I’m sick at home with the flu. It’s been trying to catch up with me for weeks but i’ve been dodging it like an son of a bitch. But i could only run for so long. And so here we are. I’m investing some well earned time into my blog today and i’ve been digging into my dark pit of old photographs. Boy, it sure is easy to lose yourself in the past.
When i was little i didn’t play all that much with other children. I was busy playing cowboys and Indians at Mormor & Morfars house. Morfar, as long as i can remember, has always been John Wayne to me. I also thought Mormor was secretly a witch because she had a very questionable broom stick in the garage, but Morfar was Big John Wayne with the personality of an angry buffalo. He was the Duke because he folded the ends of his jeans the same way. My jeans were always too long for me because i was so small — so he’d fold mine too because theres no need to ruin the end of your cowboy jeans if it can be avoided. In Denmark thats what we called Jeans “Cowboy trousers.” Morfar is taller than the mast on a rigger — he also has a burly step to his walk.
He still has/does all these things. It’s one of the many things that early on in my life pointed to something bringing me west. I used to have a small belt buckle with three rope rings on it and in the rope rings was a conestoga wagon, a team of 8 horses and two people riding to a new homestead in the west. Jack and i probably. All this time i carried us on my belt. Until it didn’t fit and i grew woman hips. In England i would make bows and arrows out of sticks and string. And that i could fire a crossbow better than the man who owned it. Even in nursery i remember sitting in a random tube in a hole in the ground wearing big black cowboy boots that didn’t fit (sorry mor — i lied so you’d buy them for me). But i wanted them and i wore them, they must have made a difference considering i live my everyday in cowboy boots. There are many little things in my life that seemed to nudge me towards what was going to happen.
I wanted to share some of my photographs from that life on this blog. I don’t know why i didn’t blog back then. I tried a couple of times but life was getting pretty complicated and i could barely keep up. Surprisingly i also don’t have that many photographs from Texas, but that was because i was so busy living. I’d found life so god damn hard up until that point — but now there was a reason to try harder. To be better. To be a new person and a greater version of me — the me i recognise. And i look at her every day in the mirror now. Though somedays i might not like her face i so appreciate her for what she’s done for me and got me through. I can look at her in the eye and tell her she did the work of a woman who could fly. A person who believed she could so she did.
I’m sure some of you question whether i had anything that stopped me wanting to move to Texas. Yes, i had a few small things in the back of my mind that concerned me but i’ve never been one to listen that well. And i went anyway. Before i met Jack i never wanted to go to America, and i felt terrible for everything the First nations were put through. I wanted no part of that which is why i never wanted to step foot on that land. I didn’t want to move further away from my family either and i so wanted to grow old in Denmark. Sometimes i still do. But i know i’m not meant for that life. I’ve lived so long away from home — that home is anywhere now. If i returned home i would never belong again and it would feel like everything was a dream. The absolute hardest part of moving was giving up my sailing life and it’s still a wound that i scratch at once in a while, but i’m also aware enough to know that that part of my life was supposed to bring me to something better than where i’d been. Sailing was the last beautiful gift England gave me after the harsh years i had where i was. And i got my best friend for life, but i had to leave and move on to find where i was supposed to be. So yes these things can still get on my mind and i still have to work to figure them out but for now I bring to you — Texas as seen through my eyes.
We took a trip out in the snow and now we’re making a mini-western. This winter just got interesting.
Here are some test shots i’ve spent the last 48 hours fixing together.
“Well you could always pull a Captain Call,” – Matt LeBlanc, my maid of honor and our best friend said when we told him how upset we were that Basil died in New England.
A place that isn’t home to any of us. As always, that man is a gift to us and I don’t think he realizes it.
I’ve never thought about where I’ll die, because it never mattered to me whether I lived or not. I figure when I die my bones will be where they lay. I’ll be dust to the wind and no one will mourn because they’ll know how free I am. However, with Basil it always mattered. If I could change one thing I would have walked Basil back to Texas, even if it meant walking right through my shoes. Every stone making me wince but my bloody feet would have carried us home no matter what.
