Journal 2

January 23, Moonlight Beach, Encinitas to Escondido. Miles today: 25

Standing on the beach with Cosmo I can see the curve of the earth at the far edge of the ocean. I watch the biggest waves and remember Eric’s life philosophy, the surfer and the wave. But looking into those breakers I know that I don’t want to be the person swimming into the wave, or the person swimming away from the wave. I don’t want to be the person at all. I want to be the wave. I want to be the water, momentum and stillness in one, I want that flow. For now I will do what I can, I am a man, the best I can do is ride this wave, a step in the direction of that bigger goal.

It is the perfect day, the perfect beach, the perfect scene for the beginning of this movie. Close-up on the waves, Aaron and Cosmo looking out to sea, pan down to the gold boots that I spray painted in the parking lot.

The footprint is still there and it will be there forever, or at least a week. Cosmo and I run along the water’s edge. She has never seen the ocean. Great scene! cut and print! The crew finally understands, I finally understand.

Electric toothbrush: check.Medicine bag with magic stones: check. Beef Jerkey: check. Harmonica: check. Cowboyhat: check. Dog cart with cutout flames:check. Head’em up and move’em out.

My route is very vague now. I have given up trying to plan any of it beyond a couple of days, the momentum will find a path. It is like water, it is poetry, and I believe in poetry more than the laws of physics. So I lift my sail… and begin.

I am walking up Encinitas boulevard and wearing my Buddha shirt. I am the one.

Five blocks into the walk the Buddha encounters his first obstacle. A white Ford Expedition, still dripping a little at the bumpers from the car wash, pulls up along side him. “Give that dog some water!” A woman screams. I look at Cosmo, her tail is wagging wildly, she has been drinking water all morning.

The woman’s husband points to his cell phone, “We’re reporting you for vagrancy and animal abuse.” If I wasn’t the Buddha I’d take a baseball bat to his hood.

They follow me for 2 miles pointing at their phone and yelling out the window. Who are these people that are so afraid of me?

I know other people like this. They are trapped in boxes all over the country.

Cosmo is happy, then we reach the first hill. I know when this setup is not working because her tail goes down. I will be pulling our flaming chariot up the hills on this trip. 4 hours of hills today, Cosmo’s tail is up, mine is down. I pull through the suburbs and onto a highway. Rush hour and there is no shoulder, we move onto a rough dirt path. The cart is shaking apart, things are falling out, I am sweating, and still pulling the cart. I’m sure the commuters are wondering what in the hell that guy is doing pulling a flaming chariot up a 4 mile hill on the hottest day this month with a sled dog leading the way. I am also wondering. More rush hour, more city, another city, sunset and another city.

In Escondido my mental health counselor meets me on his drive back to Santa Fe. He finds me talking to a group of homeless people near a Conoco at 10 o’clock. Troy is one of the homeless group, and he serenades me with a soulful version of “Unforgiven” by Metallica. Stacy, his drunk girlfriend is so touched she cries, then opens a 40 of Olde English. The third, a man who calls himself Coyote, is very quiet, he lays on the ground with Cosmo pressing his stomach to her back and his cheek to her face. After ignoring me for 20 minutes he looks me in the eye and tells me about the wars he has been in, one of them, the B.I.A., was the most horrific. It was the war with the animals. His eyes are tiny like a child’s, but there is no white, only red, and there is no color in the iris, only black. The B.I.A. he tells me, was just after Vietnam. He won’t tell me where, or what B.I.A. stands for, he is angry that I don’t know. Time to go, this guy could have a grenade in his pocket. He gives me a bear hug and starts to cry. Troy pulls him away, “Come on man, they’re giving out free burritos down the street.” He sings Metallica as they walk away.

Johnny is driving my van back to Santa Fe tomorrow. I call my van Tycho Brahe, after a Dutch physicist who worked in the courts of Prague, and is now buried at the church of Our Lady of Tyn in Prague’s main square. Tycho is my Hotel for one more night. I hope he makes it back to Santa Fe, the muffler and many other pipes fell off on the way to the coast. I try to think about the day but before I have a chance I dissolve into dream. A place without grasping. Release.