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Journal 2

HINDU DEITIES

January 25, Day 3
Rincon to Lake Henshaw
Miles today: 20 miles • to date: 61

Gabby invites me in for breakfast. He was a biker, he rode near my old home on many occasions, the BigHorns of Wyoming Sturgis South Dakota, familiar topics. His wife was raised on the reservation, she watches Good Morning America on a 48 inch TV screen. I eat an egg sandwich with Mayonnaise. The house is huge. His wife is afraid of foreigners and immigrants, she refers to them as “those people.” Which ones? The Muslims? The Chinese? The mountain people? The Turks? The Buddhists? “All of them. We should blow up all those other countries, I don’t know why you’d ever want to go over there.” I am stunned, I can’t even respond. To what can we attribute this kind of fear? Isolation, family upbringing, the school system? Good morning America is on mute and looks like a drive in theatre screen behind her, she gives her sermon from a pulpit of hate.

Gabby sits in a wheelchair, he has a large white beard and he is not prejudiced. He has seen much of the country, and has learned from experience more than books. From my conversation with his wife takes up the subject of “new Americans.” “Not African Americans, Mexican-Americans, or Japanese-Americans.” He wants America first. “Just Americans. I am an American of French and German descent,” he tells me, “not a French-German American.” He is a wise man, he thinks beyond the phrase “those people.” “If everyone would ask them selves honest questions about their day, about their life, about the decisions they make, and, give themselves truthful answers, they would stop stumbling.” He told me to take a little wisdom from everyone I meet. I will try to stop stumbling. Gabby and his wife give me supplies for the road, they are both kind to me, but one of them will save the world, and the other will destroy it. Like Hindu deities, the creator and the destroyer are bound together to maintain balance in the universe.

Just before I leave Gabby tells me the story about how he got hit by a semi while parked on the side of the road with his Harley. A shoulder much bigger than the one I’ll b travelling today he notes. “Seven broken ribs, road rash on 40% of my body, and a 2 inch hole in my skull,” he says, pointing a finger to the left side of his head. Just what I wanted to hear. Gabby can’t walk because of his accident, but he drives a golfcart to see me off at the edge of the road. Gabby wears his biker hat from his days as biker. He has been on many journeys. He is a good man. I continue.

It is too hot for Cosmo to pull the cart and the hill up to Lake Henshaw is the steepest yet. I am not as afraid now. I should be. Lemon groves and a 7% grade for 8 miles with 50 blind corners. At the moment of greatest danger I stop to take a photo, because I want to show you how I defied certain death on that winding road.

For your entertainment there will be more danger later today as well, I have been told that there are many mountain lions and to watch my dog on the last bit of this mountain road. Slow steps, breaks in the lemon trees, move to the outside on all 50 of the blind corners.

Today should hurt more than it does, I feel flow. Struggle is easy, flow is not. 2 King sized Snickers bars for lunch, sausage and cheese. From La Jolla Indian reservation I call the woman I love, she tells me she had a dream that I conquered the world with my guitar solos. I do not play the guitar but I like the idea. I am inspired so I play harmonica as I walk into oncoming traffic. I am terrible at the harmonica, but am hoping for a musical epiphany. Maybe I should open my how-to harmonica book, but I’d rather just figure it out, so I blow softly on the lower notes and almost sound like I know what I’m doing. “Happy gypsy boy in Cowboy hat and orange sunglasses walks down local road,” reads tomorrow’s headlines.

Near Love Valley I stop to camp at the first buildings for 8 miles, I have been walking in the dark for 3 hours. No, not here, this is a school. But it’s dark, I’ve almost been hit by 20 cars and I’m very tired. Not here. Next place is only 5 miles up the road, Lake Henshaw. He runs in to call the police, I am an axe murderer, vagrant, hippie, sent away from safety back to the highway, hide your children, he killed an elk he may kill you! I am a robot programmed to walk, I am in pain, but there is no place to stop. Everything is fenced off, NO TRESSPASSING. Razor wire. This isn’t Wyoming.

I move to the outside on a blind corner, into the oncoming traffic. The next car doesn’t see me, 2 inches. I have to get off this road. I am in total darkness because of the trees and the steep hill to my left. I feel trapped in these black walls, I talk to my dog and remember the lions. Then the Lake, open sky, black coffee and 2 eggs over easy please with bacon, homefries and sourdough toast at 9 in the evening. Life is good. A porcelain cowboy comforts me, and does the poorly painted mallard ducks lifting off from a pond. I like this place. “If you believe in forever, then life is just a one-night stand, if there’s a rock-n-roll heaven, well there’s got to be a hell of a band.” The radio.

Sheriff Jon pulls up as I am leaving and questions me, a nice guy, says if there is anything he can do to help. “Must have been the flaming cart that scared the guy,” he tells me. Someone leads me in the direction of the fire station and two young men working there offer a place to sleep. We talk about Generica; cookie cutter houses, the boxes people create for themselves, shopping malls, and a 7-11 on every corner, convenience, consumption. We talk about the possibility of a 3rd party candidate, the roots of mythology, and firefighting. Tonight I sleep on a bed, and Cosmo sleeps next to me. She is so doing well, I love my dog, we have become friends.