I see pain and joy everywhere. Clouds fill the sky, the air is moist and heavy. Yet, there is a lightness on the landscape, this city full of bodies and eras, and movement shown by the layers of trash, broken cars and garden plots.
The pain is the children moving the freshly dead parent’s things out of a house, as I walk with my double backpack, not wanting to take BART transit or Uber today from one part of Oakland to another. The mattress, the 70’s wooden furniture, the piles of books, knick-knacks. A person’s life, embodied in material things, chucked in a rented dumpster.
I stop to look at a tropical plant next to a house three shades of rusty orange.
Vines creep into broken sidewalk.
The smell of piss.
A slow walking older woman in a white sari.
A biker with saddlebags speeds through traffic.
Planted brassicas next to spray painted walls, with stolen signs, welded Burning Man sculptural remnants.
Liqueor store open at night, glowing, as I arrived late in the cool mist.
Fermentation store with all your crockin’ needs.
Buy your ‘green’ energy toliet here.
$5 coffees, golden mylk for $10.
The art, the california poppy in full flower. The poetry, embodied in a small woman in a big sweater crying on the phone outside of the overpriced grocery store.
The rows of tents under the bridge, covered in dusty tarps. A pile of stolen bikes, empty beer cars. Empty chip bags. And I look without a house but spent $15 bucks on an Uber yesterday so I wouldn’t have to walk around the street at night with all my possessions.
Riding the BART, everyone is on their phone. Doing business. A snack wrapper falls off the metal platform onto the tracks below.
Mustard flowers in yellow and light purple in the lot behind the hostel.
Paint peels off an old barn turned apartment complex, renovated ten times over.
church, then mosque, then synagogue, then temple.
pancakes here, falafel there, superfood puddings, multiple dogs on a leash.
rows of color, monochrome. rows of white, off white, tan, grey, florescent lights buzzing.
flying overhead at dusk, the whole city a giant circulatory system, except fueled by eating the earth from the inside out. The veins do not have to be spliced in such a way.
Marisa Anderson and Sigur Ros on my headphones mediate my movement through this land, as I come from the jungle, from the colorful Tí groves and Ironwood swaying softly, and ochre stain. My white pants, covered in turmeric and red soil. My shoes, still caked with my hike on sticky cliffs alone with rainstorms seeping into my pores.
I feel like a bird migrating through, my senses are richly filled, this too is the earth.
It’s familiar yet different, lifted, the pain and the joy I watch as an observer. I watch my own pain and joy, I simply sit with all the sensations like a newborn child. I remember the birds’ constant singing.
I stay in a hostel, it takes me awhile to fall asleep. Simple, clean, quiet. I dream about the man on the lower bunk across from me, barely having spoken. I dreamed he said to get up, and that Tran from my Spring permaculture training was going to teach yoga. I realized I was going to be late. I get up, it’s 9:10. Jet lag. I walk into the communal kitchen. He is doing yoga on the deck with the owner. I feel incredibly psychic at times. I find out after a brief chat that he is a gardener.
I pull out the Hawai’ian cotton still stuffed in the front pocket of my wool button up shirt. Filled with seeds. Soft, white, fluffy, black specs.
My pack smells of fresh holy, I picked bush basil before I left. Rama Tulsi, Krishna Tulsi.
Sore shoulders, my body not touched by another for awhile, except when Sugi hugged me after holotrophic breathing meltdown, yet I am content.
Am I dreaming? Will I wake up back there? or back in a garden I love with my dearest heart?
I put the headphones back on, the sound of a train.
Horns honk, chickens caw.
The darkness falls, the ethereal day melts away.
A spotlight shines through my friend’s studio.
Chinese food takeout.
I bought a mango at the grocery store after wandering aimlessly in disbelief at boxes called food.
At all the words, the bottles, the prices, the colors trying to get you to respond, but the forest, is full of color.
Where is the forest.
A sea of green is not just a sea, but a world of story, of singularities that make up the whole.
Swimming through, the stories can be revealed, by simply listening.
The sea waves and wanders and splashed up new lift, new identity, new stories, new beginnings.
Just as the dumpster of furniture signals death in this city, the salty wave, sky blue falls back into the ocean, recedes from the million years volcanic fed sandy shore.
The wave a guarantee, the tide, over and over.