There were times when this was all new to us. We gathered in small enclaves and talked in awed, slightly hushed voices about this mysterious force which seemed to drive us and ignited our senses, showing itself through magical synchronicities, always somewhere on the edge of our dreams, creeping into this world. We all had names and played characters. There was a cafe where we stood, lingering afterwards, drinking coffee and certain of the future and our own pending enlightenments. There were studios where we spent late wine soaked nights in the throes of creativity, bowled over by the sublimity of the mystery. There were times when the roads stretched in every direction and not one had been chosen. Instead, they all seemed wide open.
There were people. The boy with the drum, always on his back. Sometimes, in that old tattered army bag, with three or four tattered hardcover I Ching books, he always had ac couple of rocks. Rocks. Small boulders. Another friend, excitedly talking about modes of sustainable building when it was a new thing, but so ancient. There was that girl, i will never forget the eyes and the way they looked at me. The way we giggled at night while stoned. There was the barrista behind the counter, the ever revolving door, the place in back where we would sit and smoke. The art on the walls that was sometimes mine, but the table I called my office.
There were parties. There were rivers to swim in naked while lying in the sun. There were futures which had not yet been decided and the sheer beauty of the sunset would knock me off my feet and I would be content to just roll with it, rather than trying to make anything of it. What can I learn from youth?
Is there a point when the seed is no longer a sapling, the tree it becomes no longer bends? Am I just one tree or an orchard? Am I one lifetime or many? How often does this life regenerate? What is that sense of awe, that sense of diminutivity? What is that sense of possibilities? And what takes it away?
The world has changed since then. It seems to’ve gotten smaller or maybe I got bigger. It’s problems are grander or maybe the solutions aren’t so easily attained. Responsibilities now tend to gather forces around the periphery of my vision, always making certain I can still see them. Roots appear at the tips of my toes and sink themselves in, glad at last to have found fertile soil while my wings want to stretch, to fly. I find myself always seeking happy mediums. The middle path.
After all, how long can we go and go and go, burning like the sun, like a just born star?
This path I am on is far less defined than it makes itself out to be. And the world is far more mutable than it appears to be. The greatest trick our minds ever pulled on us is making us think that we cannot change them, and that by changing them our reality will not also change.
Master of your destiny. Nothing has changed, only the variables. And even those are more similar than we might realize. The only thing that changes as we get older is our perspective.
Sitting in hot springs at in the early morning sun, drinking tea and feeling myself release into miles away. Dunking into the cold rushing river and then reclining then back into the heat. Millions of particles of mental acquisition suddenly and with great force get blown away by the great shiver which runs through the body as sinking into the tub turns into full submersion.
After a time a few other people arrive and break some of the reverie of quiet solitude with river and air, rocks and heat. Two hippies, girl and boy in wavy fuzzy world. I stay in my space, a solitary tub, big enough for one person. they choose a different tub.
Another fellow shows up. Older guy. Not harming anyone. Chooses a spot. My mind starts considering leaving but it is early yet, the river and water so nice.
A short time later a tall guy shows up. Older. Tight grey mustache. Chiseled facial features but weathered. Styrofoam cup of coffee in one hand, cigarette in other. Knows other guy. Locals.
Guy going on about how he took the day off from work. Is he a fireman? What is this dream I am having? White water rafting rafter float by, ogling the naked people in the hot springs. Hippie dude gives peace symbol. Hippie girl smiles.
Eyes closing again. Difficult to keep open. To say anything. Another sip of tea.
Dude with cigarette bitching and moaning and moaning and bitching. He’d rather complain than enjoy the day. Layers to shed. Voices fading. Then arising.
Guy in hot spring tub talking to him: Yeah, you make sheds? Where do you sell them?
Oh you probably seen them at the Ace in town. Those’re my sheds.
Do you make greenhouses too?
Nah, but it’s not hard.
A greenhouse would be great. I’ve got a great garden.
With the right plans, I could make a greenhouse easy.
Well, since I retired I’ve got a wonderful garden growing. Growing my own food, no pesticides or fertilizers. It’s great. I just planted a cherry tree. You should see the amount of birds in my yard. I think I’m feeding half the birds in the county! They’re beautiful.
Yah should hang some of them spinning reflective things. It’ll scare em away.
Ah, it’s great. The garden, all the birds.
Yeah, spinning reflective things. That’ll get rid of them.
