Wild Man – Part 2 – Spirit Trail

Spirit Trail.  I arrived at sunset, locked the truck, placed a small flashlight in Setting prairie  sunmy pocket, and hooked my water bottle on my braided leather belt. Across the grasslands Mingus mountain rose up to an imposing cumulus cloud bank.  Lightning crackled and broke the length of the range.

Folklore names the full moon of July the thunder moon, and thunder rolled from the far mountains to the meadow in which I stood.  In the nearly extinguished light, the land trembled.  I could see from the flatland where I stood to the first distant rise in the trail.  That was where it seemed the curtain of storm was drawn across the landscape.

The only lightning in the area was over the mountains miles away. I was drawn to this place on this night, the phase of the moon, and the threatening conditions. I passed through the gate and began my journey.

The lights of the village behind me, the rising full moon before me was totally eclipsed by the thunderheads. I wondered if the batteries would last for the return trip.

I walked as I had become accustomed to walking in the wild lands, by talking out loud to whoever listens in such places.

“What do I do next? I have a landslide list of stuff to do every day.  I have people I love who need help. I have strangers who need help.  How do I do it? Huh? I’m going crazy over here trying to take care of some people’s needs, people suffering for no good reason!  How do I do it?  I need some some direction!”

I calmed a bit as I walked.

“Could you send me a sign?  How about a spirit animal with a message of wisdom and great abundance?  Or a burning bush maybe?”

Having been face-to-face with unexpected  animals in the wild, I had momentary second thoughts, . . especially when recalling the creature from my dreams.  That is what brought me here.  The dream of the wild man crept around the periphery of my thoughts..

To shake off the fears and doubts I moved in to my usual hiking ritual, . . talking myself through the Serenity Prayer. Some times it requires verbal wrestling to get through it.

“Higher Power, God, Goddess, Creator, Great Spirit, Yahweh, whatever Your Name, you know who you are.  You know who I am.  I hope I have my bases covered.”

“Please grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change.”

Walk, walk, think, walk.

“I mean if it works out that you can help me with this, I would be grateful!”

Walk, walk.

“I tend to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, and my shoulders hurt, and I need a rest.”

Walk, walk, think.

“Also, please grant me the courage to change the things I can change in the world. Yeah a double dose of courage for that. I have learned some things that can help victims of terrible crimes against humanity. Well you know.”

Walk, walk, think, walk.

“It is no surprise to you of course, I want to share what I have learned in a way that helps those innocents who suffer for the sins of others. , etc. etc. You get my drift.  You been there from the beginning!”

“You know sometimes I think nobody wants to hear what I have to say! Can you help with that? If so, I would greatly appreciate it.”

Walk, think, walk, think, walk.

“Also, please help me with the wisdom to know the difference between what I can and cannot change. I don’t want to hit my head against a wall or spin my wheels or waste anybody’s time, most importantly my own.  I am a grandfather! I’m getting old.  I should be retired and writing my memoirs.”

Walk, walk, walk.

In the darkness quietly, my voice became more relaxed and reverent.

“Hey, you’re an infinite being of infinite understanding. I’m counting on you havin’ an infinite sense of humor.”

Walk, walk.

“Sorry about the whining.”

Walk, walk, walk.

“You know my heart.”

Walk, walk, walk, walk.

The sun well-set and well-behind me.

Lightning crackled above the mountains ahead.

Thunder and moon hid

behind mountains

of darkly curious clouds.

I stopped thinking

walked silently

to

the storm.

 

*

Wild Man – Part 1

In my dream I was traveling north in a car on a brightly lit day. The landscape was Prairie photomiles of gently rolling prairie flush with wheat-colored grasses waist-deep for a standing adult. As I passed near a low hill with an exposed rock outcropping, I saw something move.

An animal was crouching in the grass in front of the rocks. I would not have noticed it, but for the fact that whatever it was had moved sideways and then disappeared. I was moving quickly and so I fixed my sight on this strange phenomenon. Then it stood up, and I could see something larger than a man move on two legs.

