i have phobias which developed yesterday at the hand of f2fb friend #148 jose rios who took me to hike outside of los angeles. we walked–los angelenos use their cars so much i was surprised at his bipedalism–to the top of a ridge at the topanga state park and met six hikers. the hikers were nervous about continuing through a field because of bees. the california park service had very helpfully put up a notice that the alternative route was where the mountain lions lived.
leaving the hikers, we walked through a field of tall grasses with our arms up over our heads–the bees like vuvuzelahs at a south african soccer field. they got in my hair and in my eyes. i regretted angel perfume. i wondered if i could call dr. stern back in chicago and have an epipen airlifted in. new phobia: apiphobia!
we then ended up on a ridge overlooking the palisades canyons. fear of falling off a cliff–or perhaps just straightforward fear of heights–acrophobia.
i thought “what a nice view, what a nice walk, do we have to go back through the bees?” but no, there was more. we continued down into a forest and when he pointed out a lizard resting on a branch, i realized there could be snakes (ophidiophobia). then we followed a rocky stream (potomaphobia, but only because i was worried i was going to fall on the rocks). then we found a cave.
in the cave, there were two notebooks that people had written in. some of the stuff was quite personal. really, annie l., do we need to know how you lost your virginity?
still, i thought “nice cave, time to go home, maybe go to starbucks, didn’t i see one along the way?”
but we were just starting. there was a climb up the face of a mountain and a couple of times i lost my footing. i definitely lost my memory of latin so we’ll go with the english versions: fear of slipping on rocks, fear of falling off a cliff, fear of the manson family who killed sharon tate in this same area, fear of other mass murderers, fear of mosquitoes bearing dengue fever, fear of poison oak and poison ivy, fear of that weird thing that turned out to just be a stick.
the night before, i had been with f2fb friend #147 cathy mccormick–she’s a transplanted winnetkan who now lives in manhattan beach. she is training as a master reiki spiritual healer. she’s applied to the university of santa monica to work on her master’s in spiritual psychology. she is also associated with the ten mary’s, a group of evolved women who come together to network about healing and other arts. cathy wants to work with empowering midlife women, particularly those in abusive marriages such as she endured.
at the end of dinner, cathy walked with me out onto the beach and she put her hands on either side of my head and used her energy to heal and empower me. i felt sort of like we were flying together, but that might have been because i had taken my shoes off and i was sinking in the sand. also, i had had three sierra nevada pale ales with dinner.
but when jose said our little two hour constitutional was a preamble to the hard part, i really wanted to believe that cathy’s healing powers were going to work. i would be bold. i followed jose up into a narrow passage where we crablegged over to another ridge and then . . .
coming back, i did slip and almost fell backwards into a gorge. but otherwise, i was feeling great. the bees rose up in a cloud to greet me. we came back up to where the dithering hikers had dithered. that’s when i noticed that the mountain lion signage didn’t specify a choice: the mountain lions were everywhere but hey, that was just part of the scenery!
jose is an artist and filmmaker. he worked on three films with eastman–he and i hadn’t seen each other in nearly six years. he makes some of his artwork with things he finds as he hikes.
jose was once romantically involved with another facebook friend jen messer who lives in los angeles but is now in chicago. and when i’m in chicago she’s in los angeles. i’m starting to develop a complex. cathy was and may still be romantically involved with f2fb friend #3 mike castagna. although jose and cathy have never met, i believe they worked together to make this incredible adventure! for a while, as a very dirty sweaty tired me headed back for the safety of my redondo beach motel, i thought “i can do anything!”
except deal with the 405 or pacific highway traffic!