily, I am resourceful and have good connections so the deal went forward. It was a bit of a thrill to be able to conduct business from this makeshift city that only appears for one week of the year. But all went well and I managed the sale.

I also got to wear my Ranger hat quite a bit and found a terrific mentor who taught me from his years of experience. For those who don’t know, Rangers are a small group of volunteers who serve to ensure the safety of fellow participants without hindering their experience. It’s a real honor to be chosen to serve in this role. I felt very lucky indeed to have the privilege of such extraordinary shifts. I learned alot and my understanding of the ins and outs of Black Rock City increased ten-fold. I even pulled a 13 hour shift at one point but it didn’t feel bad at all. It was certainly stressful at times, but I loved the problem solving and awareness that I cultivated. I think I really fell in love with Rangering this year and hope that in time, I can really make a difference.

After Burning Man, I drove home and dropped off my car and trailer. I completed the sale of the house and was shocked that I got exactly what I had asked. That’s not common in this market so I consider myself very fortunate, indeed. It wasn’t long before I realized I had to go to San Francisco. There were lots of reasons including cat sitting a friends needy feline and helping out with my friends newborn preemie twins. Not to mention the community of Burners that I wasn’t quite ready to leave. Anyway, my condo wasn’t yet vacant since my tenant asked for an extension on her move out date. So really, I had no where to live. I love staying with my sister’s family but I didn’t want to stress them with my presence for an entire month. I guess I don’t need too much convincing to be in San Francisco. It is one of my favorite cities in the world.

I spent a good three weeks eating tons of mouthwatering seafood, walking on the beach, touring around the parks and museums, re-learning how to take care of babies, and cuddling JellyBean the cat. I loved living in Jelly’s house since I had not lived with housemates like that before. It was fascinating to learn the dynamics of how people mesh. I really enjoyed the rhythm of the very vertical character home just down the road from the famous Painted Ladies and took full advantage of my fabulous view of downtown. I don’t know how many nights I spent gazing out at the city lights and stars. There was one night in particular when a dark orange moon hung heavy, growing out of the skyline like a flower blossoming. It was unforgettable although I do prefer my balanced Edmonton skyline.

I was quite aware of the threat of earthquakes the entire time I spent in the vibrant coastal city. Ever since the quake in Turkey (magnitude 6.1 in Fethiye while I was sitting on the beach) I am borderline obsessed with natural disasters. I go through these phases, having experienced a tornado, flood, and hurricane in my past. The earthquake was by far the most intense and humbled me quite a bit. I had a plan and made sure that others around me also were preparing, just in case. One night when I was three quarters asleep, I woke with a serious start sure there was an earthquake. I ran around the house but everyone was sleeping. I checked my internet quake alerts and found nothing. I called a friend who talked me down and reassured me that I would be ok even if there were an earthquake, which there wasn’t. I wondered if I was crazy. Turns out my waking shaking came from Jelly (not a thin cat by any stretch of the imagination) jumping up on the bed to cuddle me.

I found it interesting that almost everyone in San Fran seems to think that their house will be safe. That they live on some bedrock or have special structural allowances that will prevent any major damage. I have my doubts and wonder just how much of that is just denial. I guess the alternative is to be afraid all the time and that is no good either. So I found a happy medium and  by the end of my time there, I felt at peace with the prospect, should it come about. More or less. I still thought about it on a daily basis but I was more just aware of my surroundings than fearful.

I got to work some Burning Man Decompression events  and also attended some private parties held by my playa co-workers. I was really grateful to be included in this tight community. They are good people in this city and I felt warmth, not just from the sunny days. I explored and tasted the city, not nearly enough. I visited with friends but didn’t even see half of them. In the end, I didn’t feel like I was quite done but I couldn’t change my flight without a ridiculous penalty. I took that as a sign to go home. I had to deal with my empty condo that was waiting for me to move it. I am not comfortable with being inefficient and it seems wasteful to have evicted a tenant for no reason. So reluctantly I boarded the plane and came home.

Now I have been in Edmonton for just over a week and have already booked my next three months of travel. Or shall I say, my last. I have sorted out my condo with a new temporary tenant but I furnished it beautifully. It is going to be hard to leave it. But I will head back to San Francisco to resume my cat sitting duties and tend to some unfinished business. I will then visit my way around the States until its time to meet my family for our first (and very likely last) family vacation. I should be home in February. I am really looking forward to having a pet.

Grateful for roots.


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