Technically, it was short of the 35 MPH needed for the designation of blizzard. Heard official reports mentioning 17 inches, even though I was standing in snow up to my knees, measuring 23 inches. The communications console reported similar anecdotes across the local galactics.

The northern adventurers might as well scoff at us amateurs just below the mason-dixon line. I understand; got a few stories of wandering around at the snowblind levels fighting yetigers with a ski pole up in them thar latitudes. Everybody’s got it worse off somewhere. At least the snow up there forces the Kling-ons to use chains on their disruptors.

Spent long hours in the dark watching the snow fall, with Frankie perched beside me.  For the beings in the chill depths of nothingness, it’s like the rains coming in spring on the wild plains of Africa. The neurotic adaptations of the mindless and the artificial satisfactions of the consumed are swept away by a blinding flood, and the dazzling elemental currents of the unknown may dance in mystery–safe from unclean eyes and shriveled thinking.

The drifts rise high enough for strange things to paddle by, in direct proportion to the amount of effort needed by snivelized coat-and-boot astronauts to tread the snowfall. If two inches of water is dangerous, what might traverse two feet of accumulation? One must listen carefully, between the breaths of snowy quiet and the biting snap of winter wolf’s breath across your unprotected face.

I plunge forward into a drift, the dry crystals sticking to my face and blazing white hot. Brushing off the stinging nettles as they burn my face raw, the cold invades my cheap spacesuit like an inviting alien force. I lay back and let the flakes crackle against me like hundreds of tiny asteroids. A moment’s intention and I’m beamed aboard the honeycomb hideout, safe behind life support systems and hot cocoa immunizations.

Play until you’re tired and cold and dragging. This state of exhausted euphoria is one children are familiar with; Mine’s tempered with the seasoning of adaptation patterns. We forget the previous state, still living because we have a manual override.

A whispering cuts through the quiet cold, telling me I must be like a crocodile.  Silent, prowling, unseen, existing in the winter monsoon where another life force dwells. I see pictures and diagrams as if watching the unrolling from a long papyrus–see, it is like this; use internal strength like so, leap across hidden crevices and through dark corners untraveled like this.

Winter is here. I return to my human existence, welcomed by Frankie who insists on making the biscuits on my cold but warming form swathed in blankets. I’ll tell her all about it during my nap.  I watch the snow on my hanging clothes melt in the light of consciousness as K makes some cocoa.

The last lantern-bearer gone and passing into slumber to the sound of purring, the wintery wonders surge like a noiseless wave in the darkness of falling snow. The rains have come, the drought is ended.

Had a little bit of that dragon’s blood on my slapstick where his nose got stamped Cat In The Hat pink.  The folks took it and mixed it into the rum punch, baking and mixing our healing feast.

I celebrate community and survival, those things we are thankful for as we recognize the blessings of our life.

I mourn those who suffered savage brutality at the hands of settler colonialism, on the backs of whom many of us enjoy our privileges.

We hear the song of nature, and guided by the spirit of Sister Piscotti whose vase we must fill, sinners that we are, and go into the deep old woodland chaparral which refuses to let human beings push it around.

The old path that is normally there is overgrown, for the first time I can ever remember.  The unseasonably warm weather and rain have caused an almost spring like growth to emerge, lichens growing on tree trunks and moss in full bloom!

Rabbit escapes our sight through the roots and tangles of the path that is no more.

We roll with it, nomads that we are.  Many paths through the forest, but you have to pay.  Human remains.  Scratches of sharp spines on flesh, I am bloodied, roots trip us up, wet pine branches swipe us.  The forest doesn’t move, yet it has motion.

Fog swathed ways that come and go, lightning struck trees out of a dream, and all manner of growths.  We clip and gather a harvest for the vase cussing and swearing but somehow swerving both ways to the way out.

Explosions, the Grand Turkey Lord shooting off a series of cracks and pops in the deep to scare our pants off and make us laugh as we trudge out of the mud and back to the places where kids play, the first step back to home where a sacrifice awaits to feed us.

Celebrate, and mourn.

Singing ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down”, we brush off the brambles and retie shoelaces.  Back home, having paid our respects to the ancestors and the within, we toast and serve, candles lit.

Godzilla isn’t the same for me anymore.  As a child I loved the destruction and the excitement.  But now, having been to Hiroshima, I also see the overwhelming, apocalyptic horror of the human experience crushed underfoot by the atomic unknown.

