Do I Dare?

Panama City, Panama; November 1992

Waiting for the Sun to rise… desperately. My head hurt and I was very sweaty. I didn’t want to shut my eyes anymore because I was tired of the dream. I couldn’t deal with it anymore. There seemed to be a dim light in the atmosphere. It had to be almost dawn. I wanted to get up and face the day. I wanted the shitty night to be over. I had things I needed to do. I was in Panama City. I wanted to continue South to South America. The only possible way to go overland to South America was to go through the area known as the Darien Gap into Columbia. The guide book warned that it was a dangerous route filled with drug smugglers and paramilitaries. Indeed, the tiny Isthmus which connects Columbia to Panama had become sort of legendary among the many backpackers I met traveling in Central America… Have you done the Gap? No way man, the Gap is too dangerous. Si’, the Gap Es muy peligroso. I want go Gap? You too? Do you dare to do Darien man, cuz it is danger zone….

As a practical matter it was very difficult to “do Darien” because the area was mostly a very big swamp with only a few passable dirt roads. Control of the few roads was often in dispute between various rival paramilitary factions so much traveling in the region was done by speed boats or small plane. The guidebook recommended getting on the ground, up to the minute information before trying any route through the region because the security situation there was always in flux. Part of me wanted to do it, but mostly I was afraid. With all the news stories about Pablo Escobar and violent drug wars in Columbia, I was thinking about skipping Columbia altogether. I really wanted to hurry up and get to the Amazon. Couldn’t I by-pass Columbia altogether and just quickly cut through Venezuela to Brazil?

According to my guidebook, it was possible to go directly by boat from Panama City, Panama to a harbor on the coast near Caracas, Venezuela but it was not easy to arrange passage because there was no official public ferry plying the route. There were a few private cruise ships that connected the two destinations but passage on cruise ships was expensive with several pleasure stops along the way. It was also possible to charter a boat from the Panama City harbor to the Venezuelan harbor but that too would be very expensive unless you were part of a big group defraying the costs. For shoestring travelers, my guidebook recommended asking at the private cruise lines for a job as a deckhand in exchange for free passage or going to the harbor and checking bulletin boards for notices of groups that might be looking for sign-ons. So that was my plan for the day. Head to the harbor to find out about boats to Venezuela and scope out some on the ground, up to date information on the Darien route to Columbia.

The sun was definitely up. It was light out. I climbed my hungover, sweaty self out of bed and went across the hall to the bathroom and showers. I had to brush my teeth about six times and submit to a blast of very cold splash, but I felt mostly sane by the time I dressed and headed out the door to find breakfast. This was 1992, so I was traveling without cell phone or iPad and I had no individual timepiece so I never really knew what time it was but I was guessing it was about 7:00 am. The price of the hotel room theoretically included breakfast that was served from 7:00am -10:00am in the balcony sitting area so that is where I went. A young local man dressed in waiter whites greeted me as I approached and asked if I wanted coffee or tea. I scanned the scene. Only a few tables were occupied but there was Gunther sitting at the same table as the evening before. He saw me as well and gestured for me to join him. I told the waiter I wanted coffee and went to join my new Swiss friend.

“Good morning my young gringo friend,” he said, “I trust you found some food last night and got yourself a good night sleep.”

“Sort of,” I said as I sat down. “I went to the Irish place and had the Shepard’s pie.”

“Not exactly Panamanian cuisine but delicious nonetheless.”

“Sure tasted good,” I said, “but it didn’t do well in my belly.”

“Now now,” said Gunther, “don’t blame da pie for da problem of da whiskey.”

“Very perceptive,” I said.

“Or da problem of da tequila,” he added. His wrinkled eyes twitched sporadically as he smiled like a dirty gnome in possession of incriminating secrets.

The realization hit me with a wave of nausea. “Oh my god, you were there. Did I see you? Did I talk to you? I hope I didn’t say anything offensive. I’m sorry if I did. I was really drunk. I don’t even know why. I honestly can’t remember seeing you at all. For that matter, the whole night is such a blur that I hardly remember anything. I was so wasted I think I even threw up in the plaza on the way home. Could someone have spiked my drink?”

