Friday, October 15, 2010

Entering California!

Abandoning Bandon

The night we arrived in the little cozy, marsh-surrounded town of Bandon, Oregon we rode south to find another campground at the Bandon State Park near the beach, but it turns out there was a sign that said Camping Prohibited. Bummer! The Sun was descending over a great forested hill that stood between us and the dramatic ocean. We thought about stealth camping, but worried that the wild raccoons would be a pain, so we decided to ride south to what looked like an RV park on the I-pad Google Maps.

We got there and they wanted $15 to set up our tent in this grassy fenced area. So I paid the camp host through her RV door while her potbellied husband watched college football on the TV. I would be sitting pretty watching the Broncos face off with the Ravens in Baltimore tomorrow morning. That was exciting, even if I had to ride three miles back to Bandon, possibly through intense rain. The storm was kicking up with the wind and Arian and I barely managed to get the tent set up without the rainfly flying off. Once we set up the tent we realized they had an indoor area with tables and bathrooms with showers, so when the storm raged, we went inside and enjoyed the warmth and worked on Emergence, our new role-playing game.

The next morning it was still a torrential downpour as we rode into town to witness the worst defeat the Broncos have had this season against the stout Ravens. My heart sank in disgust as I watched my team go down to face a tough loss. It was depressing, especially with all the injuries. Oh well, next we we had the Jets at home!

Arian and I decided to head back to the RV park, pack up our tent, and ride south once the rain let up. After the bitter loss I just wanted to ride! We passed the purple Yurt artist colony that our new friend Daina had told us about, but we were making good time and it was dry so we just stopped briefly to say hello, and then got back on the highway to pedal hard south so we could reach Port Orford. We passed a lot of campgrounds along the way, but just kept persisting until we reached Port Orford. It was a small town with stores and the main avenue looked inviting with lots of tourist gift shops and cafes, but we couldn't stop. The panoramic views of the ocean were exquisite! Our friend Tony said we could camp just beyond the town, so we rode hard to look for the spot. We eventually found it, but the Sun still had an hour on it, so we decided to ride toward Mount Humbug towering ahead and hope that they had re-opened the Humbug State Park. Tony said it was closed for construction. We thought we'd try it anyway, even if we had to Stealth camp!

Riding along the 101 glancing occasionally down at the marvelous sea is such a serene feeling. Your legs are pumping, your body is sweating, your mind is calm, and everything in the universe seems as it should be...and you live in nature. I have found that when I open my mouth to speak the words don't have much volume. It's as if I've seen too deeply into the darkness of the unknown and it's hard to even want to say anything about it. Arian always brings me back to laughter though, so that's a good thing indeed.

We eventually found the campground and we lifted our bikes over a stone wall to sneak in, but the camp attendant came by in his golf cart and told us to register. He was a friendly guy and said that the camp was still open to cyclists and hikers, just not RVs. He offered to bring us a pile of wood in his golf cart, but wanted $5 bucks, so we declined. We were overjoyed and cooked a great stir fry and boiled some delicious green tea. Our fuel canister was depleted after the meal and it was difficult to find the special butane cartridges that fit our stove, so we were despondent about the future of our outdoor culinary arts. The camp had showers and Arian told me to go first while he watched the camp so that he could stay in the shower a real long time and just soak up the heat. He loves the hot water meditation. I think I fell asleep before he returned. I was glad he was cozy and happy and had finally overcome those awful Northwestern sniffles.

The next morning we woke up inspired but a little sore and we set our destination through Gold Beach down to Brookings, Oregon right near the border to California. We wanted to make it into California, but when we arrived in Brookings we were so inspired by the Whale Rock and the campground overlooking the sea, and free showers, and a fellow cyclist, that we decided to stay and enjoy it We had stopped earlier in Gold Beach at a unique bookstore/cafe that charges $2.50 just for three hours of tapping their wi-fi. And we also had the great fortune of finding an outfitter that had fuel canisters that fit my SOTO stove! We got three and got some groceries before leaving town so we could cook something exquisite on our new butane cartridges.