This is what is meant by the sublime.  The monstrous face we are seeing is humanity’s own hellish shadow, magnified many times over by enormous natural forces into a radioactive blast that annihilates the human completely.

I can’t know what it is like (I wasn’t there), or comprehend much of the significance—I’m just a tourist, a voyeur, a poser who caught a brief glimpse of an old claw-print.  But even having once seen evidence that Ancalagon is real, and we have the power to summon such enormous destruction against others, where can one hide?

I love the film deep and darkly, yet it is a heady draught I consume with caution and reserve.

This is the message the ghosts convey to me repeatedly for most of the night—that no one stands outside the shadow of humanity.  I lie in my bed, the other students fast asleep, and I hear the rumble of otherworldly clutches.  It might only be my conscience trying to open me up like a clam to the world, which I imagine to be the sounds of the dead.

I talk to them in my mind, twisting and turning hotly in bed unable to sleep.  I imagine myself helping them, being there with them (which is just fantasy guesswork), and suffering for them.  But these are all empty postures in the night.  I wear myself out wrestling with their noise and I finally sleep.

My dreams are of swimming in a vast underground ocean of red flame and muddy slime.  I am surrounded by people staring at me as they rot away into charred ooze.  Then I am struggling through the streets of a deserted, burning city that gives off a cloudy, shadowed heat.  I realize I’m asleep and I wake myself up, struggling to rouse my muscles and breathing out of the relaxation of slumber.  It’s daylight out.

The next stop for us is Itsukushima, which is known as Miyajima the Shrine Island.  One of the three holiest places in Japan.  No one is allowed to die here—you get shipped right off as soon as you start to croak.  People weren’t even allowed to live there until recently.  As a result, there is still a primordial virgin forest on the island.  Countless holy structures of all kinds shapes and sizes may be found throughout the island.  Plus lots of squeaking deer, and monkeys who are the messengers of the gods.

It feels good to escape the city for a while.  The sun is shining when we land, but the weather slowly changes as we meander through the streets.  A light rain begins, followed by a growing mist.  A few of us take the Miyajima Ropeway (a cable car system) to near the top of Mount Misen to snap some pictures, but by the time we get up there it’s useless.  The entire island and surrounding sea is shrouded in fog.

After a few minutes of taking things in, everyone decides to descend for some lunch, but I decline.  Taking my handy tourist map I figure I’m going to climb the summit and get some outdoor time to myself.  The map makes it look like a hop skip and a jump.  Scale, let me show you how not to use it.

I pass through a huge herd of monkeys and onto the fog-shrouded, forested mountain paths, which are well trod.  There’s no one about, and likely with good reason.  As I learned later, all tengu goblins in Japan gather in the forests of Mount Misen.  They scare away intruders by making loud noices like wooden blocks being banged together.

This is a scene only a crazy gaijin would find themselves in, ignorant of all the hazards of the spirit world.  Fools and little children protected by the purity of their motives, I suppose.

But I feel at peace, safe.  This a sacred place, whether or not I get the local meaning.  I know I’m an outsider, that I don’t belong, and yet I maintain a respectful thought at all times. I don’t hear anything but the wind and the rain.  Even the monkeys are quiet, and soon I don’t see them anymore (probably all hanging out close to the ropeway station for handouts).

I reach a small wayside shrine and make an offering of incense.  It takes considerable effort to light it in the light rain and wind, but I manage and place it in the proper place.  I struggle with my request of the gods, wanting very much to grant me some good fortune with my then-girlfriend at the time.  But all I can come up with is a request that my love for her be true, which seemed a cop-out, easy request to make in one’s prayers.

I ought to have prayed for the ghosts, or for an end to atomic weapons, yet all I can think of is my own needs at a time like this.  I spend a long time in the rain agonizing over whether I made the right request.  I tell myself that if the stick is still burning when I return this way, then I made the right decision.  I walk up the slope of the final approach to the top.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the shrine I visited is the Reikado (“Temple Which Protects Flame”).  There is a fire inside that is said to have been lit by a holy man and has been burning ever since.  This fire was used to light the Peace Flame in Hiroshima’s Peace Park, which will burn until all atomic weapons are destroyed and the world is free from their horror.

That holy man is Kobo Daishi, founder of one of the major branches of buddhism in Japan.  He’s one of the holiest holy men in Japanese culture, seriously big dude dinner stuff.  They say he’s still chilling out, hidden from our sight until the return of the biggest Buddha ever.  No messing around, seminal figure here.  Ka-boom.