“Perhaps,” he said, “but probably not. I was only there for a half hour around ten o’clock. We didn’t talk because you were busy doing shots of tequila with some bar friends when I saw you. I waved hello but you didn’t seem to recognize me. My educated guess is that it was the tequila that made you sick. Someone else didn’t spike your drink. You spiked it yourself by switching from good clean whiskey to dirty yellow piss water.”

At this point, the waiter in white arrived carrying my coffee. He was Panamanian but his English was very good. There were three breakfast options; pancakes, eggs or fruit salad. Gunther already had the pancakes in front of him and I chose the eggs (huevos revueltoes). After the waiter was gone, I sipped the coffee and tried to relax. But the caffeine gave me the jitters.

“So now what?” said Gunther inquisitively. “You heading towards da Gap very soon or you planning to stay around and take in some Panamanian attractions first?” Continue reading

Very Bad Gringo

Panama City,  Panama;  November 1992.

The apocalypse highway dreams started many months before the real life car accident and continued for several years afterwards. So there is no logical, rational connection between the two. If time is linear, I can’t possibly say the accident caused the dreams. And the dreams certainly did not cause the accident. But if everything is connected… and time is relative… well, that’s what I’ve been thinking about lately… The dream was a frequent occurrence around the time I abandoned my promising legal career and made the great leap into the unknown so it is sensible to presume a relationship between the dream and that transformative event. Furthermore, although the car accident happened almost two years before the big radical move, my mother always claimed a hidden head injury from the accident was the real cause of my “imaginary revolution.” If two variables are thought to be the proximate cause of the same significant event, are not those two variables necessarily related to each other in a dynamic way. A(2) + B(2) therefore C(3). And then, finally, to add one more piece to the syllogistic puzzle. The crazy dream did not go away when I had my imaginary revolution. As a matter of fact, the dream continued intensely for a full year afterwards as I worked intensely on my first novel about the non-violent overthrow of the Evil Empire. The apocalypse highway nightmare only finally went away when I started doing stonework a few years later.

My long term memory is, perhaps, a little confused on the subject, but I think I first had the dream in Chiapas, Mexico in late September of 1992. Maybe I had it in Belize and Guatemala as well. I definitely remember it from the night on Ometepe in Nicaragua, and it came with surround sound at the Arenal volcano in Costa Rica. The early episodes of the dream were not very traumatic. It was kind of like watching an action movie on the big screen. I’d wake up with my heart beating fast and write down the dream to use as material for a future story I was hoping to write. I wasn’t bothered by the dream because I felt somehow removed or separated from it. The dream was not me. The dream was just a story. But then, the dream intensified. I think it first happened when I was sleeping in the shelter on Mt. Chirripo in Costa Rica. I had some kind of virus that I thought was malaria. The symptoms from the disease (fever and chills) infiltrated the dream and made the whole experience very visceral. I was no longer an observer of images. I was a participant in the action. By the time I got to Panama City, Panama in mid-November, the recurring intense nightmare was totally messing with my head. Every time I shut my eyes…the apocalypse highway would appear…. Grey smoke, loud explosions, fireballs and black helicopters…. I stopped sleeping because I was so afraid of the dream. Instead, I walked around the big city like a zombie for five days and had a number of very confusing half asleep conversations.

As I scratch now at my mind, attempting to uncover the long ago forgotten truth of those few days I spent in Panama, my memory collides with the dream. Am I making this up? Did it really happen? I don’t specifically remember the name of the hotel or the name of the Irish pub. But I do specifically remember that the places existed and I can visualize their interiors. Of course almost all Latin American cities have a colonial hotel on the plaza and an Irish pub around the corner somewhere so maybe the interiors I’m remembering are not the actual ones in Panama. Does it really matter? Can the story be true if the details are imaginary?

