Fences of the Mind – Things Really are Bigger in Texas – Aviation Yard Art
Staying present in daily intention has gifted me some incredible insight and clarity today. I pulled the car over several times to write down some notes as my brain was busting with enthusiasm and passion to write. I have spent the better part of 2 days driving from Gallop, NM, across the state of Texas, and ending up in Hope, AR for the night. I paid for my first hotel tonight, which is actually my last night on the road of this 30-day 6423-mile trek across the US. I landed a great summer teaching gig in Camden, AR for Friday that will help pay the bills for next month.
I can say without hesitation that Texas is an enormous state. I thought California was a big, however Texas takes up 5 entire pages on the Atlas. Who would have ever thought that a trek on the back roads of Texas state highways 287/82 from Amarillo to Texarkana would bring such joy and happiness clearing a runway into deeper understanding of myself? As I drove hundreds of miles today I noticed the enormous number of fences that lined the country roads, up and down the pastures, through farms, ranches, and exclusive multi million dollar estates. Everywhere I looked there was another fence constructed of barbed wire, paneling, wood, steel, iron, aluminum, rock, plastic, car parts, stripped trees, vinyl, concrete, rock, stucco, brick, lattice, welded wire mesh, and chicken wire.
The incalculable amount of backcountry roads that crisscross this state is quite overwhelming as it took the better part of 2 days for me to travel from boarder to boarder. I will admit, I am not driving in Texas at my Mario Andretti mountain thrilling break neck speeds and I stop frequently stop for my soul to veer off the road. I am learning not to ask questions when my little internal voice says, “Deb pull off here and check this out.” One of the most appreciated gifts that I have experienced are the haphazard moments that I would have missed in this trip if I had not slowed down, turned left or right, and kept an open mind with no expectations of where the road would lead. For me personally, I have spent my entire life running and driving somewhere I thought I should be and definitely on time or at a particular date. I sit here tonight and reflect upon my previous limited vision of how I thought life was supposed to roll out. I am struck with great pause and appreciation that I am brave enough to seize this reflective opening in space and time to embrace my authentic self and do it my way. While driving this morning I was listening to my favorite Sirius radio channels and each song that played was another poignant lesson for me. I truthfully have stopped wondering why particular events or occurrences are unfolding in my life. I am embracing the open space needed for the day to unfurl. I constantly talk to myself with kind reminders to keep my monkey brain in check so she does not throw a wrench of what if's into the mix. While driving through northern Texas today, I was listening to John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High. Out of the blue I was inspired with another book title, “Who Wrote These Damm Rules? Living an Authentic Inspired Life with No Expectations.” Thus far I have 5 book titles ready to go! I have a vision of the titles with no idea of actually how I am going to get there, and I am comfortable with figuring it out each day. Today was an unplanned lesson which was fun and amazing as I drove across Texas looking at hundreds of miles of fences. When I was a child I clearly remember saying to myself, “Deb someday you will have the perfect white picket fence life, a loving family, two dogs and a cat.” Not only did I think about the white picket fence analogy as I child, but I spent my entire adult life chasing after the white picket fence representation. For me the white picket fence represented safety, security, love, everything pretty and neat, a mowed lawn, a quiet peaceful life, 8-5 M-F job, fun neighbors, but not to close and definitely on their side of the fence. While driving today I started to think, “Deb, what does a fence represent to you? What is your deal with the white picket fence image?” Suddenly it all hit me! I looked over my right shoulder slammed on the brakes and jerked the Outback off the road. I parked next to a long fencerow with an abundant Texas sky stretching beyond a grassy knoll over a ranch with an endless fence line.
I got out of the Subaru and said to myself, “Deb you have surrounded your entire life with fences of one kind or another. You have limited your vision of the possibilities over the next hill with your white picket fence theory.” The standpoint on fences I had created in my mind and life was suddenly flipped on its ass upside down. I have always thought and felt that if I had a fence around my life that I would be safe and nothing could hurt me. I considered fences as a protective factor that could hold everything I sought after in a safe parameter. My perception was a fence would keep in all the things I wanted and keep out all the things I did not. As I stood on the side of the highway having a private moment with myself I suddenly felt a painful sting on my left ankle that felt like a pellet gun had just shot me. I looked at my ankle and discovered I was standing in the middle of a Texas Red Ant farm. I immediately started jumping up and down like a crazy woman on drugs on the side of the highway stomping the shit out of my shoes trying to get the red ants off me. After about 30 seconds of freaking out screaming the F word multiple times I kicked my shoes and socks off and smashed them on the bumper of the Outback. I wanted to make damm sure those little suckers were not in my shoes. After multiple cars had passed me on the road I looked up and saw this guy with a Texas sized cowboy hat brake slightly while laughing at me in his rear view mirror. I am sure he probably knew what I had just stepped in. I waved at him and gave him the thumbs up that I was ok. The guy revved up his truck and sped away with of pair of those mega blue balls swinging from his rear bumper. I am not really sure what to think or how I feel about the bumper ball decorations. I noticed many styles, colors, and arrangements of bumper balls today, as many big diesel dually trucks passed me on the narrow double striped lines all day. No judgments, it just makes me ponder how those bumper danglers would go over in Los Angles on the freeway. I figured I had given several drivers a few seconds of great afternoon entertainment so I jumped back in the Outback and scoured through my backpack looking for my Lavender essential oils. I splashed on several drops of Lavender where the little rascals had chomped on me. I was so glad that I had packed the Lavender in my bag, as it soothed the pain within a few minutes. How in the hell can something so small hurt so badly? My take away and lesson learned from this incident was it is time to take down any fences, as they have caused me much pain over the years and denied others an opportunity to truly know me.