I was stunned. It was an ape-like creature covered in hair the same color as the grasses. The streaks in the creature’s coloring provided perfect camouflage, near invisibility. It looked at me with peaceful purpose as if to say, “See me.”

The next thing I knew I had driven past the outcropping, and I was on the other side of the hill from the creature. I was stopped, out of my vehicle, up against something, trying to back up, wanting another look.  It was quickly getting dark, and I was afraid of knowing what I had seen . I was also keenly aware at that moment that I had seen this creature before, and I tried to dismiss it as my imagination.

I woke and sat up.  My brain was working as smartly as it could to understand what I had seen.  I knew the land in my dream.  I had hiked and prayed there twice.

The creature reminded me of a yeti-type of being.  I have heard brief descriptions by indigenous people of such an inter-dimensional figure as a kind of nature spirit or wild man, or wild woman.

Is it possible that there is a life-form in this local treeless landscape that is selectively visible to human beings? Is it there for those it allows to see?

I was unsettled.

I knew I had to search for the truth.

The next night,

a full moon.

Alone.

 

******* COMING SOON - Spirit Trail – Part 2 *******

Born to be Wild!

I stepped from my 32′ Holiday Rambler and stood at the top of the steps to greet Fondathe dawn. Drips from the night’s smattering of rain fell on my neck. The sky was overcast, ominous. Monsoon thunderheads hung in the atmosphere like sleeping giants.

As I continued to wake, I considered the route I might ride to my coffee appointment. I descended to the patio while pinching into my front pocket a friend’s Harley-Davidson gloves.

I was thinking, “Yep, it’s still there.”  I had covered the motorcycle with a tarp the night before. “Yep, there’s still a motorcycle under that tarp.”

“What am I doing?” my brain exclaimed. “I’m sixty-two years old and haven’t ridden a motorcycle in thirty years!” The last one I was on I left at forty-five miles per hour, slammed my helmet into the rocks of a motocross trail in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. “Dodged a bullet that day,” I keenly observed to myself.

My Ford 4 X 4 pickup truck broke down, and a dear friend loaned me a motorcycle. As I looked the machine over in the daylight, I thought, “I’ve never ridden one of these before.  Wonder how it handles?“

Funny how new experiences remind us of old ones. Getting ready to ride reminded me of my high school buddy Digger and his Harley Sportster. Extended forks, low seat, the sound of the ratcheting kick starter, the engine roaring to life. Digger’s red beard in the wind. Hog heaven, some would call it. And we all agree, nothing else in the galaxy sounds like a Harley.

I pulled off the tarp, grabbed that baby by the handlebars, and sat down. I lingered in the moment, remembering Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, and Nancy Sinatra in the 1966 movie Wild Angels. I think it was my friend Rolls that had the sound track album back in the sixties, and I mean nineteen-sixties.

As small-town teenagers lusting after motorcycles, looking desperately for something to rebel against, and well, . . more than a passing interest in short skirts and tall boots, we boys used to huddle around the record player and listen to the opening sound track to the movie, feeling the unconscious rumble of something out of reach in our simple lives.

I put on the Harley gloves, and sat with both feet on the ground, straddling the unfamiliar and silent machine.  As I turned the key on, I called up the memory of that movie soundtrack.  I could hear the garage door opening, then the monster of torque being forced into life, its engine grabbing and gasping for air, ultimately blowing exploded gases out its tailpipes like a medieval fire-farting dragon. Sure the Harley shook, but so did the earth.

Pulling out of my driveway I could see Peter Fonda in his black leather jacket, his tinted teardrop glasses, his unkempt hair. I could hear the chopper on the album ease out of the garage and move to a two-lane blacktop.  Then shifting gears and animalistic internal-combustion bellowing.  In my personal vision this is where John Kay and Steppenwolf build the testosterone-fueled climax with their primal biker-rock-mantra  Born to Be Wild!

With all that coursing through my veins, I was on the empty back street of a small American town, the yards and mailboxes slipping by like last week’s memories. Two horses looked up, and a dog barked. A cat scurried to get out of my way, then paused to stare over its shoulder.