There were Leprechauns on the walls and about eight booths with wooden benches. There was also a long wooden bar with many barstools and a middle-aged portly Irish-looking bartender. Guinness was on tap and the background music was mostly fiddle. All the booths were taken when I arrived but there were a few empty barstools. I plopped into a stool and ordered a Guinness and a Shepherd’s pie. Several conversations swirled around me. I half listened but didn’t pay close attention. It occurred to me that I understood the words because everyone was talking in English. I was sitting at a bar smack dab in the middle of Panama City, Panama, and the language spoken by everyone was English. That seemed strange…

Stranger still… there were no Panamanians at all in the bar. Most of the characters were middle aged white dudes from the US, Canada and Western Europe. A few of the booths had younger rowdy backpacker types, but almost all of the barstools were occupied by the elderly intelligencia. After my conversation with Gunther earlier, my brain was focused on secret agents and covert invasions. No doubt nefarious plots were being hatched neath the cover of fiddle music. I was awake inside a John LeCarre’ novel. Or was I? Probably not spies but bureaucrats and businessmen… Administrators in the Canal Zone or a UN delegation. Maybe a few Spies mixed in.

I drank a Guinness and waited for my food. I was never a big fan of Guiness because of the low alcohol content and the bitter taste but everyone at the bar was enjoying theirs so much I had to join the communal experience. When in Rome do like… When in Irish bar, drink… At least the food was good. Really, it was amazing. I ate the Shepard’s pie with gusto right there at the bar. Afterwards, I refreshed my palate with a few shots of whiskey and that made the Guinness go down easier. At some point, I switched to shots of tequila. Crazy, right?, tequila in an Irish bar? I must be making it up. No it’s true. I definitely remember the tequila. Because of the tequila, everything else I remember might be suspect but I definitely remember the tequila. Continue reading

Wake The F#*%#*k Up

November 1992

I didn’t sleep at all on the over night bus and when it finally arrived in the late morning I was struggling to keep my eyes open. According to my map of Panama City, Panama, it was only eight blocks from the bus terminal where I was dropped off to the cheap hotel recommended in my guidebook. I definitely needed sleep but after my long journey from Costa Rica I also wanted to stretch my legs so I decided to walk. I tied my boots, shouldered my backpack and headed down the street towards the city center. But I only walked two blocks before a car pulled over and rolled down its window. I looked inside and saw a rather attractive older local woman. “Are you crazy?” she said, “you can’t walk around here. You will get yourself killed. Get in the car.”

So I threw my backpack in the back seat and climbed into the front passenger seat. “I just wanted to walk,” I said, “I wasn’t trying to cause trouble. Is this a bad neighborhood?”

“Yes it is bad neighborhood,” she said, “Very dangerous neighborhood. Especially for Norte Americanos. Lots of people here would kill you just for that.”

“But how did you know I was American?” I asked. “I could be from anywhere.”

“No, you are from Estados Unidos. Pure blood gringo. It is obvious. You are definitely not European and you don’t have a Canadian flag on your backpack. Where you go?”

“Hotel Americano.” I said.

She laughed, “but of course, Hotel Americano, at least that is in a safe neighborhood.”

It was a fairly short drive to the center of the city. The large, ramshackle old colonial hotel was situated on the edge of a very large plaza. The nice lady dropped me off at the front door and gave me a business card that identified her as a consultant of some kind before I went in. “Please feel free to call me if you need any help while you are here.” I was kind of hoping she was flirting but her tone was motherly and protective rather than sexy and provocative. “Okay, Thanks,” I said, as I retrieved my backpack, exited the vehicle and stumbled sleepily towards the building.

Inside the lobby was like going back in time. Wood paneling, plush purple carpets and a large wooden reception desk manned by an elderly Panamanian man who was smoking a cigar. Behind him was the traditional hotel key cubby (a square stack of numbered boxes with keys and envelopes inside) and in front of him on the desk was an exceptionally large old-fashioned rotary telephone and a big thick hotel register book. He barely said a word as I checked in. He merely turned around the register book and opened it up so I could fill in the information myself. It occurred to me that I could fill in anything and thereby assume a false identity. But I used my real name and passport number and only “lied” about my profession. Instead of admitting I was a lawyer, I pretended to be a novelist. Ha ha ha, I chuckled to myself. (If only I could?). I registered into room 223 because that was the next one open on the ledger and turned the book back towards the old guy so he could read it. He handed me the key and I trudged up the stairs at the back of the lobby.

