Monday, August 29, 2005


It is interesting why we get to the places we do. For someone self-involved, as I am, and most writers, I think, have to be, observations coming from feelings and feelings being our own, so we focus on them, I obviously imagine I am doing something to please/soothe/heal myself. But once in a while, whether or not you intend to, you are in a place for someone else. Maybe several someones.
As noted in the last Report, I started this journey to celebrate Jack Kornfield, a very high spirit temporarily on the planet, lucky for me, and many who have read his works or sat on his retreats and have benefited from his teachings, and his very calm presence. My trip direction then unexpectedly changed,politics not just making strange bedfellows, but often moving us out of bed and into other rooms or even other spheres, planets, countries: there might be no place far enough away in some instances. So it was that I found myself travelling South, to visit moist surroundings, having been disinvited from the desert because of these ramblings, which my would have been host found offensive. Today's BAD Reporter, my new comic discovery in the Bay Area, has a quote from Pat Robertsoin saying he was misinterpreted, that he just wanted Chavez to be 'More Holy' and then goes on to discuss what the Bad Reporter has christened 'Gangsta Evangelism.' "On the rise?" it asks. "With white gangsta Christianity growing, worried parents focus on its glamorization of violence, while ignoring its good points: Misogynist, Homophobic, Violent... But Moral."
At the River Inn, a very simple motel by a complex river, I met a single mom from LA who said she wants to own her own time, a luxury I never considered I had, but do now and have for some time, and so have resolved to stop letting myself be pulled and buffeted about by the winds of ambition. She was with her son, Jaron, who's six, and told me she doesn't date for herself but for him, so I returned the favor she had done me by suggesting she should date for herself and the right man will be fine for Jaron, too. Little children played with the pebbles in the shallow edge of the river, and Mimi lifted their spirits even higher than little children's spirits are to begin with. An 18 month old Australian girl named Ivy clapped with every victory as she learned words I taught her: toe, nose, and eyes.
But the main thing I was doing here besides comforting myself with the forgiving side of Nature-- deserts to me have always seemed unforgiving-- was visiting my friend Sofanya. Sofanya and I met by mystically bizarre circumstance which some would call coincidence, but it seemed far beyond that. I bought a pair of earrings, very free-spirited and colorful, turquoise with purple stones, when I was visiting my daughter in Arizona very early in her college time there. I never wore them, but put them in a treasure chest I kept in my bedroom in San Francisco, on a mirrored tray, so they reflected all that interesting light. Then one day about two years later I put them on, and walked down Union Street, where there are slews of charming little shops, the whole area having been designed by a prize-winning architect, whose prize one time was letting her design Union Street. From one of those boutiques came a gorgeous fragrance, not too heavy, but alluring, so as in a cartoon I was pulled into the shop by the scent. "Oh," said the proprietor. "You're wearing Carol White earrings." That night I went to an art opening in the Mission district, pretending to look at the paintings which were not very good, but actually looking for love which never came again, its least likely breeding ground, for a single heterosexual woman at least, San Francisco. It was a foggy night, and as I left, walking down the ramp, I passed under the one street lamp that illumined the darkness. From the other direction up the ramp came a youngish woman, who passed under the light at the same moment I did, and she said, "Oh, you're wearing my earrings. I'm Carol White." I had never heard the name before that day, never having worn the earrings before. I told her the whole story, with all its improbabilities; we decided we were meant to be friends. And so we are. Some time after that she met the mad San Francisco chara cter Gypsy Boots, and he renamed her Sofanya, which she has been ever since. She paints and sculpts and does all manner of artful things, with a little shop/studio here at Big Sur. But mainly what she does is have a big heart. Her two sons are grown, and her most recent love, Wes, a massage-therapist at Esalen(standard career here and setting) died suddenly just before I called to tell her I was coming to visit. She is grieving of course-- he drank a lot of beers one night and then had some methadone, and so ended at 31. I've done my best to help, since I have some experience with grief. But meanwhile a big hunky guy showed up and she thought Wes sent him, so she rented him the trailer behind her house, a funky dome-shaped thing in the middle of the Redwoods, surrounded by smaller places she rents to healers and psychics and all breeds of benign weirdos who populate this area. But having come from being with Jack, I am heavily into listening, and this man, 41, divorced, could not resist how hard I was listening, and so told me, and Sofanya, some details of his story that he'd left out in the beginning. Family therapist, counselor, not sure what he wanted to do with his future, maybe go back to school and get his PhD in psychology. And then and then... he said he wasn't able to be certified right now as a family counselor on account of a girl who'd accused him of assault. She is 16 now but at the time she said he assaulted her she was 11 and he was dating her mother. Huh? So are we talking sexual molestation, I asked as gently as i could, and he admitted, well, yeah. The charges have supposedly been dropped but it's still on his record. The neighbors are having a group meeting with him this weekend, all those who live around Sofanya's house, as some of them have little girls. Sofanya is sure he is innocent, but the other neighbors said, even without knowing this, that there was something about him that creeped them out. It would have been nice to pass through here just sprinkling Fairy Dust, but maybe this was more important to do. It feelst like Law and Order SVU.
Such a strange but good trip. The celebration at Spirit Rock beginning it-- a really nice woman, fiftyish, got me a chair, and introduced me to her wife. The wife was the one in the tuxedo. Where is Lewis Carroll when we really need him?
Tonight I am going to be re-birthed by Anita, a local psychic who works at Nepenthe, the place Henry Miller hung out when I was here in my 20s, sitting next to him at a stool in the bar while a young woman sucked his toes. I didn't intend to be re-birthed, but I bought a gift for Jamie from Anita and I heard she was a healer. "What is it you want?" Anita asked me. "To grow up," I said. "Why would you want to?" she asked.
Because I am growing older. You can't be young forever. In fact, you can't be young except when you are young. It is the first time I have faced that directly, and started to come to terms with the realization. They have everything here of a Fix-it nature-- the area is rife with massage therapists and spa treatments of every conceivable design, from cheap to those at Ventana and the Post Ranch Inn where the rooms are $1250 a night. But the one thing you can't get here is a manicure. For that, you need to go back to Carmel.
A pome:


Not a sad understanding, though, really. Another Pome:

So we're going to go back to those moments and fill them wih light. which is unconditional love. Hey, why not. Look where I am.

AFTERTHOUGHT, when safe at Home: Well, my re-birthing was full of shit, and, not incidentally, so is Big Sur. You remember that saying,"we have met the enemy and it is us?" Well, I have met my Inner Hippie, and she is Theirs. I have left her behind me with an enormous amount of grime and clothes I never want to wear again.
The woman who re-birthed me was kind and had sparkles on her face, but I forgot I know all about this masturbatory stuff having written a novel about it(TOUCHING) which almost landed me in the slammer. So the New Age is the Old Age and it is OVER OVER OVER, and if they can't let it go where they are, I can now where I am. I came back singing "I'll Take Manhattan."
P.S. On the way back I stopped in Pacific Grove and had a manicure. Cleanliness is not only next to Godliness, it feels SOoooooooo good.

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