"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

17 April 2010

Planet Africa

Upon strong recommendation, I am reading Lonely Planets, the Natural Philosophy of Alien Life by David Grindspoon. I'm finding it interesting and engaging. Of course, I'm fascinated by this sort of thing. I do believe the prospect of life in the universe beyond this world is not only possible, but probable.

Reading this tome, along with John Muir, and my walkabouts in general has lead me to finding aspects of Pantheism filtering into my Buddhism. This does not bother me in the slightest. After all, I've always been a little syncretic in my practice, and Buddhism is, at its heart, a philosophy. A system of thought. Such a thing can evolve and change. Whereas with religion, one finds themselves kind of stuck in an obstinate dogmatic theme.

I am fascinated and humbled when I look up at the stars. There is an aspect of time travel, seeing objects as they were millions, if not billions, of years ago. It seems to me to be an act of ignorance, as well as arrogance, to believe this is the only world that harbors life. Although, I realize contact might still be a very long time in coming.

Something I truly believe in is the exploration of space. In fact, I think humanity's next evolutionary leap is to step off world, and begin to live amongst the stars. Much like that first group of hominids who went on walkabout out of Africa, some hundreds of thousands of years ago, and proceeded to colonize the rest of the world.

That wasn't too long ago, on a cosmic scale. When it comes to brass tacks and bedposts, Homo sapiens are but a baby step out of the stone age, and but a crawl from when they were still more quadrupedal and still hanging about in trees.

If I could live for an infinite amount of time, I would like to witness those first permanent steps off-world. To see the species expand throughout the solar system and out into others. The idea of what kind of civilization that would create is, in the here and now, the providence of science fiction writers, but I think it is no more fantastic than those first steps out of Africa.

Sometimes, I can get lost in the looking up at the stars. When I hear of the wars or political pettiness, I catch myself thinking this world is but a very small island in a very vast ocean, and no one should be pissing about over lines that were drawn in the sand back in a time when everyone was ignorant enough to think this was the center of the universe. It goes beyond being American or Muslim or Socialist. Every single lifeform on this planet is Terran, and that's that.

Or, to simplify, as a bumper sticker I once saw read; "Oh, evolve!"

Hundreds of thousands of years from now, but a baby step from the here and now, I hold out hope that the great evolutionary leap into the cosmos has been made. That the species pulled its collective head from its collective ass. I wonder about the civilization that will be spawned from that and how it will view its history. Whether they'll see the Homo sapiens of this timeframe in much the same way those early hominids who went on walkabout out of Africa are viewed here and now. I wonder if the motherworld, the planet Africa, will still be inhabited, or if it'll be some far-flung myth of some futuristic religion.

16 April 2010

Backward Glances

Every now and again, I find myself going over things I have documented before. Reviewing the archives, as it were. An excavation of memory and perspective, looking at the stories, omens, riddles, hymns, lessons, and observations contained therein.

It is an interesting little exercise, to say the least. Looking back with twenty-twenty hindsight. It's queerly amusing to see what was important back then compared to the here and now. The style and tone of metaphoric voice. If one tries hard enough, it can almost be heard, echoing within the vacuum.

There was a period of about six years where I did little documentation upon paper in black India ink. The medium was almost all electronic. Upon the strands of the spider's web, there are fantastical stories and fairly personal musings. I also catch the little hints my past life left for my present incarnation. Since I am the only one in possession of that Rosetta Stone within the walls of my skull, I am the only one who can rightly decipher those riddles, hints, allegations, and things better left unsaid. There are just silly little trivialities. All shards of the complete whole.

Snake casing its tail, things come full circle. The form of medium has changed. Once more, I concentrate more upon pen and paper. I find it satisfying. A little more personal than even this, although I still sometimes speak in my riddle tongue of dragons, as to insure my privacy. Call it a quirk.

Oh, I keep in touch. There are still stories and observations I would like to share. And I am always watching, because, well, I like to watch. I just don't know, and, can longer promise, the frequency, or, lack thereof, when it comes to the medium of the electronic.

10 April 2010

Homecoming Anniversary

A shot of my personal Kilimanjaro...

It comes up on our homecoming anniversary. What a wild ride we've had. One I'd not trade for godhood. It's been a couple of years now that we've lived in our Kashmir, after stumbling upon it, almost by accident.

