This past week, it poured, literally and figuratively. My apartment, my life, my pillow, all soaked. As I write this, the rain keeps coming, no signs of slowing.
Multiple rounds of bad news made me want to stay in my room under my cozy comforter, the Dog curled in tight. But a blanket is no armor. And though I want nothing more than to get on a plane and see my family, I can’t.
This is the biggest drawback of my life 2,018 miles away from my nearest and dearest—there’s no teleportation, no easy way. I have to face the sting of regret when time slips through my hands like a rope. I have to confront the fact that I have missed a lot of birthday cakes and memorials and piano recitals, a lot of moments I really “should of” been there, but couldn’t be.
Damn you entropy!
But forget the storm for a moment. Let’s travel beyond it and into the Yakima Valley.
Yakima Valley Travel
There’s a vast desert past the heavy drape of clouds. The topography changes suddenly, just past the ridge. Shrubs, sagebrush, and balsam roots replace leaning firs. Dijon-colored hills roll against a slate sky. Washington is nicknamed the Evergreen State, but the Yakima valley is all gold.
Lush vineyards flank winding roads. It’s an idyllic setting for a poetry retreat. Speaking of…
LiTFUSE in Tieton
Disclaimer: I am not cool. I do not buy vinyl records, and I find out about good bands from the radio (granted, by radio, I mean KEXP). I am a regular sponsor of awkward moments. I unabashedly love the Olive Garden and Little Cesear’s. I am just me.
That said, Tieton is the cool town all your artist friends will be talking about in a few years. There’s a cidery, a goat cheese creamery and a renovated warehouse for gallery openings and retreats. Go there now if you’re the “I was into that before it was cool” type.
It is a far cry from “hip” Seattle, from skinny jeans and big glasses and vanity canes. Tieton townies drive pick-up trucks and have regular moustaches. They drink cheap beer and it’s not PBR. There’s a tapitio, a pandaria, a tavern, on the town’s one street. It is an economically depressed area that an executive is trying to revive with artisan shops. Fascinating.
I listened to poets for two days at LiTFUSE. Slam, haiku, narrative poetry. I wrote 7 haikus in 10 minutes. I took a crash course in Surrealism. I learned a lot about cadence and Weldon Kees. I felt like I was back in college, when my mind grew tremendously.
I drove back through the storm, the rain greeting me where I left it in gentle plops then heavy ones, then so fast I had to turn the wipers up to full speed.
I held on tight and kept going. That’s all we can do.
Ps. Part two, will be a much brighter post about my visit to a vineyard.