As I continued my drive this morning I started to legitimately think about the purpose of a fence. Webster defines a fence as a barrier, railing, or other upright structure, typically of wood or wire, enclosing an area of ground to mark a boundary, control access, or prevent escape. However, I am now finally realizing the emotional and mental fences I had created around myself for my entire life. I used these fences as a defense mechanism thinking it would keep me safe from getting hurt or letting people actually see me on a deeper level. I will 100% own it that my fence boundaries defiantly limited loved one’s, friends, and others limited exposure inside my heart. Allowing myself to be vulnerable was entirely too scary, as the thought of exposing myself with open wounds from childhood was terrifying. I wanted to always control all access points along my fence line and only open the gates on my terms. Reflecting into my journey I have defiantly used this fencing method to try and keep people, friends, loved ones, including some material possessions from escaping. I am completely at fault in the past with all kinds of boundary and territory restrictions such as, letting people close to me or truly knowing my shit. I recently have shared my story with 3 people, as they have earned the right to hear my story. Anyone willing to dig deep, do their own work in the arena with a dirty face, un-showered for days, and sleep in the car on a cliff with me without fear, can hear my story and join me anytime on this journey. I feel strongly that reading 4 of Brene’ Brown’s books has taught me some of the most valuable lessons that I so desperately needed to address about living my new authentic life wholehearted and without fences.
In the past I have always preferred to work or teach alone, as I now realize and admit I continually put unfair expectations upon other people setting myself up for continued dissapointment. I will not beat myself up over past decisions or actions, as I cannot do anything about those things today. The past is truly the past and that is where it needs to stay. However, today I am transparent about my current realizations and commit myself to stay present each day and enjoy the sunrise to sunset with a full heart, as that is only thing that is important. I would expect an immediate intervention from my 3 trusted girlfriends who know and have heard my story to call me to the alter, if you see the slightest bit of artificial fence building. The only fence building I will be doing is with Janet over Thanksgiving holiday at the beautiful, “For Heaven’s Sake,” Ft. Bragg Seaside Retreat.
I have read too many books this summer to pinpoint which book I learned a version of this phrase, therefore this is my adaptation of what I say to myself when my monkey brain tries to swing in for a visit. “Deb, the only thing you have is right now! Tomorrow may never come. Don’t waste today worrying about tomorrow. Don’t wait to do something tomorrow that is right in front of you today. Be kind and gentle with yourself and remember to breath 10 times before you open your mouth when stressed!” I am the poster child for this lesson and should put a bumper sticker on my car that says, “What are you waiting for? Today is here!” I am sure my sweet supportive sister Laura will hook me up with a few bumper stickers.
As I continued driving on highway 87 reflecting upon my fence of life metaphor, I spotted a local Texas custom fence and gate company. Yes of course the Subaru pulled over as I could not pass up the moment to walk around a stockyard of hand crafted and welded fence parts. While strolling around the business I thought about all the proper uses for fencing in our lives. A fence could be used to prevent our pets from getting into traffic, keep cattle off highway 87, allow for skinny dips in the pool without blinding the neighbors, restrain criminals & crazy people, and keep oncoming traffic from entering your lane. These are proper uses for a fence, not keeping people in or out.
