The Great Escape – Part Fourteen

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The Great Escape – Part Fourteen

Of course, The Great Escape 13 isn’t entirely true. There’s some bullshit in it. There are places where time has skewed my memory. Gaps and holes that I filled in with imagination. A place or two where I tweeked it a bit to make a better story. But overall, that’s basically what happened…..as I percieve it now, through this particular point of view, this particular, fucked up mental mess called a mind, the present one that is doing the remembering that is, not the one I had yesterday.. You know, the instant something becomes the past, it becomes fiction, and all knowledge is of the past. Which begs the question….What is the truth?

Well, I answer for you, “It’s what really is, or what really happened in this case. It reality, right?” I love answering questions with questions,……It’s so politic. So I ask, “Who’s reality. What you believe to be reality or what I believe to be reality or what the lady who lives down the street believes to be reality?”

And then you ask, because this is a real questionfest, “Aren’t they all the same reality, Isn’t there only one?”

And I say, “Well, I’m not sure about that, because things might look different from over there, where you are, for instance, than they look from here, where I am. Completely different angle. To know for sure, you would have to see what we are calling reality from every possible angle there is plus a few more including from inside out, and even if we both saw it that way, we still might not agree because I’m seeing through a different mind set than you are. The closest we can get to the true reality is to assume that every point of view is correct, no matter how much they differ. If it exists, then it’s true. And since my imagination exists and your imagination exists, then what we imagine must be true too, even if it doesn’t jibe with our exterior realities. So everything must be the truth. Just because you don’t like brussels sprouts doesn’t mean I can’t like them.”

“Wait a minute,” I say for you, “Truth is not an opinion! What about bullshit? What about out and out deception and lies?”

“Well if they were said, they must truthfully be deceptions and lies. Truthful opinions too. Anyway, those are merely different classifications, different labels we give to truth to differentiate aspects of it from one another so so we can compare and judge and sort them. It can get really confusing.”

So, as you can see, were back to that apple in the Garden of Eden thing. The fruit of knowledge of good and evil. All those good truths we like and all those evil truths we despise and hate. The Garden of Eden was Pandora’s Box….all those little imps. Reality is not always pretty. It’s like liking candy and Limburger. Whichever we prefer is really the best, but it’s in your head, not out here in my reality. Some people like limberger better. Some people like candy. Maybe it only matters to those marketing analysts that work at Facebook. And to think, until the apple incident, the snake was just a snake, a tree was just a tree, and “….a rose is a rose is a rose”, to quote Gertrude Stein.

This doesn’t help, does it. It’s kind of sad that your truth might not be my truth and vise versa. That much of what we believe and say might be bullshit. Hurts, doesn’t it? But of course we know that people have different view points than ourselves. That’s part of the wonderous, beautful, diverse universe we live in, no reason to get pissed off.

It appears we can only know the truth in the light of the God within us. It’s everywhere, from everywhere at once and beyond differences. Don’t sweat it.

To all my friends up in the frozen north, Carnival Costelegre 2016 in Barra de Navidad starts today. All out, wild ass, fun time, if your up for it. Big doings in the town jardin tomorrow evening if you can get your butts down here. One big party this weekend. Chynna’s still looking for Rey Momo contestants. Weather’s warm and sunny. Sea and sand and all that too. Real as it gets.

To be continued………..

The Great Escape – Part Thirteen

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Lost It. Sorry.

Sorry about the gossip, I mean. Sometimes I get so tired of my own misery, I’ve just gotta say, “Hey. Let’s talk about someone elses misery for a while!” Bad, I know. I need to change that someday.

So anyway, I’ve got this story to tell.

It’s not bad, I’m not planning on saying anything terrible about anyone or that I think is going to hurt anyone’s feelings or anything. I’ll try to keep the bullshit down to a minimum.

Ok, so here it is.

There was this art show at the Sun Valley Art Center I was going to be in. I don’t remember the year, late 1980’s, I think. It was January in Idaho and it had been snowing a lot. We had to get the art there. Rich Post was helping me put it together, but we were picking up Dave Moreland and his paintings along the way in Moscow. Dave was an art professor at the university there. My son Tai later graduated from there. Faith went to college in San Francisco. The reason we didn’t just ship it to Sun Valley is that the shipping companys won’t ship art unless it’s heavily insured and the insuance is really expensive. Most small museums and galleries don’t have pockets deep enough to pay for it. Most artists definately don’t have that kind of money, so we have to get it there any way we can. Art was a cause. So it was three of us on a guy’s weekend out, on the road. We were escaping. We were going to make this fun, right?.