“It’s like I told you last night son. The earth is mostly just a boneyard. But pretty in the sunlight, he added,”
Everything went so fast and suddenly. Just a month ago he was still playing, running and being the beagle he always has been. He never stopped wanting to play, but by the end he just couldn’t. I wanted so desperately for him to feel the warmth of the Texas sunset on his face again, to roll around in the hottest and most dangerous grass of America again — where we all felt safe. After all. Basil was a Texas boy just like Jack. I do wonder if bringing him home in time would have changed anything, but realistically his legs would still have begun to drag, so I don’t know that it could’ve helped — but we all loved Texas. So it just might have.
“I’m glad I’ve been wrong enough to keep in practice. . . You can’t avoid it, you’ve got to learn to handle it. If you only come face to face with your own mistakes once or twice in your life it’s bound to be extra painful. I face mine every day–that way they ain’t usually much worse than a dry shave.”
Those who know me intimately know that I am to be cremated with my favorite book, Lonesome Dove. Jack bought Lonesome Dove for me from goodwill telling me “its a classic and you have to read it.” I remember the day we bought it. We’d had double Daves pizza with bacon and pepperoni, rummaged around goodwill and then ended up in Hobby lobby as we often do.
He didn’t tell me it would change my life. That it would shake every bone in my body and be the worst book hang over I have ever experienced in my entire life.
It took me a while to get around to reading it, because my reading list is from here to everywhere; but I started reading it a few months before we made our big move up north, I read it along the way and I finished it in our first months in our new place. Six months it took me. We were making as big a trip as they were in the book. It is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. Just like Gus — Basil’s legs were ultimately the death of him. I didn’t realize that our ending would be somewhat the same, but it fits that Basil was our Gus McCrae. Because of the two I am definitely Woodrow.
Basil was a wonderful reminder that things can be good and life is precious we just have to realize it. Things aren’t always as bad as they seem.
“It ain’t dying I’m talking about, it’s living. I doubt it matters where you die, but it matters where you live.” Spoken by Augustus McCrae.
A memory that I cherish, that I have secretly treasured all these years is from when we lived in bum fuck Egypt Texas, in the little red brick house with snakes in the piping… where frogs in the yard were the size of a finger nail. The army of coyotes that we lived with sang us to sleep every night and where Basil got addicted to meth.
“The stars in Texas could have been taken from Van Gogh’s Starry night. They shine like crystals freckled across a deep velvet sky and are laced in a fluff of cloud. They bring the coyotes to song and lullaby bluejays to sleep. Crickets hum and tweak somewhere in the brush. When I looked up I was surrounded by a circle of what seemed the worlds tallest trees. The moon danced delicately around; being kissed by stars as it swung by. How small I was here. I was so far from anything familiar. Yet, I think I found it. “It.” What many never find in a lifetime, I found by the time I was 20.
I found me, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t find me in Texas.
So here I stand staring at the sky holding his hand: stars rolling on and time passing. Mosquitoes buzzing and bleeding us dry. Texas taught me that freedom does exist you just have to find it: whether it’s riding in the dusty brush or sitting at the bar with two southern gentlemen talking about absolutely nothing. Jack taught me how to find happiness in the darkest corners, how to fight for love and how to make tacos. Now I’m living in a wild and dangerous country, and everything is trying to eat me alive. Its true, Texas made a woman out of me and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
This was taken from a previous piece I wrote about moving to Texas, and this is the memory that I have been visiting. It wounds me but its a place that I can escape to because it was a moment where there was peace, and we had everything ahead of us. We were three. Though Basil is not mentioned, he is in there. You just have to look. In every word. Every breath. Every single letter — he’s in there somewhere. As much apart of the words as the stars above us or the air we breathed. He was at our feet watching the stars just as we were. Watching us. Knowing probably that one day we’d be ok when he wasn’t around. That little comfort didn’t know how big he was. Truly. That boy could carry the world on his shoulders. He is the tank you wanna ride into war, because he will carry you out. Every time. And he’ll never complain. But he’ll be there. Taking every bullet and every piece of shrapnel.