I take the path where you have to bow down and walk under a stacked boulder to continue on the path.  It’s like a tunnel and a gateway at the same time.  The trees break away, the path twists one last time, and you find yourself with a 360 view of the surrounding area.  Boulders everywhere which the gods are said to rest upon and discuss/observe/contemplate the world.

Actually, I should mention that when I say “gods” I’m using it in the collectively neutral sense rather than say god/dess-s or divinities.  Shinto has a matriarchal pantheon, with all the major deities being female (for example, Amaterasu the sun goddess is no joke, takes care of her bizness, watch out).  The mother is everywhere in Japan, she’s what counts, but she’d insist harmony be maintained and everyone remain at the table, thus “gods”.

The actual summit holds an observation deck, which you climb a series of stairs to reach.  It’s a joke, actually.  You are standing on one of the most holy places you can in Japan, and there’s this ugly, cheeseball man-made structure to the side.  For some reason I didn’t mind though, it felt appropriate, like one last step into the heavens.  Taken on the stairway of ugliness, admitting our own human weakness.

This is the moment of enlightenment in the spiritual journey.  Hard climb, long travel, then revelation as the world opens up all around you.  At the top of the deck, I take in the four directions.  The spattering rain and crisp wind buffet my body, dousing my heat and strength.  Clouds and mist are rushing all around me.  The nearest shores and islands are hazy outlines.

I speak to the gods of Japan, ignorant of their names let alone their ranks and stations.  I tell them I don’t know what to say about what I’ve witnessed or how I feel.  I don’t know what to ask from them, or what to tell them.  I don’t even know if I should say anything at all.

It occurs to me I’m the only person up on this summit.  I am meant to be here, doused in the elements, shivering with the feeling of being alive.  A fragment of cultural relevance comes back to me from my studies, of how the Japanese consider themselves a “wet” people.  That is, they are a deeply feeling people who understand relatedness.  While outsiders, particularly westerners, are considered “dry”.  They have little awareness of the feelings of others.

I recognize how supremely purifying a moment this is.  Separated from the group and free to be myself, the gods are making me a “wet” outsider, if only for this moment.

Being blessed, I give thanks and take my leave, returning to the world of people with difficulty (harder to descend than ascend, and I’m low on energy).

The incense is still smoking as I shamble past the wayside shrine (if I can truly love, even after the mark of the ghosts, then the world grows). Marked, purified.  Departure, return.

At the bottom of the ropeway station, at a food stand, the group is waiting for me.  Waiting for the next ferry.  I have just enough time to scarf down a deep bowl of steamy hot udon noodle soup.


K and I loaded up the chuck wagon full of yummy organic burgers and buns, homemade pickles, and a slab of onions and lettuces.  She grabbed the lager medicine and I seized on the cider muscle relaxant.  Then we rode on over to the folk’s ranch and got a charcoal grill going.  Hek-yeah, it’s burgerin’ time!

The day was in the high sixties, sunny, and no snow.  Perfect weather for an outdoors shindig and rap session with the clan.  The weekend had been a huge quest of doom which had made us a little unavailable on main and auxiliary power to the rest of the world.  I’ll write about that later.  For now, tasty food, delicious frosty beverages, and good company gossiping and chitchatting like a bunch of crows.  And crow does like a tasty snack with a little jibber-jabber.

While doing the burger meditation I had a chance to think about the change in the weather.  I smell spring, I feel it in my bones.  It just wants to burst forward like a spring coiled giant squid tentacle and seize the morsel of the now.  I can hardly contain myself at the excitement.  Spring within, spring without, all in balance.

There’s a state park where the folks, K and I often go to escape the attack droids and meager-minders.  The park is a little hard to find and get to.  It’s made up of a huge forest by the river with miles of paths.  A devoted group of volunteers maintain the consciousness level there.

The place is a labyrinth, because you can spend hours in the place and hardly see anyone.  As the sun goes down, the place turns otherworldly.  There are a few paths that can lead you into really spooky, scary areas of the woods.

When K and I go, we always take a daypack with plenty of water and snacks, along with a tasty lunch.  We take a first aid kit, a universal tool, emergency raingear, and a compass.  I’ve watched people get into trouble an hour from home, and experienced the outdoors beat down myself a few times.  Hypothermia and dehydration are two hard-core realities even in the land of expanding skyscraper false idols.