We’d put all my paintings in crates and loaded it all into my old orange 1979 Datsun pick-up. It had been modified, turned into a four wheel drive. It was kind of beat up, but we were impervious to adversity and it was all we had. Actually, it was a big improvement over my previous pick up, a 1955 forest-green Chevy which was only two wheel drive and was sitting up against the garden fence gathering rust. The motor in the Datsun still ran which was the biggest plus, and the fenders didn’t flap going down the road, it went over 50 and the heater and windshied wipers worked too.

It was the weekend and the opening was the next day. I’d taken Friday off from work. We were going to be traveling most of the night, setting up the show in the morning and hoping to nap a little in the afternoon in this borrowed condo they had set up for us before the show opened in the evening.

By early afternoon, we were packed and ready to go. I kissed my wife, Cherie and the kids goodby and we pulled out of driveway in Hope, Idaho. I loved them. I still do, but they may not realize it. Cherie and I are long divorced. My fault, actually. We stopped in Sandpoint at the Gas-n-Go for snacks and gas and headed south across the long bridge on highway 95. Escapees.

The road was clear of snow. It didn’t start snowing hard until after we got passed the indian reservation, so we made Moscow in good time. We re-packed the pick up in Moscow to fit Dave’s work in, got it all tied down and tarped again and set off, the three of us crammed into the little cab. Smokin’ and laughing and stinking to high heaven.

Soon, we were past the stinky paper mill in Lewiston and were out of the Paloose country headed up into the Salmon River Mountains. It was beautiful, the mountains and the snow and the river, jokin’ and laughin’ and driving down the road. Then it was getting dark and it was getting colder and the snow was getting deeper, but the plows were out, we were in four wheel drive and we never even slowed as we passed all the cars putting on chains on White Bird hill.

Somewhere between Riggins and New Meadows, the truck engine started acting funny. All of the sudden, it would start racing. We would start picking up speed and letting up on the gas pedal didn’t do anything to stop it. It just kept going faster and faster. The only thing I could do was turn off the engine and roll to a stop. Then after waiting ten or fifteen minutes, I would start it up again and it would be fine for another twenty or thirty miles. Luckily, there was almost no traffic on the highway. Most people had sense enough to stay home on stormy nights like this.

Somehow, we made it to McCall. We found a restaurant and had some dinner. It felt good to stretch our legs and fill our bellies and we had fun flirting with the pretty waitress. We would have liked to have stayed longer, but we were on a mission. We decided against looking for a mechanic because the engine was running fine now. What would we show him, anyway? “Yep, it runs.” What’s the problem, right? He’d just fix something that wasn’t broke and charge us for it. Plus, we didn’t have time or any extra money. We didn’t even think twice about it. We just gassed up the truck and kept on going. Anyway, it probably had something to do with the high altitude and it was all downhill between there and Boise. What else was there to do?

We didn’t even stop in Boise. I’ve never liked big cities and I try to avoid them. The truck hadn’t acted up at all since McCall and we were tired and just wanted to get there. We still had a half a tank of gas so we just kept on truckin’. We were on the interstate freeway now and were making good time, it was clear, At Mountain Home, we left the interstate and started climbing into the Sawtooth mountain range on a windy two lane. The snow was deep here. The road wasn’t as well maintained. The only way you could see where the road was the white on white tracks in the snow and the occasional row of fenceposts. The falling snow was blowing and swirling in the headlights and giving me vertigo as well as making the tire tracks disappear. The windshield wipers were barely keeping up with it. We hadn’t smoked any pot but we sure felt stoned. Dizzy stoned. Swoosh, shwoosh, swooosh, swoosh, over and over, shwoosh, swoosh.

We went through a little town. We were getting low on gas. There was no gas station there. We kept going. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh.

Towns are not close together in that part of the country. This is an area of low population density. The needle on the gas guage kept dropping. My knuckles were getting as white as the snow outside. We still had maybe fifty or sixty miles to go. We weren’t going to make it. Nobody was talking inside the truck. Damn. Damn. Swoosh, swoosh. The gas guage was on E. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh.

Then we came to another little town. It was late. The gas station was closed. The only place open was a bar. We nosed into the parking lot with a lot of other pick ups and there we were, three hippy arty types walking into a redneck bar.

The door closed behind us. Everyone in the place had stopped talking. There was complete silence and they all had turned and were staring at us. It was scary.

We bellied up to the bar and Rich said, “We’d like to buy the bar a round.” God, I hoped he had more money in his pocket than I did, but the tension in the bar disappeared. Everyone was smiling now. They thanked us and went back to their coversations and laughter.

We asked the bartender if there was anyplace where we could get some gas. “Only gas station ‘tween here and Ketchum is here, and it don’t open ’til six.”

