Friday, July 2, 2010

Black Bird Zen

(Light of Divine, from the Road to Montreal, 2010)

What makes me sad is we used to be friends. That there was life between us, in us, with sparks and explosions, and everything was just so damn great. I am full of regret, you are still the one that aches my very soul.
Now-a-days we laugh at failures; people falling face first into danger, or at younglings doing adult things and making it cute and innocent. We've seen it on youtube. I watch about twenty minutes of television a day, and half the time I'm watching ads. I wonder if I'll really be satisfied at anything, or from anyone.
We took this trip years ago to Monument Valley, Jim, Rico, and I think Phil even joined us, but had to meet us there. It took us four days, and we camped along the way. We got so drunk that by the time we got there we were missing our beds, our friends, and wives or girlfriends. Staring at that endless desert made me feel a feeling like we've gone too far, like a bad idea that was taken too far, and that the miles and days between us now and us then, there was no running back, we were already too deep; our hands were dirty with regret. In the mess of mix feelings seeing those red giants just sticking there in the middle of no where and for first time seeing it without a frame, at life scale, breathing there, it was the difference between playing with yourself and being with a woman. It was, for a lack of words, mon-u-mental.
So here was three, four, half-drunk amigos, in the same clothes we have been wearing for four days, feeling dusty and confused, and in absolute awe. Finding a spot we all sat on Rico's bronco and just hit back beers in the dark with the headlights pointing towards those sandy giants. It was fine to be stupid, it was fine to be homeless and smelly, it also fine to say sick and messed up jokes, even if you were the only one laughing. I guess we all reach a point in our lives that we witness a moment that feels like a dream, and this right now as unmonumental as it was, was a fog-glass moment.
Now I'm sure Philip was there, because he brought his rifle and let off a few rounds towards the monuments and barked like a dog until we were all howling to the moonless sky. One of us had some sort of drug and we must've all taken it because I can't remember much after the howling, just waking up in the early morning smelling rough, and having a swell on my forehead.
On the road, there is an endless stretch that goes on and on, where the ground beside you goes so fast that it might as well not be there at all. Everywhere around you, the landscape just seems to frozen. There again, regret, knowing of the days before us, of our journey, and we can either look mindlessly forward, or get lost in thought and escape the daunting nature of traveling the sacred way.
In times like these, I remember a book my friend Thomas gave me back in Dallas. It was a book on Zen and travel, of motorcycles, and about losing it and ultimately finding one's self . I tried reading that book three times before I actually did, and when I did, when that book hook me by my eyelids and skull, it was religion to me. I followed those words in that little book, I still do to this day. A good lesson is never lost, and so on that open road, I thought of my own journey as the same as the journey in that book, I saw my own life as the narrator's, and my own struggles, as well as... ah, you got the point. It is through struggle we become relative strangers, that we can relate to the struggles of others because quite simply, we all suffer, and if you're still standing, then we all struggle. I could understand calling our time a brotherhood, a sisterhood, I could understand how when you see a person fall face first into danger, and how you can laugh, because you're laughing at yourself, and where you've been, and what you've been through, so why not laugh since we weren't laughing when it happened to ourselves. In movies where janitors are secretly geniuses, where they had a hard up-bringing and that Robert Williams character tell him it is ok, that it isn't his fault, it's ok for you and I to cry, because no one is perfect, and no one can handle the weight of this world, let alone their own world on their own. In someway, we all need each other, because we were not born to be alone, we are born alone, yes, I know Nietzsche, but let's not us die alone.
In that book I tried to read so many times, I learned one thing that could well be the key to my own survival. I learned there are things greater than me, you, and everything happening right now, that we, the individual, are small to the big picture, like four drunk men standing before Monument Valley, appearing to be ants to the ant hill, but that hill will remain much longer than us, and it has existed well before us, and that our troubles today are not important to it because it does not effect it. It simply exists, through time it has seen so much that it knows that it will pass, like all time, it is constantly moving, belong our feet the ground moves, and I see a yellow banner blink over and over, I see a black bird fly, and I see what could be a beautiful day just beyond the horizon. What I don't see, for now, and hopefully for a long time, are my troubles, I know they are all around me, but they only exist in a troubled mind.
Now that I think of it, Phil was definitely there, and it was definitely his peyote that we all took that night in the valley.

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