I was at my lowest of the trip. I was no longer holding a sense of mastery about anything. In the last three weeks I had disconnected from the completely normal life I had been living. I knew how to get around the city, I was good at my job, I had a condo with city plumbing and water, money, etc. but because of the Revolution Tour I was in the middle of learning, growing and stretching every day. Nothing was normal, including my body. The week prior instead of having a bridge in my mouth replaced to cover a missing tooth I was told that I was going to lose the tooth that would hold the new bridge. Now that meant two missing teeth. Yes, they are two back teeth but I could see it and I felt it when I smiled. Since the surgery, I caught myself smiling and then withdrew thinking the person I was talking to noticed. I even commented one night in my pain that I wasn’t sure there was a guy out there that would find me pretty any more. Of course I could get implants but that was months and money down the road. My confidence felt like it had been flushed down the toilet. Things I could normally count on, like my previously long locks of hair were gone and my very curly hair was just turning to frizz the closer I got the coast. There was nothing familiar about my days or appearance. I also was feeling defeated when it came to backing up my trailer, unsure I had the moxie to complete this trip and to top it all off I was in excruciating pain the last hour of our drive. When my back is hurting that much, I try not to dwell on the tumors and focus instead on healing and compassion. This pain was also part of my new normal. All things combined to form a heavy burden as I pulled in the drive to get our site assignment.
As Emily ran into to get our paperwork I was working on giving myself a pep talk about backing in. I had backed into three other sites with some assistance but in this emotional space I just felt like all my mojo was gone. I took a deep breath and said, I can do this but would be grateful if there was someone there who could assist us. Emily hopped back in the truck to report that the camp host wasn’t around to help us. I heard a small pop as I pulled away from the office toward our campsite and dismissed it as a stone. We had to wind our way down a very small road lined with trailers on both sides. All of them Perpendicular sites, which are my least favorite. I keep breathing and asking everything around me for help. I see our site and make the wide to turn to begin backing up. As I started to back up, which Emily assured me I was lined up and heading in the right direction, I had a complete anxiety attack. In my panic, I see a guy nearby on a tractor. I yell to Emily, “PLEASE, go ask him for help”. She ran over and pleaded with him for any help he might be able to offer us. He got off his tractor and came over. It was then I noticed that small pop wasn’t a stone, it was bolt that had gone through my tire and it was losing air fast. If someone didn’t get that trailer backed in that space ASAP I would be left there blocking the way at 5pm on a Saturday night until who knew when.
He came over and we talked for a bit and I explained the situation with the tire and was doing my best to hold all the tears in my eyes. Thankfully he was able to jump in my truck and get it into our space with the last remaining air in the tire. While I was so grateful for his help, I was too caught up in my own dialogue to feel it. My anxiety attack was appearing as the sign that it was time to just end this adventure. I have always been the one to get things done, dig deep, push through and for the first time I was defeated. I stood there watching him back up the trailer and rather than feel a sense of relief, I began to raise the flag of surrender. Yes, I had been defeated. I had practiced so many times with the trailer and was now facing the truth that perhaps my neurological deficiencies caused by the tumors in my spine or the white spots on my brain were an obstacle I couldn’t overcome. If I couldn’t back up this trailer, the trip was over. Emily was terrified to drive the pick-up, how was she going to manage backing up a trailer when me, the great overcomer couldn’t do it? I was supposed to take care of my family and I couldn’t.
I began the walk over to our space to thank him. As he got out of my truck, his energy hit me. There was a calm, kindness about him that left me feeling no shame. He held not judgment over the situation, only kindness emanated from him. He was a cowboy for sure, wrangler jeans and his hat. Visually he was a combination of Sam Elliot and Kevin Costner in his role on Dances with Wolves. Normally, guys with jewelry didn’t even catch my eye, but the way he wore it was beyond attractive. An engraved silver band on his wrist with a woven leather cord wrapped neatly around his neck that sat right above his collar bone. Suddenly, I wasn’t thinking so much about my surrender but in my appearance. I hoped I looked better than I felt. I smiled and said thank you. His voice seemed to settle upon me like a hug of reassurance. He looked at the tire and told me that the Costco Tire Center might be open on Sunday but that I may have to wait until Monday to get the tire repaired. I thanked him again and as he turned to leave, he said. I get off work in about 45 minutes, can you wait that long? I smiled and said yes, he said I’ll be back and we’ll get that tire changed.