“Is there a hotel or motel in this town?” I asked.

“Nope. Not till you get to Ketchum. Twenty five mile fruther up.”

“How long are you going to be open?”

“Another half hour. We close at two.”

“Oh.”

We sat there glumly drinking our beers.

“Course I could try calling Fred, he owns the station. He’s prob’ly sleepin’ now though. He might come down if you offered to pay him something extra for the trouble.”

“How much extra? We don’t have much money left.”

“Oh, five bucks outta do it.”

“Would you phone him please?”

“Sure. Give me a quarter for the phone. We just got the pay phone here.”

A few minutes later he was back. “He’ll meet you there in ten minutes.”

We left our half drank beers on the bar, damn it would’ve been nice to get drunk, and headed back out into the snowstorm.

The gas station wasn’t really a gas station. It was more like a garage, it had no pump, but there was a gas station sign, and he had several five gallon cans of gas in there. Fred filled our gas tank grumbling about “stupid hippy skiers too dumb to stay home on a night like this”. We asked him about the engine problem. “Prob’ly ice. Maybe oxygen mix.” was the cryptic answer he gave us hippies too dumb to understand. “Ah.” we all said in unison.

We got into Sun Valley after the sun was up. The storm had passed. It was a beautiful morning. The craggy Sawtooths were glistening white jagging sharply into the clear blue sky. The engine had acted up maybe a dozen times more and we had to wait longer each time for it to run right again so it took a long time to go a short ways. We found a pay phone and called the gallery guy to come and unlock for us. We backed the truck up to the front door and unpacked everything. By noon everything was hung, the track lighting was adjusted and we were soaking in an outdoor heated swimming pool that was covered over by cloud of steam. We could dimly make out the shapes of several pretty girls in the mist. None of us were skiers.

When it was all over, neither Dave nor I had sold a single piece.. We were wined and dined and got our egos stroked alot, but to tell you the truth, it’s more pleasant to be the stroker than the strokee. And we didn’t make a dime. We were modern artists and this was cowboy country. And we were dumb hippies. There was another opening in a gallery next door that specialized in western, cowboy art. We all agreed that the art over there was crap, not original at all, but the artists that were showing there sold everything they had. The owner said it was the most successful show he’d ever had. We thought our show was a success too, and I never heard one complaint about all the trouble we went through to get there or anything about sacrifices or how lucky or brave we were. We didn’t think we had done anything daring.. In fact, we hadn’t yet thought much of anything about it. We thought it was sucessful and truely miraculous just to have gotten there at all. No one said a word. Not one word. It was a miracle just to be.

To be continued……

The Great Escape – Part Twelve

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The Great Escape – Part Twelve

Even this morning, after a full eight or nine hours of sleep, I have not overcome the miserable writing I produced yesterday. How could I have brought such suffering into the world. I know, I Know, “Relax, relax, they’re just words!” you say, “Look at all the political advertisements on the net! Listen to what married people say to one another when they get into a big row. Let it go! For Crisake don’t go into a funk over it. Just erase then if they bother you so much.”

“ERASE THEM!”, I answer, “ARE YOU KIDDING! THEY’RE BRILLLIANT! NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!”

Not really, of course, but one must defend his or her own misery. Misery is precious. We need our misery. We were meant to suffer. That’s what we were born for. Without suffering, life would be just one, long, boring, sappy affair. Suffering brings passion into our lives! Why do you think drama ia such a popular medium in television programing? Maybe my misery isn’t really brilliant, but it’s mine. Now I’m going to keep it and not even show it to you because you might rip it up or something! This is MY pity party and I’ll suffer if I want to!

But if you asked me nicely, respectfully, I would show you those pages, but, for now, I’m not going to post them on the internet. They’re private, nothing out of the ordinary mind you, just a lot of whinning about things I’m guilty of, kickin’ myself in the ass, regreting the suffering I’ve caused people I have loved and do love through neglect or worse. Karma I have created in my life that is now almost too painful to remember.

I suspect we all have that. Show me someone over the age of two who hasn’t done something they wish they hadn’t done. Life is like that. People don’t want to hear the details either. Maybe that’s why we have fiction. It’s safer from that distance. Not so real. We humans, collectively, have done some awful things.

Ever since Adam and Eve tasted that danged apple, the fruit of knowledge. Knowldge of good and evil. Duality, we have suffered for it.

Clive told me yesterday, “I go to the store and I buy an apple and then I put it in the refrigerator. And I will never taste that apple. It will never touch my lips. It will just sit there until it rots, and then I will throw it out! I shall remain on the path of righteousness!”

…..and this is from a guy that sometimes suffers from bouts of depression!

