Of Airplanes and Amethysts

April 21st, 2019 - posted under: Furthermore » Inspiration


I want to tell you a story.

It’s a bit of a long one, and tangential too, but please bear with me because this story encapsulates basically everything I love about being a random lump of flesh floating on a green rock in outer space, about this beautiful Universe, about happenstance and coincidence and chances, about synchronicity and everything sacred, and also, about really nothing at all.

It’s about how my little family ended up traipsing across the wild and desolate California desert, in the middle of literal nowhere, following one of my wildest dreams and hunting for 26-million-year-old crystals. I don’t believe in fate, not for one second. But I do believe that we all have the power to drive forward into our own fantastical futures.

So here’s the story of how I drove us into this one. And it starts on an airplane, in 2013, with this really annoying businessman who kept buying rounds of drinks for the entire row . . .


LA to Portland. It was a late-night flight. He’d probably already had a few in the airport bar. I was excited, returning to Portland for the first time since I’d moved away, and for the Vida Vegan blogging conference no less. I was in for a week of old friends and new friends and great food and so much fun, so even though I’m antisocial by nature (introvert power!), on this particular flight I was feeling a bit chatty. I was seated on the aisle, then in the center seat was a woman, and then next to her at the window was our libatious benefactor. He just kept buying rounds. So we chatted.

The woman. Kim. She’s hard to describe. Kim is VERY intense. Kim has opinions and you’re going to hear them. And she’s a real badass. Of the “No, I REALLY don’t care what you think of me” variety. And you know she means it. At the time, she was working overnight security on the Metro, Portland’s public transit system. Basically, Kim is fuckin’ metal.

We talked all the way to Portland. Don’t ask me why. I never talk to people on planes. Never. Like, as a policy (introvert power!). But something was different that night. I talked with Kim, and sort of with Drunky McDrunkersons, for the whole flight. And by the time we were landing, she and I were becoming Facebook friends. Another thing I just don’t do.

My sister picked me up at the airport, and I went off on my merry way. I never saw Kim again. That was 2013, remember.

But Kim and I stayed Facebook friends for 5 whole years. I followed along with her life and she followed along with mine. We shared a lot of the same politics, and she’s very outspoken. I appreciated that. So even though we’d only met the once, she somehow made it past all of my [many] Facebook friend purges. 5 years!

And somewhere along the way, Kim began posting handmade jewelry. By then she had moved out to Las Vegas, and she was learning how to silversmith — making her own jewelry. And she was fitting the pieces with crystals that she had mined herself, in the desert.

I was enthralled.

Then, one day in February, 2018, Kim posted some photos of these deep purple amethyst clusters that she had collected the day before. I commented on the photos, asking where she found them. “A mountain,” she said. “I can’t say where …”

I replied that I understood, it was just such a dream of mine. Maybe someday. And to my total shock she responded “You can totally come with us! You just can’t put the location on social media.”

Oh my god.

That was in February, and it just so happened that we were deep in the process of planning our Spring Break Desert Road Trip for the end of March. With a little reconfiguring, we might actually be able to make that happen.

Oh my god.


And that’s how it came to be. This thing, that I never in my wildest dreams thought was possible. It actually happened.

That March, Waits and Jeremy and I woke up at dawn in a strange, surreal little truck stop/casino on the California-Nevada border. Our trunk was stuffed with pick axes and shovels and Gatorade, just as Kim had instructed.

We met her, and her husband Brandy, in the parking lot. A reunion after 5 years. And then we were off, caravanning into the desert, to a secret location. To a mountain. In the middle of absolutely nowhere.







We had to hike for miles just to get to the right place. Carrying everything.

Waits was such a trooper. It was a full day of work, dawn to dusk. Hiking and digging, it was aching work under the relentless desert sun. No shade, no respite.

And we loved every single second of it.

It’s hard to describe the majesty and the magic that I felt out there. Absolute quiet. Heat like a heavy blanket. Screaming muscles. Stillness. Standing shoulder-deep in a vein, covered in dust and sweat and sticky prickly plants, broken fingernails and scraped skin reaching deeper into the earth. Wrapping my fingers around something so pure and precious, 26 million years in the making.

It was so powerful. Indescribably powerful. Transcendent.



So, that’s my story.

I never would have imagined, when I accepted that drink from that annoying businessman and started talking to the loud, no-bullshit lady next to me, that the story would have led me to this day.

You just never know. You just never, ever know.


♥ ♥ ♥

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