Four years ago, I went to Arizona for an academic conference, a trip that included a day-long raft trip on the Colorado River just below Glen Canyon Dam. I felt overwhelmed by the landscape, the stark beauty of the cliffs. The raft trip ended at Lee's Ferry, and it was hard to get out of the raft, board the bus, and go back to my hotel. I wanted to keep going, raft all the way down through the Grand Canyon.
All kinds of complex things were going on in my emotional life at that time, and that raft trip was a catalyst for growth and change. The next four years brought challenges and rewards: My sister-in-law died of breast cancer. My brother started talking to me after eight years of silence. My first collection of poetry was published. I worked through some major issues in my marriage. I learned reiki. I began to be more assertive about making time for the important friendships in my life, including a friendship with ArtistFriend, whom I met on that trip to Arizona. I became vegan. I took up skiing to help ward off the February blues. I bought a CD for myself for the first time ever. My daughter graduated from high school and went to college. I began being more assertive in my marriage. I got tenure. I sorted through some childhood issues. I learned to take time for myself, away from my husband and kids. I began belly dancing.
Tomorrow I am returning to that landscape, to Lee's Ferry, the place where our trip ended four years ago. I'm going to continue the journey. For the next two weeks, I will be on a raft moving down the Colorado River, running the 280 miles from Lee's Ferry to Lake Mead, rafting through the Grand Canyon.
For sixteen days, I will be out of contact with my spouse, my kids, my extra kids, my extended family, my friends. I will have my journal, and the river, and the walls of the canyon rising around me.