To Be Continued……

The Great Escape – Part Eleven

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The Great Escape – Part Eleven

Of course, that’s what we are, a river, flowing through, along, the path of time. And that path, that course, that river bed is strewn with rocks, obstacles, all manner of things that can cause us to suffer or simply slow us down. We, you, me, they, all of it, all of existence is the flowing river. It’s all energy, because that’s we are, flowing energy. We are flow-ers, flowing, flow-er children. Around and around and around it goes, river to sea to cloud to raindrop to stream to river. Round and round we go.

The flow was so slow

that I wanted to know

just why I was feeling so down.

It hadn’t rained for days

and I was in kind of daze.

The heat will do that you know,

There had been a big drought

And we’d had quite a bout

of sluggishness, indolence and sloth

We drifted for days

in a somnombulent haze,

a murkey, lugubrious broth.

I looked down and thought,

well now, look at that rock.

That must be what’s causing the trouble.

If it was moved to the right,

or moved to the left,

our flow would almost be double.

It was only a little one

wedged ‘tween two big stones.

Surely not much of a hinderance.

For a river like us

to push us and toss,

to unplug such a tiny encumberance.

So we pushed and shoved

until finally it budged

just a hair, just slightly akimbo.

Well, the trickle increased,

it was better, at least

but it still, was it worth all the trouble?

So then we laid down,

sort of puddled around,

for our effort had been quite deteriorate.

It had increased our flow rate,

and we’d opened the floodgate,

but still we continued to stagnate.

But in our dilerium

we had failed to notice some

clouds that had gone beyond cirrus.

It started to pour

like never before.

The situation became quite delireous.

Our slough of despond

had become quite a pond,

and was growing with each drop that fell.

There was thunder and lightning,

It was all very enlightning,

as our edges continued to swell.

The crack ‘tween the rocks

that the pebble had blocked

had widened into a canyon.

We tumbled and rolled

and bubbled and roiled,

then shot through it, as if from a cannon.

The ride was so frightening

the crashing and shatterting

into billions of tiny small droplets

We soared and we plummeted

dove and spummated,

until finally, we became quite exhausted.

We rode to the sea,

the you and the me,

it was there that we all then engathered.

In the warmth of our bed

We giggled and said,

Have we ever been so enraptured?

The Great Escape – Part Ten

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The Great Escape – Part Ten

……..and then there was that time, it was in the spring I believe. You know how undependable memory is. How time changes everything. There were still patches of snow on the ground and the old mining and logging road was muddy in places.

It was still kind of cold, but seemed gloriously warm after what we were coming out of. Winter that is. The pipes had unfrozen. It was morning, I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, it was a sunny day. A beautiful sunny day. We were in the Siskiyou Mountains on Althouse Creek, walking. Just walking. That’s all, just walking. Not talking at all.

We didn’t have any idea what was going to happen next, all the changes we would be going through. Permanence was not something we had sought or thought about yet. We were still so very young. We didn’t know that a year later bulldozers would come and obliterate any trace of our existence there, or our tenuous, experimental family would tear asunder, divided from within, or that it would reform into smaller circles, because love never dies. It just sleeps sometimes.

But the old ghost mining town of Browntown, once called Tigertown, was still standing and very much alive. It had no electricity, but it was electrified.

Anyways, I remember we were walking up the windy road and it was such a beautiful day, full of newness and beginnings. We had just spent our first winter in the mountians and we were feeling good. We would soon be living the summer of our lives. Later we would discover that it was henseforth, from that point, that all our lives would flow. At least it was that way for me. You’d have to ask the others to be sure. It was for Chuck too. We’ve talked about it many times. Chuck called it a school, and we learned more about life in that one year than all our years in public school. It felt like a lifetime.

We were walking, just walking, neither slow nor fast, up to where the bridge crossed the creek, up through the dark, wet, dripping fir and pine and madrone and oak trees. I don’t know who I was walking with but it was someone.. Funny that that fact, not knowing, doesn’t discomfort me at all, that it actually echos our state of mind at the time because we were so OPEN. We didn’t know anything then either. We were all so full of possibilies, and we were oblivious to any kind of suffering or loss.

We just stopped there and looked down into that springtime, roiling, tumult of rushing water. I can still feel water spray on my face and hear the thunder of it echoing in my ears, and I just stood there looking into it. Just looking into it. IN TO IT! I felt so incredibly high and I wasn’t stoned, not stoned at all. It was so beautiful. So wonderous. So so awsome, I felt as if I had stepped into some alternate universe, but it was still this one all right. It was just this amazing, totally unexplicable thing!

