Monday, June 28, 2010
Prophets, Rocks, and Rivers
The Human Fascination With Speed
I woke up today ready to ride even though my lungs were only at 80%, but my body felt strong, ready to jump back on Magellan and head north. I rode about 8 miles to get back to Laramie from my host's house. I created some great memories in Laramie. The Coal Creek Coffee shop was my base for the two days I spent there recovering from the intense, near-death cycling journey from Fort Collins. They make a vivid soy chai and the college students who stayed for the summer along with the professional adults enjoy congregating there. So I did a lot of people watching.
The first thing that I noticed is that most everyone had some kind of tattoo on their legs or arms, expressing a wild range of imagery. I also met a lawyer who was also an avid cyclist named Charles and he shared some tips of the trade from his experience biking across America. Charles was a chameleon as one moment he was hanging out in his chill clothes, and an hour later he's wearing a business suit consulting with clients.
I also enjoyed the Mussaman curry at the Thai restaurant. I had Indian food with my hosts David and Shelley and their Golden Retriever "Hoodoo" out at their house. I want to thank them deeply for saving my life by just simply being there as a safe haven to land as I stumbled through their doorway barely conscious. They have a beautiful house that David designed and built hidden to the southeast of Laramie and built into the side of a Mesa and surrounded by a sea of blue flowers. You can always see pictures on my Facebook page.
David is a Ph.D anthropologist/archaeologist who studies the lives of American Indian tribes from 9000 BC. He reminded me of an earthy version of Einstein. Shelley is the owner of the Gallery West art gallery that features Western themed art. She reminded me of Nancy Pelosi on the range! The last night I was there I had just enough lung-power to do both their astrology charts, and I think they enjoyed seeing what an authentic Magi does. David, even though he was a skeptic, I think really appreciated seeing the storytelling aspect of interpreting a chart.
When I rode into town to head north there happened to be a bicycle race going on through the streets of Laramie. I pulled up right next to the starting line with my super-loaded Trek bike and the spectators and cyclists in the race looked at me as if I were crazy. Was I really going to race that? Seconds after I pulled up, the race started and I watched them speed away. I went over to Coal Creek and enjoyed one last chai and made it back just in time to see the winner cross the finish line on the final lap. Amazing!
I wondered why we humans have such a fascination with speed and being number One. In the modern world we hurry and we rush and we never get it all done, only to accelerate more the next day trying to cram in more. I laughed today when I watched a truck pass a car, the driver in obvious disdain of the slower traveler. I guess 65 miles per hour is too slow for some, as I rolled along at 10. What's the rush? Why are we all trying to do so much so quickly? Is there a deep sense of unworthiness driving us to do more so we can become a symbol of accomplishment to all the other mad rushers on the third planet from the sun?
Can't we ever just sit back and ponder the mystery and enjoy the breeze? But speed remains fun! From tubing wildly down a snowy hill to racing our bikes, we relish the exhilaration of speed. I enjoy those down hill slopes on Magellan where I can rest my burning legs and feel the wind rush over my sunburnt face. We ritualize the quest for speed in our racing competitions because it makes us feel alive! Yet we don't know how to slow down and be still within. This supposedly eternal bike trip is helping me become even more inward and contemplative. My sense of responsibility is moving beyond the personal and collective spheres to the transpersonal. But I'm also utterly fascinated with channeling the transpersonal forces into daily life.
When I got to the hilltop overlooking Laramie, I turned my head back and felt spiritual energy gathering overhead in the heavens. Gratitude was spiraling through my soul. Instinctively I visualized the invisible stars through the blue sky and raised my right hand in allegiance to them. Suddenly I felt a beam of force enter my hand as the stars shot their mystic rays of light downward. Then I beamed the energy out over Laramie and said, "May the blessings of the stars be with you Laramie, for you have aided a wandering Magi in need." I don't know where that came from, but I hope it brings great prosperity to the people there. The interesting side note is that I got recruited to play football and study archaeology there, but refused to go on the grounds that I didn't want a cowboy as my mascot. I was into more mythological or heroic themes. Interesting how the Universe keeps bringing the cowboy side of the Sagittarian archetype into my life. And fascinating that I launched my new and improved Zenned out astrology website while in Laramie at Coal Creek. I used to play at an actual creek called Coal Creek in Colorado, so the images of my life are blending. You can check out the new site at http://www.divineinspirationastrology.com
Rock River Prophet
So I turned my bike north with my aches and my pains and rode for Rock River, another 30 miles away. My rear was already hurting again! But this time I had plenty of water because I purchased a camel back 3 Liter water carrier that fit perfectly in my pack, essentially doubling my water capacity. The young man who sold me the Camel back at the camping store recognized me from Wife Swap and was astonished. I told him about my adventure and said that the plot was now thickening! he was flabbergasted!