I bring this up because I’d been saving the park encounters as a topic for later, but now it looks like current events are pushing this ship front and center.  It occurs to me that while my hikes in the park have been a relaxing getaway from the demands of time and space, I’ve also been living an unconscious exploration.


The latest schematic from the opened Hek-mail shows a labyrinth between two trees between two critters.  The starship crew strains my brain trying to make sense of the symbolism.  After a while, I believe I have a functioning, conscious explanation.

The two critters are guardians keeping out the unprepared, pulling the wool over their eyes for their own protection so to speak.  The labyrinth between the two trees suggests a path between trees – like the park.  At the center of which is a tree.

As a symbol, a tree can represent several things:

  • A gallows.
  • The cross of the crucifixion.
  • An Xmas tree.

It can also be an informal reference to being “up a tree”, or treed.  I’ve been hearing the lines from a song in my head for weeks now, I’m up and down and all around, I’m up a bloody tree.  Going to have to find out the title of that song, but UFO Girl must have played it by unconscious request.

To be in a situation of confusion or embarrassment from which there is no retreat.  Yeah, that sounds like a whole lot of fun.  My experiences in the woods in that state of mind have not been safe.

Tree also has connotations of pledges, truth, and trust.  “Where one waits trustingly.”  Maybe I’m getting the external mixed up with the internal.  I haven’t seen any critters with glowing eyes or scary sharp teeth and claws, so maybe I’ve passed between them.  And the hikes have been a form of doing time in the labyrinth.

Where does the labyrinth lead?  Well, home of course.  At the end of the hike, we all get in the car and return to the struggle.

Which means the center ends up at my home, the haunted house.

Oh, great.

11-21-08 ETA: My aunt Duke says, “Trees appear on shields and are thought to symbolize antiquity and strength.  The fir tree stands for clarity, achievement and energy.  The yew – transference, passage, illusion.  And of course there is the tree of knowledge.  In Teutonic and Nordic culture there is the world tree – where the sacred enters the profane.

The other two symbols – I am going from my gut reaction to the images.  One I see as a phoenix which stands for resurrection, immortality, fire and divinity.  The other reminds me of either a river or a snake.  River according to Jung is water already in motion finding its own way through conditions of external danger to emerge intact and triumphant for union with the sea – implying the longest way around is the shortest and safest way to the sea.  Snakes were often guardians of sacred places.  The Celts believed that if you see a snake on a shamanic journey prepare to shed something in favor of something greater and better.”

Thanks for the info-pumpup, Duke.

What’s with the name of the place I’m chilling out at, you ask?  There’s a quality to the area that is “wrecked” or “ruined”, suggestive of some mass-destructive event that occurred from which the locale has never recovered.  It’s lush, green, and isolated (for now) from the vast high blood pressure world of history and the iron rule.

It’s also a headwater, a fountain of sub-natural energy in the psychological plane of experience.  Pouring out is a grease, a resin if you like of wild energy growing out of the desolation.  Like a flower in the mud of a dung heap.  Very likely the whole mystery of it will fade as the intrusions of the clickers and droids arrive.

For now, the place is like entering an alternate world where ghosts tend the fields and the landscape swallows you up to see what you taste like.  The trees and stone barriers, star marks and rusting material give witness to a way of life removed from what we are told to think of as “inevitable progress”.  Yeah, the inevitable progress of the grave, buddy.  Go back and tell it to the Post.

It’s the off season, and the weekday, so there’s three “groups” at the campsite out of twenty-five or so spots besides us.  Spread out along the hillside, the trees absorb human speech for their own amusement.  We’re the wildernesses’ version of short-term disposable entertainment.

Even during the day, if you stay on the path, there’s a sense of life-forces of many kinds relating to one another.  Some good, some not so good.  I got to walk the paths by myself and feel again the primordial sensation of being at one with nature, and it’s unconscious dangers.  Bear poop.  Twisted ankles on rocky, root-infested slopes.  Losing your mind and being possessed by natural forces that have nothing to do with personal, conscious relationships.

Cue Lola Heatherton:  “It’s so scary!  Baaa-haha-haaa!”

The gang decides to climb a nearby mountain.  The mountain has acquired a certain reputation, as we’ve only been talking about it for the four years we’ve been running to this place to get back on an even keel.  It’s a steep, hour and a half climb to a splendid view.  It takes us three and a half hours to work out our overall adventure.

