Saturday, May 2, 2009

DEATH IN THE DESERT

EVERETT REUSS my long lost hero....LOST to generations of nomads, misfits, monkeywrenchers and adventurers. Found on a fluke of circumstances. I have spent many a worn out boot in search of his bleached bones. Now finally I go to his shrine...a crevice on Comb Ridge amungst the red scorched stone. DNA confirmed that the youthful legend was indeed found. A young Navajo boy brings this all to light with a hidden family secret. The boys grandfather had from a safe distance been witness to the murder. Three Indians had chased Everett down. Everett refused to leave his burros and in doing so met his death by means of a rock being flung to the head. How ironic that a boy who sought only peace and beauty and stillness found chaos even here....in the desert. The good Indian drug Reuss up to the ridge top crevice, paid his respects, and kept the secret hidden until late in life. A sickness plagued the old Indian. Navajos know that a blessingway ceremony is needed in these circumstances. A evil lurked. The healer needed a lock from Everetts head to dispell the skinwalker. His children helped with the task...the incident of secret now passed on to new generations. The young Nez sought out this family secret and found those old bones of the poet artist nomad....my hero. I mourn for his moment of terror. We had hoped a better circumstance had been at fault. Such is life. Lately I see extreme chaos even in nature. Chaos with subtle order. Is this life? I don't mourn for the soul of Reuss...he lived richly. In his own words>>>

I have not tired of the wilderness. I prefer the saddle to the streetcar, and the star- sprinkled sky to the drool, the obscure and difficult leading into the unknown. It is enough that I am surrounded with beauty. This had been a full, rich year. I have left no strange or delightful thing undone I wanted to do.

As I go on my own journey....I now have a mecca to visit...to ponder.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

INTO THE WILD....

video
Back from the desert....time was spent excavating and surveying cultural resources...those ancient people. It was good to be there even though it was work and with all the drama of a crew. It was good to feel the dirt and the crisp bite of early Spring breaking. This was a random event in my life. An excuse to hide. Out of school and out of life...trying to deal with the pain of being compromised. I came back dirty...... as water was a premium commodity. With a few friends I'm going back... into the wild....before they discover that i'm back home. This one is for pleasure or pain depending on how you look at it. I thought time heals wounds, I'm weak. I will stay out there and come to some resolution. I've thrown a little movie together. I honor you for caring and integrity in the face of quandry in your own lives. I know the Lord will bless you all. What will I find out there? I'm uncertain. After my friends return...I will have opportunity to explore the limits of life. Perhaps healing...perhaps not. I will take my scriptures and Stegner Books.

How can simple chemistry be so cruel. Even with great discipline and restraint...the LIGHT has dwindled...lost disappointed discouraged. For one who fights for and lives the life....how can this be? It is in the end... the PAIN. Even though I am not strait edge....I will not mask it. Self indulgence and self medication are cheap short cuts...a life not lived. I had always felt that nature and the natural were spiritual forces that would hide me from the monsters that chase me. The storm raged, darkness fell and .... seems not even prayer would reach the clouds above. The PAIN has muted all joy and hope. As you know... my friends live this hell daily. I have been blessed to elude such oblivion until now. Enough of me. What of you? What amazing people you are. The force of all of you collectively far exceeds any obstacle that we individually face. It is that collective power that will triumph. You who embrace each other in the sanctuary of your homes will generate survival and hope and joy and light.....and in the end bring about understanding, tolerance and perhaps change in the realms of high places. At the School of the Prophets, I found it interesting that instruction was not authoritarian. It was a bond of brotherhood in which the Saints shared their ideas of the heavens and of the earth..... Equal privilege with ritual and intellect and edifice. I long for such a ritual which has given way to correlation and compliance. Thanks for giving so much. In the end...for me, it is not about staying in the church as half a man or leaving to have family and fullfillment but losing my priesthood. It was not about choosing anything. It was more about how I am wired. When sacred places no longer heal...then what? DUST TO DUST....

