25.06.2009 – 29.06.2009
Wadley 3: Evuli’s Gift
After a splendid evening and a very bizarre reality-bending sleep, spent the following day mostly lazing about and or napping in my hammock.
Pharaoh moved on to Real de Catorce to pick up his amplifier and then on to New York City I presume. Learned he likes to experiment with sound in the subways and especially during the summer, so he’ll likely be found on one of the trains or platforms on the fourth of July playing something truly great I reckon.
If you try to find him, he'll be the one looking like a cross between Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, with a little Michael Jackson thrown in for good measure (RIP), and grinning ear to ear like a monastic desert madman. Pharaoh also says he digs freaking the people out with his saxophone blowin’, rainbow-color-cornrow coifed amigo “Antennae Man”. If anyone sees Pharaoh, tell’m Skip says “chido”.
Edgar from Spain moved on to Mexico city to shop for Tequila before heading back to Spain. He said he might go to Cuba but wasn’t sure. Wherever he is, I’m sure he’s got mota in one hand, a drink in the other, and a giant smile on his face with eyes that sparkle a little bit. “Chido” to Edgar as well!
That left me and the French fellow Simon who liked to nap quite a bit himself. We chatted off an on about music and traveling, etc. but mostly kept to ourselves. A couple days of rain storms that produced the most amazing cloud patterns and the sweetest siestas. We both decided we’d chilled enough and had better get back out into the desert instead of waiting for perfect weather.
Simon wanted to hike up the mountain toward some abandoned mines, even though I told him it was rumored uranium and plutonium were once mined there, and that there might be a bit of radioactivity. There are all sorts of rumors and legends in this desert including many U.F.O sightings and witches floating about the mountains carrying light with them and turning into owls and chickens. Throw in all the Huichole Indian beliefs of sacred blue deer and the beliefs that peyote was born in this desert from meteorites… And well, you get the picture. No telling what the truth is. Or, perhaps it’s all truth. Quien sabe?
I chose to return to working on my peace sign of stone and to focus more on the words of Jiddu Krishnamurti regarding understanding “the observer IS the observed” and learning how to be free from the known, free from fear, and experiencing joy.
The rain had washed away most of the fine dust that coats everything in the desert, so Mescalito was naked and easy to see.
Concentrating on Krishnamurti's words, once again I experienced something very profound but fleeting. The fleeting part didn’t matter though. Having that kind of pure clarity, even if temporary, is worth all of the cactus punctures, blood, dirt and toil. I've made it there before, but it’s hard to hold on to. Each time it scratches a little bit deeper into the mind. Soon, I hope to be able to sustain that “knowing” indefinitely and without botanical help... nothing but pure energy, mind and joy.
Most of the day had been heavy and grey. In the distance I could see a fairly threatening storm that looked as if it were heading straight for me. Because I was supposed to be learning to live without fear per se, and since I’d already waited two days for clear skies, I came prepared with plastic bags for the gear. Once I accepted the likelihood I’d be getting soaked, I stopped thinking about it. Though, the blackened streaks on the mesquite trees, that I’m told are char marks from lightning strikes, did give me a smidge of concern. No real “fear” though.
As the first drops fell, I braced myself without any shelter other than the sparse mesquite tree while keeping my mind absolutely aware. Everytime a wave of storm descended upon me, it seemed to fortunately dissipate only after a few drops. This happened about three times and each time the wave would leave spectacular rolling cloud formations on the far side of the desert valley. After the final wave, the clouds broke overhead and the sun took control of the landscape. I continued my work on the peace sign of stone, but stopped every now and then to give the surrounding splendor my full attention and to quietly and simply observe.
Suddenly, I froze still in my tracks. There was someone a few meters away amidst the cacti in a desert hat, moving in a strange way, and I couldn’t tell for sure but it looked like he had a rifle.
Remaining still without anywhere to hide, I remained in stillness with my eyes fixed on him in hope he hadn’t seen me yet. The cactus and brush all around him shivered and shook as he slowly moved closer toward me.
Realizing the shivering brambles were a herd of goats, I decided the best reaction would be to continue picking up stones for the peace sign and try not to look the least bit threatening. When he got closer I could tell he was riding a burro and that’s why his movement through the cacti didn’t look natural to me. What I thought could be a rifle was merely a wooden shepherd’s staff.
He rode right up to me and said the sun was very hard and asked why I had no protection. His entire mouth was stained a deep blood red when he spoke and I told him that I did have protection from the sun with much sunscreen cream. When I asked about his stained mouth, he laughed and pulled out a giant three liter plastic bottle of red soda he’d been drinking. I laughed and the ice was broken.
Knowing he’d probably seen the peace sign of stone every day since I started it a year and a half ago and watched it mysteriously progress, I figured he might be curious what it was. He said he didn’t know what a peace sign was or what it meant. Nor, had he ever heard of the Internet. He had heard of a computer though, so I did my best to explain. It got dicey when I tried to explain why I was making the peace sign of stone in the middle of the desert since I really wasn’t sure myself just why I was doing it.
After explaining that there was so much violence in the world and I just wanted to make a symbol of no war and put photos of it on the Internet for people all over the planet to see, I said "you probably think I’m a crazy gringo." He laughed and said no, he didn’t think I was loco at all. He said he liked the way the lines looked in white stone and asked if they should continue all the way around. I told him yes, but I only had time to get most of the middle lines done this time... that I would return to continue the white stones all the way around.
We exchanged names and I asked if I could take a picture of him on his burro next to the peace sign to show the scale. He agreed and we parted ways as his flock had moved on and needed tending to. His name is Evuli Martinez. I’m not sure if that’s how you spell it. I asked him if he could write it in the dirt and he said he could not. I didn’t press him on it suspecting that perhaps he might be illiterate.
After he left, I just stood there smiling before resuming the work. About twenty minutes later, all of the goats and dogs were under the mesquite tree again where my backpack was hanging. I noticed the goats were standing on their hind legs reaching up and trying to eat the straps. I ran over to try and shoo them away, and the dogs started barking as they thought I was threatening the females. The males lowered their horns and rushed me, stopping just short of ramming me. Luckily, Evuli walked up and said to not worry, that the goats only wanted to eat the mesquite seed pods.
Evuli was carrying some beautiful small white stones he’d collected and one that was much larger. He indicated that he wanted to help with the peace sign. I was touched and placed the new stones for him in the design. I told him the largest one was so special that it belonged right in the middle at the heart. Evuli gave a large Big Red smile again and we resumed looking for more stones together until his goats had wandered far enough away and he excused himself to tend his flock. We shook hands and he headed toward the rancho he lived called Mastranto with his herd.
It was getting late so I placed my last collection of stones and began the hike back toward Wadley with the setting sun to my side, smiling the entire way with the very joy I’d been seeking. It was a good day.
I chatted with Simon a bit as he too had a glorious day in the desert, and then I drifted off to sleep. The next day would be about a seven-hour ride through the desert and up into the intense Sierra curves and it could likely be a scorcher with storms to dodge.
The ride went well other than hitting the tail end of two storms in the mountains. I was lucky that each time I’d ride into the storm, the timing just worked out that all I got was enough rain to cool me off, but not so much that I had to stop and seek shelter. I made Xilitla in good time and have now been here for three days. More to tell about this beautifully subtropical paradise in the Huasteca Potosina Indian region, but I will wait until I’ve moved on down the road a bit and this section has been properly digested.