The two couples we meet are both going down the way they came up.  We go up one way, decide to try a shortcut and end up taking the long way back to a point where we can descend safely.  K gets to go on a scouting mission and sees a view only she can bear witness to.  The gang melts down over the need to get down before we run out of BLT sandwiches, water, and sanity points.

I packed us plenty of warm clothing and rain gear, plus some snacks and flashlights.  We’re prepared, but the trek ends up being a long and hard one for us all to take.  Our feet start to hurt two hours in, and thanks to the map and compass we don’t lose hope.  But I keep thinking this is how people end up on the news.  They go into the wilderness unprepared or they go too far and make a wrong turn.  We come close to the edge several times, but somehow we stick together despite the arguing and make it back to a trail that makes sense.

Then it’s the long haul back to the vehicle, down the steep slope through the horse poop and winding paths to safety.  The trek becomes a question of how long people can keep going before they stumble and injure themselves.  It must be the promise of rum punch, chimney-roasted hotdogs, and brownies & ice cream that keeps us whole through the misery.

Out on the deck with a body shock that won’t hit until the next day, we munch our food in thanks.  I toss a bowl full of cherry tomatoes out into the darkness for the Chicken Cow.  That’s all he gets this time.

While holed up in our hidden refuge, the original doom hikers got down to the business of working out the psychological stew concocted from the last year’s gatherings.  Good grief, when I think about where I was about this time a year before, I thought it was grim then.  This time, I was more wary.  The bushwhackers are out there ready to strike, but the spirits of the forest will be happy to knock you over if you volunteer.

The consensus seems to be to shrug it off with a laugh and get prepared for next year’s fun and excitement.  That’s all right with me.  I’m ready to go dancing on the ceiling.

I’d forgotten how out of sorts and on edge being in the Haunted House had made me.  Even K is calling it that now, and is living it.  I don’t know what to make of my Mirage’s antics.  But out here in a nice, warm protected cabin away from the backwater nonsense of the ruling class who know squat about slack, I only had to deal with a spooky, otherworldly place.

Wesley Willis sings about the Chicken Cow, and that’s what we called whatever it was that was making mooing noises outside in the woods at five past one in the morning.  By day it makes noises like a chicken and is harmless, but by night it sounds like a cow and hunts for human flesh!  We kept the candles burning outside on the porch as long as we dared, then retreated to indoors and locked the doors, shutting the windows and jacking up the fire against the nameless horror of the Chicken Cow.

K really showed how much her cooking skills have improved over the last year.  She makes a hell of a loaf of bread, hamburger buns and an outstanding meatloaf.  My mom was happy to let K take the lead and do her part to keep the food supply at a good level.  K got a small loom for her birthday, and has mastered the basics.  She coughed up a wonderful little throw rug of reds and pinks during our retreat.

K also spent a lot of time helping caterpillars.  I don’t know if she was helping good ones or bad ones, but a lot of them were tomato hornworm types or white fuzzy with black antennae types.  She didn’t want to see them get squished in the road by the Chicken Cow or waste time wandering around the deck when there were juicy trees to be had.

Both my mom and K are finally free of the rat-humping doctor’s office of evil throw-up incompetence, and mindless zit-popping grease that passes for human interaction.  They’ve recovered from the abuse for the most part, and this retreat was an affirmation of that casting out of false prophets in their life.  I’m hoping they take time to build good cocoons and emerge from their fresh fly threads into beautiful Mothra awesomeness.

When it comes to K, the cats, the folks, and I the New Year comes in October.  For whatever reason, the Celtic New Year is how we wrap things up psychologically and get ready for the approach of the next randomly generated encounter.

Tangent.  As I type this, a bunch of candy just leaped off the shelf and fell to the floor.  Yes, this is the first Halloween where K and I are in a haunted house and know it.

October is when the spirits of the dead are supposed to come back and pay a visit to the living.  The ancestors are believed to communicate with you in dreams, and give sneak previews of the year to come.  Needless to say, my dream journal has been filling up.

In my last one, I was in the role of the curmudgeonly doctor House, from the TV show, and my patient was the expectant Mother Mary.  With her in tow were a bunch of prophets who never talked to anyone, but if you listened to them you might hear something worth hearing.

