Sunday, September 30, 2007

Grounded part II

Week 2 in the swamps:
I killed my first poisonous snake the other day. A juvenile moccassin, aka Florida cottonmouth aka Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix, it was hanging out by the front steps of my parents' house. I'm all about respecting nature, ya'll, but humans are territorial too. I might bleach out the bones because I've always wanted an articulated snake skeleton.

In other news, my girlfriend and I found a place to live in a tiny town (650 residents) on the outskirts of Paynes Prairie. I'm psyched to be so close to this amazing natural feature, and also well out of hollering distance of the college football scene.

I'm really humbled about how friendly and trusting people are down here. I mean, my new landlord didn't ask for my credit report or even housing references. Actually, he didn't even ask for my last name! Wow. Everyone else in the community has been friendly and I think a little shocked that a couple of San Francisco cats like ourselves are interested in hanging out in Swampville USA. I tell them that luckily their coffee's hella good otherwise I'm outee.

Intense dreams continue in this transition. I'm trying to pay more attention than usual, writing them down when I have the chance. All kinds of dream characters from my past are coming up - people and places I haven't thought about in years. I figure that parts of myself that have been underground for years are coming back to life now that I'm back in the south. Whole dream ecologies breathing life into my conscious mind. Old ways of thinking reviverating against new patterns, really bringing into light how I'm not who I used to be.

But I'm not just a Californian fish out of water either. No, now I'm a snake-killing, biscuit-eating, small-town-living cracker with a penchant for archetypal thinking and apocalyptic dreaming. And the living is good.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


We made it. Six days and many gallons of gasoline, three cheap motels and three campgrounds, 2800 miles and approximately two pounds of trail mix later, we arrived in the sweet, fetid heart of the southern lowlands.

In the last two weeks, I went from seeing this ten paces from the front door:

to this:

I picked up a boar jawbone off the road yesterday, have already eaten biscuits twice (if you count dumplings), and have a fresh collection of sand gnats bites on my ankles to pick at in my sleep. Good clean swampy fun!

Hence, culture shock. When I'm in between, the world really reveals itself. No comforting habits, no daily grind, no automatic pilot. Beautiful, delicate, raw and unflinching cognitive dissonance is really the only way to go.

And the more biscuits, the better.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

California Endgame

These are my last eighty something hours in California. I'm moving from the former lands of the coastal Miwoks and the Ohlone to the ancient stomping grounds of the Timucua and the Potano. After looking west into the ocean's pregnant silence for the last three years, I'm turning back to the east. the dirty south, to be exact. It's gonna happen in a blur, and it goes something like this:

hardpan cracked earth to sage hills and mesas to hesitantly rolling land on down to the dank mud of the mississip straight on to the riverine paradise of the southern toes of the appalachians settling into the coastal plain sands and the marsh swamp estuaries.

Then my perpetual culture shock will turn inward and eat itself like a confused but decidedly limber ouroboros. Because he can.

So here's what it looks like when it moves.

Awe is the interiority of these mists. They're metaphors for each other, and also pointing to something unseen. That'd be mystery.