In Gadfly: RICH WRITES HOME

Read in Gadfly:  Rich Writes Home

23 Mar 2005, Hawaii, Hawaii, USA --- Hilly Road --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Dear Catherine,

It’s spooky. Getting in the car in the dark before sunrise to drive to the riverside to sit. Right here. Spooky cause well, being the end of July so far down south, and after yesterday being hot as hell, then last night so windy and pouring down rain, and now the sunrise is hidden behind dark clouds with fog and the air too thick. I can’t help but break a sweat.

Yet, it’s cool.

July, July, July. I can’t say enough good about it. Mainly, as I’ve learned, it’s my strongest month- in mind, body and spirit. Which means my only plan is to ENJOY it. Now. And it’s out here, I’ve learned, I wear it well.

(Cue Rod Stewart?)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: being redundant is easy when there’s nothing new under the sun.

I’ve sat at more riversides than this, on more mornings, for now going on years. I do tell tales about it, as it’s been mostly alone. And does a tree fall in the woods if no one can hear it? Is art not shared considered art? Sure I’ve had “guests” along the way so to speak, even on LSD (long slow distance) trips, for example, backpacking on the Pacific Crest Trail, or that weird and wonderful Everglades trip where it was right to have a guide. Or when I was determined to see as much Colorado River front as I could which didn’t prove easy, and wound up going on too long. Though that was pretty recent, I do feel much older.

And alone.

Or driving around the Salton Sea and following the dry New River to Slab City and chatting up with those particular locals, and taking all THAT in and laughing lots, then moving on.

Alone.

Or being in the most glorious woods in way northern Pennsylvania next to the intoxicating Loyalsock Creek, in a cabin I’m always drawn back to, and experiencing such a loss there that for a long time I wouldn’t go back. And haven’t.

Now it’s what I dream about.

Or the Buffalo River and meeting up with some Ozarks after sliding into a backwoods country store, Prius filthy, shirtless with skin blistering from the sun and me only able to smile at being of entertainment value to SOMEONE. And getting smiles back too after being pointed to the restroom and taking what we don’t disparagingly call a Puerto Rican shower, much needed. And opening the door to curious looks before getting in the Prius and getting the hell out of there.

Alone.

And exhilarated. Or sleeping two nights on the desert floor when driving up to Lone Pine and running out of gas on the way to that 14,000 foot peak by the lonely town so aptly named, getting lucky waking up to a flatbed of guinea fowl driving by, cackling in cages, with a nice driver who spoke no English but with plenty of gas, and then hiking up that goddamned mountain (albeit from 5000 feet), underestimating the time and having to get back down in the dark. And not finding the Owens River anyway. I’m lucky I got out of there intact.

Not good.

And alone.

Or walking through Amarillo after good time spent on the Canadian River, me on the side of a freeway with traffic stopped still and trash strewn everywhere and people driving on the median like if they didn’t get where they needed to be right now they’d spontaneously combust. I can’t help but wonder why people don’t consider that it may not all have to be this way.

Alone.

Or me giving up on everything, faced with an LSD overdose, and happening upon Vegas with a wad of cash to gamble away in glee before skipping out on such fashionable digs to run back to red rocks, with fucking relieved to finally get back to desolation and to walking and swimming and lying on the floor under the stars again. This, after walking on Fremont Street by open-air slot parlors with coins clinking and hustlers hustling and hearing on the overhead radio how more kids were shot and people are walking around sick who can’t afford to be sick and can’t find “jobs” but can look for “work,” and how those people do things to ease their mind, which I just won’t do. All this while Wall Street runs full steam ahead and the new American aristocracy feather their own nests without blinking, while the media teach the poor to hate the poor and teach the wannabes that they still too can still be, meanwhile sucking as much out of anyone as they can in the meantime. And with a smirk. Like they can take it with them, right?

They won’t.

Or alone in San Francisco where I’ll admit it’s the only place I’ve ever been where I just couldn’t mesh with the people. But I did get in a night of tenderloin-ing and release which hey, I’m admitting it, okay? We’ll talk about it later.

So yeh, I just got out of the water. It was cold. There’s no one here but me and the fog’s burnt off and it’s getting July hot. Catherine, I think I oughta be back to Fairview by winter. Fairview. What an armpit. I know you’ll be there till hell or high water doing the same things you were doing when I left, just like everyone else does there, right? Well, I can’t live in that box! I know you’ll ask where I’ve been and what I’ve done and hopefully not just half-listen. I do hope you do read this before you ask though cause well, here it is. There’s not much more to it. I’ve had a realization Catherine. The only way to make sense of it is to say that I’m out here needing to walk you off.

Alone.

I’ve driven dangerously fast to glorious sunrises in many locales. I’ve sat with deer on hillsides, contemplating things, all while alone. What’s not to contemplate? I’ve walked more miles and driven more roads and you can’t make me keep it to myself.

I’m glad to share it with you.

Love,

Rich

PS: Yes, I’ll return the car.

Published November 24, 2014

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7 thoughts on “In Gadfly: RICH WRITES HOME

  1. I wish you’d write a screen play. I’d love to see what you’d do with a movie. Another piece of yours I love.

      • Oprah has this show on OWN called MasterClass. It’s an interesting concept — technically it’s an “interview” show but you don’t see the interviewer or hear the questions. It’s just an hour of someone of ‘note’ — a ‘master’ of whatever, talking about themselves, their career, their aspirations, beliefs etc.

        It is well done and not the usual boring tripe and I like it.

        Anyway last night it was Billy Bob Thornton. He can certainly be an acquired taste — he is, at times more than a little weird — but he is a fabulous actor. And last night I acquired a whole new appreciation for him. I really liked what he had to say and he is one interesting dude.

        When I read your essay this morning I immediately saw him. I heard him speaking the letter. He was Rich.

        You need to write a film. 🙂

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