DOMINOES IN MY MIND:
THE BOWLING BALL INCIDENT
Day 40 VLA to Magdalena
today:26 miles cumulative:808
All of our water was frozen solid in the night. Throw everything in the bag and in the cart and start moving, its the only thing I can do to keep warm, the wind is a constant. We are still in the middle of the Plains of San Augustine, 15 more miles of perfect flat pale grass and 30 giant radio telescope antennas looking for life out there and taking pictures of the past and the future. Latitude: 34 04 43.497" north, longitude: 107 37 03.819" west. At the highest resolution and when the 28 antennas are spread out across the 22 miles of this plain, the resolution of the single created image is 0.04 archseconds: sufficient to see a golf ball held by a person 100 miles away.
The VLA is an interferometer; this means that it operates by multiplying the data from all 28 telescopes to form interference patterns. The structure of those interference patterns, and how they change with time as the earth rotates, reflect the structure of radio sources on the sky: we can take these patterns and use a mathematical technique called Fourier transform to make maps. And with these maps we can see hundreds of millions of universes the way they existed billions of years ago, and from that we can speculate on the future of our universe. Millions of suns, dark matter expansion forever, star clouds and fire snakes light years long and me complaining about a little wind. Seeing these images is enough to make anyone silent, no matter what that they believe, these images are just bigger than language, bigger than symbols, before them and after them, I am glad someone is here taking these pictures to remind us how small our vocabulary really is.
Back on Earth the day drags on. It is hard to keep that cosmic perspective when you are alone and cold and so close to that place where you think you can stop, so close to the place where I will meet Alissa. Tomorrow night! If there is anything that can stop the expansion of the universe it is her. I have put all my faith in this, and I am a fool for doing it, but it is too late, I am on a runaway train. More trudging. Cosmo will not eat her dog food and then Im not thinking about the cosmos, Im thinking about how pissed off I am and how many more miles damnit. I have not been listening to music on this walk. Today I will listen to music to take me away from a pissed off windy place. The songs take me to places I have been and to places I will be again, places far away from here.
One song takes me straight to a girl in Santa Fe, her answering machine message, the last place I heard it, and then to New Years Eve when she blacked out and her head bounced on the ground like a bowling ball, and that sound and I thought maybe she would be dead because of that sound and I grabbed her head and I rubbed the sides of it and I told her that she needed to come back, that this was where she was supposed to be, and she did come back and smiled and said she heard me in that dark place and then thinking about all of the events that led up to that head hitting the ground. That was the night I met Alissa but it was not Alissa whos head hit the ground, it was Katys who I kissed at midnight because I never get a kiss at midnight and now I make the rules and I will never go without a kiss again. And the dominoes keep falling and that one song makes me relive that whole night and all of the tangents that extend from that night.
Walking down the railroad tracks to a party on New Years Eve with all of these new faces that I love and there in the wall is it a hallucination, EGOS written 20 feet tall, graffiti with the face of death and a third eye. And at the beginning of the night when we approached the fire that people were standing around I hesitate, who am I and what do I want out of this? A woman tells me to jump over the fire so I do, and after 3 or 4 jumps I have tapped into the thing I have been looking for. Freedom. And then I can do anything and the dancing goes beyond dancing and a kiss at midnight and I can know everyone and I can see all the good and I can find the words to say all the things that need to be said,
and there are many soliloquies about the white hot coals of eternity because we are standing around that muse, and it is amazing that with all the entertainment and music the people still want to stand around the fire and that inspires me and I stare into my muse and find the words. In 1666 there was a great fire in London, and I think thats when Shakespeares Globe burned to the ground and that takes me into the opening verses of Richard the Third and then the whole soliloquy. "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York, and all the clouds that lowerd above our house, in the deep bosom of the ocean buried, now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths..."
And across the great fire I see her for the first time and she has found British accent, and she is arguing with girl with pink hair who also has a British accent about who is taller, and I have to know who they are, but they will not give me names They say that they are the Cold Cold Bitches and that yes, I can be a backup dancer for them at their next show if I will wear my fur shirt. And so that is how I met Alissa, in the middle of a soliloquy about fire and Shakespearean NewYears Eve, 1 hour before the girl blacked out and hit her head on a tile floor, making the same sound a bowling ball would. Before I left the fire I took confessions and people told me about buying TVs and returning them every month so they could always have a new TV. And then Kathy hit her head on the floor, but two weeks later Kathy was hoola-hooping at the Wrestling Party that I will tell you about someday and I discovered that I really like to hoola-hoop because of Kathy. Ten seconds into the song I have already thought all of these things, dominoes in my mind.
Back on the highway I am sure that there is no way to salvage this day. But a white pickup truck stops and two men get out. B.W. and Roland Cox. And they have with them a picnic basket of sorts. I should note that I have had no food today, only energy gels because I forgot to buy food in Datil. A cold day without food, that is why I am sure it cannot be salvaged, but then B.W. Cox and his son bring me out of my hole. They saw me asleep on the side of the highway this morning on their way to church and then walking when they were driving back home. Mrs. Cox, who is not presently here, got to worrying about me and sent old B.W. out to find me. They dont ask too many questions, just want to give me some warm food. When they are a few minutes down the road I stop to see what is for lunch. One large Mason Jar full of beans (and I mean very large) one mason jar full of BBQ pork, two large pieces of warm corn bread with homemade butter and honey, 4 granola bars, a bag of candy, and a bag of dog biscuts. Mrs. Cox has saved my life. Hallelujah, hallelujah, good food indeed. Amen.
So just when I thought my day was going to be pure bitter cold universe detachment a picnic lunch is delivered and I am full and warm and I believe!!! Hallelujah! In the goodness of man. Another woman stops and wants to give me something. All I need is a new pair of feet or something warm to drink. She wishes me luck, she is sorry that she does not have anything to give her. And on the road again, just before sunset a car pulls over up the road and on the back of it are 5 hoola-hoops. Kathy! And I am not kidding you that today the dominoes of my mine made me think of Kathys head and Kathys hoola-hoop and Kathys smile and here she is. We kiss and hug and say holy shit I cant believe its you and we ramble about a few things and then we say good bye because she will come to meet me in the desert when I get closer to Santa Fe and we will have another fire with some people from that New Years Eve and yes, she promises that she will bring her hoola-hoop.
The woman who could not give me new feet returns, having driven 20 miles to go get me hot coffee. Thank you good people of America for saving me from my insanities this day. The sunset tonight has many blues. Happiness walking into town but all the places are closed because its Sunday Justin works at the market that is closing soon but he lets me hang out and gives me free coffee, and calls his Dad, who is the Sheriff, and get the OK for me to sleep in the yard over at the Forest Service Headquarters. Dogs bark. I sleep. Full stomach. Thank you America.