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Friday, May 22, 2015


angel over whitehead
landmark church

Pleasant day today, good day to get out and go for a drive through the mountains on backroads and highway, curves in the roads this way and that, curves that turn into a nuisance overdriven, hit the brakes, swerve across the yellow lines, back, give it some gas, turn the steering wheel, hit the brakes, give it some gas. Find the speed for a smooth flow up and down, back and forth, the car flows like a boat on ocean waves, land waves, and the curves become a joy to drive. When I find the groove and somebody comes up behind me, they're on their own. I'm not going to speed up, crank the steering wheel, hit the brakes, give it gas, hit the brakes over some guy in a pickup and a ballcap wanting to struggle his way over the mountain, likes the physical activity of it, likes the tension, wants to ride my rear end like he wants to push me. As happened today on a long stretch of curves, a guy came up behind me in a black pickup and I stepped on the gas to get away from him. I can drive the curves faster than is sensible, but don't like to. Sometimes I will for practice. Today was practice. Sometimes I drive with right side tires on the white line for practice. I like an automatic awareness of where my tires are, a cautious driver, who's been told I'm hyper-vigilant, it's ok with me whatever it's called. I've not had any wrecks. Driving is the most dangerous thing I ever do. I don't need a law to wear a seatbelt. Driving is hyper-dangerous. I need to know what is going on in the rearview mirror as well as the windshield. Somebody riding grabs my steering wheel once, never does it again. I'm not violent or threatening, but I'm clear. I can talk and listen while driving, but attention is on the road.


The occasion to get out and ride some backroads was inspired by the morning's phone conversation with my friend, Carole, whose car was in the shop for an unknown number of days, she was down to two cigarettes and out of Coffee Mate. Familiar with fear of running out of an inebriate, I said I'd go to town and get her some. No. Don't do that. I can make it. I said, No point in making it when I can easily find some Coffee Mate and the cigarettes and bring them to you. Oh no, too much trouble, I have two cigarettes left, I can make them last the day, maybe have one a day. What are friends for if not to make a cigarette run? I said it is so much easier for me to drive to town and bring you some cigarettes than it is for you to sit there and stare out the window wishing you had a cigarette for the next three days. It's not like I don't want to see you. When we finished our conversation, I headed Catfish up the road, a good day to ride the land waves. Overcast some and cloudy some, on the verge of rain some. Three times I needed to run the wipers one beat. That's not even trying to rain. It's barely trying to sprinkle. The roads were still wet from the night rain. Almost no traffic on the paved roads, none on the gravel roads. The landscape of fresh leaves recently opened, the early green of spring everywhere in the trees, in the meadows, rhododendron and mountain azalea in bloom, deep blue sky, big cotton puffs of clouds with gray undersides drift on slow-moving air, a fish's view of boats in a fishing tournament. 


Drove out 221 to Stratford, a road with the name of being crookeder'n the back of a runnin snake. Then up at least a half mile of crooked driveway with holes and ruts, straight down on one side for awhile. From the road, it goes straight uphill for a long ways like that first hill on a rollercoaster. At the top it curves around to the right and to the left and to the right and left and down the hill and up the hill, to the left to the right, up the hill, to the left, up the hill and land on the pad at the top. The house, built into the side of the mountain, has almost disappeared in the growth around it. From the parking space to the entrance/exit door the ground is covered with moss. Inside, a modest, modern house. Out the sliding glass door of a living room wall, a mountain vista. A small porch close to the ground. A young groundhog took up under the porch last year. This year, she or he has a mate. It won't be long til baby groundhogs will be wiggling around the postage stamp lawn where deer sometimes graze, rabbits nibble, turkeys peck, a coyote passes through, a blacksnake. She never goes out there, the only human activity and scent would be the guy who mows and weedeats a few times a summer. Occasionally, a squirrel, a groundhog, and a few others have come up to the glass and looked at her like she was in a zoo. And she's watching them like in a wall-sized terrarium. We sat and talked, had a couple cups of tea, smoked some cigarettes, her uncertainty settled. We talk every day on the phone, so it's not like we have problems talking. We can talk as long as we feel like it. We flow well together like a mountain road and a car at moderate speed rolling with the waves. We have no limits to where we go conversationally, wide open and free. 


I have said that Jr Maxwell is the one man I have known I call wise without hesitation, besides another who lives in a monastery. Carole is the one woman I have known I call wise without hesitation, besides another who lived in comparable to a monastery. I feel divinely blessed in that I have had the opportunity to know well a man and a woman I take for wise as assuredly as I take Caterpillar for a cat. Younger, and actually all my life, I have sought and wondered if I'd ever find someone wise. I thought I'd have a better chance finding somebody with wisdom in the mountains more readily than in a city. Jr was already here. Carole came here around twenty years ago. It was like as soon as we met we needed to know each other, it had to be. She  lives where she lives, I live where I live, we're here for ourselves and at the same time here for each other. Like in AA having a friend to call and talk with to quell the need for a drink. She is on her path, I am on mine. Our paths run side by side through this time of our lives. We believe we were given each other to walk our paths with, friends who understand one another without emotional tensions. She is my feminine representative of the Master. Of course, I would drive to town to buy her some cigarettes, and deliver them, sit and visit for awhile, face to face. Suffering? Sacrifice? I don't think so. We often forget our friends like to do something to help us out when help is needed. It is a gift to give a friend a chance to lend a hand. I'm quick to jump to lend a friend a hand, forgetting, or just not thinking that my friends would like to jump with the same intent to lend me a hand when needed. Carole forgets that too. So we remind one another from time to time. 



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