When we got to camp we went down to where you could sit at a picnic table overlooking the choppy sea. The Sun was setting and the Moon was glowing bright in it's Waxing Crescent phase. The next day we would cross into California and hit Crescent City during the Crescent Phase. How cool would that be? And this time when we rolled into the post office, we prayed that my friend Steve's incredible care package would be there. He said he sent it USPS instead of UPS this time, so it would be waiting in General Delivery. I was psyched! The Whole Foods Pharmacy produces some amazing organic blends of this cake-like mixture that has the texture of a cliff bar. It is delicious!

When we got back to camp and started cooking, another cyclist rolled into camp named John (another John!) who was from Atlanta, Georgia and had ridden his bike up the east coast and across the Northern Tier and was intending to go all the way to San Diego and then complete a loop back to Georgia. He had already logged over 6000 miles! And I thought we were hard core! He was about 46 and he often stayed in hotels to break the monotony of the grind and enjoy the comforts of modern life. He had a pack of Cuban beans and yellow rice that he had carried from Atlanta 6000 miles that he just gave to us. Arian, who was born in Key West just 90 miles from Cuba, loved black beans and yellow rice. It was in his conch blood! His eyes grew wide with excitement while opening his mouth in surprise, his signature expression. This kid loves food!

We had a peaceful night at the campground and enjoyed long hot showers again. There's nothing like a hot shower when you're used to going days without one. You go into one of those little stalls and you slowly peal your biker shorts and sweat-soaked shirt off and hang them on the little towel hooks while you get the water going. Then you step into another universe of pleasure. Plus you get to go back to your tent squeaky clean and crawl into your sleeping bag without a care in the world but being fluffy and warm inside. You open up your I-pad and play a little strategy game and then drift off into bliss-filled dreams.

The next morning we rode out before our new friend but he quickly passed us when we stopped at a coffee shop for chai and storytelling with the locals. The barista had a magnificent spirit and was genuinely open and enthusiastic. She loved hearing about our journey. Next thing you know, her brother comes in too, and he's a gypsy with a van that he lives in. In a matter of moments we got talking and he wanted to know more about astrology and the Spirit of Life led me to do a quickie free interpretation for him and he was beside himself with a burst of celestial inspiration. He was a Double Aries, Sun and Moon in the Balsamic dark phase, and Scorpio Rising with Mars in Libra opposing his Aries luminaries. Intense dude but really cool. He had tattoos all over with heroic and dark themes and he sported a short cropped beard and he just reminded me of Hercules. A living breathing oracle of Hercules! I felt like I had briefly met a potential spiritual brother, and something told me our paths would cross again. But for that moment, the road was calling us to California.

We rode down and across a beautiful stretch where you could see the ocean full of strange rock formations that had once been mountains, but now reduced to rubble in the mists of eternity living dangerously as time. I imagined how many millions of years had to go by for the sea to dissolve a mountain down to its last lonely rocky core. And then I looked down at the asphalt my tires were spinning over and realized that this very road was a mere newborn compared to those mountains. We had been driving our obsessive vehicles down these roads for less than a hundred years and we acted like we belonged, paving mountain tops and cutting forests so that road could be laid in the name of progress. I was happy to be rolling on the side of that road, but I also realized how fragile it all was. A pair of thin rubber tubes full of air and some tires were all that separated my body from crashing onto the pavement. Death could happen any moment! A car could hit me or worse, a diesel. I had long overcome the fear of vehicles brushing by with their gusts of wind and noisy motors. In life you learn to block out the parts that vex the soul and just go for the ride freely no matter what happens. And then it does happen. Things happen. People die and other people get scared and wonder what it's going to be like when this frail vessel is reduced to a pile of bones or ash.

Science took a different route when it divorced itself from metaphysics. The Scientific Revolution freed us from religious oppression but gave us a world devoid of soul, a disenchanted drama of cold masses and billiard balls clanking against each other in vacuums of experimental space. Where was God in all this? I think we replaced God with to-do lists, television, and now the internet. The eternal being of love that crafted the Universe is still in all these things, lurking silently, waiting to pounce on one of us who happens to wake up and sense the reverential awe swirling through every unique moment. In the end, we will fade. We will die. And that's a comforting thought. Because that means there's something greater than I can imagine going on, and believe me, I've tried. I've been working on a book about the metaphysics of the Universe since my college days in Boulder. I call it Living the Mystery: The Physics of Consciousness. One day, I might finish the last two volumes and publish it. Maybe I should just get the first volume out there. I have it with me in digital pictures of my hand-written medieval script form. There are some amazing truths I've stumbled upon just by starting with the postulate of the Unified Field and constructing the Universe from there on up. The Lord Thy God is One, the Hebrews stressed. And today the Scientists who broke us away from taboo superstitions are back on the quest for the Unified Field. But they're a century late and a spiritual equation short.