I don’t remember walking back or even if we did walk back. Maybe we just floated through the air, and then I was up in my funky little attic room above the double barrel woodstove, cozy and warm again and I wrote this poem. I’m sorry if it doesn’t quite catch it, that experience, but it is what it is, and here it is, resurected after all thse years:

Snow that cannot say they,

water that cannot say we

flowing together

as changes come,

always!

Come down to the river,

come down too!

It’s going so fast,

no one can see where it’s going.

SO FAST!

Someone says:

“He’s trying to damn it up,

but it still flows.”

The big stones never move,

could never confine a river,

it just flows through, around,

always,

Endless; Endless;

Endless.

Browntown, 1971

To be continued………..

The Great Escape – Part Nine

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1/21/16

Ram Dass is right. As soon as my illusion of seperatness is threatened, here comes my ego to reinforce it. This is war, damn it! And back into battle we go… How do I get out of this trap? What is my writing but grasped thoughts, plucked on their way through from the front door and out the back door? Certainly nothing worth defending. Others have written about this stuff far more eloquently than I. What do I have to offer except my personal, seperate, point of view? And then, I get upset when it seems a tad egotistical. Like it’s not keeping up appearences or something, it’s not as I expect it should be.

As I understand it, Ram Dass is saying in his piece on Karma Yoga, that for it to be dharma, It has to be done with no sense of self and no reward in mind. That basically, I need to write it without thought of some future benifit to myself and just let it happen, flow or whatever because that’s what’s appropriate to happen without ever taking credit or possession of the act. In other words, to give it up. Keep writing, but surrender it imediately, not mine to hold onto. Ok. so here it is. just so much dross for the fire. I give it to the universe. No more worrying about feedback, praise and all that. Just give it up to the winds of fate.

But how do I get from writing or saying this to the reality of it, to it really being so? How do I get it to be more than just some much hot air wafting through the window?

And then I think, Well, what am I but a passing breeze?, and you know, what if all there is is merely ego. What if there is is only that, then so what? Just this breeze wafting through the window of time. But, of course, ego wants it to be more than that. Ego wants to be important. Ego wants respect. Ego wants a big comfortable house. Ego wants more. Ego will cling to itself as long as it can because that’s the only existence it knows. Ego is our seperateness. You can’t stop that. The illusion of seperatness is still going to be there. So what is left to do but give up trying to change it. Accept it for what it is, an illusion. Give it up. It’s just a part of the universe. It’s just phenomenon. It’s just seperateness.

And this is what actually happens when we try to give up our seperateness. In meditation and in writing for me, I reach this place where everything is egual. Nothing is better or worse or more important than anything else, and at that moment, I love it all. I get this wonderful feeling and I want to hold on to that, but I know that’s not really possible to hold onto it. So then I go for a walk and all this stuff pops up. I see all these bad things happening. Problems with the bank screwing with my money that I need to pay my debts and to live on. Hurtful things, you know, and I say “Oh no! Not that! I can’t love that!”, and I’m right back where I started. And I’m suffering, panicing really. I tried calling my bank in Idaho to try to straighten out the problem a dozen times and none of the calls went through. All these old fears of mine rise to the surface and I retreated.. So I go to where I am loved and I order another beer and laugh and enjoy the company of friends in this safe place until I’m quite drunk, and then I walk out and I see someone I like and want to hug him and he waves me off, “I don’t mind talking with you when your sober”, he says…….. and I head for the bus and go home to lick my wounds and suffer some more. Because my desire to be free of ego has set up these expectations and they were not met and now I’m paying the price. Do you see the cycle here, he pattern? I ask myself? How does one learn to love suffering, this Veil of Tears? Just let it be? Give a good laugh at all this foolishness?

That was yesterday. This morning I tried calling the bank in Idaho and got through to the manager who is also a friend. She had gotten the e-mail and faxed information I had sent yesterday, and their phones were down all day yesterday which was why none of my calls went through. She was on it as soon as she saw the e-mail and had already taken steps to fix the problem. I may have to wait a few more days for my money is all. I talked to the guy I had promised to pay yesterday and he is fine with waiting. I gave him most of what was in my wallet and thanked him. I would rather be broke myself than allow him to be broke. I’ll be fine. What a relief.