The pain in my body gradually returned and I remembered Charles saying, "You've got to stay in the saddle for a solid week or two before the pain in your rear subsides." So I'm committed to exploring that possibility. People have been emailing me to tell me to change my seat at the next bike shop for one of those big padded comfy mamas, but the guy who sold me the bike said that the sitting bones don't align correctly on those kinds of seats and cause back problems over the long haul. He admonished me to stick with the seat that came with the bike, so I intend to.
Riding north across the flatlands of Wyoming was serene, flanked by two distant mountain ranges on either side. To the left, the train tracks ran north-south, and a train seemed to rumble down them every half hour blowing the whistle like its the Old West. Somebody is hauling a lot of resources somewhere to create something. I saw numerous antelope bounding through the fields incuding two little ones with their mother. They ran away in fear as I rode by, so I sent them a mental email that I was a vegan and would never harm them. They kept on running, trusting their legs over my crazy imagination!
The hours rolled slowly by as the pain in my feet, thighs, butt, lungs and back grew worse, but eventually I came over a rise to see the tiny splendor of Rock River. The rock formations south of town were astonishing and I imagined Indians riding their horses across unfenced plains in ancient times. David and I had plenty of conversations about history. He says that anthropologists are looking for evidence that the Solutrian tribes of Southern France and Northern Spain might have somehow crossed the oceans to the new world around 9000 BC, mainly because they've discovered similar artifacts in America. Now that would be a cool movie! Ancient advanced Solutrians making there way across the Ice Age sheets on a vision quest for the New World. I think David might have been impressed with my knowledge of the cycles of history, especially when framed against the astrological ages and alignments. Hopefully it gave him a new paradigm for understanding cycles as he has Uranus and Jupiter conjunct his natal Jupiter at 0 degrees Aries, stimulating a revolution of his world view and belief systems. Will a scientist integrate the unified field of consciousness into his paradigm? His North Node in Pisces hopes so!
So I rode slow and exhausted into Rock River, leaning into each peddle with my last embers of strength. The sign said the town had a mere 235 people and I hoped they were friendly. I wouldn't want to witness what fierceness would come down from the stars if a town were mean to a Magi! I imagine riding away on my bike camel with Biblical lightning storms raging behind me and buildings collapsing. My imagination is always on overload! Then I looked up and there was the town cemetery. I hoped the inhabitant weren't secretive zombies who only came out at night to grab the traveling campers, ripping their rotting claws through my tent walls and forcing me to join their grotesque ranks.
I passed a warehouse sized rancher supply store and a beautiful park called Holliday park. The General Store was closed and I didn't see too many people, only the far edge of town. So I wheeled around and went back toward the park where I'd seen people. They didn't look like zombies. I rode up to the edge of a lady's property and asked her if there was anywhere I could camp. Her name was CJ, and she said I was welcome to stay in their city park. Even her dog was kind. She said it was the first time in the dog's life that she had not barked at a stranger. Hanging out with Hoodoo, David and Shelley's dog, must have attuned my aura to dog friendly mode, because for the last four years I've been a cat person. I miss Thena and Pahlo sometimes.
Feeling most welcome in the little hamlet of Rock River, I rode back down to the park and began pulling out my gear excitedly. I was anxious to set up my QuarterDome T-3 tent, hoping I would remember all the right steps. I was instantly swarmed by mosquitos the second I stopped. I broke out my tea tree oil and herbal armor spray and quickly covered my body, accidentally shooting the spray into my left eye. The mosquitos were worse than zombies, they were blood sucking vampires!
When I finished setting up my tent, my calves bleeding from the ravages of mosquitos who decided they liked my defense oils, a young boy appeared behind me, parking his bike. I introduced myself and he said his name was Elijah. I thought Whoa, like the Biblical prophet who can call fire from the heavens! Instead, he offered to fill my water bottles with water from his house. He returned shortly and announced that my camel back and two water bottles were full of cold water! I secretly wondered if he was an Aquarian, and thanked Elijah the Waterbearer. An hour later he brought me two more Bottled Waters, just in case.
So there I was lying in my tent protected from the bloodsuckers, night had fallen. My mom texted me and said that she bet I wouldn't find any Thai restaurants there. I proved her wrong because I had rolled in three packs of Thai Bangkok Curry noodles. I set up my stove and cooked my first meal on it along with some hot green tea chai. The stars outside reminded me of being in New Mexico, a silver-speckled blanket of purple majesty stretched across the heavens. I broke in my tent with a delicious meal, spicy noodles covered in Braggs and nutritional yeast, listening to the local teenagers shooting off fireworks on the other side of the park and the soothing chugga-chugga rumble of the train and it's piercing whistle crying into the night. Then I got into my sleeping bag, beat my computer opponent on the i-pad at Scrabble by a point on the last play of the game and crashed into dreamland. The word I played to win was "Qi" another spelling for Oriental chi. It seemed like I was living in another age again.
