Queen of the Ravine

Yes! Me! The Queen of the Ravine!  What is a Ravine? I am glad you asked!  🙂 

Ravine: a deep, narrow gorge with steep sides, a canyon, a gully,  couloir.

However, this is not just any old ravine, no, this one is just a few steps away from my van.

The scene: Outside doing my laundry, minding my own business…. and whoosh… the wind blows my laundry pod basket into the Ravine! “No…NO!” I cry and without a second thought I head down after it.

Slipping and sliding in a few places, hands in contact with the ground too on occasion… and Ta Da! Reclaimed my basket! 

When I looked up I realized I could not see the van or even the big motor home that was on the other side of the Ravine.  I started muttering to myself ‘if any of my neighbors or friends or, heaven forbid, my son were to see me down here I might get a bit of a tongue lashing.  As one friend seems to be inordinately fond of saying “and you’re doing this because???”  Granted it is usually said when I am attempting to do something which actually is beyond my current abilities…but Arrrgh! 

It is not a very big Ravine nor is it very steep and I did not even go down very far. I used to go rock climbing with my son in a very amateur way. Just clambering around on boulders and ledges when he was a boy. But we called it rock climbing and loved it. So it is not like this was something new.

So what’s the big deal you ask?

Well lets back up for a moment. Four years ago life got really interesting!  All kinds of ailments. (Kanker, {I use K’s, not C’s} Which was at the bottom of my list of things to try) Some ailments were quite bizarre. (Lichen Planus)  Some were down right rude! (Gillian Barre) Some made no sense. (Diabetes)  Hopefully, most just came for a once in a life time visit. (Please note, “visit” implies they are not here to stay!)

The latest on my crazy list is that I appear to be allergic to the 21st century. That’s right. Detergent, perfume, cologne, vehicle fuel, vehicle exhaust, carpet, plastic, elastic, pesticides, cigarette smoke, the list goes on and on and really, who knew a fabric softner dryer sheet could be dangerous? Did you know they actually put anesthesia in them? Seriously, the same chemicals, no joke.

Turns out I am one of many people, with a specific genome, who cannot release chemicals (like the ones found in those items listed above) from the old bod like most folks can. 

(By the way? Please don’t tell my son I used the word “old” when referring to myself!! Boy, then I would really be in trouble!)

Anyway, the chemicals from the fumes of those items are toxic for me.  Contact with them for any length of time will make me ill.  Now let me explain what “contact” means to me.  I don’t have to be the one using those products for them to have a serious impact on my health. 

I can no longer go to church.  Going to the grocery store can be an interesting experience! Too many folks wearing too many of the aforementioned items.  The building itself is often intolerable these days. New carpet, cleaning products, and so forth… nasty stuff. At least it is to me!

In fact, while here at the LTVA, I had an opportunity to play and sing with a group of people who get together on Tuesdays to practice a little and then play together for the other campers on Sundays.   I thought, hey outside! So I tried going to a practice… Yes! It was outside!  Unfortunately, I was unable to stay with the group for the whole rehearsal.  Evidently, 20 people all wearing clothes washed in detergent or, Great Scott, rinsed in fabric softner, sitting that close together was too much for this old girl. 

However.  The good news is that I was able to go!  I have not even been able to play my guitar much at all these last few years, and working up the requisite energy to go somewhere to play took extreme planning. It took me awhile to realize that.  Just like the Ravine!  As another camper told me when I related my story…

   But! You did it! You made it! 

Since I moved out of my apartment (yes, my apartment was also toxic) into my car in June of this year, then my van in October, my health has improved by leaps and bounds! 

There have been several of these …. epiphanys? Perhaps that is too grand a word for what may seem like mere trifles to most people.  But to me?  These were huge steps not only in physical improvement, but also in how I had come to view myself.

Startling discoveries in how much I could do.  Every month seems to bring new levels of achievement!

June – 3 days after I left the apartment I did not have to take insulin any more!  I had gone to stay with some folks from church for a few weeks so I was not even living in my car yet. Plus, the diabetes that showed up after the second Kanker surgery is continuing to get better.

July – Walking thru the store by myself on my own two feet.   (no more power chair for me!)

August – 1/4 mile walk uphill and then back again.  Did not even think about it…just took off!  🙂

September – dragging large sections of fencing across the ground to help the friend who was letting me park and live on her back 40.

