I'd vaulted over creosote bushes, loving their scent. Overcame a lifelong fear of heights so I could trim olive trees. I'd discovered - what?
I didn't know what the "what" was that I'd discovered but figured if I went back, I'd find out.
By the time summer school and the first Silt Pile workshop ended, I'd managed to let myself get so dehydrated, literally and figuratively, that I'd turned myself into a ready candidate for auditory and visual hallucinations. (Awfully simple way to make oneself quite ill is forgetting to drink enough water, especially in a climate as arid as Arizona's.)
My gentle parents did their best to cope. My mother farmed me out to a friend of hers who worked as an anaesthesiologist at the local hospital. Jeannie's useful house rule for guests was that the bed one slept in had to be made in the morning before one left one's room. Good habit to get into. Aside from that, she had no rules for me and was at work the afternoon of the day I tried to rescue a bird, a fledgling that had fallen from its nest. The terrified creature shuddered and died despite my silent wailing hope for its salvation.
Jeannie let me go home to my folks at the end of the week and I don't recall ever seeing her again.
I never thought to thank her for her conscientious rule-setting.
I'm not sure the psychiatrist I agreed to see was quite as conscientious. A nice-enough fellow, I suppose, but one I must say I was singularly ill-equipped to handle. When he took out a cigarette, a habit I had come to think of as odious and was loathe to tolerate in anyone, he was history. Especially since he was a medical guy who, presumably, ought to know better. How could anyone - me, in this case - trust a doc who was addicted to tobacco? (This particular form of arrogance has stayed with me, but I've learned to be forthright. I temper my distaste with an admission to the poor bloke I'm accosting so my rant now goes something like: I'm a strong-minded broad - or dame, depending upon whom I'm addressing - who wants health and happiness for all. So why are *you* doing that? Occasionally, believe it or not, this tactic has proven successful: the person confronted by self-righteous me has actually managed to give up smoking. Ha!) But I digress. To get back to where we were:
Overall, I didn't socialize much that fall although I did manage to hold conversations with a few friends: Barbara, whom I'd met at CCNY; Ben, who'd been in the Silt Pile workshop at Cosanti and came to NY from LA to visit. Most all my old pals from high school had pretty much moved away and I was not in the mood to seek out and meet new people. I didn't think I was avoiding people, but I had nothing simple or straightforward to say to anyone, preoccupied as I was with a hyper-reality most people I knew did not seem to be conscious of.
"The stopping of Becoming is Nirvana" I heard myself saying, one day. Now, where had that come from? I had no idea.
I'm not sure exactly when my hyper-state abated, but it did. When it did, I packed myself up and once again headed west.