I spent the next 45 minutes walking Lucy, and unpacking the jack from the truck and getting the spare released from the holder. True to his word he showed back up and the anxiety was leaving me and gratitude was fully present. We visited as he changed the tire. Talked about his life on the ranch growing up, the reason I was taking this trip and how I was feeling when Emily ran over to get his help. It was then I looked down and saw an Owl Feather tattooed on his arm. Owls have been a long term spiritual messenger for me, many times in my life Owls have shown a path through the dark leading me, guiding me and telling me to trust my intuition. Seeing the Owl feather on his arm was a new sign, it was a sign of love from the Universe. My spiritual messenger was here with me and was going to help me out of this dark place. He got the tire the changed and I assisted where I could. As we worked together I noticed something else about our energies. It all seemed to flow so easily, there was none of the bravado I had come to know from so many men threatened by my independent nature.
As I held out my hand with the lug nut, I felt the spark of chemistry as he reached to take it from me. He seemed to understand the anxiety about backing up the trailer and also connected to the embarrassment one feels when showing up at an RV park and having everyone watch the struggle. I then began to share with him the reason for the trip and the magnitude of me not getting the backing up and then said “When I first walked up, I knew there was something more going on in that pretty head of yours”. He gave me this long look and said, “It’s going to be alright”.
After the tire was changed, I offered to pay him, and he refused. He said his Momma would not be pleased if he didn’t do all he could to help others. He told me he felt like that is why he was on this earth, to help others. We visited some more and I asked if I could at least buy him a beer. He agreed to let me buy him a beer and I was getting ready to take mental note of a long description of what kind of microbrew he wanted but of course he wanted classic Coors. This made me smile because Coors is the simplistic classic I grew up with. I felt like I was being transported back to a simpler more innocent time. It was at this point, we introduced ourselves. I said what is your name? He took off his glove and apologized for not introducing himself sooner. “My name is Rogan”. I said, “Thank you again, Rogan. My name is Melissa”. As he went to go lift the tire in the back of my truck he said, “You know what? I can fix this tire for you. Would you mind if I took it home and brought it back tomorrow?” I couldn’t get over his kind generosity. I replied with a smile, “That would be wonderful, but you’ve already done so much and I don’t want to take up any more of your time.” He replied, “It’s not a problem for me” We laughed some more that I had beer to go buy and said I see him tomorrow. So off he went with the tire and Emily and I went to work getting the trailer set up. She came over and smiled at me and we gave each other a hug and sigh of relief. This crisis had passed but I told her it didn’t fix the big problem and I really needed to talk with her that night.
I don’t think more than an hour had gone by and here came Rogan with my tire. Bolt removed and tire repaired. I hadn’t even had time to go shopping for his beer. He laughed and said you don’t owe me anything. I told him it would make me happy to do something nice for him and again we agreed, that I’d see him tomorrow. As he walked to leave he stopped in front of Emily and looked her in eye and told her to take care of me. Somehow, I had hoped those words would come to life because I was growing weary of the “take care of everyone” role I had played for so long.
It was time to sit down and let the heaviness in my heart surface. I told Emily about the weight I was feeling about my inability to overcome and back up. How it was stressing me out to the point that I felt like if I couldn’t get it then the trip had to be over. I was crying profusely that after all my previously trying I was no longer confident I could get it. I was getting angry, this trip was my last ditch effort to fight for a life I wanted- a life that would hopefully heal me. I didn’t want this to be over, but I didn’t know what else to do. After I got out those big tears, I said, “I’m not going to give up, we are going to leave early when we check out and get over to that Costco parking lot and I’m going to get this. We are going to watch so many YouTube Tutorials and if I can’t get it, then we either need to get a vehicle I can manage or end the trip”. Then the tears started to fall again.
Emily then took my hand and said, “Mom, this trip isn’t going to be over. This stress is not helping you heal. This trip is meant to heal you. You won’t learn to back up, I WILL.” As the Mom who has sheltered her and provided for her as single Mom since she was in 4th grade was now looking at my 21 year old daughter with the hope her words would come true but she had hardly driven the pick-up and while I hoped she could master backing up, my confidence was minimal. I felt a little ashamed that my mood had brought me so low, I looked at her again. I saw something different, her eyes were steady and sure and this wasn’t my child but my best friend fighting for me. She said it again, “MOM, this is no longer your problem. It is my problem and I’m going to get this!” I started to believe her and the relief began to flood over me. Her steady determination was lifting the weight. I tossed that surrender flag aside and hugged her with everything I had. We needed to go grocery shopping and get some dinner. As we left, she took the truck keys and said, “I need to get better at this”. It was no longer going to be up to me to carry her, she officially crossed over into adulthood. WE were going to make this trip happen together.
