THE NORTH SHORE HOSTAGE CRISIS
February 5 Day 14 Miles today:24 Cumulative: 279
Before the sun rises there are two black planes seperated by faint cool light, warming on the edges, then a horizontal rainbow of colors. This does not happen everyday, it may look very different just a mile away, but from just where I lay in my sleeping bag I can see it. I do not wait for the next scene, I want to take this into dream. Dream of heaven again: something like a cruise ship, someone I know is serving breakfast, no one else looks familiar, I am a new arrival. "Don't miss the sun rise." She smile and hands me my plate. Everyone is staring out to sea, holding onto each other. Before the sun rises on the ship the sun rises in the desert. I miss both of them, somewhere in between again. When will I chose?
Jose and Christiane met in Paris. Paris was "la terre promise," the promised land, "where the action was, where there was work, and away from the fighting." Chriatiane was 18. Jose followed her off of a subway car and never went away. He tells me of their nights in Pigal, the dance clubs, politics in the cafes, refugees from the war, buying coffee for exiled cabinet ministers who had no money. We talk about bull fights, and Hemingway. We talk about Hemingway for over an hour. Robert Johnson and Maria. Tectonic plates moved by love. But he has to die, Hemingway always made sure they die. Back to a tree fighting to the last. "Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, the bell tolls for thee." Hemingway lived in a hotel in Sheridan, Wyoming, the city of my birth, while writing that book., Hemingway ended his life with a shotgun in his mouth. Mark Rothko slashed his wrists after finishing his dark series of color fields, he had run out of color, they were blacks and deep colors barely visible, then the dark ocean. My mind strays from this trailer in the desert, chains of thoughts that lead to the suicide of two great men. I would rather think about how Hemingway wrote about every drink in every town that every character drank, I always liked that. I would rather think about Rothko's Reds and Yellows.
While Christiane cuts up grapefruit and oranges for breakfast she talks about other foolish travelers they have met, and Jose moves on to the establishment of the Israeli state, Korea, McArthur's dream of conquering China, and how Mao laughed. The European immigrants here in the US always know more history, they have lived in it while we have somehow been immune, not allowing events to occur on this continent for quite sometime. I want to know more about la terre promise, more Hemmingway books, and stories about Africa, and I would like to sit and eat fresh fruit all day in the shade, but there is a long hot stretch of desert that calls me. Hesitation, always a little, what will come today, what new surprise?.
Somehow I have tricked myself into believing that I am close to town because of this trailer park, 8 miles later I still cannot see town. 16 miles to the first phone. The same volcanic mosaics, I stop to rest and go searching for more agate and rose crystal, and then I am ten years old again and I am with my father outside of Lusk, Wyoming, with my first rock hammer, digging for dinosaur bones. From time to time he plants one where I can find it, and I believe that I am a great paleontologist. Sometimes he plants arrowheads that have been in our family for 3 generations, ones that I will plant near a creek bed for my son someday. Other times I really find bones and every year my treasure chest gets more and more full. I still have that treasure chest and those bones, and the arrowheads, and crystals bought at road side rock shops. And fool's gold. I put 3 rose crystals in my pocket, one geode, and 2 pieces of agate, I will send some of them to Alissa, as a substitute for my self. This is my body, I give it to you.
2 miles of gravel, sinking in round stones for a fourth day, more sun burn. And then the Bradshaw Trail ends. Fields of clover and the smell of water and mud. The Palo Verde Valley and the Colorado River.
On the other side there is more desert, and mountains, uphill battles, but that is not today. Today is an irrigated clover field and the smell of home, of life, of my childhood. Same roads as home, same smells, same pickup trucks, and stacks of hay. The desert is done for today, but it is not done. Highways are another kind of desert, I will be in the desert for 5 more months. Water the wasteland of my mind, grow my own field of clover. Ignore the barking dogs, look to the mountains, Mojave Peak, tower of stone on the other side of the Colorado.
After fields come houses, and a market with a covered porch with a picnic table where I can eat and watch the sunset and call people that I love, flocks of birds, cold air from green fields. They make good burritos here. Cosmo is on her way back to me. Laying on the picnic table, trying to remember how to breathe, cold air from green fields, in through the nose, out through the mouth, cold air from green fields, my mantra for the day. In the east they laugh at how we breathe. Open mouth, shallow breath, careless, weak.
3 hours of breathing before Larry and Amy pull up. Cosmo does not leap out of the car to greet me, the scene I saw in my mind. My cart is there, and my bag, but Cosmo is not. I am not happy. "We don't think Cosmo is ready, she's been laying around and hardly gets up." Cosmo has never been away from me for more than 8 hours, I am sure he is confused. "We'll bring her to you somewhere down the road, she's not ready." I am not happy. That my decision to make. She is ready and I want her now. I am close to panicking, but remain calm on the outside. Amy is getting frustrated, then says what she really thinks. "This dog is not going to make it across America! Its too hot and she cant pull this cart in the desert." A valid concern. That is why we often travel at night. They will bring her tomorrow, but after hearing the criticism of my method I am afraid they wont bring her. For the next 24 hours I will have my self convinced that I will not get her back, that she is a prisoner of war. And so begins the North Shore Hostage Crisis. The hostage crisis is really just an anxiety attack, there are o burning flags, no machine guns, no unidentified men in masks, only two dog lovers who think I am turning Cosmo into beef jerky. many people I encounter on this journey want to be assured that Cosmo is being treated like a house dog. She is not a house dog, she is a sled dog. Yes, it is too hot sometimes, yet we will walk too far sometimes, get sore, hurt our feet, pass out, but I check that dogs feet 3 times a day and water her every 2 miles in the heat. I assure all the dog Nazis of America that I love my dog and that I am taking care of her, go back to your own lives, I am sure you all have plenty of problems of your own to deal with first. No booing or hissing until you've cleaned up your own mess.
The North Shore Hostage Crisis does have its advantages, 2 nights in the Blue Line Motor Lodge, one day off my feet, a shower, and a fat healthy dog. The captors have taken excellent care of her, they are very kind, no blindfolds, no ransom. I am overly paranoid.
Room 5 is actually 2 small rooms with a broken refrigerator, a TV tinted green, and a closet sized bathroom, I chose it for its 1950's neon sign. Wash the Bradshaw Trail away, like it never happened, the gravel, the stubling, the dehydration, all a dream. 4 days came and 4 days went, I did not die and now I am watching TV at the Blue Line. Sir Martin Reece from England, assures the audience that there will be no end to the universe, that the scientific community is now certain that it will expand forever, that telescopes can see 10 billion years into the past and photograph millions and millions of universes, and that our universe is not unique. The earth is not visible from even the closest universe to us, we exist only to ourselves. I want to cover a wall in my house with a picture of those millions of universes and when someone starts to complain about something I will just say "hey", and point to the wall. One cell in an infinite body screaming, "we are the only one!" Outer space to inner space, 10 billion years in my sleep, "la terre promise."....