In Cody, WY tonight, the Rodeo Capital of the World.  Two days and two nights on Amtrak and now that I have the chance to sleep in a real bed again — lying down, no less — I’m too wired to sleep. 

My mom and I are staying at her sister’s home, located at the foot of two magnificent mountains.  I stepped out briefly during the sunset, and stood in their backyard in awe of the combination of dark rock against blue sky holding white clouds reflecting golden sunlight.  And in the background of it all, I could hear the rodeo starting up just a few miles away, the announcer’s voice and cheering crowd and national anthem carrying clearly through the dry air.  I’m out west, no doubt about it.

I met a woman on the train this morning who was a nun for 17 years.  She understood my life on the commune better than anyone else I’ve met at random.  We sat down at breakfast together in the dining car and traded stories about our lives.  Sharing income and living space were nothing new to her, and taking on a new name is something that nearly every new sister takes part in!  In the same way that I had become Phoenix, she had become Sister Mary Mark.

Three days away, and I already miss Twin Oaks.  Tonight we sat out in my aunt’s hot tub, and I wore a bathing suit I had grabbed from Commie Clothes (our free thriftstore) the morning I left.  This was the first time I’ve worn a bathing suit all summer!  And I’m self-consious about my commune-funk smell, especially on public transportation when I have to get something from my bag in the overheard compartment.  Every time I lifted my arms I was acutely aware of any coughing or sniffing noises from the people around me.  I showered the morning I left, and even wore deoderant(!) and nice essential oils for the sake of the people on the train, but I think I still ended up smelling like I live on a farm.  Which I do…

Starting to get tired.  I’m going to go lay down in a bed now, in stark contrast to sitting in the train seat and leaning against the window with the too-cold air conditioner blowing on my face.  Mmmm… sleep…

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