Journey to Rainbow: part 2

making medicine en route: anemone tincture in MI

with my elders,Tamarack and Lety at the Teaching Drum in WI

wild bison in Badlands NP, ND 
Opuntia spp. Happy to see cacti again.

The Earth looks like this between the western edge of ND and the eastern edges of MT


We spent more time in Minneapolis than I wanted. I try to keep out of large cities. I would like to become more flexible with my comfort level in diverse situations, but the honest truth remains that I thrive in natural environments and have trouble staying comfy and happy in more citified spaces. I am working on it. Yoga practice that morning was in front of the punk house that we spent the night. A small path runs from the gate to the front door, a small slab of concrete between two square patches of grass teeming with mallows. I placed my mat on the concrete, where I and it fit perfectly. Bowing down over and over in sun salutations, moon salutations, and vinyasa flow, I saw myself bowing to the street, bowing to the sky above the street, bowing namaste repeatedly to the divinity within myself, to the divinity within the road, to the divine line that runs through everything, wilderness intrinsic regardless of external circumstances. And the sun rose, the heat increased, and my sweat flowed.

We drove until 2:30 AM to land in South Dakota at the Badlands National Park. During this trip, we have been leaving around 11 AM each morning, and stopping our journey late in the day. I have been sleeping at around 3 AM almost every night on this trip, and continuing to wake at 6 AM for my yoga practice. Yoga practice has been lovely: because my travel companions sleep so late, I can practice for longer, without having a certain time limit, to go to work. But, only sleeping for 3 hours each night for almost a week takes its toll. I feel exhausted and a little grumpy. I wedge myself into the back of the car and sleep as much as possible on the ride, emerging to read, write, and dream. (My preference is to leave early in the morning to land where I need to go during daylight, and have time to explore and ground before sundown each day.) 

We spend the night in the Sage Creek Campground. I wake to watch the sunrise, pink and glowing over the flat prairie landscape that I've chosen to sleep in, open-air camping in my sleeping bag on my yoga and sleeping mat, right on the Earth, right below the Sky. This is my favorite way to sleep, and I am so grateful for no rain or mosquitoes. Right after sunrise, I pack up my belongings and climb up the nearest hill, which provides a nice bird's eye panorama. We're on the edge of the Badlands, rolling soft green hills, teeming with sage brush, small prickly pears, sunflowers, cedar trees, and bison calmly munching on the landscape and rolling in the dirt. The flowers look like a rainbow. We drive to explore the rest of the park: colorful, dry, medium-sized yet grand rock formations. Breath-taking. I sit down onto a hilly slope to just admire the landscape, walk barefoot onto large dry pink earth mounds, and smile up to the sun. We all get happily sunburnt today. It is our final stop before...

Montana! A feeling of celebration wells up in my chest as we drive into this state. This was the first out-of-state place that I traveled to after my climbing accident in 2006. We are returning to the same area for the Rainbow Gathering, where I'd traveled to so many years before. This whole journey has felt like a returning: first retracing a portion of my first hitch-hiking route from WI to MA, then visiting Teaching Drum again (oh how I love you, Tamarack, Lety, and Drum family!), and now... back to Montana! Back to the West! It feels odd to only stay for a month, to ignore the nearby states that I love so much in the desert southwest, and my state of origin, California. 

Tonight, we are driving all night to get to Bozeman, MT. I am typing on the car, listening to music, typing, and reflecting. I find that I think, dream, and reflect the best while in transit. Movement inspires me. I was very productive in my dream-weaving and big-life-decision making while in transit: especially on the trains crossing India and China. And now, I dream-weave and ideate on a van filled with friends (fellow students) rapidly speeding to my first Rainbow Gathering. 

Thus ends my Journey-to-Rainbow chronicles, for now. Photos will come too, one day. And now, for a week of herbal First Aid, human and nature connection, and new experiences for this year's Rainbow Gathering. 

Jiling . 林基玲 
  . wild . creative . spirit 
  626.344.9140 / skype: Lin.JiLing