The second floor was designed like a big rectangle. The staircase led up to the front of the rectangle where there was an awesome balcony and sitting area that looked out over the plaza. This “travelers’ meeting place” was the prime feature indicated in the guidebook as a good reason to stay there. I stopped to check it out, but only briefly. Most of the tables were empty at that hour but I did notice that there were a few young backpackers drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. A few other small tables were occupied by older looking gentlemen from a variety of nations. They were drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes as well. I was too exhausted to socialize so I just peaked at the view of the busy plaza and went to find my room.

My room was at the back of the rectangle conveniently located across the hall from the communal bathrooms. It was a big room with high ceilings, a desk in the corner, a big bed and a ceiling fan that began to slowly whirl when I clicked the wall switch. The air was slightly musty but not too bad. I dropped my backpack on a chair next to the bed and opened the window on the back wall that looked out towards a busy city street. I sat down on the edge of the bed and felt with my hand that it was a bit lumpy. No matter, it would do. I took off my boots, swung my feet up and leaned back on top of the blankets fully clothed. In a matter of moments, I passed out into a deep dark sleep…

I’m standing in front of a very tall building of concrete and glass… a government building… it goes up and up and up forever. I enter and pass through metal detectors to reach the elevators. The elevator takes me up and up and up to a floor of offices. A maze of intersecting corridors leads me to “The Clinic”. A clipboard full of paperwork is handed to me. I sit in a waiting room and look at the clipboard. It makes no sense… a foreign language? no, not even that. It is symbols or hieroglyphics or diagrams with random numbers mixed in. There is a signature line at the bottom. I sign my name. A sexy blonde woman in a tight-fitting business suit emerges from a back room and calls out my name. I hand her my clipboard and follow her to a remote office somewhere within the maze of corridors. She tells me about diseases, horrific diseases with gruesome and explicit symptoms. I am going to a dangerous place, an uncivilized place. I will need biological protection; physiological security. She recommends the first protocol and gives me another paper to sign. I am then ushered into an examination room. A middle aged woman in a nurse’s uniform is waiting with a needle… several needles. She gives me shots… four I think, maybe five. Also a couple of pills to swallow right there and then. Modern medicine circulates through my bloodstream to protect me from the uncivilized world I am entering. I also get a couple prescriptions to fill. Drugs to take once a week or once a day for the whole time I am traveling in a danger zone. The pharmacy is on the bottom floor of the building. I take the elevator down, buy my drugs and go outside.

The heat hits me on the pavement… instant sweat. The sun beats down. The air is thick with moisture. I hurry to shade spots but it does no good. The heat turns up. Even in the parking garage, the heat is oppressive. I have to squeeze through hot vehicles to reach the burning hot driver’s seat of my pick up truck. The air conditioner brings instant relief. Suddenly cool. Then too cool. By the time I exit the parking garage, I am shivering with cold and I shut off the air-con. Then the heat begins again. Out on the highway, I am sweating again, burning up. I try the air conditioner again but this time it won’t work. Hotter and hotter…. sweating… steaming… The sun beats down through the windshield. My entire body is soaked in sweat. But still shivering. And a headache. The whole body aches as it sweats and thrashes and shakes. Then I hear the horns honking. Lots of horns with different incoherent sounds ricochet around the inside of my head. I see the flames in my rear view mirror. Oh shit, the bed of my truck is on fire. Panic. The heart races. Heavy breathing. Will I suffocate? I weave across three lanes of traffic as the honking blares around me. I pull to a blazing stop on a small off ramp. The flames are near the gas tank. The whole thing is going to explode. But I can’t get out. The seat belt is stuck, jammed, broken or melted shut. I struggle and writhe in agony as the sweat streams from my pores. I can’t get out of the god damn seatbelt and the whole thing is going to explode. Oh no oh shit oh no oh shit… Struggle pull, yank, wiggle, struggle, pull, SNAP…