I looked back to see Arian faithfully pedaling along. He gets behind in the mornings and then he leaves me behind in the afternoons. That's because we have different styles of going through the day revealed in our birth charts. He has Cancer Rising, a watery, emotional sign that wants to be nurtured and feel safe and gooey and starts the day slow. He crawls out of his sleeping bag in the morning like a pile of thick molasses. I have to keep shaking him and I'm all excited to pack up and go, and he is in another vivid dream ordering food or another hot chai. This kid is something else. That morning he was talking in his sleep again and he said one perfectly articulated sentence and then went silent again. He said, "Basically, would you like to go swimming or not?" That was it. He must have been having swimming dreams. My little crab! The whole morning I just let him ride back there through the misty cold so he can ride out his moodiness. Because I know by the time the Sun gets shining and descending toward the horizon Arian comes alive. You see, I have Mars Rising in the east in the enthusiastic fire sign of Sagittarius, so I wake up and dance and prance and neigh and stomp my feet cause I'm ready to go. Arian has Mars in earthy plodding Capricorn and it was setting in the 7th House at birth. So he doesn't catch his Mars wave of energy until the Sun has nearly set. He always wants to get jazzed off a Monster drink and charge the summit of the next hill then, leaving his poor tired lonely dad behind. But it's okay, because I let him sulk behind me in the morning and he doesn't say much until I mention lunch, and then he starts to perk up.

We rode hard into California and crossed the State line where they inspected us for produce, but I ate the last apple I picked from Tony's tree in Coos Bay just that morning, so they let us through no problem. And as soon as we crossed that border the Sun came out strong and blessed us with starshine the whole way to Crescent City. I had entered my 8th State on Magellan since leaving on June 20th. I was tired and 8 was the number of change. California would be the place of transformation. There were no couch surfer hosts in Crescent City so I knew we'd just pop by the post office, get our food package, and head toward the coastal hills. Tony the surfer warned us about the hill out of Crescent City. He said it was a monster of a hill and the way he described it made it seem like the wicked ones in Wyoming, but with more gracious scenery of great Redwood trees stretching their limbs to the sky. We rolled into Crescent City aching and tired and ready for some delicious food. Unfortunately, we had stopped in Brookings that afternoon when I was feeling weak and dizzy. I needed food, and I needed it bad. I got hungry. Then I got weak and bought a bunch of food. Arian was happy to be sitting on the sidewalk outside of the supermarket chomping down on an apple butter and peanut butter whole wheat sandwich though. And I was satisfied and ready to ride too. But we had loaded up on food right when we were about to receive food, and plus we had John's pack of Cuban rice and beans delivered by bike 6000 miles from Atlanta.

So I walk into the post office and it turns out that two front line employees called in sick, so I had to wait thirty minutes in a long line just to ask them to hand me my package. Indeed Steve had come through and saved our tummies with a ton of delicious organic goods. And that box was heavy as the postal lady dropped it with a deep thud on the counter. I picked it up and felt how heavy it was and just closed my eyes in disbelief. There was no way we would be able to pack all that food on our bikes and make it up the monster hill before sunset. Would we turn around and head back to some of the campgrounds we saw on the way into Crescent City and try to sort it out? Or would we eat some first and then try to desperately stuff our panniers with food and try to make it to the campground we were aiming for over the mountain in Klammoth? Either choice was a desperate gambit.

I remember the time me and my dad were traveling through Macon, Mississippi and our truck broke down. I was only about 3 or four, but when he went traveling I always wanted to go with him. He was my dad and I loved him, plus I was blessed or cursed with wanderlust. I see it as a blessing. But there we were, me and my dad broke down on the side of the road and I was crying. But an older black guy came along and rescued us and we got to stay at a hotel. I almost drowned that day in the swimming pool. My dad went to get some towels or something and I was so excited to jump into that pool that I just dove on in without even knowing how to swim! About a minute later my dad returned to find me underwater struggling to breathe. He pulled me out just in time before I died. He was my hero that day and we enjoyed the rest of the day. He must have been scared out of his mind.