Last night as I scouted out my options for hotel safe camping the Subaru and I landed at a Marriott in Wichita Falls, TX. After driving 800 miles my back and I both desired some road therapy hot tub time. Now that I am fully embracing my fence issues along with boundary rule theories, I snagged a perfect opportunity to slip into the Marriott Inn swim and spa area for a night dip. I did not even have to jump the fence at the hotel, as I just casually walked up to the door with my swim suit and an older gentleman was standing there with his key card and swiped me in. I swaggered over to the posh hot tub and slipped into the water resembling an awaiting catch and release trout back into the stream. It was awesome and I so enjoyed every second of the peaceful relaxation. I had no worries of what if someone had spotted me slipping into their swanky hot tub from the parking lot. It was a divine perfect evening until an obnoxious family with all kind of floating toys and balls came to the pool area with their 10 crazy screaming children jumping and splashing in the pool. I thought to myself, “What the hell are these rowdy people doing here? I am having a moment with myself.” Then suddenly I snapped back into reality and said, “Deb get a grip on it, they are paying $200 plus a night.” I thanked the universe for the lovely hot tub time and was able to snag a bonus hot shower at the Marriott pool & spa locker room. I made it back to my parking lot sweet spot and bunked it in the Outback till 7:30am. I slept like a baby and only woke up twice when the garbage man was emptying the trash dumpster outside my window at 5:30am. When I eventually slid out of the back of the Subaru I spotted several items of trash that did not make it into the trash truck, so I paid it forward for the hot tub time with some litter clean-up at the Marriott Hotel parking lot.
The drive today continued to be brimming with miniature gifts from heaven just for my delight. I pulled back out onto highway 82 leaving the fence company parking lot and set the cruise control on 65 mph. I was jamming to awesome 70’s soft rock when I looked over my left shoulder and spotted some Deb crack aviation candy the size of Texas parked the middle of a freshly mowed field. Yes it is true they do everything BIGGER in Texas! I slammed on the brakes and pulled down a single lane narrow farm road. I tilted the Outback sideways into an embankment ditch to get her off the tight single lane road. My heart started racing like a thoroughbred in the gates, as I was overwhelmed with excitement. I could not believe what was sitting in a field in front of me. On the edge of highway 82 in the middle of nowhere on a country road in north Texas, life gifted me some first-class yard art for my screening pleasure. I walked right over to her and said, “What the hell are you doing way out here?” In the middle of a mowed country field was an old early 50’s airliner, which was probably converted in her last years to cargo hauler. Who in the world parks one of these old classics in their front yard? Well someone who lives in Texas. As I rounded the corner of this old sun drenched, rusted, and weather worn old girl I could not believe what other treasures I had just stumbled upon.
Someone had collected years of old war birds, helicopters, restoration projects, multiple nice planes in hangers, a beautifully mowed grass strip, and an extensive bone yard of aviation relics. I just had to see more, so I knew I needed to ask permission immediately before someone came out of the house with a shotgun. I walked up to a little house on the property, which had some children’s toys in the driveway with a Cadillac Escalante parked in front lawn. I gave a friendly little knock on the door and a nice young lady answered the door. I said, “Hey my name is Deb and I was just driving through Texas and saw the big airliner in your front yard. I am an aviation nut and would love to just walk around for a few minutes and take a some pictures. I promise not to touch anything.” The lady smiled at me and said, “Sure, no problem enjoy.” I had just driven across Texas and stumbled across the Smithsonian of aviation yard art and rare war bird restoration collectables in Texas pasture. I am not sure who owned this place, but I am guessing I talked to the grand daughter of the owner, as she was probably about 20 years old. There were at least 100 airplanes or parts of airplanes on the property, with 3-4 major restoration war bird projects in full swing in the hangers. This place took my breath away as I continued to walk around in a daze saying over and over, “OMG, this is unreal. Deb are you ____serious, you are so blessed today.” I said a few more things too, but I am working on cleaning up my language for a PG13 blog. I continued to walk around the multiple hangers on the property, which was packed with aviation from the past and present. Many of the planes were regular fliers, as I could smell the fresh kerosene and AV gas with oily residue from several dripping radials. If today were my last day on this earth, I would fly to heaven with wings of a happy heart. I am so thankful to be gifted an hour of aviation delight today in the middle of nowhere. Driving today with no expectations, I stumbled across a secret aviation Texas treasure.
Earlier today as I left Starbucks in Wichita Falls I spotted this little jewel in a parking lot at Lowe’s and said to myself, “Deb that little shed would make a perfect writers bungalow at Ft. Bragg.” I am allowing space today for the natural ebb and flow of my life as things unfold without me questioning everything or having to have all the answers for tomorrow. I have 50 something teachers and administrators waiting for me in the morning who are all wanting to learn how the brain prefers to learn. Well I have some new stories to share with them, as I have just spent 30 days in the car learning a lot more about how my brain, heart, and soul prefer to live and learn. I plan sharing a few funny road warrior stories about how the brain reacts to stress and how important it is to breath before making important decisions.
May the Journey Begin within You
I will go work for a day so I can continue to play for the month of July. I am ready for another road trip and look forward continuing my Post Card from the Edge travel blogs.