Ok ego, I’m done messing with you. You’re just a dumb illusion, I know that, but I accept that you and I are not seperate…

A Man of the Cloth by Tom Newbill

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A Man of the Cloth…..by Tom Newbill

The time was 1964 and the place was Huntington Beach, California. We were cruisin’ in Bob Curley’s car, a mint old 1950 Hudson Commodore four door. Bob was older than us by about 10 years and we were just turning 21. He was a transplant from a very tiny little town in the Midwest and one of those beautiful souls who was a great listener, had a relaxed smile, a gentle laugh, never in a hurry, never angry…you know…strange. His employment portfolio was a thick as a bible and at the time he made a living as a bartender, a beat poet, an astrologer and a man of the cloth, you know…a minister. His relationship with the “Big Fellah” seemed to give him a divine provenance or so it seemed and we always felt safe with him, especially when he wore that little white collar thingy around his neck and a black sport coat, even when he bar-tended…I mean come on, who’s gonna mess with a pastor, right?

To put things in perspective, this was the early 60’s and pot was considered a hard drug and one could get a year in the Orange Co. jail for an ounce of pot. That said, the five of us, after a gallon of wine, at 3 am, decided we had to smoke some. Bob had the only readily available pad but he lived in an apartment building. The thought of us all gowed up, smoking pot late at night in an apartment building, although a plausible concept to a wino, was abandoned in favor of us all piling into Bob’s Hudson and driving around so as not to attract attention. What could possibly go wrong? Well, we were as high as the moon when Bob noticed he was almost out of gas. We drove down the Pacific Coast High-way [no pun intended] until we found an all night gas station, all by itself, a light in the dark out near the edge of town, by the oil fields.

We pulled in and the attendant came out. Bob cracked the window and said fill’r up and handed him a $5 bill. Apparently the fact that it looked like we had just put out a fire in the back seat went completely unnoticed by us but not the attendant, nor the telltale sweet pungent odor. He started the gas pump and left to go inside at which time he promptly called the police. He brought us the change just about the time a patrol car roared up from the side street, skipped the curb, wobbled over and screeched to a stop, blocking the front of the Hudson. An angry cop jumped out of the car and raced over to the drivers side, ripped the door open and screamed…WHAT’S YOUR NAME????

As smoke poured out of the car like a fog machine at a rock concert, Bob stammered…B…B…Bob….Bob Curley and then… out of the clear blue…he said…and I’m from Rosebud, South Dakota. Time seemed to stand still…the cops shoulders relaxed a little and his pursed lips parted slightly, his squinty eyes slowly opened wide. He then squatted a little and softly said….”I’m from Rosebud South Dakota!” The two of them were temporarily mesmerized as they stared at each other with that “can you recognize me in my 6th grade class picture” kind of look.

Meanwhile, in the back seat, I started getting dizzy. All I remembered was that we had enough pot to get life without parole. My whole life began flashing before my eyes like a deck of cards being shuffled and my heart was pounding like a Harley Davidson motorcycle at a stop light. I thought, well, there goes my dream of being a bank teller….Everything was moving slowly…words sounded like when you slowed down a 78 record player to 331/3….I was starting to black out when suddenly I realized … we were moving… WE’RE MOVING?…What the??? Who the???

The Hudson slipped out onto the highway, turned right and slowly purred its way north, not a car in sight. I looked back over my shoulder as if in a dream, the station slowly disappearing in the night fog. The cop was leaning up against his car…he waved.

The Great Escape- Part Eight Continued

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The Great Escape – Part Eight continued……

I think what Acid did, all it did, was to temporarily un-mask us, at least to some degree. It wiped out our defences. It un-masked all us Lone Rangers and suddenly we could see. What was there, both outside and behind the masks, was love. That’s what the masks were hiding. I’m talking about divine universal love. An alternative reality. And there was so much awe that first time. That’s what led us into it, I think..

Then we came back down and put the masks back on and went on about our daily lives. The high wasn’t maintainable because it was just a drug. If you took the same amount of it the next day, nothing happened. You didn’t get high. You had to double the dose to even get off. And when we did it again it wasn’t the same anyway because we gradually learned how to keep our masks on while high. After awhile, it became pointless to do it anymore. Fortunatly, acid isn’t addictive.

But getting high wasn’t what it was about anyway. The drug made us vulnerable and that was a bit scarry. That’s why we put on the masks to begin with, to not feel vulnerable and a host of other things that worry us. Love frightens many of us because we mistakenly equate it with vulnerability. We afraid we’ll be disappointed.

The drug also rendered us practically physically incompetent and we didn’t want to eat, another couple of major drawbacks. This wasn’t pot. It didn’t give you the munchies. It was a hundred times stronger than that.

Love was what it was really about. That’s what was really important. And love is not the high. The high is actually another kind of mask. It’s much more than that. We were just given a glimpse of it. It’s much bigger than that. It’s everywhere, both within us and without and the only reason we can’t see it is because these damned masks are in the way!

