Where do I start, somewhere in the misty haze of covid lockdown my husband and I were out trying to have a date. To be frank, it wasn't really much of a "date" to begin with, we were completely bored out of our minds at this point. It was hot, we'd been talking about trying to make time to be together, but under the conditions of covid it was feeling more stressful to. Despite our shortcomings we got in the truck any way and went out to get lunch or something light to eat. I think we hit Jersey Mike's of all places. So much for cleansing on this day. You know sometimes after years and years of trying to eat well, you kind of just break down and say to yourself, "I need a hoagie." This was that day for me, and I'm thankful my better half supports my choices.
So we had a turkey sandwich and headed towards the lake to check out spots to "drop in" and paddle (Stand Up Paddle). There wasn't much said in the car. Sometimes we can talk and talk and talk for long car rides and during more stressful times we can also surrender to the silence and be fine, even though we know each of our minds are humming in various directions. It was a day of surrender, we needed to "move" through the muck and mire of life and stretch a little for each other. Our schedules had been opposite, we weren't really getting to see each other outside of hi and goodbye. It didn't feel good or happy in the moment, so I sat with that wondering what could I do to change it. Acknowledging that I didn't really have a plan except to go along with his. Scout the lake we went. So, I started to pray. Nothing theatrical. Just a little request "God, please be with us. Have mercy." I think that's about all I said to myself, not even in breath. It was 100% just in my heart. In silence over us we floated down the road. His old truck nuts and bolts rattling along the way. We had the windows down and it was hot, hot for San Diego at least. I didn't feel great, my back hurt, what else was new.
Why is it on days like this when I'm achey or sore or something feels off, we end up pushing through? Not really sure how that works out cosmically and all, but boy what a moment when you realize the rest of the world just bulldozes right on by. Best not to focus on the parts we can't fix, and set sights on what you can adjust. The altitude of your thoughts can always rise up, your jib and sail can catch a new gale. The wind can turn in your favor at a moments notice. The way you approach the moment is everything.
As we rode across the windy road trying to scout a loading dock, or designated spot where we could launch the SUP we learned there was no access to view the docks via car. We circled and circled, and it was a busy day, plenty of traffic. People were out and parking far away, schlepping their items in from the road. We broke off the main road and drove up the narrow path to the rim above the lake. Finally I just resolved to not look at my Google map, I wanted to look out the window. I longed to be outside, I yearned for adventure. I wanted so greatly to be able to throw down tent pegs and decide to camp somewhere spontaneously. Spontaneous inspirational moments are often where I think God just starts his day. It's like right when we give up and throw our hands up we say, yep, this is it! I can't do this today, not by myself, that the situation changes. Without realizing it, I think that's exactly what happened. I could sense the frustration. He wanted to "show me" something cool that day out there by the reservoir highway, but it just wasn't happening.
I was longing in my heart to hear the whisper of wisdom, but I couldn't hear a thing in that moment. It just wasn't turning out to be much of a great day, we kinda just rode around in silence. I asked for him to pull over shortly after exiting the lake area, by the side of the road. I had to relieve myself. I'm always drinking water, and often have to pee, probably too much, often coupled with caffeine and that makes for an irritable bladder no doubt. I couldn't wait for a rest stop, there were none. We found a soft shoulder and pulled off the main road, I moved around towards the nose of the car to the side of a shrubby like brush plant and went. The rocks and sandy shoal were loose and someone evidently had used this area as a random off loading zone no doubt for chunks of concrete amongst appliances & wild forget me nots and California poppies. There was an old oven range and refrigerator torn up by their final tumble down there no doubt. I wondered if these pieces belonged to the "Appliance Disposal" signs we'd seen all around the area. I'm thinking to myself. "Have Mercy, just have Mercy" this day is getting rougher and rougher. No doubt my frustration didn't save me, it just made things harder. I tried like hell to shake of that feeling, that desire deep down that just makes you want to ugly cry and kinda laugh at yourself and ask "what the heck is happening right now?" But I made it through the moment. One foot in front of the other. I shook it off, shuffled back to the car. Put on a happy face and got back in, trying to keep the mood light. Have Mercy.
