For example, there’s the one about the actual time spent in Durango. Its title is “Turns Out Groceries Aren’t a Staple After All” and this photo accompanies it.
That post is about how I found the yarn store in Durango (surprise!) and how much I love to visit yarn stores when I travel, because you always end up talking to people there. The woman who I believe owned the Durango yarn store (called, wait for it... Yarn!) told me about someone she met in Seattle in a yarn store, and how that woman told her that she lived in Durango in the 70s, in a tee-pee. "Yup, that's about right for Durango in the 70s!" said the Yarn owner.
Then that post would go on to tell you about how I went and wandered down Main Street, because of course Durango is the kind of town that has a Main Street that really is the main street. I found egg cups, so they will live at the ranch now and everyone will be able to enjoy soft-boiled eggs here. Found the book store and bought "Home Ground", the new book that Barry Lopez edited. (Oh, I just picked it up to look at, and got sucked in! I can't wait to read more) It's a kind of glossary of terms for the American Landscape, written by various authors who have ties to the places and terms they write about. I think Amber recommended it to me, and it's perfect for my life right now.
Then the post starts to get a little hazy, because I want to write about my acquisitive nature, how I think it's funny that I got so excited about "stocking up" on things I have plenty of already, and how I meant to get to the grocery store and ran out of time because I was looking at the bubble bath too long.
But then I also want to write about the other thoughts that were starting to happen in my head around the time I stepped foot in the bookstore. How I asked the man at the counter where he thought the best coffee was, how he said "Well, ask three different people, you'll probably get three different opinions. Some people like Magpies, some people think Durango Coffee Company is the best. I always go to the Bean, cause it's right across the street, and I know the owner, and I think they're just as good as the others." and how I looked around this big bookstore, which I thought resembled Elliott Bay Books, with all that rough wood, and good displays, tables and tables of pretty hard-cover books, and thought "I could live in Durango".
Whew, that's a lot of reading - here, you need a photo.
So I'm thinking that, but also some other things are coming up when I hit my next stop, the CD store (no surprise there). The guy at the counter, who has a beard and maybe some piercings, or at least gives the impression of being the sort of 20-something who has piercings, says "Hey." and kinda seems like in spite of looking all tough, he couldn't exaclty get up the courage to look at me, and oh by the way he's got that judgemental CD-store-guy aura going too, and I say "Hey, how are you." and then without meaning to, sort-of turn away so that it's obvious I don't really want to know, but I really would be curious to know, so then I feel like a jerk. Just a little.
Which, of course, gets me thinking about interacting with people. Mostly about how much I like it. And I think about that as I walk through the CD store, and again when the guy doesn't really do much better looking at me when I go up to the counter to buy my CDs, and then he gets into an animated thing with a wiry grey-haired woman in Tevas who is looking for something she heard about on NPR, and I just really like that, I like hearing what they say to each other.
So I'm thinking all that, about little interactions, and how I'm always noticing the temperature between people, and how interesting that is to me, when I go across the street to "the Bean", which is really named "The Steaming Bean". There are a few people milling around the counter the way people do at coffee shops, so you can't really tell if they've ordered, or haven't, or what they are doing, but behind the counter is this young girl, and she has this teenage way of looking at you with her chin tilted down, out from underneath these bangs that her mom probably wishes she would cut, and she looks at me and asks what I'd like, so I order.
The Bean is my last stop in Durango and I'm leaving a little later than I meant to be, since I don't want to do Wolf Creek Pass in the dark, but still I get sucked in to this teeny girl who's making the coffee. She's got to be a good 3 inches shorter than me, and her hair is this really fine blond hair that she has dyed black underneath, and she's got the whole black-and-white-striped shirt/hoody/grommeted belt look going and then this guy walks up, and you can see that they know each other, he's a tall kid, like, Andy and Bobby tall, and he's wearing one of those shirts that young guys wear when they are going out to Red Door, you know, the button-up kind, untucked, with some kind of pattern on it that makes you think of sheets, stripes or something, and the shirt is a little rumpled, like the hair.
So the barista girl, with her little glances and her quiet voice, says something to him that he doesn't really hear, and so then the interaction goes like this, with tall kid starting:
What did you say?
I said How are you doing?
Oh! I thought you said something else. I'm Grrreat!
And then tall kid slams his hand down on the books he has set on the glass countertop, so that the girl jumps and drops something, and he startles himself even, and pulls his hand back towards his chest and says “Oh shit, did I do that?” and she goes to pick whatever it is up and mumbles "No, it's okay." and you know for sure that he likes her, and that he probably picked those books out as carefully as he picked the shirt, and you're not sure, but somehow, somehow you think she probably likes him too. Maybe it's the way she gave him a little shy embarrassed smile when she had to repeat herself, or the fact that she sort-of tugged at her shirt a little more while he was standing there.
But you are probably thinking at this point, "And Heather is telling me about this, Why?"
Which means you need another photo.
Such pretty pretty trees
But there is a reason, and it's this: I loved them. I loved these two, doing their awkward teenage love dance. And I loved the guy in the CD store, and the yarn store women, and I loved the guy who told me to go to the Bean and the teenager who sold me bubble bath.