What our masks? Our egos, of course are one type. The there’s preconcieved ideas, false beliefs, survival techniques that are no longer appropriate, bad attitudes, all our fears. things we’ve learned that are untrue, things we misremember, who we think we are…well, just all the ways we’ve got it wrong. It’s the lens that filters everything we percieve. Breaking any of those things can give you a revelation or realization or enlightenment or illumination or whatever you want to call it.

Trying to take off our masks. Letting go of our egos and our fears, that’s what all the many spiritual paths are about. They’re methods for dropping our masks so we can see love, feel love, find love, become love, become one with all of it. All of them are about that, at least initially, and have been throughout history. Gods are about being whatever we need them to be about at the moment. It doesn’t matter if they are imaginary. They can help us. Dropping our masks is not easy to do. There’s so much confusion. We have so much to unlearn. Dissolution is difficult. We mistakenly think that is our true selves that are dissolving. It’s a big risk when you don’t know for sure. Especially when our egos, our society, in fact all of civilization tells us everything is one way when actually it’s another.

That’s what the counter culture was all about. It wasn’t about being a drug culture, it was about being Love. Experimentation with drugs was like trying on different kinds of glasses to see if we could see any better with them.

So idealistic they told us. So imaginary. So subversive. Dangerous even. So unrealistic, they said of us! Love and peace. So unrealistic! Wow! Really?

I’m sure that not everyone who tried acid in those days experienced what I did. There are many who were just getting fucked up and having fun, but a lot of us did. Ask any old hippy that’s still here. Some of us are still at it. Not taking LSD again, of course, we’re long done with that, it’s a dead end for us, but on the path, trying to open those doors to perception, to sacred love, to all of it.

Now that we’ve become older, maybe looking for universal love has become important to us again. Our children are grown now, maybe we’ve lost a spouse and we’re experiencing loneliness and remember once again those long ago flashes of pure love. Maybe suddenly all the stuff we’ve accumulated doesn’t mean much to us anymore, and work and security are less important because we haven’t got that much time left…..to what?…..to what? Or we’ve retired now and have lot’s of time to sit around, drink beer and contemplate our belly-buttons again.

I hope we will all find what we are looking for, pick out the belly-button lint, and get connected to the universe again, completely unmasked this time around with no druggie side effects. I know we will eventually, inevitably.

Peace and

Love……………

……….To be continued.

The Great Escape – Part Eight

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We were getting out of the city for the weekend. No work, just fun. A group of friends escaping together. We were in a gas station getting gas in Bill and Lilly’s VW van. Bill had a new eight-track cassette player under the dashboard. He loved new gadgets like that. New cassette too. “Abby Road” – The Beatles. “Here Comes the Sun” was playing. It had just come out. I had never heard it before. It was dawn. The sun was coming. We had gotten an early start.

We headed north on the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu and on. We were going to be camping at Montana de Oro State Park near San Luis de Obispo. I didn’t realize at the time, just how far out we were going.

Brian and Ken, whom I didn’t know well, worked in the same design studio as Bill. Brian and Ken were gay and amature animated filmakers. Bill had just finished designing the label for a new product called “Kama Sutra Oil”. Pat and Cyretta were a mixed race couple and close friends. He and I were graphic artists at the same advertising agency. I was more or less his apprentice. We were working on an advertising campaign for the new king of the Tonga Islands. The kingdom had recently come into some money by increasing copra production four-fold with a new machine that husked coconuts and left the meat intact and he wanted to develope tourism there. He came to visit us. The mayor was at the airport with all the TV people and the key to the city. He wasn’t on the plane. He showed up three days later at our door. He was a happy and rotund guy. I liked him. “What’s three days?” he asked. He wanted to go to Whiskey A-Go-Go.

I lived in Pat and Cyretta’s two car garage close to the intersection of Slausen and Crenshaw in L.A. I had recently left home, kicked out, actually, for smoking pot in my bedroom. Even then, it was a rough neighborhood…. shooting going on every night. The riots were still recent events. Their kids were staying with the neighbors, so we were free for two days. I was the only one of our group who had never dropped acid before.

We drove throuh Santa Barbara and up the coast in the coolness of the early morning. It was a fatastically beautiful day. Birds were singing. Wildflowers were blooming. It was unbelievably sweet compared to the grime of the city.

We paid the fee for the campsite and set up the tents. We had brought some snacks and a gallon of wine. We weren’t going to need much to eat today. We wouldn’t be hungry.

I had heard about acid, of course. Everybody knew about Timothy O’ Leary and the new hippy movement. I had read a little book, “The Doors Of Perception” by Aldeous Huxley as well. It didn’t prepare me for what I was about to experience. I had no point of reference. This was not grass.

It was called “Orange Sunshine”. Brian and Ken had it. Two bucks a tab.

