Dawn’s earth mother tendencies intensify in the few weeks after the annual Third Eye Consciousness Journey, a 23 mile hike along the central coast of California, led by a married couple she knows from her Ecology grad program, who now run a beet farm near Rio del Mar.
She comes back gloriously tanned, dreamy eyed, and resembling an Olsen twin circa 2005, bescarved and wild haired. She pays you an unannounced visit on a Wednesday afternoon, bringing you a carob chip edible and a mix cd she’s made special for you. “It’s mostly Vashti Bunyan and Tuvan throat singing” she lets you know, in a voice delivered the same way as saying “you’re welcome” On the disc, she has written “play this LOUD” in a whimsical scrawl. She stretches out on your hardwood floor and stays that way, stretching in various positions ranging from languorous to rigidly focused, like she’s trying to re-open her Third Eye again, right here and now. You wonder if you should get her a birthing towel. She is fluid, then stiff, then fluid again, but ultimately she seems happy. She tells you about how Johnny and Delilah, her beet farmer spirit guides, gave everyone a stone at the beginning of the hike and told them to smooth it with their fingers whenever they felt tired or anxious, to treat it as one with their bodies, a lightning rod for all of their negative energy. On the last night of the journey, they all threw these stones they had become so intimately bonded to into the Monterey Bay.
Dawn looks up at you from the floor, her eyes vivid with exhilaration. Your heart kind of melts, because even though she is speaking mostly in monologue and overusing the word “transcendent”, she genuinely seems relaxed and satisfied, something she almost never is. With Dawn, there is always a cause to fight for, an environmental loss to mourn, and while you don’t discredit her for caring, and admire her for working so tirelessly, you wish she could enjoy herself more. You wish she wouldn’t eat a Lara bar for dinner most nights before falling asleep on her couch at 1:00 AM while assembling the next mailing list for whatever fundraising initiative she’s entangled in.
Rolling around on your floor, covering herself with dust, she suddenly snaps to attention and says she has to go, she’s meeting a man in Bushwick. She met him on the Journey, and they were pleased to find they live only 5 stops away from each other on the L. She gives you a long, dry kiss on the forehead before flouncing out of your apartment.
It’s only 5:30, so you have some of the pot cookie she brought you. It’s a strong one, her exact words were “these drugs be potent!” so you just break off a corner and eat it with some milk. Still, within 50 minutes you are hyperventilating in your bathroom, staring at your forehead acne in the mirror and contemplating calling your mom. Struggling for your bearings, you run hot water into a washcloth and curl up in your bed with it. Dawn’s mix cd is on your bedside table, so you pop it into your laptop. As Vashti Bunyan’s pillowy, sixties-rich voice fills your room singing “Just Another Diamond Day”, the hot vapor from the washcloth guides you into a swirling daydream of Dawn standing on a rocky cliff, wearing this long dress. The wind is whipping her ombre hair around her face, and she is holding meaningful, spiritual objects in her hands. A conch shell, and…I don’t know, a gourd. She turns to you with purpose, looks you in the eyes and says “I told you, Transcendent”.