I've been entertaining the question today of where I am going in this life. What was my dream for myself that made me make one decision and not another along the way? It's a bit of a puzzler considering I've not aimed for success in any kind of way but within. I've not wanted to climb ladders to success. I find, looking back, I've never had any confidence in the future. It came from the old Protestant insistence that one may die at any moment. If there was anything I learned for certain in childhood and youth was I can go poof any minute. I waited til after my draft obligation to play soldier was finished, in the past, before continuing my education. I thought, why go to college and get a head full of hope, then be killed by the war machine for being born male in a country with an economy based in war profits? What choice did I have? None. Canada was not an answer. To go to Canada is a tactic, not a strategy. To what end? To get away. The momentum of my thinking through high school and a year or so later was to get away. Did not know where I wanted to go. Only knew that I wanted to get away. Wichita, Kansas, is in the middle of the continent, giving me a choice of coast to go to, each one the same distance as far as land allows. It didn't matter, actually. Away was all I wanted. I was listening to jazz at the time, early 1960s, tail end of the Bebop period. I liked East Coast jazz better than West Coast jazz, preferred Thelonious Monk to George Shearing, The East Coast had history. The West Coast had less history. Picking the East Coast was not a strategy, but a tactic. I was also drawn to the South. The South had a powerful mystique for the kid. I have a feeling the seed for that mystique was planted by reading a child's biography of Robert E Lee in third grade. We had to read a certain number of books of our own choice from the library. I wanted to find out about the name that at that time in my life represented the South. I think I fell in love with the South in the course of reading this book.
I didn't know anything about Dixiecrat politics in the early 1950s, but I remember at election time the Solid South. I liked about the South that it defied the Yankees and stood up to them. They were beat down, but they stood up. They stood up to authority for me when I could not. Of course, it was romanticized in the child's mind into something it was not, a sentiment. Though I went to the South, it was still getting away, just further away into a new mind. From living in the South my entire adult life, I forget how foreign the South is seen from outside the South. In the South, we think it's great when people from outside the South don't like the South. Stay where you are, don't come here. Leave us alone; that's all we want from you. People from outside the South feel funny when they enter the South. I sure did the first time. I thought I was in the place my soul wanted to be. By this time in my life, I don't ever want to leave the South again. I feel creepy when I cross the Mason Dixon line leaving the South. It was like passing from France into Germany after WW2. Not just a foreign country, but a serious grudge. Even though I like to think my mind on a higher plane than worrying over national / cultural boundaries, belief systems, it's not. I can drive through Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and feel at home, in my country. The other side of the line is as different for me as going to England. In a few days, I'm ready to return to my territory. Yes, I am a territorial two-legged. I need my country, need my culture, my people, from American people to Southern people, to mountain people, to the county's people, to my friends and neighbors, to my Blue Ridge Mountain home.
It wasn't until around 1990 or later that the momentum generated in childhood, boyhood and youth to get away, as far away as land allows, faded into the fog of time . I didn't want to leave the country. Away did not include expat. It's neither the flag nor the illusion of democracy that appeals. The Americans are my people. The first subculture, Southerners are my people, The next subculture, the people of the Southern Appalachian mountains, are my people. The people I see in a day are my people. It wasn't until I realized this that one day my heart opened and I knew a nonjudgmental love for everyone around me. It didn't change my behavior but to pay closer attention to everyone I interacted with, give everyone honest respect. It was in that time the volume of mind's the need to get away turned down to nothing. I saw the value of the world my parachute landed me in. I don't even like to cross the county line anymore. I disappeared into a world as unknown to Southerners as Southerners are to Yankees, the world of the hillbillies. The farthest I could get geographically as well as mentally. The human heart is alive and well in these hills. I recall from maybe age 13 or 14 an intuition that my life would be one of much change. I wanted to be open to the changes. As a result of that intuition, or insight, or whatever it was, I made it a point all the way along not to lock myself down into anything I could not leave if need be. Wherever it came from, I believed it. From that same period of time, I saw a white owl in the fork of a Y in the road. I was in a car at night. I came to the Y and the white owl flew down the road to the left and I followed. End of dream. Both seemed important at the time. I didn't know what the changes in the future might be or where the owl went.
I believe it can be fairly assessed by now that I have been through at least most of the changes and must be where the owl went. The path of experiences that step-by-step brought me to these mountains must be the way the owl pointed. Being open to changes turned out to be necessary several times, but that's inevitable any way you look at it. It appears the interior changes paralleled the changes on the outside. Turns out, it is inner unfoldment I've been open to along the way. As far as I remember back, I never wanted to join the parade. I didn't believe the parade. Reenactments are boring. I've looked for the spirit in this world, the energy that activates this world, which is a manifestation of the spirit, operates on the same principles as the spirit. The Christ goes among us explaining it is experiential, everything comes back, an invisible principle as reliable as gravity. So the conscious individual puts out into the world what he / she wants in the return. As above, so below. The world of the spirit, or you might say the mind, directs the physical dimension. I have found that when a change occurs within, I will see a change in the world around me. Some people I know will fall away and new ones come in to take their places. It's a hard saying, but the people around us are expressions of aspects of our own individual selves. And we are that to them. Inside myself, I like to be firmly grounded though not locked down grounded. Grounded like a battery needs a ground. I believe I'm having an earth experience this lifetime, not an after-death experience. I've come to see the scriptures all over the world concern inner peace. This is what I've pursued all the way along without knowing to put it in these words. I believe I do have interior peace now. Maybe it is just the slowed mind of a certain age. Mind runs all the time, though without entertaining worries, fears, same thing. I'm not one of the white men my age bitching and griping all the time about immigrants. This is what I've lived my life in poverty for, inner peace. I'm glad in hindsight I followed the bird, glad I asked self the question earlier in the day what I've been moving toward.
victor vasarely himself