October – being able to live in my van, hundreds of miles from friends or family, with just my Bible and Macha for help and company.

November – A one mile walk to the dumpster and back. Yes, I like to take my trash for a walk too!

Then 
December – The Great Ravine! 

There has been something more though.  There is a sense of freedom in this lifestyle.  Now please understand, I lived ‘On the Road’ for years as an entertainer.  So I knew some of the tricks of the trade as it were.

But this…

My beautiful van as my only home… 
Living where I please… 
Moving if I need to… 
Meeting incredibly caring and amazing people… 
Moving if I want to .. 
Astonishing, beautiful sunrise’s and sunsets … 
Vista’s and landscaping provided and designed by the good Lord…

Seeing the beauty around me. Being outside, all day, most days. Seeing the stars out my window each night. Being able to take a deep breath of clean air.  Just being able to breathe!  These are all reminders, for me, of the gift of life.

I have gained a sense of self that I never had before… self discovery has been something I have strived, worked, slaved, and begged for over the years.

But out here… I just am. There is no need for artifice. No mask to wear.  No reason to hide…. It is extraordinarily satisfying to simply be Me.

🙂

Now then all seriousness aside.  You need to understand that I had “finished” this post.  To end on a serious, yet positive note seemed okay.  However…

There are several reasons why I have a hard time maintaining body temperature. Chemically challenged, no thyroid and no heater.  They all affect it.  My temps are almost always low. I just forget that most people don’t know that!  So taking my temperature to try and figure out what is wrong is sometimes an exercise in futility. Except of course to have the proof that, yes, I am cold.  

I was not feeling well and I could not find my thermometer, so I emailed another camper asking if they had one…before I heard back I found mine and let them know.  The following emails got me laughing.   Hope you enjoy this kind of silliness too! 🙂

Me:  Never mind, found it.

AC:  Good. The only one I have has been in a box on top of the trucks’s dashboard for three years or more, as I’d been trying to find a safe way to dispose of it. Original mercury style. Since I now have no other thermometer, maybe I should see if it’s been ruined by being badly overheated.

Me:   Ah I see you use yours often too!! Lol… been wondering if this one is okay…have not used it in a long time … 97.7 last night then 96.4 in the wee hours so it probably is okay.. 🙂 and so am I … well .. at least temp wise!!

AC:  Well, if it is correct, your body temp is dropping, indicating that you may have died overnight and are simply not a very self-aware person. If it goes below 95, email me and we can check your pulse and blood pressure on a gizmo I have to see if you’re still alive. It could affect your stay here at the LTVA. I need to check the Supplemental Rules.

Just made me laugh and chuckle all day.  🙂  Especially since I had just been talking about self awareness in such a serious way.  To get this email just tickled my funny bone!  It could be that this is one of those, “You had to be there moments…” but, I doubt I will ever use the words “Self Aware” again without at least a  chuckle!

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3 thoughts on “Queen of the Ravine

  1. Wow, I can now truly appreciate how this shepherd’s wagon designed without modern chemicals was a Godsend for you.! I love the design and admire the previous owner for his work. Looking forward to more blog posts! My husband and I are figuring out how to live in a 17 foot trailer together.We correograph our movements to maintain our sanity. Enjoying the lessons of living in a tiny space 🙂

    • Hi Sue,

      Living tiny is great in so many ways. But it can be a challenge, even with just Macha and I. I laughed when I read what you said about “choreographing your movements to maintain your sanity”! That is a perfect way to describe how you have to get around inside of a trailer when there’s more than one of you. I am extraordinarily grateful for my beautiful little home-made home. I had been looking for 2 years at other campers and was never able to find anything that would work. Most of them I could not even step into, because the chemical d signature was so strong. My beautiful Little Gypsy is a blessing. I have been doing changes on the inside and changes on my van and I hope to be able to post about all of that soon.

      • Wow, I can now truly appreciate how this shepherd’s wagon designed without modern chemicals was a Godsend for you.! I love the design and admire the previous owner for his work. Looking forward to more blog posts! My husband and I are figuring out how to live in a 17 foot trailer together.We correograph our movements to maintain our sanity. Enjoying the lessons of living in a tiny space 🙂

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