A young woman opposite me at the four-way-stop gave me a long look.  My scooter hummed more loudly as I accelerated passed her. I could feel her gaze as I pulled away and quickly pushed it to thirty-miles per hour.

I had to admit it felt weird having my feet and knees right there in front of me like I was a kid sitting at a school desk.  I had to resist the urge to use a clutch and shifter.  It was smooth, quiet, just turn the twist-grip and go.

From the Genuine Scooter Company, the Buddy model, a 4-stroke, 150cc wonder.  A preciously pretty machine.  A pleasant shade of green that could be easily hidden in a pea patch.  A big shiny headlight on the top of its steering column and fairing. My friend’s green woven grocery bag hung by its handles from a purse-hook above my bored and restless feet.

The rushing wind and sounds of nature were muted by the face shield and helmet, but I could feel the balmy breeze on my sun tanned and naked knees. No traffic. Damp pavement. I could not help smiling. I looked so cute, I was irresistible.

Upon arriving at my destination, I swaggered a bit as I put the scooter up on its stand and I took off my helmet. It was a beautiful ride and a beautiful gift from a beautiful person.

Friends, good friends, bring out the best in us don’t they?  Some great thinker once said you can count the number of true friends in a lifetime on one hand.  I think it was probably said by somebody in their  sixties, and I mean the age group not the decade.  It takes that long to be able to look back and see the forks-in-the-road of one’s life.

Reveling in old memories and new ironies, a faint and tickling spiritual chuckle rose up in me.  Some comedic corner of my brain was singing in John Kay’s whiskey-soaked gravelly voice,

“Born to be Mi . . i . .i . l d!buddy50_italia

Born to be

M . i . . i . . l d!”

 

Redbone Puppy Heals Woman

Joe & Shiloh in a barrel The following is an excerpt from Jeff’s novel scheduled for an autumn release. It is the sequel to Indians & Aliens and unexpected short stories. This second book of his Dreamer Series is titled Grace & Dreamer – extreme love stories.  Be aware, there is in this piece direct reference to brutal violence.  There is also a happy ending.

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. . . During that pause, Buddy spoke up. “Do I remember you sayin’ that your wife has a fondness for Redbone Hounds?”

“Yes,” Jack answered.

Then Buddy explained that his dog Big Joe had drug his doghouse across the back of their property to mate with their female, and they had an unexpected litter of puppies. He told Jack that if he brought Grace out in a couple weeks, he would give her the pick of the litter. He gave Jack their phone number and Jack wrote down the directions to finding their place.

Jack told Buddy that he would talk it over with Grace and see what she thought.

*

This was a big issue for Grace, and Jack knew it. Her beloved dog Napoleon was the Redbone Hound of her adolescence, a gift she cherished and found joy in during some of the hardest times of her life. She walked with that dog and talked with that dog and slept with that dog.  Her stepfather decapitated Napoleon in front of Grace with one swing of an axe . . to teach the girl a lesson.

Grace was not sure she could open the doors to that painful memory.
She was not sure she wanted a living, breathing daily reminder of her early life. Eventually she decided they could just go look at the puppies with no intention of picking one out. She figured they could not compare with the famous bloodline that her dog had come from. “I’ll know a good hound when I look them all over,” she said.

When they arrived at Buddy and June’s that day, Jack turned off the engine and was the first to speak. “Don’t be afraid to hear it.” “What? What did you say Honey?” “I said don’t be afraid to hear it.”

“Hear what?” she asked.

He replied, “Your own spirit voice. Don’t be afraid to hear your calling.”

“Oh,” she responded when she recognized what Jack meant. Even from the truck, she could see, “Yeah, they’re good looking dogs.”

“Well,” he went on, “take some time with them. See how it feels to you. If you want one, we’ll take one home. If not, that’s all right too. Really Hun, whatever feels right to you.”

Then Jack backed away and left her alone with the litter of six Redbone  puppies. At that moment, time went wild in her mind. It had been forty years since she last touched a hound like those. The smell took her back to the day she fell in love with Napoleon.

