In reading Peter Kuhlman and Ophelia Ramirez’s blog – I think 99% Peter now – post about Peter’s reclaiming of his creativity and his posting of Chupacabra From La Habra, I am inspired to post a Haiku and a short non-fiction piece I wrote in a Meditation and Creativity class I was in over the Weekend. I brought a bookmark – to class- I made from a photo I took while on a trip into Death Valley last year.
Manly died quietly
on his farm near Lodi CA
fruit trees blooming
Remembering The Escape Trail
The first thing to remember is that we went backwards- from Trona to the Panamint. From busy, dirty, mining town to Peace. Up an easy downhill, over the gentle summit, down the road that was such a struggle for Manly to lead the Bennett and Arcane families in the climb out of their hell. The oxen eaten long ago, the wagons left behind.
The Bennetts and Arccanes didn’t want to die, didn’t want to embrace Eternal Peace in the Panamint. Eternal Peace that sounded so good , sitting in the cool shade, inside Pastor Bennett’s church with its hard pews.
Under the glaring sky of the Panamint, Eternal Peace felt too much like Death. Death accompanied by the Angels of Fear, the hounding fear of thirst. Their thirst for a new life in the goldfields of California, turned into a thirst for water. Any little water.
Water we so easily carried; sloshing in the five gallon containers in the back of the truck. Sitting in front, we smiled and chatted; looking for wildflowers, going up and over the Escape Road.
We had red wine with dinner that night, not sacramental, but still welcome. We talked about Manly and how he had saved Bennett and Bennett’s wife and Bennett’s children and how, years later, when they came back to look for silver, Bennett had betrayed Manly. Leaving him for dead. Just up the road from our bright campfire.