I had a situation happen like that once with Arian when he was about three. I was out at the beach one day and we were out about a hundred yards over the Atlantic Ocean sunning on our favorite pier. I was hooting and hollering and carrying on with all the little half-cuban Key West local kids and showing off by doing backflips off the pier and into the water six feet below. Then later, Arian wanted to come swim with me so I taught him how to jump six feet off the pier into the sea where I would catch him and swim him to the ladder. Then when were done frolicking I decided that I would just swim with Arian back to shore with his arms wrapped around my neck and riding me like a dolphin. I got about halfway to shore and started to sink and run out of gas. I wasn't the best swimmer. And Arian, sensing me struggling kept squeezing tighter to hang on and choking me in the process. So there I was with my kid on my back in the water, but exhausted and ready to sink. I tried calling out but it was a quiet day at the beach and no one was in sight and I my head kept going under.

Sometimes we make stupid decisions and have to face the consequences. But that day I had my angels in my corner. Because right when I knew it was over, I realized that I could probably touch the bottom with my feet and just walk along the bottom of the sea through the current and the brine and just hold my breath while holding Arian aloft so he could breathe. I knew I might drown, but I wasn't about to let him drown too. So I just surrendered. I reached back and said calmly so I wouldn't scare him Ayenne wanna Fly.. (Arian always pronounced his own name Ayenne when he was that little so I did too). I took my son into my arms and I breathed down a huge gulp of air. My arms were exhausted from swimming and I could barely even hold him. It was probably the most horrible and terrifying feeling I've ever had in my life as I reached out my right foot for the brine covered coral seabed. To my astonishment, it wasn't too far down at all and I found that I could even poke my face out of the sea just a bit as I made my way through the shoals barely able to hold Arian. What a relief! When I got to the shore I collapsed and cried. Arian wondered what was wrong. I was coughing up sea water and felt like I had just fought three sharks. That day something in me died and something was reborn. I've never told anyone that story until just now. It's still a painful memory. But it reminds me just how frail this life really is and that we could go in any second. It makes me devoted to living life to the fullest. That's why I can't live a normal life of punching a time clock and showing up for a job and being subservient to the establishment. I was born to challenge and change the paradigm and I've devoted myself to my destiny even if it kills me.

Arian and I were able to somehow pack all the food gifts on our bikes, but his backpack was way too heavy. I wondered how he would do going uphill. But we decided that we were going to give it our best shot and tackle the hill south of Crescent City, the Hill of Doom, as it came to be known. With our waterproof panniers stuffed and open so the rain could get in them, we rode down the beach toward the ominous slope that began one of the hardest rides I've survived. The Sun was going down in an hour and we had too far to go and it was uphill most the way. We made our ascent with confidence, but Arian started to fall behind. We stuffed the backpack strapped to the back of his bike on top of his panniers to the gills and it was severely limiting his ability to move briskly. I found myself trying to encourage him but just getting angry instead. I stopped and let him catch up and there was terror in his eyes. He looked bewildered and I could tell he wanted to cry but was holding it back.

"We're not going to make it dad," he said. "It's too heavy and the sun is going down." He pointed off through the thick redwoods to the setting sun. I let my anger go, even though I knew I would need to summon it again to really crest that hill. My panniers were packed to the gills too and I was having an extremely hard time pedaling as well. But sometimes you've got to be a hero to your kid, like my dad did when he jumped in and pulled me out of the pool in the deep south. I looked him firmly in the eyes and I grabbed both his shoulders and I said with fierce determination on the shoulder of the road, "We are going to make it no matter what. Give me that backpack. I'll carry it on my back. I spent all summer with a heavy pack on my back and I can do it again for ten miles up this hill, damn it!"

"But dad, it's too heavy. There's no way you can carry it and all the extra weight you already have."

Don't quote me the odds," I said, quoting Han Solo from Star Wars. I unstrapped the pack from where it was bungie-corded to his rack and I slung it on like a warrior going into battle and I said, "Ride! And you better not let me catch you!"