"Time to head home?" T.J. said?
"Yes," I replied, "Time to get back."
Then as we were coming back around the main road, we saw an open path going West, up the hill and into the sunset. It was lush and green on either side from the recent storms. T.J. took a quick left turn and up the hill we went. It felt fun almost, after such a funky hour trying to make something work.
I said; "What are you doing? I thought we were heading home?" to which he replied, "we are, I just wanted to see what was up here." And so we added what we thought were 5 more minutes to our day, to check out some vineyards and orchards. Up the hill we went, until we realized we may have travelled too far. We stopped when we got to a fence line. The adventure for the moment ended.
And then the wind shifted...
Just as we turned around and headed down hill...
It was a full bottom vintage Gucci carpet bag, upside down in an olive tree.
Apple bottom jeans with the boots and the fur...
Who was this "purse" in a tree? Who was she to be upside down and perfectly intact with her lock and key stowed gently in the leather pouch they were made? It felt like serendipity. All because I looked out the window instead of into my phone. I practice presence. I just happen to be looking up and out the window at the right time.
Of course I screamed:
“STOP! STOP! STOP THE CAR!”
T.J. yelled back at me equally as loud: “What? Stop? Now? Ok, why?”
Me: “Yes! Yes! Yes! I see her, back up, turn around.”
T.J. continued to ask questions but at this point it was all just sound, there was a designer
handbag on top of a tree at eye level with me and our vehicle. If he hadn’t turned the truck
around in time, I was going analog, on foot. Good thing I had my boots on!
He flipped the car around and began to find a way to park on the shoulder. This was an open field with a vintage present. So I got her down, and brushed her off, she was in great shape and
she came home with us that day. She is the real deal. Authentic, Gucci Italian Leather. While
Gucci wasn’t the thing I was looking for that day. And I didn’t know why something like this had
fallen into my lap, I was happy to adopt “her” and give her a name. So that’s what we did. We
brought her home and cleaned her up. After the excitement kind of wore off, this “vegan” named
her purse, just like she used to name the ones she saved so much for when she was younger.
This Gucci is named “Claudette” and she’s forever special because of her story, because of her creator. Never again will she just be a label. She is more precious than rubies dare I say. And might I add, not for sale.
So when someone sees you as one “thing” or another, no matter what “it” is. Whether
it’s a “leather” colored brown, black, white or red, you remember that we all fall from Heaven one
way or another, some just come through different family trees. This one came through the "house"
of Gucci. Where does your gift come through? What house? What tree?
I want to speak to the “trees” in your life. The high places that are rooted within you
that you want more from but don’t know how to climb there yet. The parts that know you are deserving and willing to work, but also, aren’t completely sure what this is going to look like.
Life can be that way. It can be dreadful and disinteresting and then suddenly so profound. You just have to look up, because you don't want to miss whatever is happening out there on the deck of the "ship," life is waiting for you. Things are moving. Things are happening to the world around us every day and it's nature's good pleasure to bring you that goodness.
That afternoon after our vintage scavenger hunt we started towards home I realized. I could have missed this altogether if I hadn't been paying attention. Looking outward instead of inward in that exact moment, asking for mercy. I know finding a purse in a tree is rather rare, and frankly I've never heard of such a thing, so I felt like this small moment was actually very special for me. T.J. was relieved that there was redemption in the day's efforts. Who knows what's next when we head out again? Where will we go, or how will we walk about with nature, and what other rare finds are out there waiting for us?
If we would just look up.
All things considered I could be quite literally; "The Vegan with a Leather Purse," and this chapter, albeit has taken a grand turn of the rarest kind, I can't help but wonder, what's next for Claudette. Where will the wander of life catch us again. I hope to be caught up with you dear lovely ones. Holding your hand as we grow into this new chapter.
Maybe that's where the best stories leave off... someplace where the page meets the sky.