Finally, the buckle bursts. Kick open door. Jump outside and run. Black smoke swirls all around. Cough and gag and cough. Keep running. It’s going to explode. Another truck swerves across the highway in flames. Balls of fire fall from the sky. Keep running. Heart pounds. Have to get away. Have to get away. Can’t breathe. Sweat gushes. Fire fire fire fire everywhere. Kaboom! Explosion knocks me to the ground. Not hurt… just dazed. Stand up slowly and turn around to look. The city behind me is under some kind of attack. Flames shoot out from the tops of several skyscrapers while a number of other buildings are tumbling into ruins. Smoke and dust rises from the streets. Ominous looking black helicopters blanket the sky like a flock of giant birds of prey. Higher up, super sonic jets sizzle across the heavens lobbing fireballs down on the the city. Wrecked vehicles clutter the highway but moving vehicles drive around them like it is some crazy obstacle course. More fireballs hit moving vehicles. Explosions make the earth quake. Lots of people are out of their wrecked cars now. They are running or walking down the highway. Where are they going? What are they doing? I am among them. A refugee. Stumbling along, coughing and gagging in the swirling dark smoke, sweating profusely from all my pores. I’m trying to get away. But where am I going? I don’t know. I just have to get away. From what? The helicopters. The black helicopters. They are in formation now. They are flying towards us. Everyone scatters chaotically into the swirling smoke. The helicopters fire. Live rounds. Lots of them. Machine guns rat a tat tat. I am running in the smoke. I have to get away. Rat a tat tat. Panic. Fear. Run. Pop. I feel pain in my leg and I fall. I’m hit. Pop. Another pain. This time in my shoulder. I’m hit again and again. I’m shaking writhing, squirming along sandy desert ground. I’m trying to get out of sight. Hide. But I can’t move. I’m bleeding on the ground. My body parts won’t work. I have to move but I can’t. They are going to kill me. I have to fucking move!

When I awoke in my room, my clothes were soaked with sweat and I was confused about my location. Where am I? My heart pounded so loudly inside my chest that I thought it was going to explode. Deep breath, deep breath, calm down. Look around. Where am I? Ceiling fan whirled above. Honking horns of traffic outside the window. It’s light out. Must be daytime. What is this place? High ceilings and big bed. A hotel room of some kind? Must be. There’s my backpack. Reality slowly descended upon my senses and awareness of reality slowed my heartbeat. That’s right. I’m in Panama City; at the Hotel Americano. I arrived this morning… or yesterday? There was no clock in the room and I didn’t have a watch. How long did I sleep? That was some dream… nightmare. The same one as before. The malaria dream… but I don’t have malaria. I never had malaria. It was only a virus. It should be gone by now. Why on earth does the dream keep coming back?
Continue reading

Something New To Do…

I apologize for all the poetry I have been posting lately.  I do have several new “travel stories” in the proverbial pipeline but they are not quite ready to go yet.  Coming soon… I promise.  In the mean time, here is another new poem.   It is even kind of Christmasy.

Something New to Do…

A Winter Solstice Ritual
With the essential elements of life
Fire, Water, Earth, Air
And my amazing and beautiful wife

For me, it’s an annual experience
To cleanse my body to the bone
No weed, no booze, no sugar, no caffeine
But always I do it alone

Forty days and forty nights
It seems like a long long time
But it really transforms my reality
It flushes the gunk and the grime

It’s always something different
My discovery on the magical night
Usually it’s some kind of story
About the brand new birth of the light

But this year is extra special
Because I share the show with my love
Together we partake of the substances
And wait for the blessing from above

After the moment is over
My lady breaks out the clay
It’s not a medium I’m familiar with
But she entices me to play

Suddenly a door breaks open
A whole new world to see
The shackles fall from my body
And my soul feels infinitely free