She was trying to trick everyone into believing there was something wrong with her, and in true House dramatic fashion I uncovered her scam.  Because I had revealed her trick, she passed on some wisdom to me about myself, then left me to listen to the prophets for a while before they all went on their way.  I won’t say what I learned, as it’s rather personal and/or probably only relevant to me.

But Mother Mary as a trickster archetype with a posse of prophets?  That’s a new one for me.

Back to the main topic.  The last year has been rough.  Culture seems at a backwater standstill, the country needs new shoes, and there’s only charlatans at the helm of a bus with no wheel.  The bees gave me some breathing room, so K and I booked the humans a stay of buy two get one free at our favorite short duration emergency retreat.

The Honeycomb Hideout would have to be staffed by the two girl cats who can’t stand each other (there’s a movie in there, I know it), while Michael cat was boarded up because he’d taken a megamouth hit to the thrusters and we couldn’t deal.  A third day reinforcement assist from the allies and friends aisle covered the gaps.

I’ve mentioned secret doors before.  Some of those secret doors reach into awesome heal-ups.  If you ever played the Zelda games, you know what I’m talking about.  Always remember to bring your bottle to stock up on healing spirits!  The big one for us is a place I call Destroyed Bourn.

We pull up with a trunk full of medicine and protein materials for fabrication, hit the wood pile for sacred flame, sacred fire right out of Doctor Who, and get right with the weird stuff that goes on here.  The trees have been waiting for us to come and tell them stories of the messed up real world where human beings do the beat down dance.

In garden news, the potatoes are coming up nicely. The tomatoes need a lot of care, so it’s touch and go with them. Onions and chives are on target. The lettuce, contrary to last year, is being really difficult. It looks like it might surge forward soon. I hope so, it’s been a long spring.

The basil croaked, which really surprised me. The other herbs are doing well and spreading rapidly. I’m psyched because our cooking gets so much mileage now out of them, and we now know the power of saving herbs for later in the winter. The garden is teeming with earthworms, which it wasn’t last year. I guess word has gotten around that this plot is active.

K and I have a huge amount of plants in moss packets ready to plant, hopefully this will start the serious attack of garden goodness. Oh yes, and we have a new blue hose with a purple multi spray attachment that rocks the mike. Our major challenge this year is keeping the weeds, which have mounted a massive attack on all fronts. My back is killing me, and the thistles ruined my gloves, requiring me to get a fresh pair. Sheesh!

Frankie has taken to bullying Blink, the older and weaker female cat. It’s gotten to the point where Blink is always hiding and skulking about, and it’s driving K and myself up the wall. In all other ways Frankie is a honeybear, but when she doesn’t get her way (such as wanting to get a walkies outside and we say no because the landscapers sprayed the grass with pesticide today), she acts out on Blink.

We’re really not happy with our vets. We took Frankie in for a respiratory infection, and they decided to give her the latest round of shots because we hadn’t been in to update them. This was in addition to the antibiotics they prescribed. Now, we hate giving Frankie her shots because she becomes weak and sad for three days, and it’s heartbreaking to watch. So for them to give her the shots before we could protest, when she was already feeling crummy because of an infection. Well, the vets are on my poop list. I’m going to go empty my wallet somewhere else. Frankie hid under the bed and sulked for days, and it made me mad.

On the bath front, my aunt gave me an awesome array of bath salts from Pretty Baby, and some cool dude bath bombs from Lush. Alas, I’ve used up the gift boxes and I emptied out my main store of goods the other day. Not having the requisite ability to meditate my cares into valuable cash and prizes at a certain level is of course, intolerable. But understandable, since my stress levels have been off the wall the last month and a half.

Actually, I have a whole stash of bath bombs I’ve been holding onto for karmic reasons, which I’ve been unable to touch. The victims I’ve planned these for will no doubt benefit, but for me it means lean times. So K and I made a brief run and I picked up some more of my faves. There’s this pine-volcanic gravel bomb that does the trick nicely, and I’ve been jonesin’ to make use of that kind again. Stimulates my brainstem nicely, and I’m glad to have it back.

Picked up the third Age of Bronze, titled “Betrayal Part One”. It’s as good as always, and I read through it so quickly it’s sad. The Trojan War is finally starting to heat up, as both sides start to maneuver their pieces into position, while the personal stories of the characters continue to develop in interesting ways.

Of particular interest to me is the diplomatic mission to Troy to regain Helen and avert the war, where several people reveal their character in really cool ways. I never get tired of Odysseus’s trickery, and I have to say Palamede’s honesty is starting to win me over. Paris’s cowardice, arrogance and treachery are really going too far. Troy is doomed.