We had a great time out shopping and got back that night with my heart feeling hopeful and light. As I was falling asleep, I said to her….”I have a crush on that guy” and she practically yells…”MOM! He has a broken/ missing tooth too!” and we just laughed. I had noticed it, but didn’t care. His energy and spirit spoke so much more than any injury to his body. I then sighed again and said a big thank you to the Divine for showing me that missing teeth were not an obstacle for people who look with their hearts and spirits. The right guy out there wouldn’t be stopped by my missing teeth.
The next morning before we set out, I wanted to write Rogan a note and tell him how much his help had meant to me. I wrote to him about Owls and how when I saw his Owl feather at a time when I was hitting an all-time low of the trip. The Owl feather was a whisper from the Divine that I was not alone and was being seen and guided in this challenge. After I finished the note, I walked around looking for him because while I promised him a beer, I wanted him to have this note sooner than later. I walked all over that morning trying to chase him down. I missed him by less than 100 feet a couple of times. I didn’t want to leave the beer with others around as I didn’t want to cause him trouble at work. It was all neatly disguised in a reusable shopping bag but I still felt the need to be discrete. After several missed tries, I decided I would catch him when we got back that afternoon. We had such a good day exploring the coast and got back really late that evening, too late to catch Rogan. I knew I would need to catch him the next morning as we were leaving.
I was out walking Lucy and I saw him. I told him I had something for him before we left that morning. He said I could just leave it with our neighbors and I could get it after work. I thought he must be married or have a girlfriend because he didn’t seem too interested in saying goodbye. I was sure that the crush was one sided. I refused to be disappointed because the gift of seeing that Owl Feather tattoo was so touching and more than that, the situation ushered in a new energy between Emily and me. I felt like Emily and I were becoming a team on the trip. We headed back to the trailer to get everything all packed up and it wasn’t long before I heard his voice, “I wanted to come and tell you how nice it was to meet you, Kim.” I wasn’t sure where the confusion over my name had come from but I sure wasn’t going to spend last few minutes with him pointing it out. He then went on to say more things about how much he wished good things for me and if I ever came back that way to be sure to look him up. I told him how grateful I was for his help and that I wrote him a note about the owl feather tattoo on his arm and it may make him cry. He said, yes it’s a pretty special tattoo. He then proceeded to say “Didn’t I tell you about it?” I said “no” and then he told me about how his daughter and he had a long distance relationship and they told each other that whenever they saw a feather that they would know the other was thinking of them. He then told me that he got the tattoo after she passed and he had her ashes put into the ink that was put into the Owl feather. At this point, no words would come past the lump in my throat. I reach out with my hand and gave that tattoo a one handed hug and told him that now I was the one who was going to cry. I walked over to the truck to get the note and he took the whole bag and we hugged good bye. It was a hug filled with emotion and energy, it sunk deep in my skin and I felt it long after it had ended. I left my phone number in the note and hoped he’d call me, I was sure at this point my crush was no longer one sided.
We were all packed up and ready to check out. As we pulled the trailer back up the hill to the office, I notice Rogan stopped at the gate and handed a feather to the attendant. I am beaming. I figured he must have gone and read my note, and was gifting me this beautiful feather as a sign of his affection. Rogan drove off before I could reach the attendant. The attendant walks over to me and I said, “I’m guessing that feather is for me?” He hands it to me and I ask him if he needed anything from us prior to check out. He gives us the all clear and we drive away. With my feather in hand, the crush has turned into a full on mystical experience. I have always loved it when a guy would bring a flower, but this was the first time a guy had given me a feather!
I looked at the feather and wondered how long he had it, I wasn’t sure what kind of feather it was. It was large and didn’t look like my Owl feathers but if had been loved a lot then it might be. I knew it was a big bird for sure, I told myself it must be a well-loved Owl feather, because of our conversations about Owls. As much as I wanted to stay in that moment, Emily and I had an appointment with the Costco parking lot to practice backing up before it opened.
We quickly decide the Costco parking lot had too many cart corrals for our comfort and we head over to a movie theater parking lot. YouTube knowledge in hand, advice from many and Emily still has that determined look in her eyes she goes to work practicing. Each time we evaluate what worked, what failed and how to fix it. The one problem we can’t get figured out is how to correct or prevent the jack knife. After about an hour, an older man with a cane walks across the parking lot and starts criticizing Emily. It takes a tremendous amount of grace to not want to snap at him. He continues to tell me what a poor job she is doing, and I ask him “Are you a good teacher? Do you know how? We sure could use some help” His silence was all the answer I needed. He then softened, “It looks really hard”. I replied, “It sure is”. He then starts to walk away and says “Good luck”. At this point, we had attracted the attention of the local police too.
