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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Western Wandering

Quick Summary (if you aren't into the whole blog entry)
I'm finally back in Moab, Utah since I left here last Spring. And finally blogging again. After Alaska, I spent a lot of time in Portland, Oregon & some in eastern Oregon. Then I train-hopped from Portland all the way to Mojave, California. From there I train-hopped & hitched to Sedona, Arizona & hung out in the nearby desert with a friend. After that I went to the Colorado mountains & spent time with my brother's family, then came back here to Moab.

Oregon

Portland was splendid. So good to see familiar friends after weeks in the wild: like Denise, who arranged that I would have transpo from the airport & a place to stay. Yeah, I was so touched to see my friends Arnie & Adrien waiting at the airport to whisk me off to Adrien's house on a tandem bike! I got back in the Food Not Bombs scene in PLand. And transformations have happened with my friend Satya (the houseless dharma bum formerly-known-as-a-Zen priest I hung out with in the woods in Marin County, CA a few years ago) since I saw him last. In addition to helping keep FNB going, he's holding a weekly meditation group in the park, and I can't describe how inspired I feel from it.

I also traipsed off to a regional rainbow gathering in eastern Oregon with a new friend, Ashanti. The gathering didn't do much for me this time. But afterward I got to visit my old friends Timo & his daughter, Logan, near Bend (Timo was my nearest gringo neighbor in Ecuador many suns ago).
When I came back to PLand, I finally got to meet my blog buddy, Romanos, in person, at the Greekfest, where he was a kind of host at the Holy Trinity cathedral. I also got to attend two Greek Orthodox services for the first time ever. It made a deep impression on me.
California Dreaming is Sometimes a Nightmare


The time came to escape Oregon before the Fall rains & head to Arizona to meet a friend, so I stocked up on walnuts from random Portland trees and hopped an express freight train from Portland all the way to southern Cali! Walnuts are perfect train food - concentrated & satisfying, supplemented by fruit from orchards & vineyards near the tracks! In southern Cali I wasn't with it enough to jump off in Mojave, so I ended up heading toward LA Hell! Thankfully, the train slowed enough for jumping off in Santa Clarita. I was stuck in that unpleasant LA burb for a couple days, then hitch-hiked back to Mojave.

I got two rides from Santa Clarita to Mojave with Christians. It was refreshing they revealed authentic faith, weren't trying to convert me, but simply wanting to help. We had good talks. The second ride, the couple was full of love & we talked about faith and living without money, yet in abundance, and the true message of Jesus totally lost on most professed Christians. They were quite poor, dealing with anxiety about food & rent, and like all of us, need a reminder of the truth that we all know deep down. They both actually ended up crying in gratitude, and we parted with hugs.

Arizona

From Mojave I hopped a train eastward. But I ended up sleeping all the way through Arizona and ended up south of Gallup, NM! So I hopped a train back west. Then the train wouldn't stop in Flagstaff, & I was horrified I'd end up back in southern Cali! But the train finally stopped in the desert outside of Kingman, Arizona.

I walked all day to Kingman & camped in a pecan grove. Luscious pecans. But the people in Kingman weren't so luscious. I saw nary a smile and many a scowl, and a sheriff's deputy was actually guarding the Basha's grocery store dumpster!! I went back and asked him why he was guarding the dumpster against hungry people and we talked for maybe an hour. You wouldn't believe his reasoning - too much to write here. We actually parted on fairly good terms. Strong, cold winds blew in and I thumbed for two solid days. In those 2 days, somebody once acknowledged my existence & handed me $3, which I left in a bathroom stall.

I finally hiked east of Kingman on the interstate & got totally shivering cold, exhausted, & frustrated with my species. Time to stop hitching, take a nap, then meditate until my bad thoughts vanished, till I found pristine contentment. I settled it in my mind that being here & now is the best place ever, the only perfect place, & it didn't matter that I could be in Kingman Hell for a week. This is one of my mantras when things get repulsive: "I choose this moment and this place". This brings my will into one-ness with the Universal Will. So a beauty finally filled my being & I was ready to go back to the hiway. Behold, ironically now that I was okay staying, within a minute of sticking out my thumb, a Mexican in a van stopped. He didn't know a lick of English. I thanked him profusely & told him that few of my fellow countrymen remember how to help each other, that mostly Mexicans & central Americans stop to help me. We agreed that, generally, wealth turns the heart cold and blinds the eyes. He was heading from a job in Idaho to another in Phoenix, trying to make enough money to send back to his family near Mexico City, he said. He let me off in Flagstaff, and got out of the car to give me a warm handshake & goodbye, as Latinos usually do with me.

People around Flagstaff are more civil again, and I had no problem getting rides to Sedona. In Sedona I met up with my old friend Michael from Vermont, who was holding a medical conference for naturopathic doctors & MD's. I finally got to meet his beautiful wife, and I was surprised that our mutual Canadian friend, Alex, was there.

Desert Dinners

Michael's & my plan was to go to the desert after the conference and meditate & eat wild for a couple weeks. So that we did. Michael's Sedona friend said he knew the perfect spot south of Sedona, with a creek & springs. He let dropped us off in the middle of the desert & pointed the way to a canyon with a "creek". After a day of hiking, we reached the canyon bottom to find nary a drop of water. Next day, we hiked a half-day more & found a muddy puddle full of javelina prints. Michael had a good filter, so we drank a bit, then headed on, thinking we'd come to the "springs." About as likely as the Fountain of Youth. We had brought apples & oranges, which assuaged our thirst a while. The next day, we decided to hike outta there, dizzy & weak. We returned to where our friend had dropped us off, and we ate our last apples. Oddly, after eating the apples, we felt weaker than before. We figured we'd walk on till we made it to a Korean meditation center in the distance, or till a car stopped. We came upon some prickly pear fruits and ate a couple. Unbelievably juicy & sweet & satisfying. Then I was amazed at what a jolt of energy I felt. My thirst vanished, and I felt like running & skipping! Why hadn't we felt this way eating the apples? So we walked on, content. Then a couple hunters stopped. They were heading the opposite direction, but they told us where water was: a nearby cattle tank with pure pumped well water flowing into it! Within a half hour we were there, drinking and swimming & exhilarated. We decided that's where we'd do our meditation retreat.