Dude never hears the bit about the birds being beautiful. Still stuck in mental anguish. Perhaps been stuck there most of his life. Makes me consider the moments I get stuck in my own mental anguish and forget about the beauty that surrounds me. The opportunities for growth, love, enlightenment, illumination.
After a bit of time, I take to leave. Wander down river a ways, climbing over rocks, taking leaps and steps like the mountain goat that, some say, is in my blood. Up and over giant boulders, marveling at tiny flowers. Laying on hot rock. More rafters. Watching eddies of water. Thinking about friend whose house burned to ground in Tahoe fires. About my sister and some of her current trials. About my fortune for bringing myself to this place. In this now.
Hungry. Turning around. Making way back along river. More leaps along boulders, over logs and mossy out-croppings, ledges of scrub and over hangings somewhat precarious but invigorating. I consider one more dip in the spring but hunger beguiles so I wind my way back to parking area up above. Eat at car and watch white mini-van with mag wheels pull in and three overweight rednecks get out, with coolers, and descend upon springs.
I decide my time here is through…
Somewhat light-headed. Driving not impossible. Turn ignition.
Winding along back road to spaced out Sun Electric. Classic album. Til I get to highway and it leaves me too slow for acceleration. Put on OK Computer and come back to life. Finally end up with DE9 Closer to the Edit (Richie Hawtin) and feel it tapping against my inner axis. Winding twisting roads through desert scrub, mountains, up up up and down down down up up down up down and out and around and flying.
Up the 395 and wondering what I’ll do before the FMG. I have more than a few hours. Hot. Dry. Maybe would like to swim. Where the hell am i anyway? Nothing for miles. Wide open Owens Valley. Til I get to Lone Pine. Stop to get gas. Looking at map. Kinda come back to life. So hot. And see: Mt. Whitney Portal.
So I am headed for Mt. Whitney. A left out of town at the one light and driving through martian like landscape then up up up and finally the air is getting cooler, mountains looming, trees growing, giant douglas firs, huge bark and I park at the end where dozens of campers, vacationers the like have all descended for their summer vacations. Fishing in stocked pond. Oh what they are missing as I hike up along side water fall. Giant roaring rushing snow melt waters.
I hike up trail to Lone Pine Lake which is at the edge of the wilderness area. I only have a few hours. A six mile round trip hike is good. I take pictures. I breathe deep. I relish the air and the coolness. I relish the alone time and mystical and mental acuity with which I understand these behemoths of stone. Their great grey faces. Their tall trees and delicate flowers. A marmot stares at me for a bit. I take some pictures. Never seen a marmot before.
I go higher up and finally arrive at Lake. Base of trail into higher regions. Lake is a cold mirror reflecting high up sky. Traversing around edge, dancing along rock tips onto wide open granite bald sloping down at angles I dare not test so that the world rolls away from me along wide planar rock face. A tree, alone, twists, gnarled and weathered, but golden now in the sun, it’s grain a million stories of nature and it’s love of and for itself. Stretching arms wide, sitting for a moment. Marveling. Breathing. Laughing. Smiling. This is why I came here. To be reminded. Of what, there are no words. To remember… this deeper region of me. The rocks and earth and trees and winds which are so much my soul. My spirit.
This spirit. One spirit in union with itself. Continuously. One long line of continuity. No coming or becoming. No going away. Changing but never changing. Evolving but always now. Nothing to attain and no heights to reach but always a new moment, always a new realization. This dance.
The sun lowered under the highest ridge, signaling awareness of time and daylight hours. Descending from mountain heights. Sometimes running along trail. High. Mighty. Drawn Upwards. And pulled… back downwards.
Back at car, no bears broke in (signs reading: Cars with food inside will be towed.) Eat a bit and long downward winding road rocking out and feeling alive.
Have dinner in town and then up the road, up near independence, where many of my friends, and so many others are gathering for out Full Moon union.
For the next couple of days:
long hot wonderful day of seeing old friends i’ve not seen in so long…
gorgeous sunset across the mountains and valley…
to hypnotic sounds…
late night hard raging techno…
super funky morning breaks…
and on and on and on…
We are very excited to announce the upcoming reception at Agape in Culver City, CA for Michael’s work, currently showcased at the spiritual center.
We cordially invite you to accompany us at the opening, on Saturday, July 14, 2007 from in 7-9:30 pm. New work will be on display. Light refreshements will be served.
Music will be provided by Tony Khalife, www.tonykhalife.com.
Agape International Spiritual Center
5700 Buckingham Parkway
Culver City, CA 90230
I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message here and
I'll do my best to get back to you as soon as I can.