THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
January 26, Day 4
Lake Henshaw to Ranchita
Miles today: 20 Miles to date: 81
Outside the café a man named Scott tells me that God needs to be back in schools. A biker named Lee buys me breakfast. We talk small, Im not ready to get into God or how to be a good American, I just want some breakfast please. The Mallard ducks and the porcelain cowboy are still here, so is the middle of nowhere black coffee, 5 cups and Im out the door. I say goodbye to the fire men, Jesse and John, and back to a place that is starting to feel familiar, the road east.
Five miles into my day, around Morettis Junction, I decide that Im going to make a bid for the presidency. The President of the United States of America. I spend the next three hours planning my platform, my campaign strategy, assembling my advisors, my cabinet, the think tanks, the National tour in a school bus. Its going to be a long campaign, I think you have to be 35 to be the President, maybe even 45. Well, more time to get voters, more time to build a solid platforn. I will have my first meeting with my advisors in New Mexico, sometime around the end of February. Any new media following this take note: This is my official entry in the next presidential race. I am serious about this, I have a few things to say, and I want an international platform from which to speak. I want to change the world. Remember when they told you you could be president when you were in school, well I think Im ready now.
As the day goes by I think about great men who have entered politics, whether as an active politician or as a mover of people. I want to move some things around, and that will require people, and that means I will have to eventually be involved in politics. Betrand Russel, one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th Century, said that a mans philosophy could never be actualized if he did not bring it into some form of politics, so Bertrand Russel did. He became a political activist at the end of his life, speaking to more people, attempting to move the world. To shift the techtonic plates.
So many of the great men who shifted those plates have become martyrs, The Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Ghandhi, John Lennon. If I say what I want to say people will try to kill me too. If I am elected I promise that whole industries will go under, big oil and the Christian right will certainly try to kill me. Do I really want to die? Im not afraid to die, youre only afraid to die if youre not living right. I do need more time though to prepare this platform, to figure out how to change our wasteful consumption without the economy crashing. The President of the United States. When you want something done right you have to do it your self.
Sheriff John stops to check up on me and gives me the traffic report. He doesnt think Im an axe murderer, he does probably think Im a gypsy. As the day goes by I let the presidential race slip, I am distracted by the beauty of the landscape, and it is hard to care about what is politically correct and what is not when you are in such a place.
The high mountain meadows are filled with huge boulders and the lake reflects the sky without a ripple, a perfect mirror. I dont know if I want to be hated by so many people. When I get back into the trees and there is less to see I decide I can deal with people hating me, I will still do this. Maybe they wont kill me, maybe Ill just do some jail time.
I have used the word I a great deal in this writing. I have also claimed that I have the potential to be the President, the Buddha, Ghandi, and the Ocean. I believe this. You can call it ego, but I will call it human potential. I understand that human potential is limitless, most people do not. I think that I can go from Ghandi, to the Ocean, and beyond, because we all have that Buddha seed, we all have the ability to wake up , we all have a twinkle of the great star. I have been told that in this journey I will have to overcome an ego bigger than the continental United States, as one of my many critics has said. I think ego is a small matter in this walk. I need to embrace not an ego, but a human potential that is much bigger than the US, it is bigger than the world. It should have no size restrictions.
I, Ghandhi, Ocean, Buddha, am getting weak. I torture myself by watching the mile markers, sometimes one mile is one hundred, that is the flaw of our system, there is no flexibility for circumstances; time, distance, and space can all be bent, none are solid, none can be measured in a straight line. All are marks made to help us keep our sanity, to tell us our world is real. 99% of the universe is dark matter, we cannot see it, we think we can measure it, we are totally lost in space, with no road map, and yet we are sure that time and space can be measured with the numbers of mankind, on a planet in one of infinite universes.
Chuck Hatch stops on the side of the road to take a picture of me, he is wearing a Borrego Springs American Legion hat and a huge smile. He is happy today and that makes me happy. He brings a cold Pepsi over to my side of the road and pulls out a $20 bill, he likes my rig and asks me about Cosmo. Wait, one more thing, and he pulls a pocket full of red and green pistachios out of his pocket and empties them into my hand. Just like Christmas. And Chuck is a thinner version of Santa Claus, with a red face from too much golf, and white hair hiding beneath his baseball cap, delivering wonderful gifts to undeserving egomaniacs on the road to his hometown. Now, if he could just flatten this hill I am walking up.
At the top, at the edge of Ranchita, Will and Bill are standing in a dirt yard drinking Budlight, watching the sunset. Above them waves the ever-present American flag. Take two for the road, Bill says, and Will hands them over the chain-link fence. Id let ya stay here sept for the dogs. No worries Bill, Ill find a place up the road, got a good tent, much abliged. Good old boys.
Sunset is red, no other color, just a blood red cloud in the black and then a clear starry night. Ranchita has a population of about 100. I set up behind the community center under a basketball hoop and watch a thin haze cross under the moon. A huge ring appears, a round rainbow. A great day to be alive. The night Alissa and I met there was a ring around the moon. It is only 6 at night but I cannot stay awake. Stolen away again.