He sped ahead and was delighted by the feeling of lightness. I turned inward to call on that anger again. I was going to need every last drop to get to the top of that hill before darkness fell. The huge Redwood trees were a sight to behold, but I had one focus, and that was to pedal like that day when I held Arian up out of the sea and walked along the bottom to save both of us from drowning. The going was tough as I had never carried that much weight on a bike at one time. I felt like Magellan's wheels were going to just buckle and bend, but I put it in the lowest gear, "One-slash-One" as we call it, and I started churning out distance. It was the most excruciating ride of my life and with the amount of sweat I was generating under my jacket I felt like I was drowning again. Not only that, the Sun disappeared behind the trees and rocks and the cold seeped in, so I got a chill even though I was burning up at the same time. Arian was impressed that I could carry that much weight and I did catch him. Not only did I catch him, I generated enough energy from the depths of my soul, that I started leaving him behind! When we reached the summit, I was in so much pain that I couldn't even talk. We just pedaled along in agony across the flats waiting for the slope to start is descent. When it did, I told Arian "See ya at the frickin' bottom!" and rode like a man possessed by gravity. I didn't feel safe going that fast with that much weight so I had to apply the breaks to keep from crashing out of control. As I rode the Sun came back into view again and it was just sinking into the brilliant blue ocean as I streamed down the mountain, the essence of beauty displayed in brilliant fiery orange and blue. I stopped at a rest area near the bottom overlooking the sea and waited for Arian to catch up. He eventually did but the sun was long gone and he said, "The Sun set at exactly 6:45!"

"Cool," I said. Now we know what time to shoot for. When we get to Arcata, I'm going to need a week of rest."

"Me too," he said, and then we broke out our lights to face the twilight road. We still had a ways to go before Klammoth. Sure enough, we rolled into the first RV park under the covert cover of darkness, and a very unfriendly old lady made us pay $18 for a tiny tent sight. Arian could tell I was pissed. 18 bucks for one night in your own tent on Eternal Being's carefully crafted earth? Arian looked at me and said, 'Look, they've got warm showers and wi-fi dad. I've got five dollars I can contribute."

"No," I said. "Keep your five bucks. That's yours. I got this humor (a constant inside joke between us). And I plucked down my debit card to pay the foul-tempered lady. She was like talking to the crone on a bad hair day. After we paid our fine for sleeping on the earth, we wandered back to the campsite and set up our tent. There were two Canadian travelers in the spot next door (a guy and his girlfriend - young twenties) and they came over to chat and ask us if we needed help setting up. I love Canadians as they are so friendly and cordial. We didn't need any help but I enjoyed talking to them and sharing stories while we cooked the Cuban Black Beans and Yellow Rice from Atlanta. I told Arian that he could have double rations tonight, mainly because we needed to get rid of some food, but also because I was hungry as a horse. We all laughed and after dinner I took a deep long Arian-style shower.

We looked at the map and it was 60 miles from where we were to Arcata. I told him we could do it in a day if we got some good winds and flat roads. But it didn't turn out that way at all. The next day I woke up sore as could be, but partially recovered from over exhaustion, thinking that we had a nice medium 60-miler of a day ahead of us. Not only was I wrong, I was worse than wrong. I made another bad decision by skipping the scenic bicycle route to stay on the 101. We learned long ago that bicycle routes take you down the most out-of-the-way hilly as hell but scenic as heaven path. And we didn't want that. We wanted efficiency and expediency. It turns out that the 101 hill we had to climb was worse than the one out of Crescent City, even if a steadier climb. But I had emailed our future hosts in Arcata and told them we would be there around sunset and I knew we could make it, even with all the extra weight. I found out later that the scenic route was the easier trek. Not only that, we ran out of water (the raccoons ate Arian's water bottle and we had not found a replacement yet). Running out of water on a hard ride is almost worse than drowning. It's like drowning in dryness. I remembered that fateful day outside of Jackson Montana where I had to hitch a ride 15 miles to town after becoming dehydrated. It was not fun at all.

So I gave most of my last water bottle's liquid contents to Arian, and told him to conserve it. If we could make it another 20 miles to Orich, then we'd celebrate with a pair of Monsters so we could make it another 20 miles before sunset. We rode up and up and up and up, and it seemed to never end. I was sweating buckets under my coat but feeling chilly due to a mild headwind that kicked up. My old favorite friends had returned: harsh headwinds and steep hills. We passed a road crew at the apex that consisted of prisoners from a nearby correctional institution. I thought about stopping to ask them for water, but it felt weird and the apex was here, so I excitedly charged forward to realize that around the next few bends, the road turned up again and even steeper! Holy frak!

