Thinking back to when all this started, the trekking and love of the earth. I remember when we were kids and money was short, Mom gave us a huge map of the world to put on our bedroom wall. Leslee and I would pretend to be teachers and quiz each other, challenging the other to find some odd place on the map. We’d look for the most obscure names, in the most remote places and furthest away from wherever we were. Ouagadougou. Zamboanga. Katmandu. Timbuktou. We couldn’t have been more than 6 and 8 at the time. That explains knowing and loving the earth.
My wanderings often took me to places around town that were as foreign to me as Siberia; as questionable and curious as deep, dark pools; as ethereal as the tops of huge willow trees…bars, clubs and pool halls. I’d pretend to be someone exotic and mysterious, who couldn’t speak English and just happened to wander into the place. Deirdre and I would crash places for which we were way too young. We’d enter very adult like and make a “bee-line” to the front, usually a jazz club or strip joint in Old Town, before the bouncer would catch us and throw us out. What a rush to be somewhere you weren’t expected or allowed be. Slightly dangerous and definitely forbidden.
In truth, on and on this went, throughout my life, curiously looking into the dregs of urban gangland; the depths of the medinas of Marrakech and Fez sometimes with my face covered; crossing the Congo River at dawn from Brazzaville to Kinshasa in a boat, driven by men with cellular phones straight out of James Bond flicks; into the bush looking for hippos in deep remote pools in Kenya; hunting for treasures in market places outside Abidjan, Ouarzazate and Bahia; squatting with the Masaai women on the Mara; sitting at the base of the pyramids and sphinx underneath a sky full of stars; wandering the beaches and nightspots of Rio; into the countryside of old England. And sometimes into the cosmos watching the moon and stars during an eclipse, witnessing a comet that won’t make a re-appearance for 2,300 years, imagining Voyager landing on Jupiter, sometimes
on acid; around Hong Kong in the neon night where I’d see old men snorting opium from old, brown ivory boxes. Or into the Golden Triangle, in the mountains where Burma, Laos and Thailand join to harvest the worlds supply of illicit drugs from spectacular fields of red poppies.
I’ve seen a monk in Asia who sits absolutely still for hours while the rest of the world scrambles by microwaving themselves with mobile phones. He rings a gong at precise intervals all day and a girl with pierced eyelids drops a few coins into his bowl. My dreams are built on these images.