"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

29 July 2014

Murky Sky

The air felt heavy. Back when I helped my father put his mother in the ground I learned not to compare Colorado's humidity with that of North Carolina's, but this certainly qualified as a sticky day for these parts. Early on, the blue sky and sunlight were swallowed by the curling and coiling Chinese dragon clouds, which hung pendulously over the mountaintops. Meteorological prophecy foretold of rain, and, a great deal of it at times. Monsoon in the High Country.

I feel that this has been a wetter summer than the last few. The last time I remember it being so moist was five years back, the last summer my mother was alive. There are differences, of course. The uniqueness of any given moment not withstanding, this year I don't have someone I care deeply for being eaten alive by some viciousuglymuthafuckigdisease-not bitter-and it's been rather hot. That one summer was cool enough that Sabina would often say her summer had been stolen.

It was the kind of day that spoke of not wandering too far afield. I unintentionally turned down a walkabout around Pass Lake, on the other side of Loveland Pass, in favor of scrabbling the boulder field opposite the rock wall I scrabbled a month and a half before. As much fun as I had, part of me imagined an anthropomorphic group of bighorn watching me thinking; amateur. There was a flat area on which I sat, taking in a grand view of Mount Pendelton. I caught myself thinking it'd be a grand place for a picnic that was in walking-and a minor climb-distance from home.

The day spoke of a lazy walk through the dirt streets of town. Pleasantries exchanged with neighbors. Of hot tea on the porch whilst reading Edward Abbey-Hayduke Lives! muthafuckas. Watching the murky sky churn slowly by. There was a wicked smirk of joy upon my face. I am a sucker for a gray day, but I might just suck.

Late in the day, it finally began to drizzle. A soft gentle sound. There was that clean scent that only comes with rain. It rained like Africa. Like Borneo and Brazil. Like the mountains of Colorado on a late July afternoon. Sipping my tea, I sat back on the porch to take it all in. A mystical set of moments in a place I firmly believe is fucking magic.

Meteorological prophecy speaks of continued rain and a cool-down before warming up for the weekend. So it goes. In a few days Sabina and I will be volunteering at a bluegrass festival, and it'd be nice to not be drenched, but that's still a few days off to worry about. In the moment I'm in, I watch the dragon clouds, swirling and coiling about in the heavy murky sky.

22 July 2014

Water Hymn

It was a hot one; low eighties in the shade along the south face. My Thai-print t-shirt became clammy with sweat. After crossing the one gulch, where the chances of encountering another biped lessen exponentially, the modesty of covering the aberrant way my body's put together-twisted spine and famine-victim build-melt away. Function over form.

Take your socially constructed idea of attractive and stick it right up your...

I was grateful for the breezes on the overlook. The waterfall played cacophonic hymns in tongues older than oldest languages of Man. Milarepa and I greedily rehydrated. It was the sweetest of ambrosia.

One of my adventuring buddies-the one whom could tell me he'd been to the moon once and my only question would be; once?-has spoken of the sheer joy of sticking one's feet in a waterway during walkabout. Having done it, I know he's not lying. However, let me tell you, brother, when your house is across the street from the river, there's something to be said for waiting.

And I am possessed of the formidable patience monks and saints prey for, and upon...

I get home, drop the pack, step back out with a mug of tea, some water, or even a beer, and dangle my legs in the water, its origin melting snowfields just a few miles and a couple thousand vertical feet away. The mosquitoes swarm about-I genocidally swat as many as I can between applications of repellant, knowing there's still plenty for the bats and swallows to eat, as I've seen them prey-and relax. The current provides its own backbeat. Slow songs of the eldest of gods. A perfect way to cool down on a hot day.

It's like a kiss from the Divine..with tongue...

A moment of contentment...

18 July 2014

City Dreams/ssenlufekaW niatnuoM

I still sometimes dream of the city. This does not disturb me as much as it once did, for they're never nightmarish. There's a curious sense of bittersweetness. After all, I spent a decade of my life there.

Sometimes it's just snapshots of a life; walks and small details. Other times, I might be going somewhere specifically. Perhaps a coffeeshop or bookstore. Somewhere for dinner or a gin joint for a shot and beer. Every so often, the dreams border upon backflashes of me sitting on certain corners of Sixteenth Street, monkey watching, which has always been one of my favorite pastimes.

Curiously, although sometimes the dreams may feature a few of them, none of them in many years have had to do with my time amongst the vampires. From a dime store, psych 101 standpoint, I wonder if it's like the fact I no longer dream of North Carolina or the badlands of eastern Colorado; those things ceased to exist for me long ago. After I left them them behind with no reason to go back. Done and over. The fetters have been cut, therefore, they do not even appear within the walls of my skull save for wakened remembrances.