My daughter and I went for a walkabout along the Notch. Being along north-facing slopes, there was still snow. In places, at least knee deep. But walkabouts like that remind me why over the last few years I stopped smoking and my alcohol consumption has dropped to the levels it was six or seven years ago. Why when I take in the views of towering peaks and grand rock formations, I see, hear, and feel the Divine.

I truly enjoy this and don't want to miss a moment of it. Here is where we belong, there is no doubt. This is our Kashmir.

05 April 2010

Leaving the Badlands

...Around a year ago, we were all out in the badlands, the day before the holiday, because of other family or professional obligations the next day. She never liked that. She liked to celebrate a holiday on the day it falls on a calendar, but what can you do?

It was or month or so since the last bouts of chemotherapy. Her hair was slowly starting to grow back. Although neuropathy made her shuffle when walked, giving the appearance of locomotion of one much older than herself, she was feeling better. In good spirits. Her daughter was going to be walking down the aisle in less than a month and she was excited.

It never occurred to any of us it might be a last time. It never does, because you never really,
really know for sure. But what can you do?

So it goes...

My father speaks of leaving the Rub' al Khali of the badlands of eastern Colorado. Oh, sure, back when my mother first walked on, he put on the bravest face. He was staying out there. Just as I love living in the mountains, he loved living on the badlands. He was still waiting to see John Wayne come riding up over the next rise. It was quiet and no one bothered him.

It's hard to say who he was trying to convince; all of us, or himself, but it probably doesn't matter...

Whether it's the loneliness or being snowed in during one of the last heavy storms is both debatable and irrelevant. My father told me he wants to move. To be closer to all of us, relatively speaking.

My father is sixty-two years old. In the last sixteen years, he's had two heart attacks. Out there, his nearest friend is six miles away. Since my mother has walked on, the dogs-save two-chickens, and sheep have been gotten rid of. There's really no more reason to have sixty acres of land.

We all agree it's for the best. My father's age and the possibility of something health-wise happening. Back when my mother was dying in the sickhouse, that was something my brother would talk to me about. My sister echoed some of the same thoughts when we chatted after Easter supper. I agree with both of them, although, even though I have assurances, I still sometimes worry that loneliness is going haunt and chase my father wherever he goes and he's one day going to crawl into a bottle and never come back out.

Of course it's all wait and see. See what the time and seasons hold. That house out in the Rub' al Khali is more isolated than where I am in the Sahel. With my mother gone, it might be fair to say that the badlands are not his Kashmir, and that perhaps leaving them might do him a world of good.

01 April 2010

An Instrumental Thought

There is irony in the fact that I'm the only in my family who doesn't know how to play a musical instrument. I've often said it's because I lack the ability. However, I don't think that's quite right. In fact, I think it's a bleed-over of lack of patience from my adolescence.

What? I'm not able to play like Jimi Hendrix or Slash straight away? Well, fuck! I must lack talent.

And that self-imposed stigma stuck for well over twenty years...

I have lost track of how many times I've been asked if I'm a musician, what instrument I must play, or the name of my band. Seriously. All on account of the fact I have long hair, some tattoos, and a few trinkets. A judgment made based strictly on my appearance, and assumptions like that are a sickness.

Of course my father's convinced I have the ability if I'd just set my mind to it. He tells me I need to get over being self-conscious. Almost every time we talk, this somehow comes up.

"No child of mine is without musical ability," he says. "And especially not the first of my loins."

Well, lately, I've wondered. Even kicked around the idea. Apparently, when I decide I want to do something, it seems the only thing that prevents me from doing it is if I decide I no longer want it. At least that's the general observation. Although, it is said generalizations can be dangerous. Even and especially this one.

I could covet the banjo I got for my companion a few years back, since we're both left-handed, but that would be impolite. A guitar springs to mind. It would be kind of fun to do acoustic blues. I could even fashion a slide from a wine bottle's neck. With a guitar, if I learned, I could go to the locos jam and do more than just watch, even though I like to watch.

However, I guitar is not really speaking to me. Neither is a banjo. What does is a sitar.

Yes, a sitar. I'm sure one of my oldest and dearest friends would say this is a case of me being different just to be different, and sometimes I just can't help myself. Although I'd could mention George Harrison played the Sitar, and I like cats like Prem Joshua and the elder and daughter Shankar.

Here's the one I want;


Only four-hundred fifty in paper-yes, I rounded up. I have already let my daughter know that Father's Day is coming up, and this is on the list. She gets an allowance, after all. The prospect does intrigue me, even if I don't have the paper for it.

Well, not yet...