So as our final thank you to you Basil, we’ll carry you home to Texas. Just as Woodrow Call carried Gus McCrea. We made a promise, and though others may find it stupid or too much for “just a dog”, it was a promise made in utter love. I would do it for Jack and I would do it for you. We’ll take you back to where the stars are so big you could pick them. Where we all were so happy, even through our growing pains. Where we were all so young, so stupid and ready to get out and live. That’s where we’ll all go — and we’ll go together. Like always.
How stupid we were to want to get out and live, when we were already dreaming.
“Yesterday’s gone on down the river and you can’t get it back.”
“Live through it,” Call said. “That’s all we can do.”
Where a cowboy is king and its kinda ok to be stubborn as a mule.
I fit in alright.
Never was i the kind of girl who thought Texans rode to school on the back of a mustang, but i’d be deceiving you if i said i hadn’t hoped that there would some swinging saloon doors in my life.
I’m yet to find those doors swinging, but i found something else.
A place that is better than it ever could be in a book or on the tongue of a storyteller.
There are a lot of misconceptions about the South these days, but i find that you haven’t lived till you’ve made like Davy Crockett and gone to Texas.
Theres never been a home for me that made me realise “this is it. This is where i will die one day.”
When the sun peeks from behind the desert and winks at the piney woods in South East Texas, why theres nothing quite like it. Its burns like hell but you’ll never feel the sun on your face the you feel it there.
When i was younger a lot of the people around me were desperate to run off to America to be the next big film star, or some kind of uppity up in New York. I’d never heard anything so dull. What a typical dream – its been dreamt for hundreds of years, where is their imagination? If you have the power to dream beyond your means why dream of something magic. Having said that a dream is a dream to he who bares it. Then again, if i had had a dream it would be for something far greater far more than monetary success. I’d dream of the land — so deep the moon could swim in it and horses could run boundless for years. I’d dream of a place where the sunset was always singing through the window. There is so much more to life than what instagram or twitter, even facebook tells you.
You don’t need to lose those 10 pounds to be beautiful. If you aren’t beautiful now you wont be then. It isn’t the pound its the mind.
You don’t need those long shifts to get to where you’re going.
You don’t need to suffer to live.
You just need to live.
One deep breath at time.
So when i dreamed i dreamed beyond the stage of the weeping clown that i am.
I dreamed beyond that horizon that swung behind heavy waves as our sails flurried, where two pirates sat eating biscuits under the stars.
I dreamed i would never lose myself to society.
Something i do every day is remind myself what i am and who i feel i’m mean’t to be.
I will feel every footstep under me even when it sucks ass to be alive.
All this brings me to telling you — i never even wanted to visit America. It didn’t interest me whatsoever. I’d closed that off because it was something everyone wanted, and all i wanted was to be left to be exactly as i always had been.
Would that bring me money?
I’d find a way and strangely enough…
And it meant moving to the United States to become a shit kicker.
Something i’d been sure wasn’t for me (the usa … not the shit kicking, who doesn’t love kicking shit?) — was exactly where i was supposed to go.
To experience life on a scale that stretches from here to Uranus.
Be careful what doors you try to close.
We’ll be travelling back to some old haunts in Texas this week, and i can’t wait.
To look at it all again with a fresh mind and a new perspective. Have margaritas with friends, family days on crystal beach and so forth.Hopefully i’ll also get some kind of a kick in the ass to get inspired and work harder on my novels.
But who knows what the future will bring. As long as it eventually brings me back to a place that belongs in my heart — i wont ask for more than that.
I can’t wait to be around familiar places and people.
Call me crazy — but i can’t wait for the heat either.
Yes i will complain about it when i’m there but i love to complain.
Galveston is one of my favourite places in the world.
The colours of the sea side town we know and love.
See you in Texas!