It is awful to admit, but I sometimes think of that period amongst the vampire caste as a few years I got a little lost in. After all, I only did it to shut a friend of mine up. Certainly, I had some adventures and got some stories out of it, and, when I did walk away, there was this fucking girl who just had to come with me, thus, achieving the initial goal my friend had for me in that scene. However, as much as I can groove on some Ministry, Sisters of Mercy, Siouxie and the Banshees, and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, that social caste wasn't me, and it never could be.

My awful feeling comes from past friends I left back there. Ones who tried to understand why I not only stopped going to the juke joints, but was suddenly so eager to leave the neon-laced dreamland altogether for the pointy lands. I remember something the gypsy said Jibrel once said about me, and gets me to realize that some of those cats, loved them as I did, never really fucking met me, and perhaps that was my fault.

Mei fei tsu...

I know I've spoken of how I view my dreams in that dichotomy between skepticism and mysticism. To take away the magic of last night's dream, I pretty well know why I had it; my father's blues band is playing Swallow Hill tomorrow night and I'm hopping down below to see him realize his dream of being the jaded bluesman. I am filled with excitement of seeing my father rock it out somewhere other than his parlor or a porch and fear and loathing at having to go to crowed-smelly-flat-noisy-land in order to do it.

So it goes...


On Friday evenings during summer, once I've finished at the community garden plot after obligations and come home to do whichever chore, I like to go for a walk around town. Sort of a treat. A neighbor of mine recently harassed me about saying I'd mow on day I have obligations, citing I have three days off.

Of course, my thought was what sort of a fucking idiot does work on a free day? That's madness! Slow death. Those are days for the adventures of bushwhacking up some gulch because of the apocrypha of some old cabin or to find where the supposed demons dwell and a dragon's lair. Days for slumming the resort towns whilst dealing with mundanities of laundry and going to the souk-I actually do find adventure in getting groceries, and stop laughing-or just because fuck it and why not? because that's what life should be about. Even and especially when you live where others come to vacation. Anyone who would say different is either daft or trying to sell you something. Perhaps both.

Whilst I somewhat hypocritically growl about the tourists who'll walk down the middle of the streets of town like it's muthafuckingDisenyland, I find it grand that I can stroll down the middle of Rue Main at six-thirty or seven in the evening without a worry in the world. People are out grilling, and neighbors are holding court on their porches. Cocktail hour entails you better have one, or not be rude should you be invited to sit at one of those porches. Even if it is crap beer.

I take in the swallows and the river. The shifting of light as the sun dips below the ridge, the old houses and nearby mine ruins. Clouds and trees. The scent of flowers and wide-awake trees. Musics of the mountain breeze and humming birds.

Have I ever told you how much I fucking love this place?

A lifetime ago, I took comfort in the sight of the monoliths of downtown. One building was my Lighthouse of Alexandra. These days, I like the tall things I take comfort in to be made of rock. One peak is my Kilimanjaro. There was magic for me once down within the borders of the greater metroplex, just as there's magic for me now here in Kashmir. It might be pretentious to speculate that perhaps that magic follows me wherever I go, but somehow, I just really don't care.

Just some silly wildflower meadow about eight miles from my house. Nothing spectacular. Never did find that dragon's lair...

11 July 2014

Old Man River

Hanging Lake did not impress me to rocket science. Oh, sure, the color of the water bordered upon supernatural, and one could be forgiven for thinking such a lake is out of place in a Colorado canyon, perhaps instead belonging somewhere tropical of fantastical-never mind that home state is fantastical. The geology of the canyon itself was certainly easy on the eyes.

It was a whore, a conga line. I do not go on walkabout to be surrounded by a few hundred eking and scratching half-bald primates who call themselves Man. I'll hang out in a town for that brain damage. The trail, whilst steep and rocky was strangely well-groomed with plenty of little places to ooo and aww at the sterilized nature.

"This is fucking Disneyland with fucking rocks!" I growled to myself as I pressed up the eleven-hundred foot climb, the whole mile and ten percent grade done in a half hour on my long shanks.

Sabina, when she caught up, asked me if seeing unicorns and fairies would've made the hike better. She asked me if my relentless march to see this lake that supposedly should be on everyone's metaphoric bucket list-if you're going to be so boring as to die, and I've never been good at doing what everyone else should do-calmed my vitriol. She was glad I didn't go up to Spouting Rock without her and just marched back to Old Scratch to go back home, a-snarling and a-stabbing as I went.

Now, I concede that Spouting Rock was pretty neat. The rain that began to fall as we made that climb left the triple-jetting waterfall to just a handful of people, and the ensuing downpour left just us. The droplets were cooling, both literally and figuratively.

I was a bit slower going down, but Sabina still joked that with my trek poles I spidermaned-new word, like it?-along the rocks. The rain ended halfway down and the humidity shot up. We were at a lower elevation than we usually trek, and I noticed the slightly thicker atmosphere.

