ONE HUMAN CELL
Day 56 Ilfeld to somewhere on Hwy 84
Today: 26 cum: 1058
"Still doing my taxes in the last hours before I walk, paying bills, moving old piles to new places, my life has followed me home. Piles and piles and 500 scraps of paper with instructions for my life, receipts, numbers, names, all the things I didn't get done. I started this trip to escape the lists, but they are still in my pockets, in my backpack, on the dashboard, on the floor of my van. Blowing away when I open the door."
Today I leave the piles; today I will not see her, so perhaps today is the first day of this new journey. When I walk out of my house, out of the ultimate comfort, I will be alone and there will be no safety line. Augustus Owsley III, also known as the mad chemist, was famous for making and distributing hundreds of millions of hits of LSD in the 1960s, and he is also famous for one epic trip he had on his own acid. During one of Ken Kesey's electric kool-aide acid tests the mad chemist got caught in the whirlpool of his own mind, his world torn apart by thousand mile per hour winds, fragmented and carried off by some great black tornado. And when the pieces came back together he found himself in 18th century France. The Bastille and the rats and the mobs in the street and the rats and the rats. Trapped in 1786, in Paris. And my god what have I done and how do I get out of this place. And then fragmenting even more, and if he doesn't rebuild the whole world back to the present day it will just keep fragmenting until it ends! And then he is not in Paris and the year is not 1786, he has been carried by this black tornado to the beginning, back to one human cell.
"One human cell: his; that was all that was left of the entire known world, and if he lost control of that one cell, there would be nothing left." The world would end. But where does one begin? With his car, with a California highway, with every house along that drive he knew before this damn tornado, every blade of grass on the side of the road, every grain of sand, the ocean, ursa minor . . . "infinite concentric spheres of crystal making infinite gelatinous submarinal vibrations!!!" How do you rebuild all of that from one human cell!!? But he has already gotten into his car to try to outrun the madness and racing down the coastal highway rebuilding the grass and the sand and the stars and the ocean until he gets caught up in the infinite possibilities, and he does not want to be god so he rebuilds one more thing; a tree, and crashes his car.
And stumbling out of the wreck he finds his world whole again, relieved that he is not controlling universal clockwork creation, relieved that he is no longer aware of the infinite, relieved that he can lean on a smashed car and will not shatter into a billion atomic particles, relieved that the black tornado has moved on, or in, and he does not have to see it again today.
So back to one human cell; I have been here before, it is never easy, nothing to lean on, nothing to walk on, because how can you walk on a highway when you can see every atomic particle? But first there are the piles and phone calls to find out why I have late fees on all of my bills and why does the phone company want $150 from me for two months that I haven't been here? how is this all going to work out with all of these scraps of paper and money lists with negative signs and all the anxieties of making money to make the negatives positives and selling a product and not losing everything? I would rather rebuild the universe. and when I do I will leave out the bills and the piles and the money. Shove them in a box and get the hell out of here man!
This frontage road is quiet and even with all the hills it is not so bad. It is familiar, and the air is saturated with juniper. Familiar buildings, and familiar rocks. I am really hoping for a shortcut to get me off this northbound road, my only chance is Bernardo, but in Bernardo they tell me its all private roads, and not so smooth and I'm better off to go to Romeroville, 12 more miles of walking the wrong way. And I'm upset that I'm going to have to walk the wrong way but I am moving again. I remember I have a harmonica in my pocket and a perfect, clear sky, and the junipers, and not one car for the rest of the night, so I guess I'm not walking the wrong way, this is exactly where I am supposed to be.
I started late because of the piles, and at 11 p.m. I am still walking, watching my breath and watching the side of the road for a place to camp. A tree to hide behind so I am not right next to the highway. And just before we stop for the night, a horse starts following us along its fence-line, following cosmo and trying to tell us something. I can't see it in the dark but it keeps following us. And now we have to walk until we get away from this shadow because I don't want to hear it all night. There are good places to camp everywhere, but we are trapped between barbed wire fences and no trespassing signs, we are still in the desert. But laying out my sleeping bag, the anxieties of piles and bills are gone, back to a simpler life of walking and eating and walking and sleeping.