Hello! And happy Beltrane! Not familiar with this optimistic and slightly hedonistic concept of celebration? ALLOW ME TO ENLIGHTEN YOU: From sunset on April 30 to sunset tonight, the Gaelic tradition insists that we honor life, celebrate the peak of Spring and its glorious nexus with Summer; that we bend a knee to earth energy, fertility, romance, the abundant bursting-forth-ness in the air, love-making, sexuality, and nature coming alive! How could you not be twirling around albeit possibly in sweat pants right now?! Get naked! This is when the maiden goddess reaches her fullness (a worthwhile visual, Jordan, use your imagination!) and manifests what’s green, manifests what grows! The moon is waxing and I am sitting in our backyard in the glow of midday sunshine and sharp-shinned hawks swooping, hummingbirds dashing every which way, and a mourning dove couple’s nest on our very back porch with a single, hopeful egg in it! Did you know mourning doves mate for life? Did you know I have Sibley Birds West and my binocs in hand, and also one faithful Jonny Anderpants at my own personal disposal, who is one of the country’s most decorated birders and, as such, am thus very confident in my species identification? Are you to even attempt trying to convince me that life is anything but flourishing? Not. A. Chance. I felt it coming on yesterday, when my brother came up from San Diego and I saw him for the first time in four months. We got to pack him up groceries for a week and send him home with the good wine. And after some struggle, I was able to recognize the searing pang that scorched me from not being able to hug him as the big love that it is; it’s the same longing I feel clenching my chest when Steph or Michael or Michael or Alan or Nick or Paula or Jessica or Ferelith or Dan or literally any one of you come by to pick up provisions that I so wish to embrace—how it aches! But that’s fine, because I know it can be just one thing: that sacred type of absence only abundance itself can create.
Last night, we took a new smoker and an old car for respective spins. First, we cruised the backroads of the Pasadena hills, me at the wheel and Tyler as deuteragonist, a rare role reversal for us. This is major for a few reasons: first, Tyler’s driving bests anyone on planet earth, and I know this to be true. Not in a flashy, racer, or stunt-like way (though his burnouts are top notch), but in its utmost and highly sexual nuance, and his effortless anticipation which is actually more like future prediction. Suffice to say, a bit intimidating for an adolescent student of manual transmission. I’m happy to report yesterday’s lesson went better than our first some years ago, which took place on a dirt road in Sicily in a two-cylinder SmartCar. Sicily’s roads have a way of morphing from desolate dirt driveway to autobahn with merely a single stop sign. (For context) it went sort of like this:
Me, driving down said dirt road about 25 mph—non ce problema! Comes to a stop on slight downward pitch; prepares to make right turn into oncoming traffic, which now appears to be flying at triple digit KPH. Attempt to go, #1: stall out, lurch forward; Attempt 2: stall out, lurch forward more; Tyler prescribes more gas. Attempt 3: additional stall out, third lurch forward, I’m feeling panic, now clearly able to see how fast oncoming traffic is, well, coming; Tyler goes from advising to commanding, but still fruitlessly; more gas is still the directive but I reply earnestly that it’s “not working.” That silently does him in, but there’s one more stall out yet to come. One more lurch forward and the last thing I remember is a road-raging Italian swerving around our front end and the less-than-solemn words GET OUT OF THE [expletive] CAR, which will haunt my dreams and driving for at least another five years. Were we close to being T boned by a Fiat? Probably. Was Tyler wrong? Nope. But neither was Walter Sobchak (or The Dude for that matter). But what’s important is that we made it to the next round robin, which is to say our drive at sunset last eve was graced by the goddesses. The shift from stop in neutral to first gear never felt so buttery, and the romance has never been so high with me at the wheel. I didn’t know it was Beltrane (or what that even was) until today, but I must have intuited its arrival because the infinite green smells poured in the windows while we drove and the roses stretched open, and that drive gave way to an impossibly perfect family meal of brisket bounty and rosé in paper cups with our small crew after service and it was magic. We told stories about when Kelsey tore the roof rack off of a so-called indestructible F250, and celebrated him for this accomplishment; and spoke of the one called Gummy Larry, who at age 65, ate 75 mg of weed in the form of gummy bears and lost himself snoring in the woods. We laughed. We smelled like the smoke of summertime. We didn’t think of the future, we just enjoyed what we had on our plates and in our cups, and at our sides. I think this is the meaning of Beltrane. Please go forth and celebrate it somehow, we’ll be thinking of you doing something that involves being outside, being naked, and laughing. We have the supplies (below), but it’s up to you to bring the heart.