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Journal 2
BRASS BAND OF A FREE MIND
Day 19 Salome to Eagle Eye Road
today: 23 miles cumulative: 372

Today we will stall to save Cosmo from the heat. All day in the old Salome Café, watching the locals come drink their coffee and the daughter of the cook already a waitress at the age of 12, an old man at the counter calls it, “Don’t let that girl get burnt out so young.” Photos of the town father Dick Wick, and an airplane that landed on mainstreet 70 years ago, the big even t for this town, “back when old Slim landed that plane on main street…” I didn’t tell you, but almost the whole café is a counter, a big square with a cut in here and an extra arm over there. Enough counter space for 30 or 40 people. There are velvet paintings of Indians all over the walls. And concrete frogs for sale because they say Dick wick had a frog, the Salome frog, and it couldn't swim, and he kept it around the house and when old Dick died the from sat on the porch staring into the sky crying and never moved, and covered with dust and sand over the years turned to stone and then they painted him up when they forgot that he had been real, but a few old times remember when that frog was alive.

A man across the counter uses a two legged cane with tennis balls on the bottom to keep him up, he wears a baseball hat that says “Old Fart,” blue overalls, and gives himself a fake name when talking to strangers. The people in this town are afraid to give out their name. Real name is Russel, his friends let it slip. Cant remember why he moved here, did a bit of gold mining. His fingers are orange from smoking. I want Randall to tell me his secrets but he is not going to share, he is confused why some stranger would want to hear about his life, people he knows don’t share that kind of thing. I still like him and his cowboy friends and his hat and his expressions, that is enough, sometimes I have to read faces sometimes people don’t talk.

I can see the colors changing, we will walk now, 2 hours to sunset. 2 days to Tonopah. I missed the local basketball tournament by one day, I would have liked to hear those fight songs, especially the trombones. There is a time everyday when the light flatters the hills and the peaks are sharper and you can hear the trumpets. There is always something in the day that I see where I hear the trumpets. That is when you say yes that life is beautiful. On my dog cart there is only one thing written, I will not be like the school bus covered in psalms of my own making, just one sentence, Life is Beautiful, Be Free. It is really two parts, the trumpets remind me that it is beautiful, when you hear the trumpets more and more you are closer to being free. The Little Harquahala Mountains, and Socorro Peak, and Big Horn Peak are playing their fight songs. Calling me into the desert, a pep rally for a man and his dog.

Banners from every tree and every hill; Life is Beautiful, Be Free.

Most people want to believe that but will have a hard time admitting it, living it, if this then it would be, without that, but no, with and without it all IT IS. So listen for those horns.

Freed from the pain I go to another place in my mind where I keep all the things I love. Where I keep Alissa. I relive our whole life together, and it was a whole life the way we lived those 18 days. The first time I kissed her, today that is going through my mind on a loop. She thought there was something wrong with her chest, I watched her, I knew because she kept touching it and the look on her face. Finally she said there was something wrong, her heart was beating too fast, her chest hurt, and I just smiled and walked over to her and kissed her under the stars and her heart stopped. And she asked me how I knew, she said she didn't even know, and I kissed her again and from then on we were never apart. And on the shoulder of the road I am crying with a smile on my face because I am so lucky to have found her and I am so far away and I am human so I grasp and I want to be assured, but there are no assurances. Crying and singing songs about her, if I say it the right way, if I say it enough times, if I say it like nobody ever has, if I say it as a rhyme or in the context of a story tell me do you think she'll under stand that I love her?

In the middle of the night 3 Texans have a flat tire. They are drunk but amusing enough to talk to for a few minutes and give me two cans of Budweiser for tonight's camp fire. I knew before they even started talking that there would be a cooler in the back of that truck. On into the dark with no moon, but somehow stars are bright enough tonight to travel without a headlamp, to travel a blue highway into space, so clear is the sky. The only things that are not stars are the miles markers and they come so far apart tonight because they are the only things out here and you wait for them, like watching minutes countdown with nothing else to do. I have tried to stay with the stars, to watch the angles change to see who points at who and why, Orion on end. But that game is hard to play for so long unless one has studied the heaven’s stories and I have not. I could make them up, so I start to say that one is a net for a lover, I see the bow and arrow that carries the net and the one it aims for. Spider web and spider and lover carefully untangled and explained that he is just lonely and will not hurt her. Then the story is interrupted by a huge sign made out of reflectors: I AM PRAYING FOR YOU TO BE SAVED, JESUS SAVES. Even here in outer space they force their trip on me. I would rather be saved by the brass band of a free mind. Fight songs, the other team has a banner here too.

Just past Eagle Eye Road I want to build a fire and drink my two beers so we do that. Branches of the Palo Verde burning smell like India. Cosmo hears coyotes and stays on guard ears straight up, soft growl, until she thinks we are safe. We sleep together in the tiny tent, smoke still coming off the coals to take me to India. Ganges River flow. That is where I want to go. Carry me across this desert.