Our friend Kerry lives next to a marijuana grow facility in an industrial warehouse a stone’s throw from railroad tracks and several families of prairie dogs. He’s a woodworker by trade and has lived on this dusty track of land inside of his woodworking shop for a few months now, ever since he and his wife divorced. When we pulled up for the full-blooded harvest equinox moon-shindig I saw that big ass ladder leaning against the shop going straight up to the rusty dilapidated roof. I knew he was going to herd us up rooftop for this momentous event. Kerry does things like build and sleep in ice caves in remote back county, and trek through snow up to his chin to get to a wall of ice surrounded by avalanches. He doesn’t fully comprehend that some of us aren’t wired for heights and speed. Kerry thinks keeping a daily journal as I have for the past 3o years is crazy and dangerous in a whole other way.
Neanderthal Kerry is finally out of the closet since the divorce, admitting to himself and others the frightening, misapprehended truth of his pedigree: he is an Artist (in a world where the artist is, shall we say, not held in the highest of regard, thus the necessity to live in spaces and places with tyvek exposed and insulation dripping from the ceiling.) We artists are, in our best of times, hardy stock; however financially challenged we find ourselves, we have a knack for finding one another in the thickets and turmoil of this branded, homologous pileup called society. We can fire up the weber grill near train tracks and sit quiet as church mice when listening to the screech owls landing in the Back 40. Like prairie dogs, we artists and misfits can dig, burrow, live, and work where the sun don’t shine.
Stacked and stored in Kerry’s studio are his newest creations; table tops that linger through space perched on miniature forests of fanciful shaped wood, another table, delicate and audacious, with edges that flow like a quiet midwest rivulet, inlaid with tiny shavings of graphite. A ten foot slice of an exotic tree stands in the entryway; a hand-carved totem made the day of the last legal showdown, marking the end of Kerry’s 30 year relationship and the beginning of the new life in the shop. Sleeping amongst circular saws, miter saws, wood lathes, and pin routers Kerry has made a comfy nest for himself, cooking on a hot plate and showering at the YMCA.
There we sat; three worshipers, fanatics, zealots of the disparate diaspora of the otherly eating wild caught sockeye salmon wrapped in basil and fire roasted chilies, drinking mead, making fire and conversing about Bosch, listening to Annie Lenox, waiting for the moon.
I climbed up the ladder first. Got to the top rung and stopped. “Just grab on to the cylinder Rebecca and hoist yourself up. You can do it.” Kerry and Patrick keep cheering me on and I get all hypochondriacal and panicky, thinking my heart was pumping too much blood to my ankles, or something strange like that.
It was the juniper mead which created a lightness of body and a perplexing desire to climb to the top of that damn tinny roof. And I did. I spread my arms like a green dragon and shouted up at Luna…..hey can you see me, and all the other tiny dragons out on this night of the great orange harvest? I think she gave me a wink and recommended another glass of mead for the ride home.