When I took them out of the box, the shoes were a shade of cool, stone, the color of ocean churn in the winter. They would not stay like this for too much longer.
“You better break those in before we go,” he said. “I’ll break’em in on the trail,” I said in the cocky voice I use when I don’t want to let him think he’s right.
I strapped them on and clomped around the city and out in the woods in the weirdly mild stretch of weather between Christmas and New Years. I grew up around woods and water and grassy trails, but was never a dedicated outdoors-person in the sense of living to boil water in a tin can over a fire or sleep in the mud (that’s what Woodstock was for, right?). This was my first pair of real, grown-up, hiking shoes. And they were taking me to Sedona, a place that might as well have been Mars for how mysterious and exotic it seemed.
“Sedona?” people remarked when I told them about our travel plans. “Hmm. Why are you going there?” “It’s supposed to be really beautiful. And I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon, so we’re going to take one day to drive out and see it.” I said. It was my stock answer. But what I really wanted to say was “Vortexes.”
When we decided to go to Sedona for vacation I did what every type-A nerd does: I researched the shit out of things. Sedona is home to massive, jillion-year-old red-rock formations and canyons that look like Wyle E. Coyote waits around every turn, his furry paws on the trigger of an ACME boom stick. It’s also a mecca of spas and resorts. It’s also a hot bed of energy Vortexes. Like I said, Mars.
There is a deep spiritualism embedded in the natural landscape of Sedona that attracts healers, psychics, spiritual seekers, and other folks looking to plug into the cosmic current. We passed a tiny, one-room type building advertising UFO Sighting Tours. So there’s that, too.
The Sedona Vortexes are “enhanced” energy sites, which does not make it any clearer, but the gist is they are energy flows that boost prayer, meditation, mindfulness, deep contemplation. If Vortexes were drinks they’d be shots of top shelf tequila. The energy is everywhere, but there are a few places at different rock and hiking sites where the hum is strongest, more pronounced if you’re sensitive enough to feel it. I read this and secretly hope I am.
Admittedly, just saying the word “Vortex” out loud invites images of LOST with its time-jumping island. It reminds me of the early Dr. Who series on PBS and its spooky, blue phone booth. And I feel like a crazy person or at the least like someone ready to pony up her fifty bucks to take the UFO Sighting Tour. I keep it to myself for the most part except to tell a couple of my best friends who “get it.” I pull up a website about the Vortexes to show them that it’s a for real thing and not just something I want to be true. They nod because I think they want it to be true too.
I’m not a seeker in crisis, but I am someone who wants to delve deeper, to get closer, to know what it’s like to reach out a hand and feel the bigger architecture. “Start where you are,” says the great Buddhist teacher, Pema Chodron. Yeah, well sometimes you need to start where your soul wants you to be. My soul is laced up in shiny, new big girl hiking shoes and it is pulling me to Sedona.