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………..

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