Monday, September 9, 2013

It's the Journey AND the Destination that Counts

It was 1979 and I'd returned from a cross-country trip with Mike, the man who would, over time become my husband and the father of my two children.  I'd recently graduated from the EATM program.  In an old car and an (adorable) teardrop trailer, Mike and I went to my home in New York, stayed a few weeks and headed west again.  Instead of going back to southern California, he took me to an out-of-the-way place called Happy Camp in northern California.  There we stayed the summer and it was the first time I'd laid eyes on the Pacific Northwest, an experience I was never able to shake. 

The teardrop trailer that had everything we needed
After returning to the Los Angeles area, I grew tired of the relationship and in typical Lisa fashion, I left the state in order to leave a boyfriend.  Where did I go?  I headed north again.  I had heard from one of my teachers in the EATM program, a hardened old former circus animal trainer, Wally Ross, that I might get a job in southern Oregon with an old friend of his.  Without first checking to see if I would find employment, another impulsive behavior typical of me, I purchased an old Willy's Jeep, a cabover camper to go with it, filled it with my few material possessions, as well as my most precious ones: my dog, cat and bird and headed on to a new adventure.

"Babe", my faithful companion

I got the job, working as an animal trainer for Dogs for the Deaf.  I also took on a job as a waitress.  I lived in the camper until someone offered to rent me, for $25.00 a month, a little travel trailer.  I also lucked out and found a place to park my mobile home, right along the Applegate River.  There I lived, for the first time in my life, all by myself.  It was a wonderful, albeit small existence, but one that changed me forever. 

The experience didn't last long; Mike was a persistent suitor and shortly after the new year I discovered a whole new life awaited me - that of a first time mom.  Once again, with Mike as the driver of both my Jeep and my life, I found myself on the road again. 

Throughout the subsequent years, through all the trials and tribulations of a life well lived, I have thought fondly of that little trailer by the river and the place that reminded me so much of the country life I lived as a child.  I wondered if I'd ever get the chance to live there, or someplace like it again.

It took a long, long time, but I did make it back to a place that is surrounded by old-growth trees, the four seasons, and water.  Oh, how I missed water: rain, rivers, creeks.  While I still have to call Las Vegas "home," I can finally say that I'm on my way to recapturing what I thought I might have lost forever.  The temporary home I live in is a bit bigger than that trailer, but not by much, yet it suits me because I am warm and safe and it's the outside world that interests me most.  Surrounded by nature that includes vegetation and wildlife, I am literally in my element. 

The view from my back porch
I have found much inspiration here in my little writer's retreat.  I can't wait to see what I produce.  I have to sign off now; it's dusk and the wild turkeys are getting ready to roost.  I just have to step onto my back porch to watch.

Time for bed


Anonymous said...

Did you really just say you lived in a trailor, down by the river? Chris Farley would be proud.

Lisa Gioia-Acres said...

Yes, Anonymous, it's true. Wish Chris Farley were here so I could share my story with him!