By Tim Notier
As a guitarist, some of my favorite lines in 12 bar blues progressions are the turnarounds. Little personal licks of emotion, dirty and gritty as they can be, that lead back to the main rhythm and comforting progression of the song.
Marisa and I have recently experienced moments of our trip that seemed to have led to unknown, improvised directions of dirty, gritty, and truly blues filled trials that have eventually led back into the standard patterns of our trip that we are accustomed to.
Turnarounds, in my attitude, and the outlook of uncomfortable situations, have redirected me to the needed understanding of uncertainty. “Life is Chaos,” or more simply, “Chaos is . . .” I found myself repeating this to myself as if practicing Timism, a lesser known branch of Buddhism (please note this is not true at all). It's an understanding that the world is not out to get me, and that all things seem to settle back to normal if given enough time, attention, or realization that some things just will not change.
We had recently camped at Kolob Reservoir, and it was beautiful. We decided it would be a great place to set up camp and call home for four days.
On the third night we stayed at the reservoir it rained, then it hailed, and it did not stop for 15 straight hours. As we huddled in the tent, hail hammered the rainfly and the ground around us, splashes of water and mud ricocheting onto us from every direction. We were stuck, and filthy, and there was no way I was going to pack up the tent while God’s wrath hailed down on us.
The next day the sky retreated its hostile onslaught momentarily, and we seized the opportunity to get the hell out of there. As we packed up our gear, everything was coated in a muddy stew that would dry and add an additional ten pounds to the bike's collective weight. Marisa and I rode out on the road that cut through a canyon just outside of Zion National Park and made it to a town named Hurricane.
We were wet, tired, and just overall miserable. And we needed to wash everything we had, twice. We pulled into a hotel, and at $150 a night we knew that was not an option. A few days prior, we had met a lady named Dana who had invited us into her house, and at the time offered us a hot shower, a hot meal, and a “glamper” to stay in. At the time we had already planned to camp at Kolob Reservoir, and we had yet to accept the hospitality of others as we were proving to be self-sufficient.
But at that moment, we were no longer self-sufficient. We were undeniably in need of assistance. I called Dana trying not to sound as desperate as we were, and as if we were old friends, she gave us an address to meet her at, and we spent the next three days with her and her husband Bill who took on the roll of an aunt and uncle who we had not seen in a couple years.
Dana dubbed her property “Red Hen Gardens", and it was a sanctuary for an open-minded traveler. Great food, conversation, and laughter filled the days as we slowly prepared to move on.
I thought to myself: If it wasn't for one completely miserable day, we would have missed out on meeting the most kind, unique, and hospitable people we have met so far.
I find myself very grateful for the short-term misery that led to a lifelong friendship. Going from such a fowl mood, to such a blissful state, I can only hope to remember that the lows that seem to last forever are only small moments that will soon be overwhelmed by the highest highs while we explore the world.
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