The journey began at sunset. I drove down a long windy road to a corner of the sea. I walked through a gate, which squeaked as I opened it, and I found my friend waiting for me, at rest in her home. We talked of this and that, making our way down a set of narrow stone steps. We walked to the sea.
The world was bathed in blue. The sky overhead was blue, the lone peaks and islands in the distance glowed a soft shade of the same. And there was the sea, the dark sea. We watched the sky fade to twilight, a seal poking its head above the waters, surfacing now and again between its hungry dives for fish. The stars rose. The sky was dark.
Katie and I laid our plans. We were heading south, bound for California, land of great adventure. Our first stop was the Women’s Herbal Symposium. From there, we would head north, making our way up the snakelike passage of 101, visiting communities, stopping at farms, getting an introduction to a world of new making. I would record interviews for the radio, Katie would interpret the journey with her art.
As we spelled things out, I saw a bright flash in the water. Something iridescent streamed past. It swam again and again, glowing an eerie green on this dark summer night. I put my hand in the water, let it dance. It too glowed–bioluminescent plankton.
In response to the wave of my hand, the cold creature came by once more. The bright green outlined its fluid motion. I saw bubbles rise from the surface of its skin. It was our old friend, the seal we had seen gaping at us earlier. I had waved to it, and it waved back.
In the warm summer night, Katie and I smiled, a gleam in our eyes. So a friendship was born.
We traveled from Washington to California, and we met all manner of interesting people. We picked apples with a seamstress, shared meals with herbalists, teachers, and farmers, and sat by the side of a campfire with other wandering souls. More important than the places we went was the journey within.
The journey brought me deep love, and it brought me companionship. It brought me a new capacity to know myself. In this journey I found a purpose to my actions. As I held space for the words of others, as I held my ground in silence, something momentous occurred: I found my voice.
– Ariel Blackbird