The officer pulls up and I ask him if we need to move. He says “No, but I can see you are practicing and each of those light poles is about $10,000.00 if she misses.” He tells me about this massive abandoned parking lot just down the road that would give us all the room we need. I thank him and we head down the road to find this dream come true parking lot. But before we get started, I call up a friend who is a professional truck driver to help us through our list of unsolvable questions we’ve acquired. He gives us advice and we go to work. Very quickly, we discover that his advice is not fixing our troubles. She still can’t get it into our pretend space. After another hour of practicing I decide to call up my soul sister farmer friend.
Julie immediately identified our problem with the short hitch and said by the time you realize you need to correct, the jack knife has happened. She then tells us since we have such a large parking lot to forget about getting into a specific spot and practice backing up in circles. Practicing backing up in a circle will teach you how your trailer and truck work together, to learn to correct and give her the muscle memory she needs. So we get out there and the circle was a miracle. Within two hours, Emily was backing up like a pro! Nailing each target and we are jumping around the parking lot, dancing, shouting and laughing. Woot! Woot! She did it! The trip was ON and she was going to do all the backing up. This was so great.
We take Lucy for a quick walk and I think to myself, I would kind of like to try to see if I can tackle it too. Emily tells me she will help me so I jump in the truck and here comes a campus police officer driving like a maniac across the parking lot. As he comes to an abrupt stop, I can sense he feels like we are some hardened criminals he needs to subdue. I keep my calm and ask him if we need to leave. I can feel his energy and adrenaline from 100 feet away and hope that my respectful, calm energy will help him as well. He instructs us we need to get off the campus property as we were trespassing. I tell him that I was sorry and we didn’t know because another officer had sent us to this parking lot. In all this adrenaline driven bravado he demands what kind of officer told us we could be there. I’m at a bit of a loss as how to describe the officer so I attempt my explanation and he interrupts and asks more questions about what we’re doing and why etc. He then tries to soften but his adrenaline has hold of him and he then says “That other officer is a harbor police not a campus police and he doesn’t have authority to tell you to come here”. I apologize again, and tell him we will leave immediately. He still is trying to get off his adrenaline high and says as we put on our seatbelts. “Now don’t leave mad, I just can’t let you stay here”. I tell him, I understand and apologize again for the disturbance. I thanked him and we drove off. The Universe once again, had something important to teach me. It wasn’t my turn or time to master backing up, it was Emily’s time. It was no longer my time to have to do everything, help had arrived and this time rather than a loving Owl Feather it came screeching in on 4 wheels and a badge!
In those four hours of struggles and triumph I transitioned from protecting Emily to respecting her. She stood in the gap when I needed her and obviously was blessed by the Diving to hold the title as the official backer upper of the Revolution Tour. There was a lot of growth that day, for both us. She took responsibility as an adult and I let her fly. As we drove down the road the day, there were a lot of smiles and laughter. I tucked that feather into my hair and felt happy for all the wonderful things that had transpired in the last two days. I even let go of the shame of my meltdown and panic attack, if I had not asked for help I wouldn’t have met Rogan. Emily and I wouldn’t have made it such a priority to conquer the struggle of backing up. I accepted that everything was as it should be, not that it needed my nod of approval but the peace and joy expanded in the space of acceptance.
I wondered if Rogan was thinking of me and wanted to know the story behind my feather. It was a week before he called me. He left me a voice message regarding the mix up of my name. That night as we were talking on the phone he told me about how I had touched his heart. I asked him about the feather, he got all choked up because the attendant for whatever reason told him I hadn’t received it. Maybe because he thought it was for “Kim” but it didn’t matter because he was so relieved that I had gotten the feather. I asked him what kind of feather it was and how long he had it before he gave it to me. He then told me that it was a hawk feather and for the first time in a very long time a feather had floated down to him and he thought of me instead of the pain of missing his daughter. Now I was all choked up, it was another gift from the Divine floating down to bring joy and a love note not just to me, but to another soul. This wasn’t the first time a Hawk was sent with a message for me and when I contemplated the meaning of Hawks my joy settled in on such a deeper level.
“Hawk is a sign showing how to ride the winds of change, creativity and the power to surrender oneself to Spirit’s guidance.” StarStuff.com
I didn’t know what was going to happen with Rogan and me, but I knew there was a serendipitous whirlwind surrounding us. As we said good night, he told me that a Doe just crossed the road into his yard. If you’ve read my blog about the Deer on my trailer, then you know, I fell in love a little bit that night.