"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

31 May 2013


“This is the most beautiful place on earth.

There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary. A houseboat in Kashmir, a view down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, a gray gothic farmhouse two stories high at the end of a red dog road in the Allegheny Mountains, a cabin on the shore of a blue lake in spruce and fir country, a greasy alley near the Hoboken waterfront, or even, possibly, for those of a less demanding sensibility, the world seen from a comfortable apartment high in the tender, velvety smog of Manhattan, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Rio or Rome-there’s no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment. Theologians, sky pilots, astronauts have even felt the appeal of home calling them from up above, in the cold back outback of interstellar space.”
-Edward Abbey


“I think everybody has a landscape they’re designed for, and if you’re lucky, you find it…”-Bill McKibben


"What drew you up here?" A traveler asked me once. The sun was setting. Anyone playing along at home knows I'm a sucker for sunsets, although I might just suck.

"A juxtaposition of geography and Tibetan prayer flags," I said finally, and with a soft sort of reverence in my tone that one might think was more fitting for whatever deity one chooses to worship or ignore, and, from someone like me, might be missed if my tone wasn't listened to close enough. It wasn't a lie.

"Do you ever get tired of it?" I was asked. You'd think he'd just confessed to raping ten year olds, with a cactus, for the look I gave him. But, at least, I didn't...accidentally...eviscerate him. That might have been awkward to explain.

...Well, Constable, it's a funny story, really; see, he asked me an addle-brained question, and I had my knife opened, and, well, it would seem his entrails suddenly just fell out. It wasn't my fault. Really. You believe me, riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight?...

"No," I said with an accent of a feral growl. "Never. I'd want to be shot in the face, twice, if I even considered it."

It wasn't too long ago it was the anniversary of when we came up here on a lark. Ain't that always the way? The day I decided this was where I needed to be and Sabina decided we needed to figure a way up. This time of year, as summer rears its warm and gentle head, I catch myself thinking about that day, and that summer, when we ran for the hills at every opportunity, working up the escape velocity to get home.

I was seventeen and omnipotent when Cap'in Toke told us about the road to Kashmir. Perhaps it's a funny twist of fate-if there really is such a thing-that I took his stoned rant so dear to heart. There was that girl in the mask who spoke of us all having our own Africas. A similar concept. That one place in the whole of existence where you feel you belong. The one place, which is truly home.

Over the years and lifetimes, in the course of telling stories, I have invented more than one place. Some more fantastical than others. Growing up, I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, hearing the siren's song of places that never were or would never be. An escape, perhaps; the world of bullies and mundanities not being for me.

These days, I don't read a lot of fictions. I've caught myself being sucker by travel writers, what for the tales of their treks. Maybe it's because I've been close to more than one gypsy soul. There's been but one fiction that's been keeping my attention as of late, but I perhaps it's because I perceive it as a spider's web to unravel.

The demonic inference probably helps too...

I found myself wondering if when you live somewhere that's fucking magic that the need for the escape to other realms becomes irrelevant. All the magic you'll ever need happens before your eyes every heartbeat. That the mythical concept of a heaven ceases to be a goal to be achieved, because you're already there. It's where you live and love and work and play. Hell is all the places your Kashmir isn't. For me, it's where the land ain't all pointed-like.

Perhaps I am being melodramatic. My own confirmation bias. Or, perhaps, as absurd as it seems, this stretch of geography pulls at the soul I don't even know for sure I have in ways language fails to explain.

Summer is coming to my mountains. Leaves have finally popped, nay, exploded, upon the deciduous trees. Shorts, sandals, grilling, bonfires, and camping under a big sky with cool scent of warm-awakened evergreen as the incense. I sport the most wicked grin of joy as I think of the mantra of our neighbor, a former county dog-catcher-"animal-control officer, get it fucking right!"-in that gruff misanthropic Brooklyn Jewish accent of his;

"I'm livin' the dream!"

The man's my one of my latest heroes...


  1. I envy you more than anything else for finding the place to call home.

    Over here at the suburb where I live, it's a strange place. Its got the quietness of a small town but are filled with all the noisy looking shops and cafes. It's very odd to feel like you're in a busy metropolis but without the traffics and the crowds.

    Hopefully one day I'll find the place true to my heart. A place that pulls at the soul the way language can't explain. Hopefully I'll end up in some place similar to the place you now call your own, your Kashmir.

    1. There's a quote about suburbia, which is kind of depressing, but I've always kept it in mind. Luck in finding your place, but know to be patient; it took me sixteen years and I honestly wasn't looking at the time.

  2. I've commented before on the green-eyed monster that rears it's head when you write (eloquently) about your Stopping Place. I left mine behind and often wonder if I will ever find my way back home.

    Great post, Robbie...

    (And hey, thanks for getting tangled in the web...) ;D

    1. Thank you and no worries ;).

      As for leaving your place behind, I'd suggest getting thee back there, of course, and let nothing stand in your way.

  3. Mmmmm...while content with my present abode, it's temporary. I've lived in the mountains, in the jungles of Guatemala, the deserts of Mexico, and traveled much inbetween. And through it all, the ebb and flow of the ocean's soft voice has called my name, whispered to me on the wind, coaxing me. She sings to me....

    Some day.

    1. And, of course, given my experience in that sort of thing, I want to ask; why not today?

    2. Ah love, three boys in highschool and my husband's current position which allows me to stay home for the time being. (and paint and write, of course--I left my career to be here with the kids and am having a ball!) The boys are already on notice that after they're off to college--they'll have to come spend summers at the beach!

    3. Excuses, excuses ;p. Luck in getting there...sooner than later.

  4. If I ever do make it up your way, I promise not to complain about all the plants, trees, rocks, and animals that might kill me simply by proximity (those damned allergies, you know), if you'll promise not to dis-entrail me.
    Actually, if I see you, I'll just wave from a safe distance.

    1. Well, you know, I've got rather long arms, but...promise...;)