The moment was surreal, and she became lightheaded and had to steady herself by grabbing the corner of the puppy’s pen. New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, and Vermont.  Live free or die country was another lifetime ago. Suddenly it was like yesterday. Deep woods and French Canadian accents, dancing on wood floor houses that shook under the weight of people partying , long walks along the creeks, hiding under the fallen leaves to feel safe, fanciful images of racing the wind as she stared out the window on long train rides, beaches, clambakes, hurricanes, Central Park, Sheepshead Bay, The Brooklyn Dodgers, writers and artists, made men, prize fighters, limousines and staying alive.

Her mind reeled as she was in Tennessee, home of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Lefty Frizzell, Johnny Cash, namesake of Tennessee Williams, home to young Cormac McCarthy. She lived an easy drive north of that place she read about as a girl in Junior High history class. She remembered a Civil War battlefield called Shiloh, and she thought it meant “place of peace.”

*

Jack passed the time with Buddy. “Jack I’ve loved my wife a little, loved my children a little, and well . . I’ve loved my dogs a lot.” He paused for Jack’s smile. “It’s been a good life over all.” Then he looked off towards the woods, like a man at peace, like the list of life decisions he had made was complete and satisfactory.

Jack looked down at the earth and kicked the dusty clay soil. “Yeah, Buddy. What else can we ask for?”

Just then Grace looked his way, and he decided it was time to join her. By the time he started in her direction, Buddy was walking with him quiet, the way two men do when they are comfortable with each other, like they know how the other thinks, and they respect each other. Grace was still staring at the puppies when the two men arrived next to her.

She excused herself, and the two men and June watched Grace make her way down to the back part of the property to meet Big Joe and Daisy, the momma of the brood. Grace talked with them a long time before slowly starting uphill to the people and pups of the present.

She was spinning with thoughts of her early years in Arizona. The rape ordered by Liam, the pregnancy, the bikers, card sharks, front men, hustlers, sisterhoods, battles fought, battles lost.

Growing up in New England sexually abused was her first lifetime. Her first marriage was her second lifetime. Children raised, children abused and children healing. Her sons and daughter struggling to find their ways in life. The church she found. The minister who inspired her. Her personal therapy. Divorced after twenty-five years. Two graduate degrees wile working her way through college. Clinical Director of a prestigious organization.

Then she met Jack.

As she strolled up the hill to the puppy pen where the others gathered, her mind caught up with real time and she gazed at the man of her third lifetime, her precious husband and partner. She walked up to him gracefully and put her arms around him. “I love you Jack Goodman.”

He put his arms around her. “I love you Gracie Ann.  What you gonna name that pup you were holdin’?”

“Rachel.”

“Perfect.”

 

Close Encounter, a novel excerpt

 

(an excerpt from Indians & Aliens – and unexpected short stories)Amazon pickure cover

Grace and Jack sold their beloved home in Dickson County, Tennessee and left their twenty years of trauma counseling business to move to north-central Arizona. It was an unincorporated area of mile-high desert five miles out an undedicated dirt road. There was no one between them and the two-lane blacktop to the east. Jack said he dreamed of this place a year before they bought it, when leaving Tennessee was unimaginable.

As the raven flies, Apache Wells was midway between Iron Sight Gun Range and the Feather Mountain Spiritual Center. Depending on atmospheric conditions, one might hear automatic weapons fire from over the southern hills or heart-felt prayers and meditations from atop the distant northern mesa. Both seemed to anticipate a coming world catastrophe.

The road to Apache Wells was miles of tire-shredding rocks and scattered pockets of ankle-deep dust as fine as baby powder. It was hard on truck tires, suspensions, air filters, electrical systems, and people with spinal problems. During the decade of drought, dust storms could roll across the flat valley floor. They could form as dark roiling tsunamis, spitting sand and gravel bullets. Piling armies of tumbleweeds could take down a mile of wooden fence posts strung tightly with rusting barbed-wire.