At first I thought nothing was happening. Just wait, they said, It takes a little time. We headed down a trail to a little cove that was pretty secluded. Gradually I lost my sense of direction and abit scared. “Just go with the flow. Let it take you. Don’t worry. You’ll be fine. You’ll see.

You’ll see.

You’ll see.

You’ll see. You’ll see.

You’ll see………

The sun. Here comes the sun.

They told me to sit in this special place in the rocks. “Just sit there,” they said.

So I sat there. I was always a good little boy. I looked around at the ocean and the waves and the sea birds over head and it was so incredibly beautiful. SO beautiful, and I was so happy, I wanted to cry! “Shhhhh!”, they told me, “Just wait!” And then it happened……….

It was like the world’s loudest fart. There was this enormous blast of air from under my butt. My hair shot straight up. They had sat me on a blow hole. They were all rolling around on the sand laughing their heads off. Funniest thing they had ever seen. “Wow man! Was that cool or what?” I was laughing with them.

The universe had openned up to us. It was if the clouds had parted and a sunbeam had reached down and carried us up, up, up, and we kissed the light. LIGHT! Everywhere. We spent the day exploring. Every turn offered some new miracle. We meditated and gave thanks. We looked into the centers of wildflowers and traveled there to became one with them, and then bloomed ourselves. Every time an insect landed on an arm or a leg, it was if we had been given a special gift. We closed our eyes and saw dancing, swirling, pulsing colors on the insides of our eyelids. Everything, the entire universe had been transformed into waves of energy traveling through us, in us around us. “What a rush!”, we all said those days. We had escaped into reality. We had changed forever, we thought.

But sometime around dusk, we started to come down. We smoked some pot and shared the wine to ease the transition back to ordinary life. We were so happy. We had shared something so special, so real, that no one would believe it. It was love, of course. The hippies weren’t a drug cult. What we wanted, what we experienced those days was love. And we had changed forever. We may have forgotten at times, but it’s still there, just waiting for the time for us to get back to it. That’s all we wanted, you know….love! We took LSD many times after that, but it was never the same. That was because it wasn’t the drug that blew our minds, it was love, and that was something we still had alot to learn about. There was a lot of trial and error that happened after that, alot of mistakes. Some of us gave up on it. Some of us are still looking. It’s right here.

Inside each of us. It always has been. We can escape into reality, you and I. It doesn’t matter that we have aged. The universe is young. The universe is just beginning to open. You don’t need a drug to find it. It is you.

Love

Peace.

The hippies are still coming.

………..You’ll see.

…….To be continued.

The Great Escape – Part Seven

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Who among us has never done or said something so awful, so terrible it’s painful to admit it? Something said or done while angry or perhaps drunk, enraged over some percieved hurt done to ourselves whether it was real or not? Maybe even a grand crime like burglery or murder or rape. And then we compound the act by denying it, or telling ourselves that it wasn’t really all that bad, or justifying it, even if we have to invent some alternative version, however fanciful, of what really happened, even blaming it all on the other person, and we believe it. How else can we live with ourselves? I’m not saying this is you, you understand. This isn’t an accusation. Not by any means….NO!

It takes courage to face terrible truths about ourselves and who has courage

when we believe we’ve been wounded to the core. To make it even worse, the ones we hurt are usually those we love the most.

Guilty on all counts your honor, I am ready to take my punishment.

“This is the price you have to pay for eating that damned apple, the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. What you have done is your punishnment.” Please forgive me, I asked, for I know not what I did. “I am not your judge, only your confessor. You yourself are your own judge. I can only forgive you by forgiving myself. How can I withold my love from you, whatever you have done, however terrible, when I am equally guilty myself, perhaps even more so. My love for you is unshaken!!”

………And we are left standing there in the dock in shock.

Was it only yesterday

that I saw a white butterfly dancing on the breeze

in the empty space before me?

In that moment,

where was the good, where was the bad

that caused me to grieve so

only moments before……?

Now I have seen you in all your pulsing beauty!

How passionatly your colors glow!

Oh great sorrow,

I have lost my pain……I have escaped!

How can I live without your suffering?

“Please, give it to me! Please!”

So innocent, I thought, so pure,

and then I returned to the scene of the crime.

We can never truely be hurt to the core. Our core is invulnerable and eternal and love itself. There is no need to protect it by closing our eyes and ears and hearts. It is only this earthly body that can and will enevitably be damaged and feel pain, because that is mortal.

There is no pain in love.

The body is temporary.

It only lasts for a short while.

Love is timeless.

Love is abundant.

You can’t own it.

It can never be stolen.

That’s all there is.

Your crime is love.

……to be continued.