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
--Martin Luther King

Saturday, February 7, 2009

LOST in the MAZE


SOMETIMES the monster wins. I tried to run. I tried to hide. In the maze… ribs of dinosaur like fins jut upward with abrupt descents…some hundreds of feet into black voids. You don’t want to go there. My integrity as a human has been compromised. Blue Eyes says that in a quiet moment in a sacred place the spirit whispered “this life is not your own”….what a powerful message for all of us, In my descent to the void …Blues Eyes…. What you shared gave me hope. THIS LIFE IS NOT YOUR OWN!! I shout. You are a creation of God. He made you this way. You are what you are. It has purpose. You just need the faith to get there. Roberto picked me up after the fall. Blood, abrasions, and tears. He picked me up. What a sweet soul. His giving is boundless. In one of the places I visit…. A rock art figure guards the maze. I named him Spiroman. He shows the way through the crags and slots and hoodoos. Events in this life have propelled me into the maze. A maze of pain that must be suffered. Spines of red rock that must be climbed. Hand holds, slick rock, cold nights, searing heat and stagnant pools abound. Hope I have. A friend I have. A father in heaven I have. For a season I am to wander….looking for signs of humanity, finding the bridge between my faith and my church, I am at a deep convolted chasm. To slip is to die. I do not do emotional pain well. I endure physical pain with triumph…but this I don’t do well. The chasm must be crossed with all its ledges, volcanic gardens and slippery slopes. I will not self-medicate. I will fight the pain. I will look for signs. I will become….this life is not my own. I just don’t know why.

Friday, January 16, 2009

WHY I FIGHT FOR OPEN SPACE

Our perspective of the real world is slightly warped. X-boxes, microwaves, movies, apartments, MacBooks, cars, cnn, instant chicken noodle soup, Blackberries.....artificial environments that give us an illusion of power. We control all. We know all. We can do all... an indigestible glut of information, and less and less understanding. An Isolate self-centered creature within a synthetic prison of his own making. Despair leads to boredom, electronic games, computer hacking, poetry, and other bad habits. Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion. This illusion quickly disapates when one sits in the middle of no where. In the natural world we become but a tiny insignificant speck. Our perspective lashes out in violent metamorphis. Man verses Wild. Here we come to know God....his measure. Make a mistake here and you pay. Remove yourself from all things artificial and you are humbled. Leave behind our contraptions and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you'll see something, maybe. Open space stretches time and prolongs life. I have a friend who's always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated and anyone can transport himself anywhere, instantly. Big deal, Buckminster. To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.

There are no vacant lots in nature... Love of the wilderness is more than a hunger for peace but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth which bore us and sustains us, We need wilderness because we are wild animals. Every man needs a place where he can go crazy in peace. Every Boy Scout deserves a forest to get lost in, parched, tired, wind burned....feeling for the first time. Wilderness is more than the golden arch or the pastoral meadow but also scorpions and tarantulas and flies, rattlesnakes and Gila monsters, sandstorms, heat, chill, bacteria and bear, cactus, yucca, blisters, mesquite, flash floods, quicksand, and yes..,the occasional rotting of flesh.

I'm not saying that I don't use industrial technology or do my share of consumptive polluting or don't appreciate a warm oil furnace...I just need to heal out there from time to time. A bloody knee, a sandpaper tongue, a humbling face scraping fall. Only the half-mad are wholly alive.

Thomas Jefferson said "A little Revolution is good thing". Sometimes you have to do more than write letters. Society is like a stew. If you don't keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top. When I hear the word "culture" today...I reach for my checkbook. What do you do when the blighters have all the real power. Individual democracy has given way to Big interests. The big Buick Electra pulls off the oil to a viewpoint at a National Park. Door opens. The view soon gives way to the stark desert heat. A drop of persperation forms. Door closes. The Ohio tourist soon is back on the oil, sipping a diet coke with the AC blaring. "That was beautiful"... I say, "Keep America Beautiful, Grow a Beard, Burn a Billboard and defend the land. Moderate extremism...to the extreme!!

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys , past temples and castles into a dark primeval forest where elk belch and wolves howl, through mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you --- beyond that next turning of that spooky gulch.....So get out there and hunt and fish and and hike and mess around with your friends, ramble and climb the peaks and breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely mysterious and awesome space...If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a juniper tree or the wings of a vulture--that is immortality enough for me. Meantime, I'm going to gnaw on this sparerib, drink my diet pepsi, and contemplate the sand in my sandwitch.

