Goodbye To All That…..

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Amy, my Mobile Mountain Hermit’s Hut

It’s damp and chilly outside. Typical Vancouver winter weather.

Earlier I took a walk, bought a coffee.

Presently I write these words in the comfortable bunk of my Mobile Mountain Hermit’s Hut. Later I’ll hit the road, load up, and head her back to Calgary, maybe staying the night in Golden BC before taking it in in the morning.

I jokingly refer to my truck as ‘Amy,’ because when I ordered her I chose amethyst for the color. A little unconventional. The more hardcore of my trucking mates say it’s pink. Dinosaurs I call them.

Here in the bunk there’s a fridge and microwave, a kettle for tea and soups, even bunk beds. I bring a camera along and a guitar and I even have a tiny electric guitar amp for when the mood hits.

The damn camera cost me once when I pulled over for a shot in the very picturesque Box Canyon in Southern California just east of the town of Mecca. There were plenty of tire tracks in what looked like hard packed sand beyond the shoulder of the road, but I quickly sank in to the axles and found myself stuck. As luck would have it there was no cellphone service either. So I packed a bag, filled my water, and stuck out my thumb. Two or three hours later the heavy rig tow truck effortlessly pulled me free. No damage at all to the truck beyond easily repaired ripped off mud flaps. The damage to my wallet was $640 US.

Anyway, naturally I have plenty of books with me. Let’s take a look at them.

First, there’s a thick Bhagavad-Gita, As It Is brimming over with insipid commentary I nibble at now and then (not the commentary). Then there’s Anthony Burgess’s Enderby, which I haven’t found time to get far into, and then John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat, which I picked up for two reasons. One, I frequently load up just outside Monterey California, the setting for his Tortilla Flat and more famous Cannery Row; and two, Joseph Campbell hung out in the early thirties with Steinbeck, Ed Ricketts and the motley gang colorfully portrayed in the novels.

Speaking of Campbell I’m currently rereading (for the third time) the third volume of his monumental Masks of God series. The copy I have with me is dogeared, torn and frayed and missing the paper cover and a few introductory pages. Well loved you might say, and easily replaced. Plus I have a hard cover copy on a shelf back in my apartment.

The two principle reads at the moment are a much sought after and recently downloaded iPad version of a biography of Friedrich Nietzsche, and a paperback rereading of the poet Robert Graves’ Goodbye To All That.

In the latter Graves recounts his upbringing into the values, customs and mores of upper class Britain in the first decades of the twentieth century, then the debacle and unbelievably senseless butchery of the First World War, and finally his complete break from everything to do with the past.

It’s a break Nietzsche almost but didn’t make, although he wrote and madly sang of it. Or I suppose you could say he did make it, into the insanity of his final decade of life. It’s a break that meanders its way through our twentieth century civilization, from James Joyce’s recounting of it in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses (though academia is utterly blind to that fact, even after a hundred years of ‘scholarship’ on the subject) and Marcel Proust’s holing up in his cork lined room to rediscover his time lost, through all the works of Hermann Hesse, Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, and of course Henry Miller.

Just read the first few pages of Miller’s seminal (in every sense of the word) Tropic of Cancer. There’s a man who made the break, said goodbye to all that, and came out the other side. And what is there on the other side? Books like Stand Still Like the Hummingbird and Wisdom of the Heart. Books of peace and well-being.

The sixties was a time for breakage, for experimenting in goodbyes. A great many tried and came up short, some crashed and burned, and a few made it out the other side. In psycho-spiritual lingo you could say they died to the Old Way and were reborn into a New. The effort and need remains with us today in the New Age movement, diluted and commercialized.

Healthier to my thinking are the thousands upon thousands who have chosen to live simple lives off grid in vans and RV’s across the land, men and women friendly and wise Bob interviews in his CheapRVliving YouTube channel. One day soon I hope to meet good ole Bob out there somewhere in the Arizona desert.

Oh well, that’s all to say this life right here and now is full of wonder and beauty.

Time to warm Amy up and hit the road.

Goodbye for the time being….