But as much as I love them, there are people I love EVEN MORE in the world, and the striped shirt and the tall kid and the big bubbles in my latte made me think of Andy and Bobby (duh) and the girl behind the counter made me think of Josie, and Josie being 16 when I first met her, and that made me think of Kristin, and so did the quote that was painted on the wall in the bathroom at the coffee shop, cause where else did we go that had quotes on the wall? I don't know, it seemed a little like Rimsky's in Portland, which also makes me think of Amber, who I was already thinking of because of that book I bought, and the bubble bath made me think of Susan, and the CSNY CD I bought made me think of all my old regulars at the bar where I worked in NY, and there was some yarn that I thought might make something good for my mom, and really it goes on and on...
... so that's what is happening in my head as I get in my car. I love thinking about all these people. And there are so many more people I love thinking about. I'm also thinking about my sister and her husband, since I just wrote that post about him, then I'm thinking "I hope Shack doesn't read the Shack post and hate it". And I feel compelled here, dear reader, to give you a picture, because I know this is an awful lot of words to read and I can't believe you are still here reading them...
Anyway,I hit the road and the CD that's on is Jets to Brazil, "Four Cornered Night" which makes me think of Rob, that cute bartender who came to karaoke with us the night of my sister's rehearsal dinner, and how he called me from NY for months after that any time he had a bad day, and what all of this adds up to is really how much I love people. To what an absolutely insanely ridiculous degree I love them.
Maybe that's an obvious statement. Maybe that's something that no one who reads this blog is really going to be surprised by. And yet, it surprised me. Like, fully-clothed body thrown into cold ocean Surprised me.
I don't know that I can capture this, exactly, but some of it had to do with realizing that someone else in my position, they would get their energy from the trees, from the gorgeous sweeping views, from Nature. For lots of people, those things are very restorative. And I've always felt a little, just a little, bad that I'm not more of an outdoorsy girl, being from the Pacific NW and all. I like the outdoors, don't get me wrong. But we all know I am not going to be the one to pack up the tent and make sure we get out there. I get what it's all about, it's just not what drives me.
Even the pretty river view, not what drives me.
Duh, the people thing, that's what drives me. They are like trees to me (this is what I'm thinking as I drive through the kind of scenery that makes you ooh and aah and stop the car to try and take photos of what a photo will never capture), every person is as beautiful as a tree, and then that's a silly thing to think, so I think "Good post title - 'Why People Are Like Trees'" because it's just so dumb.
Then the Jets to Brazil song "All Things Good and Nice" comes on and it's over the TOP how perfect that song is, because it's totally funny and just balls-out sappy. I hate to use that phrase, but it belongs here. The first line is "I love my mother". Seriously.
Anyway, this all has me so so very happy, pleased with the world in this insanely profound way, like I know what it's all about for me, even though yes, it is totally obvious and maybe doesn't sound that profound unless you've driven more than 200 miles all by yourself that day... SO when Kristin sends me this email this morning that just happens to talk about everything I've been thinking about the last 24 hours, including: “it's funny to watch how you are handling isolation- so far, and even before you left, as if in anticipation, you've written these blogs about people, where you seem to be trying to conjure them up with so many words.”, I laugh. Of course. Of course that's what I do. That's what my whole LIFE does.
And when I tell Pam about Kristin's comment on the phone, she laughs too, but she's laughing because actually I have only had one night here at the ranch when there wasn't someone else here. "You probably feel lke you haven't had a moment's peace!" she says.
So, I know I sound like a nut, and if you are still reading, really, please, you have to tell me that you read this because I will just love you so much more forever and ever because it truly is too much to ask, for you to get through all this rambling, just to hear me say:
I AM A PEOPLE PERSON.
...and dogs are people too.
Oh, it's so awful, such an awful thing to say you are, it just sounds like a floral jumper or something. It reminds me of how when I was a teenager and used to panhandle downtown, I really wanted to look all tough, and I pierced my ears myself a bunch of times and wore all the black eyeliner, but people, I had chubby cheeks. I did not look tough. I looked like a chipmunk. Eventually, I had to let the tough thing go (but I am tough, yo!) and accept that if anything, I was cute. Not intimidating or mysterious or exotic or whatever. Cute. Like now, I have to accept that I am a people person. This is why I crave art and music, why I am fascinated by strangers and can do more phone interviews in a week than almost anyone you know, and why no one will ever take me up on the bet where I say "What will you give me if I go talk to that guy over there?". And in fact, it's even why I sometimes have those days, and some of you have gotten this phone call (Kirsten, Erin!), where I say "I hate EVERYONE!".
Which makes it a good time for a photo break.
The road back to the ranch
Please understand, none of this means that I don't like being here by myself, or that I am not looking forward to the next few months. I do really like being alone (it means I have more uninterrupted time to think about people and how much I love them, right?).
So. There you go, that's what I've realized the first week on the ranch, when I was really not so very isolated or by myself.
And if I haven't said it recently, I especially love you. You, who actually read this far, I do. Or you wouldn't have my blog address. Or I wouldn't want to write this insanely long post that only you will read.
P.S. I hope you went out tonight and then came home and just for kicks looked at the blog because it seems like this post would be a lot better if you were a little tipsy. Most of you. With one exception. You know who you are.