I had one drink of water left in my water bottle when we finally made it to the real descent. I told Arian that I was going to ride fast and had to find us some water and to just keep on coming at his nice easy slow downhill pace. I was ready to give the horse his head. I pointed Magellan downhill and said to Arian, "You know how you are always charging me a quarter for saying a bad word?" He just nodded and smiled slyly. He could sense what was coming. I said, "See you at the _)*#*^$&#*@(*#@(*^&@)@&@&#@(#&)(@&#)(&)@(#)(@&#)(&@)(&#^!#*&#)(*#)(*#(*!_#*_)*#_!&& BOTTOM!" I had been composing it in my head for about ten miles and it was better than some slam poetry. But I won't repeat it here. I had to buy him a couple of Monster drinks!

When I did see the kid again, he found me rolled off into a cabin resort area where they had a water pump right there by the road. I had already downed two bottles and was feeling waterlogged. I made Arian down a container and a half and then we rolled down the road into Orich. Arian had made himself a sandwich back at the apex and I kept munching on the care package food trying to put a dent in it, but it was so much! Steve had been his usual generous self and hooked us up good, even though we could barely carry his gifts. He even sent body lotion and chap stick and other interesting products based on the Phi ratio. We had cleared the mountains and now we were back on the sea, and I bought us both Monsters so we could begin the second leg of ou journey through the lagoons all fired up and excited. Arian rode ahead of me wild and free. The lagoons were a sight to see, but the traffic was dense and the road was curvy and the shoulder was a foot, so it was hair-raising riding the whole 20 miles., but we made it.

Then as the sun was threatening to set on us again, we rode fast down the 101 to finish out the last 20 miles in the dark. We rolled into the hippy college town of Arcata ready to fall off our bikes. I had memorized how to get to our hosts house, three young beautiful college ladies and there male roommate welcomed us into their clean, warm, inviting home. We took hot showers and collected all of our clothes for laundry. After the shower we stayed up late talking and I ended up doing three mini-30 minute astrology readings to their utter amazement. You should have seen their eyes light up when my words unraveled their characters and spoke to the mystery of being. They knew they had heard unfathomable truths about themselves that night, and would probably always remember it, but I was over-exhausted and shivering when I took to the futon couch in the living room by the big cozy soft couch that Arian wanted.

My upper back was in such acute pain that I could barely suck air through my left lung. it hurt so bad just to breathe in the air.
I didn't tell anybody except Arian about how bad my condition was, but I was going down hard with a sickness that had me shivering through the night, coughing, and aching all over. I knew I had pushed it too far the last few days and I was ready for a week off. I had Arian walk on my back to release the pain and I did manage to get some sleep. But the next day we could barely enjoy the town of Arcata. We rode our bikes around looking for a cafe to sit at like zombies, almost crashing into each other on occasion. We finally got settled in the sunroom cafe of a local health food store and were happy to have such cool hosts and to finally be where we wanted to be in a college town. Arian even thought it felt like Boulder. To the West you can see the great hill with the Community Forest where transients often live and where the Humbolt University is situated. To the east and coming into town from the north we saw great swaths of sand dunes leading to the sea. Later that night, our hosts offered to take us to a poetry reading in Eureka and I had the gall to sign up to read a few of my cosmic poems. The poetry reading was held in an art gallery space and they had chairs set up in rows all proper, surrounded by the strangest art I'd seen. They made me pay five bucks to get in the door, but I was cool with supporting the local artists. There were only about twelve or thirteen poets reading that night, but each one was amazing and left the audience cheering in delight. Some of the elder poets would scream out when a poet would get his or her groove on and let em know they were feeling it by snapping their fingers. "You tell it girl!" "A-huh!" And that kind of hootin' and hollerin'. I thought I was in a black church in the deep South. When I went to the stage, after feeling like I might not make it through the night, I told them that I just biked about 3000 miles to share this moment with some beautiful fellow poets. I felt like crying. But instead, I took a deep breath and tried to speak through the numbness and read three poems.