One of the first things Grace and Jack learned about their new homeland was that it had been the subject of an international news story a few years prior to their arrival. There had been a number of impressive UFO reports from the Apache Wells area. Later the same night, identical reports came in a hundred miles to the south. It was called the Lights Over Phoenix Sighting.

During the autumn of their arrival, Jack and Grace awoke in the midnight hour by one of their outside dogs, Sparky. Country folks have dogs for security and protection, as well as companionship, and Jack knew the distinctive bark of each of the five dogs.

What he knew for sure that night was that the most easy-going member of their pack was barking in an uncharacteristic manner. She was intensely focused and upset and responding to “something” in a frenzied barrage of canine concern the others joined in on.

Groggy with sleep, Grace asked, “What are they so upset about?” “I don’t know.” Grabbing a flashlight from the night stand, Jack told Grace that he was going outside to check around. Briefly he entertained the thought of taking his grandfather’s shotgun, but dismissed the idea as over-reactive.

The creaking of the screen door sounded thunderous as Jack tried to let himself out quietly and descend the porch steps. The gravel driveway reminded him that it would have been wise to put on some footwear. Walking around the side of the tool shed he shined the flashlight in the direction of the dog kennel and could read the big red letters. “The Redbone Club.” The dim old, off-and-on, flickering flashlight reminded him that new batteries should be included on his next shopping trip.

On the moonless night, he could see that sure enough, his happy-go-lucky Sparky was barking ferociously in the direction of the nearest neighbor to the west. He wondered if someone was breaking into the vacant house in the distance.

Directing the fragile beam in that direction, Jack’s breath caught in his throat. A shimmering motion glowed at the very edge of the flashlight’s reach. A small cloud of sparkling and wavering dust danced in the inky darkness. It was about his own height and in the form of a slender person. He watched as it undulated sideways but maintained its distance.

Jack had a long-held intuition that someday this might happen, but he never told anyone, well except Grace.

 

Javelina Alert!

Almost Live!Javelina with baby 2

from Apache Wells, Arizona,

this is the Super-Cyber DJ,

the Doctor of Unusual Views,

the Voice of Great Ideas,

Johnathan B. Goode

with a public service announcement.

*

First.  Thank you Dennis Liddell for the beautiful Javelina photo.

Friends, I let my garden sprinkler run too long and turned the Hobbit Hole just outside my longhouse door into a silky, smooth chocolate-pudding consistency.

This morning I found pristine Javelina hoof prints that, if fossilized today, would be ecstatically studied by civilizations of future millenniums.

They’re here folks!  Wild things!

I know they look alien, but the creatures have been here for eons and come in peace.

Like us two-leggeds, they seek food, water, a little bit of love, and a safe place to raise their offspring.

Let us respect them, not fear them.

Thank you for listening to this alert.

*

Now consider this for a moment.

Take a break from the nonsense-noise of life.

Pick out a good book.

Sit on the earth under one of the standingpeople.

Close your eyes.

Listen to the breeze in the trees , , ,

Please.

Recall something for which you are grateful.

Let the feelings linger.

Then open your eyes

and read.

*

Until my next Almost Live! cyber-cast, . .

This is J.B. Goode reminding you

*

Certainty is the sign of a fool,

but, of course,

I cannot be absolutely sure of that.

*

Adios Amoebas!

*

 

“Indians & Aliens” Book Review

Amazon Review by AnticatIndians & Aliens cover

This Author Loved His Deceased Wife and Respects Indians
by Henry A. Ebarb

After being touched with the deep love the author had for his wife, as displayed in Indians & Aliens, I was struck by the author’s knowledge and respect for Indian culture. As a “card carrying” enrolled member of an Indian tribe, it made me feel proud of my culture reading the author’s words, and lyrics of the author’s songs. This is a must read for those who have suffered in life and survived to live another day. It is also about how we can help each other during this journey in life.

Finally, it feels good to use my Indian name after reading this enlightening book. AntiCat, J.D., Ph.d.

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(Available in paperback and e-book at Amazon.com)

 

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