When I awoke the next morning I thought my Droid wake up alarm was sounding. I have it set to the rooster sound. But my phone battery had died during the night so I was confused. I got out of my tent and ran over on the public port-a-potty and used their facilities. This town thought of everything! Three real roosters were standing on this thick tire that had been converted into a flower planter crowing their heads off! They would certainly receive the blessings of the stars along with the town of Rock River. Elijah might even grow to become a Magi, although he said he was really into his X-box wrestling game right now. I stopped by the General Store and charged my Droid and downed a bottle of Gatorade. I also bought another tube of lip balm to fight the dryness of the West.
Today my mission was to make it to the town of Medicine Bow to the north and possibly to Rawlins. But Rawlins would require another day of hell, so I half-decided that I would stay in Medicine Bow and either camp or stay at the famous Virginian Hotel that I had been hearing about from David and Charles. It turns out that a famous Western writer named Owen Wister composed the novel by the same name there. You could go and sit at his writing desk. That might be an inspiring homage to pay to a fellow writer. First I had to get there!
On the way, I saw my first fellow cycler going in the opposite direction. I waved wholeheartedly, studying his gear. The universal spiritual force of destiny was with me as the wind was mostly at my back and the road declined so that the peddling was fierce. I made it to the Dinosaur Bone-built house in an hour and snapped some pictures of the monument. It was closed so I ate a Clif Bar with the bugs and continued on my merry way. When I saw Medicine Bow on the horizon I was overjoyed. I don't think I've ever been so happy to see hamlets in the distance before.
I got to thinking about travelers in my fantasy worlds and what they go through when approaching settlements. There's a strange feeling of warmth that soothes your heart and makes you feel like you've not only accomplished something by getting somewhere at last, but also you get to banish your aloneness for a time among fellow human beings. But you still have to cover the distance between the actual town and where you spot it, and that gives you time to get more excited. I take careful note of the first human being I encounter once I pass the city limit. But this day, I forgot to watch.
A Magi joins the Magic
I received a text through my Droid from my childhood friend Lee Wingo, son of my astrology teacher Bonnie Wingo, who had been teetering on the edge of life for many months at age 82. She was born in 1929, nine moths before Pluto was discovered, and she used to joke that her generation gave birth to Pluto. I received his text just as I passed the Medicine Bow city limit sign, Population 241 I think. I couldn't stop to take a picture.
Lee's text said that she had died that morning. I almost crashed my bike, but held the course steady. He said that she had left some books behind for me. I held onto the handlebars and contained my tears. I was glad she had finally joined with the Spirit at last. She had been struggling to stay alive. She had that gleam in her eye like a kid at Christmas every time I visited. I showed her what I was doing these days with astrology and technology and her look of amazement never ceased, as if primitives were meeting Atlanteans for the first time.
I rode my bike slowly into town, not tired at all, but caught up in remembering the one lady who had influenced my life more than anyone else on the planet, the lady who inspired me to become a Magi. I felt her spirit smiling down upon me, happy to see me following my nature, living a collective dream for humanity. She was such an inspiration herself, a veritable Renaissance woman that inspired me to the same lofty cultured heights. She was a master teacher of astrology, a religious and spiritual scholar, a seeker of truth. She was also an avid cook, gardener and painter. She used to go on trips to the mountains and foreign lands like Peru to snap pictures of birds. She loved watching birds and she loved painting them even more. Her house is a museum of birds, nature, and astrological imagery.
I remember the look of surprise on her face when she drew my chart up. I watched her draw the little symbols on the chart in utter fascination as this magician before me peeled back the secrets of the universe to reveal my destiny. She said, "You are a born astrologer. How would you like to attend my classes." Not only that, she used to give Lee and I private lessons on the weekends to home-cooked bread and hot tea. I still remember pushing through the mazes in the wheat fields between our neighborhoods to go study astrology in great anticipation of what I would learn that day.
So I found myself sitting in the Virginian Hotel, sitting at the desk of a famous dead writer, thinking about my released beloved teacher, released from her bodily pain. It didn't take long to decide that I was staying in this Old West hotel tonight to commune with their spirits. The people that run the place seem strangely disconnected from this era by a shade or three, wrapped in the history of their hotel, but I trust in my heart and see goodness in their spirits, despite their struggles with ordinary life. Maybe I'm the weird one, because I've released my cares of worldly things.
I will strike out for Rawlins tomorrow morning when the roosters crow again, the Droid and the real ones outside. But tonight, I write this blog post and remember my teacher Bonnie Wingo, the greatest most influential woman I've ever known. I write this with tears streaming down my eyes in a booth inside the hotel's busy tavern. People stream in and out in time with my tears, eating, renting rooms, living their lives as I contemplate death. It's a strange life we live on all these varying wavelengths...
The ancient Indians used to come here for Pow Wows specifically to make sacred medicines. They also found the hardest trees here for making bows. Tonight I shall let their spirits mingle with Bonnie's and Owen's and see what magic happens. I feel inspired to work on editing my next astrology documentary on chart interpretation. Medicine Bow I ask you to open my heart to anything! Pierce my wounded heart with your medicine-laden arrows...