Year After Year

The leadership changes again and again
   but the agendas and deceptions remain.
   Year after year people call for change,
   for something institutions could never arrange.
There’s an amazing revolution around a blazing star
   it opens us to life as a still pond,
   rain piercing the surface calm,
   as moments drum on and on...
   There are no nations in this
   courageous orchestration.
   I want to know if you can summon the discipline
   to govern yourself, if you can be guided by
   faith in the mystery of eternal being?
   Sure it's tough playing a freedom-fighter
   in this shaking theater of the soul.
   But it beats wandering through life cold
   living someone else's crumbling mold.
   Laziness haunts humanity like an insidious mist;
   we'd rather be slaves than face the terror of our bliss.
   Wake up!  Wake up!
   Feel the "whack" of a Zen master's stick!
   creative power unleashed, the cosmic kick.
   Transform your world, people of the edge!
   Precious time is wasted seeking approval on the ledge.
   Jump in!  Jump in!
   Find the inner treasure.
   Cross the threshold seeker; fulfill your measure.
   Once you join the spiral dance,
   you'll never live your mystery in a trance of chance.
   No government could ever contain the surprise that you are.
   So aim your passions arrows at horizons afar...

Then a Haiku that took me three hours to compose while meditating on the surf and sand in Key West.

"Sand dried rapidly.
Ocean Tides Crash on Beaches.
Footprints washed away."

Then I hit em with my title poem, "Engaging the Infinite"

Above the whirling sea, stars await your return
 mirrored across the deep span stretching within.
 The curving space between here and there is endless
yet it feels like you’ve been abandoned in the emptiness.

You can never stop the flow of dark imagery
coursing through your heart.
 Those chambers of guilt and fear always struggle
to contain the tingling fire dancing as your soul.

It hurts to be free. It hurts to be free.
 But when you step into your passion,
the whole universe opens within and
others may wander with black holes for hearts
devouring your visions with their fears.

Tell me. Tell me. How old are you?
 That’s not your age. It’s simply the number
of orbits you’ve made around this star.
You’ve made many orbits around other stars.

Like a timeless electron zipping around
an atomic nucleus, you are infinite.

And if you argue for your limitations
you have to fight them.
But if you discover your possibilities
you get to create them!

So stand still. Gaze at the sky.
Sense the reverence rising inside,
and know that your being, your aliveness
is an extension of eternity.

They loved that last one and the whole crowd went wild as I stumbled off the stage. It was an honor to be among fellow poets in the faraway land of Arcata. I went to bed that night feeling slightly better, but one of the girls had to bring her friend who was all into metaphysics and Tarot by so I could interpret his chart. So there I sat at ten o'clock looking into this young man's eyes and knowing that my words could change his life forever, but my body wanted to collapse on the floor. Would I ever recover from this? I knew I had to line up more couch surfing in Arcata. I wasn't ready to ride in this state, but our hosts said we could stay for two nights only. It would be brutal to ride again now. So I prayed for guidance and I spent about 30 minutes with this young man who was a born healer with Chiron conjunct his Sun and Jupiter and Mercury in Leo, a Moon in Aquarius conjunct Saturn, and Scorpio Rising with Pluto in the first house like the German Goethe. I quoted him Goethe's Holy Longing poem and the chart reading blew his mind wide open. He said, "Wow! Others have tried to read for me but no one has ever even come close to describing the depths of my soul as closely as you did, thank you! It sounds like I have a lot of responsibility with these gifts."

"Indeed you do my friend. To whom much is given, more is required."

I told him I had barely scratched the surface. After he left, I lumbered over to the futon couch where Arian was still reading a new fantasy novel on his I-pad, and I crashed hard again into another dreary fitful pain filled night of dark half-breathable sleep. I felt like I had finally symbolically drowned...


  1. This was an amazing read, Kelly.

  2. Thanks Jamie! Glad to hear somebody like these strange words that pour through my mind every once in a while! DOn't know how I was able to write it all while coughing and so exhausted, but I'm feeling much better now with two days of rest behind me!

  3. Wow, what a great read. Couldn't stop. Hoping to meet up with you in Chico!

  4. I am very amazed by the data of this weblog and i am glad i experienced a look more than the blog. thank you so much for sharing these kinds of excellent information. Party Bus, Limo service Los Angeles