K has been getting the hiking bug, and after a long search she finally found a pair of boots she could deal with. REI had nothing but high priced, weird and poorly manufactured junk. That surprised me. LL Bean just didn’t pass the muster. So we hit the local Ranger Surplus, because I needed a new pair of jungle boots and a new pair of fatigues. K was skeptical, but she found exactly what she was looking for there. Durable, support, reasonably priced, and not made cheaply.

I swear by my army boots and fatigues. My old desert storm boots and fatigues have been slowly falling apart this last year, despite my best efforts to milk them further. I’ve worn the fatigues for twenty-one years, and the boots for eleven. The service, when it comes to the basics, knows how to make long-lasting, hardy equipment and that’s no joke.

The boots breathe and stand up to anything while giving you support and protection. The fatigues cover your legs with cool/warm air as necessary, and they protect you from terrain, foliage and insects like nobody’s business. Plus the pockets are awesome. I’ve carried empty beer bottles in all four at the 9:30 Club, saving my friends and me the hassle of throwing them out while the music is raging. It’s good to have a new set. I feel it’s appropriate, in a way, with the way my life is going.

In my everyday life, it always seems that I pass by hidden passages to secret, psychological areas. If you take the time to look for them, and take advantage of the opportunity they present, you may find yourself traveling through the side passages of existence.

K and I decided to take a walk. Nothing spectacular, it’s a densely populated urban setting with a decent amount of greenery framing the sidewalks and spaces between complexes. For whatever random reason, we decide to hang a left, rather than straight ahead, and the next thing we know the side street heads into a wooded area.

Less traffic, birds are tweeting, squirrels are munching on nuts during a break in the freeze courtesy of Global Warming Terraform, Inc. We come across a picnic area with a large wooden pavilion and some grass with a playground. I’m feeling like the human equation is rapidly losing hold of our brainstem.

Now, on any other day, we’d just enjoy the discovery of the cul-de-sac we’ve uncovered and let sleeping dogs butter their own bread, so to speak. But we decide to take things in, and examine the details more closely. There’s a paved path leading off into the trees, so we decide to follow it. That’s when we leave the noise behind us and everything becomes rather quiet.

The path takes us deeper into the woods, and we can catch glimpses of a house here and there through the trees, but we’re definitely on a secret trail now. We catch a glimpse of the ani-mani-mals galore. Large hunting spiders out for a tasty snack, hawks looking for munchy mouse guts, and winged flyer bugs buzzing about just because you would be excused for thinking it’s spring.

We catch sight of a white stag with some deer friends (I’m not joking here), and I get to thinking we’ve had one of those experiences. K and I found a secret door and discovered one of the places that humans forget about, and it takes on a life of its own. An oasis of wilderness in the middle of sub-human anti-civilization development efforts.

K and I didn’t follow the white stag, though I spotted a trail in the trees past where he had been standing. We stayed the course and followed the path all the way to a dead end in the middle of a large swampy field filled with the marks of past floods and fishy existence. It’s as if the path stopped right where the unconscious and the conscious met, and a large hillside surrounded the place.

A side path goes up further, over and along the hill, so we take that, and find it hooks up with another network of paved pathways that skirt back into civilization. We search for secret doors again, and find a trail leading off into the brush, and a large tall forest of trees. We head off into the wilderness again, and find ourselves moving through a trail-tunnel along a stream, with makeshift bridges, copious amounts of growth in hibernation, and the rustle of critters mixed with the trickle of water.

The trail ends, and we find ourselves in a large swampy field of skeletal trees surrounded by a huge forest. All around are pools of water interspersed with islands of overgrown detritus. Fallen logs are everywhere, and the rotting trees all bear the mark of woodpeckers. The only sign of life is a ruined tree house falling into disrepair and now barely accessible due to the water starting to surround the trees it was built upon.

The trail ends in a tiny field of wildflowers. Perfect for a picnic. K and I resolve to return to this place and enjoy the wilderness of the secret door within a secret door. It isn’t everyday you find a main access way to the hidden and wonderful beauty still alive on this planet. We retrace our steps and return to the main street of human misery on a wave of good feeling. Everything feels better after you’ve gotten back to the source.

Look, and listen. There are many secret doors out there. You will find one if you aren’t careful.

« Previous PageNext Page »