Stonework is hard on the body
Everything aches at the core
I want to go on forever
But even my nerve endings are sore

A ball of clay weighs nothing
And it feels very good in my hands
Can I release it’s magic
And discover the infinite plan

A fork in the path lies ahead of me
A challenge to overcome
But now I have found a possibility
A brand new game has begun

Suddenly my child awakens
And my lady is ready to sleep
This night is full of miracles
The pools of paradise are deep

I finish with my little creation
As new ones blossom in my head
This story is gonna be a good one
And I follow my loved ones to bed

Happy Winter Solstice
I hope it was good for you
Mine was rather incredible
I discovered something new to do…

The Beginning is the End

Here is another old poem that I wrote about the time of my original imaginary revolution (December 1994). I may have posted it once before but it is relevant to the present story I am writing about my transition from a lawyer to an anarchist stone artist so I am posting it again now. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Embrace the contradiction
Anarchists unite
Immerse yourself in darkness
Then you’ll see the light

Anarchy brings chaos
Confusion here and there
Unity brings order
But with the bossman everywhere
Sure we come together
But we also pull apart
Energy and entropy
Are both within the heart
Love your neighbor as your self
That’s the golden rule
But love your self as your neighbor
Or you are a fool

Embrace the contradiction
Anarchists unite
Immerse yourself in darkness
Then you’ll see the light

Somewhere in the madness
There is the perfect peace
Somewhere in the cool and calm
There lives the raging beast
Universal harmony
Puts the chains on every god damned soul
Universal freedom
Rips apart the whole
The end is the beginning
The beginning is the end
Life brings death
And death brings life
That’s the truth my friends.

So embrace the contradiction
All you anarchists unite
Immerse yourselves in darkness
Then you will see the light.

The End is the Beginning?

I blame it on the tryptophan in the turkey sandwich I had for lunch. But, then again, maybe it was destiny…. One way or another, it really was some kind of miracle that I survived.

The accident happened at the very end of my first big traveling adventure. In June of 1992, I finished my appointed position as an attorney for the State of New York court system. Instead of accepting one of several high paying job offers from large corporate law firms, I decided to cash in my savings account and go traveling for a year to “find myself.” I spent several months driving around the United States in my pick-up truck. I camped out and hiked in numerous national parks and visited lots of famous tourist attractions. Then, in October of 1992, I dropped my truck off at a friend’s house in Houston, Texas and headed south by public transport (bus, boat, train, hitch-hike). I made my way through all of Central America and down into South America. My plan was to go all the way to the Southern tip of Chile but my money started to run low in Bolivia so I had to fly back to the United States. I landed in Houston, picked up my truck at my friend’s house in late April 1993 and started driving north. I took my time on the drive because I wanted to visit a few more national parks (the swamps of Louisiana and the Ozark mountains were awesome). When I finally arrived in my home state of New York, it was early June of 1993, I had been on the road for over 11 months and I had covered over fifteen thousand miles.

My savings were almost completely gone by then so I figured I would go and stay with my parents in Plattsburgh, NY while I re-adjusted to normal life and applied for jobs. Over the course of my travels, I had decided that I didn’t really want to work for a corporate law firm. Instead, I wanted to practice some kind of public service law even though I was not sure exactly what kind of public service law. Unfortunately, now that I was back in the country I was also totally broke so I was thinking that I might have to do the corporate thing for a while just to get my financial house in order. Plattsburgh is in the far northern tip of upstate NY by the Canadian border but I stopped off in the state capital of Albany to have lunch with a lawyer friend (Kevin) before going the last 150 miles to my parent’s house. During lunch, I had a delicious turkey sandwich and learned from my friend that there was an opening at the corporate law firm where he worked. He was just an associate so he couldn’t offer me the position himself but he was fairly certain that with my stellar resume and a few recommendations from the Appeals Court judges we both used to work for, I could get the job without a doubt. He really wanted me to come work with him and he talked up the perks and possibilities of working as a corporate lawyer in the state capital. So that is what I was thinking about as I drove the last 150 miles of my 15,000 mile journey…

