The Poseidon in calm waters
I started this article 6 or 7 months ago after weeks of email exchanges with Doris. It’s sort or appropriate that I’m posting it today, Easter Sunday, because it is a bit of a resurrection….of the article, and of the memories. This is not about Guatemalan life….it’s about my life. It’s an overview of a grand adventure in the early ’70′s. I hope you enjoy it. Let’s start out, just like they do in the real books, with a couple of quotes.
I want God,
I want poetry,
I want danger,
I want freedom,
I want goodness,
I want sin.
– Aldous Huxley
Well, we lived on an island,
In old B.C.,
Got fruit from the land,
And fish from the sea,
Watched the eagles, flyin’ high,
Got to thinking….., by and by,
‘Bout “What in the hell is going on here, anyway?”
Words to a song written by my cousin, and islander companion for part of the time, Stephen Funk Pearson.
At the time of my graduation from Lehigh University in June of 1970, it was pretty apparent that the cultural revolution of the 60’s had failed. We had just been shocked by the May 4th shootings at Kent State University in Ohio, where Ohio National Guardsmen fired 67 live rounds (pretty terrible for a non-terrorist group, don’t you think?) into an unarmed student protest of Nixon’s recently announced invasion of Cambodia (guess they showed us….don’t protest our wars!), to kill four students, and wound 9 others, one of which was paralyzed permanently. This was the establishment’s coup de grâce that pretty much put an end to the generational euphoria that peaked three years earlier with the Summer of Love. Heretofore, love, and just about everything else, shall have a price…again.
goverment sponsored terror
I felt pretty alone. Most of my college friends had their career and marriage commitments cranked up on the front burner…cooking up a dinner for two that brought the curtain down on our four year communal romp together, through youth’s evergreen pastures at that time newly decorated with rock and roll, mind altering substances, and of course back dropped by the old standard mind muffler of the western culture, alcohol. I was deeply disappointed and disturbed by this sudden conclusion and was not ready to give up on the vector that I found myself propelled upon.
Studying Henry David Thoreau in my high school English class made a deep impression on me. Here was a guy who had marched to the beat of a different drum for sure, and since the general rhythm that I was just marching to (something maybe like Creedence’s Green River) had suddenly stopped, I needed to get on some other philosophic wave frequency to move on to the next stage of my life. Walden Pond. Yeah, the obvious, easily understandable, back to the garden variety interpretation of that of book was to go live in the woods. And who had better woods than Canada? At least the tranquility of their woods was not disturbed by sounds of youth being marched off to war, or posted with draft notices. Seemed like a great choice. And it was.
So, Cousin Stephen and I set off on a trip across Canada in my newly purchased used VW bus, beating out our own rhythms on the metal dashboard of Germany’s first mass export auto, searching for a paradise that was not completely lost or too vigilantly guarded
Hit the road Jack, and don't you come back, no mo....no mo
by cherubim and constantly swirling, flaming swords. We were guided by a philosophic understanding that although worse could theoretically come to worst, it rarely, if ever, did. And up and until then at least, it hadn’t for us, and actually we were usually pleasantly surprised by how much distance worse and worst achieved between themselves in our adventures. But little did we know or realize, that we didn’t have much more chance of “getting back to the garden” than those original “Honeymooners”, Adam and Eve. Read the rest of this entry »