It was the river coursing through the canyon that held my attention. Once, someone drunkenly told me had there not already been a Rio Grande, the Colorado would've been named the Grand for its headwaters, just a few hours from my front door. I doubt that story, but have never bothered to research it further.

What I beheld was the one of the major arteries of the 'Merican Maghreb. The river of Powell and Abbey. Something of power, beauty, death, and terror. Perhaps even enlightenment, if you knew how to listen.

I knelt by the river, and slowly put my hand to its chocolate surface. This wasn't the first time I'd seen the Colorado, or even been near it, but something intangible told me this was important. The water was cooler than the large rivers I remembered from my southern exile. Slowly, I removed my spectacles and took a deep breath.

With a splash! my head was underwater. I shook it there a bit before pulling out of the river. Water cascaded down my face and through my thick, wavy hair. I put back on my spectacles and saw Sabina was regarding me with an amused look.

"Nice," she said. "How was it?"

"Invigorating," I replied with a smirk. "You should try it some time."

The river in question, the Colorado, meandering through Glenwood Canyon...

08 July 2014


Looking up Dry Gulch-some cartographer had a sense of humor-toward the Roof of the World...

It was a deja vu of two years ago the other day at Miguel Loco's shoppe. It was but one day off the actually calendar date, if one wanted to split linear hairs. The joint was jumping and the roadways were packed. Someone asked if it was exclusive to the just past holiday. I shot Miguel Loco a flippant look before answering for him.

"July," I said simply, delivering the revelation. My friend smirked and the traveler I had spoken to looked confused. Neither was surprising.

Miguel Loco's long ago proclamation of milk and honey is very apt for July. On a single weekend day, a merchant can make what they might get in a week during the doldrums of January or February. This is when the marathons and bicycle races and festivals begin to really pick up steam. July is the intercourse to June's foreplay.

The ticks have gone away by July, but the mosquitoes appear, their ferocity dictated by the amount of runoff. We sit outdoors with insect repellent and bullets, ready for the little fuckers. The mosquitoes disappear in mid to late August, and it is the first omen of the impending autumn. For July, we fight and curse them, just to be outside in summer's warm embrace.

July is hot sun and monsoon. Almost nightly chimeneas or bonfires and margaritas with the neighbors. Dining alfresco and cooking anything you can with fire. Nights warm enough you can lay on the bare ground to look up at the stars, but cool enough you don't need a fan when trying to sleep. Everything is in full green and full bloom come July.

I love July for all of these reasons. I hate it for how crowded it can be, whether on a town street during a weekday or out on a trail. At my professional obligations, there's barely a moment to catch my breath, and I come home either torn and tired and murdered or really wanting a cocktail. Sometimes both. I catch myself mourning the sometimes agonizing quiet of deep winter.

Be that as it may, we embrace this stretch of days that have been named July and ride that snake's tale for all it's worth. It is indeed milk and honey in its halcyon countenance. The feasting time. We hold on so tightly, because like water spilling through closed fingers, it is gone too quickly, leaving just bittersweet memories to savored until the same stretch of days next year.

01 July 2014

Alpine Seduction

Argentine Peak as seen from the Santiago Mine. In the distance is Square Top Mountain...

Part of the ridge of McCellan Mountain looming above the ruins, a corner of bunkhouse roof in the upper right...

I have mentioned the short sweetness, which is mountain summer. Up on the tundra, it's doubly so. It is said for every thousand vertical gained in the mountains is equal to traveling six-hundred miles north in latitude. Another factoid that fascinates me about this place; walking the world and its different environments just by climbing.

At twelve-thousand three hundred, the wildflowers were already in bloom. The sky was that shade of blue and fluffy cotton candy clouds drifted slowly overhead. Sometimes, the wind would kick up, almost Tibetan in its ferocity, reminding us it was a good idea to have jackets.

I really do dig the alpine. The grand panoramas and imposing peaks, so different than the wide open spaces of nowhere of which I grew up on. Its severity, in any season. The type of place one can disappear, whether intentionally or not, and never be heard from again. I find an odd sense of poetry in that.

The mill, the whole excuse we used to get up there, had survived the winter well. We delighted in the hubris of a jeeper bogging down in a field of dirty ivory below the ruins. One of our lot, the former dogcatcher-"animal control officer, get it fucking right!"-a man I think of as the Spider Jerusalem of the county, what for his personality and dysfunctional acts of simple humanity, guided a few travelers around the old buildings. I wandered amongst the rocks and wildflowers. It was a good day.

Although some of my wanders promise to take me above the trees, there is a certain comfort that'll I'll be up on the tundra on a steady basis this summer. I even have something of a base camp. The fact I may have to provide a history lesson to random people in four by fours, dirt bikes, and ATVs is simply the price of admission.