I really don’t want to be a corporate lawyer. I tried that already. I worked briefly for one of the biggest corporate law firms in New York City before accepting my two year appointment with the NY state court system. They loved me on Wall Street (or loved my legal brain) and wanted me to return but I hated it. Asshole lawyers full of bullshit working to help corporations ruin the world. The money was great but the atmosphere was poisonous to my soul. Working for a smaller corporate firm in Albany might be a little less toxic than working with those Wall Street psychopaths but probably not much… Same same but different. The whole point of taking a year off to travel was to find myself. If I go back to corporate law, what was the point of the whole journey? But what do I want to do? Public service law? Yeah, but what kind? Environmental? Civil Rights? Public defender? I don’t know. I guess I didn’t find myself because I don’t know what the hell I want to do and now I’m totally broke. I only have a few hundred dollars left in my savings account and I have student loans to pay. My parents will feed me and let me stay in my childhood bedroom if I want but that will drive me insane after a week or two. I’m gonna have to get a job fast, very fast. A corporate law firm in Albany is the logical, rational decision. I should follow up on Kevin’s lead and give his firm a call on Monday morning. Is it really my destiny to be a corporate lawyer in Albany, NY? Somehow, it just doesn’t seem right….

I was 40 minutes past Albany in between the last Saratoga exit and the first Glenn’s Falls exit on interstate 87 going north when I fell asleep at the wheel. I don’t actually remember falling asleep but I do remember waking up. The bumpy ground on the side of the highway startled me into consciousness. My eyes popped open and I found myself going about 60 miles an hour tilted sideways on the edge of a steep ditch or embankment. Without thinking, I turned the wheel to the left to get back on the highway but I must have turned the wheel too quickly. The truck flipped onto it’s side and then onto the roof and then on to the opposite side as it careened across to the other side of the highway and eventually slid to a standstill. Inside the truck, I was not wearing a seatbelt. As the vehicle began it’s 360 degree roll across the highway, I instinctively pulled my knees to my chest and tucked my head. All the windows of the vehicle shattered into a million pieces as I bounced around inside the cab like a basketball. When the truck finally slid to a stop on it’s side, I found myself on the floor of the passenger side with a pile of broken glass in the seat next to me. Somewhat incredibly, I did not seem to be seriously injured. I had a nasty raspberry on my ass and lower back from rubbing against the seat during my basketball bounce but I had no broken bones or open wounds. I managed to stand up by putting my feet on the passenger side door that was now on the ground and I climbed out through the smashed driver side window that was now the upside of the vehicle. Continue reading

The Way Back In

This little nugget is an old poem I wrote about twenty-five years ago and recently re-discovered hidden in my pile of handwritten spiral notebooks.  I don’t think I ever posted it or published it anywhere.  But since it was written about the time I transformed from a lawyer into an anarchist stone artist it is relevant to the story I am presently working on.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

The Way Back In

We were kicked out
Of the Garden of Eden
For an unforgivable sin
The humans claimed control
Over all the other creatures
We said it was our Dominion

But the gods said no
The Garden’s to share
With flowers and bugs and bears
Eat of the tree
And you will no longer see
Your souls will be burdened with cares

But we made the big move
Because we had something to prove
Wanting to be the boss
Claiming control
We sacrificed our souls
And that’s how paradise was lost

Now there is hell
A garden destroyed
A planet on the brink of death
The humans will kill
Own and consume
Until there is nothing left

“I am the boss”
“No, I am the boss”
That’s what they battle about
Nobody wins
As they replay the sin
The sin that cast us out

But the gods come to earth
To teach of re-birth
To show us the way back in
Give up control
Re-discover your soul
And then you will SEE the GARDEN

A planet earth playground
A perfect paradise
An infinite source of delight
Living and breathing
Seeing and believing
Embracing the heavenly light

Choose Eden now
Choose Eden now
The Way is open to you
Love the whole earth
As if it’s part of yourself
And the Earth will love you too..