A desert sunrise warms my soul. I know its kind of strange but that's how I see things with a little help from my friend Ed.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I need a little SUN...or a REALITY CHECK


So lets say I follow the church...and wait for that appropriate Soul mate that so many of you have found... In the mean time.... Life goes forward. I live life to the fullest (almost). I live vicariously through my family and friends as I see them have families? Am I allowed to find some close strait attachments? I think I should do what the prophet says not for the prophet but rather for me. What I mean is that I think I will be blessed for being obedient. I however really believe the church is struggling to find their own way on this issue. I really think we need a prophet with enough courage to take this to the Lord. The Lord does not automaticly solve our problems without our engagement, we are however told not to "kick against the Pricks" (Acts 26:14) So how does change happen if we are not allowed to contend? Alan tells us a little Revolution is a good thing.To Quote-George Washington: "Never lose sight of the goodness of our cause. Difficulties are not insurmountable. Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages." In the mean time I'm obedient but not exactly being nice about it. When I see so many kool people leave I get angry cause like these are very kool people. The kind you want in your community. I won't bring up my friend Cody cause that is still a sensitive issue that I may never get past. So in the mean time... I live the good life catching some Rays watching my nieces and nephews grow up. It is Kool. What I really want to know is this...Is there a dedicated SSA single saint out here who has endured the trial of time and hope? As I think of all you out there in the MoHoFamily....your either finding that soul mate in or out of the church...the rest are like me waiting on deck. I feel like a pinch hitter. Sittin on the bench wait'in my turn. I'm a little afraid of that. I don't want to become bitter and fade into the shadows. Yet I know it's a TEST and that we have so much to give because we are who we are. Is it enough? Is there joy in this place?
Are there enough red rocks to keep me searching? The pioneers were something else. What faith they had. They did the impossible. After reading "the Hole in the Rock"...I shame at my impatience. My gluttony. They worked together to overcome incredulous obstacles. They helped each other make that next RISE on the hill top. They shared..made room...included everyone....much like the MoHoFamily. I wonder...will I climb that last rise?

Friday, December 26, 2008

The BROKEN TRAIL of a Mormon SKINWALKER

A Mormon SKINWALKER is different than the tradition Navajo SKINWALKER. In the dark world of Navajoland...SKINWALKERS abound--out of harmony in pursuit of evil deeds. These SHAPESHIFTERS "yee nadlooshii"cloak themselves in the SKIN of beasts and lurk in the night. These unNATURAL creatures cannot mimic the natural gait of the animal they cling under. Many a Mormon Missionary out on the Rez have experienced the lurking of these creatures on their nightly rounds. Navajo reluctantly talk of such things as to evoke an evilness their way. Navajo mythology or perhaps religious tradition has a dark side. The challenge to is to keep in harmony with the natural world. Shaman or medicine men chant healing rituals like the BLESSINGWAY[Hózhójí] to repair the evil of witches and darkness. Witches abound, humans gone to the dark side, appear as everyday people but secretly shoot poisens (bone fragments) into unsuspecting victims. Sickness or mental disunion results calling for healing and rituals. Local witches convene in an underground room littered with corpses. At these meetings they may make a sand-paintings of the new victim with colored ash and prepare corpse powder with a male victim's flesh. They filch something of the victims then chant and bury the object to induce distortion. Bad hair in the morning could be a sign (no jokes)..

A Mormon SKINWALKER is what I am. Something different. I have the appearance as the typical BYU stud. Inside the SKIN...however lurks a troubled soul...hidden secrets not spoken of in Mormon culture. Disharmony, dischord, disunion....finding my way in the shadows. Not accepted for who I am, not rejected because of Christ. My ONLY escape is NATURE. Here I find peace, harmony and non-judgement. Friends even follow. I have family. Activity and beauty overwhelm all superficialness. We swim naked in stone potholes in slot canyons...water falls off the red lips of cliffs and wash away the sins. The coldness or extreme heat keeps the SSA at bay. Naked boys dry off on sandstone with the piercing sun. Harmony, peace and non-judgment. Here I escape....my BLESSING WAY ritual and place of healing.


Culture and land and religion collide. One cannot hide in the rocks forever. The aged hard father hands worn and blistered rebukes all change. He did it the hard way...the only way....not unlike his father and his father who founded this place. They dug those first ditches.. They created a paradise in the wilderness knowing that the land does not give easily. Their dreams came to pass. My dream is different. My field to plow is different. It does not fit the cycle of time. I cannot tell him of this. I must follow his footsteps first. The soul remains empty and unsettled.... the place is good. Witches abound and shoot their poisen. Culture collides with religion. Religion collides with my soul. Red Rocks heal. Christ heals. The Cycle of life goes forward.I RIDE THE BROKEN TRAIL with messed up hair

TUNES

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