40 (more) years in the making

Gents,
Some on-again off-again writ­ing for a book.  Thought you’d dig it so far.  Com­ments or edits always welcome.
NFH

The sto­ry starts long before the ear­ly morn­ing land­fall smell of smoke ris­es off the Jamaican coast line.  Inky black nights, alone in God’s cre­ation, feel­ing that the world is some­thing more than just bits and bones, that there’s a hell-spark in all of us that roars into wild blaze every so often, expe­ri­enc­ing Nature in all her naked glo­ry, when raw lust for that pure and hard and clean spir­it rush­es through the heart, and belief in immor­tal­i­ty leads down dev­il­ish roads.

There’s canyoneer­ing, camp­fires, a moun­tain stream, fresh meat, drift­ing and mov­ing and won­der­ing and lov­ing.  Long road trips across the west, tires singing, win­dows radi­at­ing the heat of a place unwel­come to each of us bags of water.  A cir­cle of friends and heroes, cool head­ed, hard work­ing, laugh­ing, confident.

There’s that spir­it that grabs hold when it should­n’t, when the world is right but it ought to be wrong, when the world isn’t deliv­er­ing enough pain to remind you that life is too rich for mis­ery and scrab­bling after the val­ues of a dirty humanity.

Maybe it’s a good enough rea­son to for­get all the rules we strug­gle to abide by.  When that lit­tle piece of met­al and rub­ber takes off and the world falls away in the roar of a thou­sand fac­to­ries brought through 180 hors­es rip­ping away at a sin­gle prop drag­ging the whole con­trap­tion up past the smog to a clean and windy blue.  Fly­ing off the coast, instant flat­ness, devel­op­ment stops, and the vast­ness of a lov­ing and boun­ti­ful and piti­less moth­er begins.  Blue water, two whales, largest crea­tures ever to have lived, nos­trils huge and smooth and clamp­ing shut before the water rush­es over, smooth move­ment, time­less and unstop­pable.  The blue white of flesh under­wa­ter, the incom­mu­ni­ca­bil­i­ty across species.  Why do you swim?  Why do we fly?  Why do I go back to work when I should just jump out of this plane and return to what we evolved away from.  Can a mis­take be fixed in a short free fall that took 400 mil­lion years of evo­lu­tion to fuck up?

Drop­ping back into anoth­er real­i­ty, pur­ple cur­tains, Joan Jett, that rolling rip­ping heavy music in my own head drown­ing out the easy hip­pie music from tin­ny speak­ers, the deep blue bruis­ing streaks of heavy pres­sure from a thick and low bass riff, all the tox­ins com­ing up out of the skin, a hard mas­sage, roll me off the table limp and weak.

The unfold­ing of my lungs through repeat­ed runs, overex­er­tion, through the jerk­ing of heavy weights, the cold stink of an ear­ly morn­ing gym, the clean scent of morn­ing mist, the cracked and grey side­walks and the black shad­ows of night run­ning up the sides of buildings.

This is a sto­ry about run­ning into over­drive too ear­ly in a race, of recov­er­ing only through sheer willpow­er, of cry­ing and bro­ken hearts and crooked noses, of the stink of piss under a bar, the sat­is­fy­ing crack of slate as you flip a pool table.  This life is equal parts warm pup­pies and heavy fists, love, and life, the jux­ta­po­si­tion of a mod­ern war­rior and an old soul.

This sto­ry is poet­ry and fresh baked bread made with my own hands, of old trucks and long unmowed grass, dogs res­cued from a cold win­ter and cats shot dead in the street.  My sto­ry is of life and grow­ing and all var­ied and weird and won­der­ful mis­takes that go along with doing the right thing, even too late.

Here I stand, alone and in the best of com­pa­ny at 32 years old.  146 pounds, ripped and hard, run­ning faster, lift­ing heav­ier, lov­ing more with more anger and angst and under­stand­ing and com­pas­sion than ever before.  This place here, filled with friends and foes, with sud­den bursts of under­stand­ing blend­ed with the god­damn blind incom­pre­hen­sion of hate and emo­tion­al release is where I am.  The sto­ry begins.

I grew up a lost Indi­an in a sub­ur­ban white body.  Always reach­ing for some­thing dif­fer­ent, always feel­ing a long and ancient con­nec­tion with nature and nat­ur­al things.  That con­nec­tion fought with some kind of inher­ent evil, a knowl­edge of lack of con­se­quences, killing cats and lizards  and squir­rels through wan­ton abuse of all the gifts given.

Squirm­ing and squirelling, wrig­gling through that tun­nel that is too tight, of love and doing the right thing even when no one is look­ing, or try­ing too hard for too long with no reward only to see it open up before up before you big and bright and scary as your wife slid­ing down a rock water fall.  The whole world out there, full of no safe­ty nets, of black holes of the wrong thing, of occa­sion­al flash­es of bril­liance and love when the heart explodes into its own case, held togeth­er sole­ly by the pow­er of right and good and pure rush­ing ener­gy.  That is my life.

When, through count­less tries and errors and vic­to­ries, I come on serendip­i­ty in one moment, on the edge of a cliff, the urge to jump off, to see what’s on that oth­er side, breath­ing too hard.  Stopped on grav­el, hands and knees, red dig­ging craters in my hands, peb­bles and dirt and grass and stains that don’t come out.

Every one of my pants is stained.  I don’t have a t‑shirt that I’m proud to wear that is unsul­l­lied.  This life I’m liv­ing is one of expe­ri­ence, of hard won vic­to­ries, of easy defeats, of the con­stant real­iza­tion, over and over again, that I am the sole pow­er in my world, the only cre­ator, com­plete­ly and ter­ri­bly respon­si­ble for all I expe­ri­ence.  The war­ring souls in me, the rush­ing thoughts of blood and vio­lence, the deep love for humans and ani­mals and clouds and every sin­gle soul on the high­way crash togeth­er dai­ly, churn­ing out actions incom­pre­hen­si­ble in their sin­gu­lar­i­ty, only under­stood through a wide lens.

Dri­ving on the high­way I feel the sud­den heavy and unstop­pable guilt that comes from killing, with­out warn­ing or rea­son oth­er than curios­i­ty or the mild excitable rush that comes with mean­ing­less pow­er.  This mix­es and blends with those moments of remorse act­ed out, of sav­ing a lost dog, help­ing a strand­ed lady,  chang­ing irrev­o­ca­bly the lives of hun­dreds of young men through faith in self act­ed out in a myr­i­ad of blessed and holy ways.

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