We camped near the tank the next week & a half, half our diet being wild: mesquite pods, prickly pear fruits & pads, agave, juniper leaf tea & ripe, sweet juniper berries, grasshoppers, some grubs, etc. In our experimenting, we were astonished how much better we felt eating local wild foods compared to the domestic food we brought! Consistently, we found that domestic food made us sluggish while wild food energized us. We thought we would try our hand at hunting javelinas, too, without proper weapons, but it didn't work out (a hunter later told us that it's totally possible, even with bare hands, because javelinas come right up to you if you're patient, though there's a chance of getting a little gored).

Wild Meditations

Yes, I couldn't help but meditate on the ethics of killing to eat, when necessary. Animal cruelty bothers me. Holding animals captive in jail is cruel, whether as pets or as food. But life on earth would cease without hunting. You and I and every physical creature in the universe will be hunted and killed and eaten by something, with zero exceptions. Nothing, I mean nothing, can exist except by the death of something else. Everything is life, and everything feels pain, and everything lives & is killed. EVERYTHING. Accepting impermanence, life & death of all things, myself included, with the eyes of Compassion, is called the spiritual path, the path of Basic Truth. Clearing land to grow beans wipes out entire civilizations of creatures. Mass extinctions & environmental degradation arose with the ancient beginnings of agriculture, not hunting & gathering. Of course, mean people will use this to justify their imbalanced killing & greed, which they will do anyway. All must be in moderation, balance. I can also understand the vegan point of view, and would probably be vegan if I used money. Too many people & land ownership & control makes wild hunting & gathering impossible for everybody.
The Day Lion Species and Calf Species lie together, the Day Wolf and Lamb Species cuddle, is the Day when we release Calf and Lamb from their domestic captivity and allow Lion and Wolf to be Lion and Wolf! It'll happen when we wake up and give up possession of living creatures, when we give up all possessions. Then we can stop killing Lion and Wolf in vengeance. How can they intrude upon what we don't possess? Then Lion and Wolf will again return to perfect balance with Wild Calf and Wild Lamb. Wild and Free means perfect balance.
Compare the warm eyes of wolves and lions and Kung Bushmen to the cold eyes of politicians and CEOs, and perhaps you'll understand.

When we live softly in our materialistic bubble, we lose sight and respect of what life and death really are, & we get a skewed, passive-aggressive sense of morality.

Yes, Michael and I meditated. We felt splendid by the end.

Thumbing Through Flagstaff & Through the Res

I then hitched to Flagstaff, getting a ride with a guy brimming with personality. Nice to find wakefulness in people. He told me all the good, stealth places to camp there, since he used to be a vagabond, too. In Flagstaff I met up with my friend, Sean, & camped with him a night before hitching north. Sean was briefly a Moabite. I hitched through the Navajo Res, where, yes, I always get rides & people are always helpful to me. Folks keep passing the rumor that the Res is a bad place to hitch. That's a mystery, because it's always been better than any other place in the US for me.
Colorado & Utah

I finally made it to Fruita, CO & spent Thanksgiving with my parents, then headed to Conifer, CO to stay with my brother's family at their cabin for a few weeks. Then my Moabite friend Phil was driving through with his mom & brought me back to Moab, where I had a house-sit at my friends' Scott & Katy's.

So here I am in Moab. Now I'm back staying in the canyon cave, & it feels glorious.

......................
Forecast of Continuing Brain Storms & Scattered Showers

I'm brainstorming a lot about the money system again, as well as continuing to find astounding correlations & subtleties in different world scriptures. It's all perfectly connected. I'm still utterly baffled at myself I can find the Book of Mormon infinitely profound, when not too long ago I thought it was the most ridiculous book ever to litter planet earth, and knowing it has lost me much popularity to recognize it! Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor! Next blog, if it's ready, I hope to share some brainstorming I can hardly contain about faith, money & banking.

I have a gnawing feeling that religion is the Trojan Horse, wheeled into the walls of civilization by zealous, religious greed-mongers and war-mongers who are utterly unaware that within it lies dormant the truth that is their own demise.

4 comments:

  1. There are not wrong texts, only wrong readers.

    An extreme example: even the «Mein Kampf» is good, if you don´t read it like Hitler.

    I never read the Book of Mormon, but your post spiced my curiosity.

    Another comment: if I was about to sum up your texts in these past years, I would say that they are all about «going». And I suppose that what counts is not those beautiful places you go or people you meet meanwhile, but the very act of being on the way. (Some call it Tao).

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  2. I agree that the rez is an easy place to hitchhike. It may have something to do with the fact that there's no public transportation there and there's no choice but to hitch if you have no car. Do you have an easier time catching a ride rural non-rez areas that don't have public transportation, too?

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  3. It depends where, rurally. Usually, if it's a lower-income area, people more likely pick up fellow poor. I find that maybe 90%of people who pick up hitchers or help person-to-person are lower income. I don't find that religion or political bent make a difference on how helpful people are. But income does. Generally, the more people have, whether liberal or conservative, the less they are willing to give person-to-person. And isn't person-to-person all that really matters to persons? It's fear.

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