Saturday, May 9, 2009

Phoenix III: End Game

Now, I am an Olympian the night before his event. I have the calm solemn demeanor of an undertaker preparing to embalm, it's a side of me that very few people have ever seen and tonight is no different, I am alone when it starts. Now is when I am focused, even when I am doing things that would usually require this kind of serious and strict attention the task at hand is little more to me than a game. University, Survival School, Teaching, Relationships, you name it, I'm always there with a joke and a smile, having fun and rarely needing a fraction of my full attention even if I give all of my energy. When I am at work, I look like I am at play because I am, I don't do things I don't like to do generally because money isn't much of a motivator for me and I am clever enough and adaptable to get by whatever the situation. I'm not a humble man, it's not a confession so much as an admission of guilt. Things are easy for me, I'm not bad looking, I'm smart and funny and creative. And so, I find myself searching endlessly for challenges, it's one of the things that led me here.

That is the reason for my concentration. Tomorrow I will start what I typically joke about as "the big end boss at the video game of my walk," a 250+ mile trek through the hottest and most desolate desert I have yet crossed at a time when it will be over 100 degrees every day. None of my normal bags of tricks will help me here, it is sheer determination and willpower and dumb stubbornness that will get me through those miles. It is a time when I am stripped down to my core and tested to see if I am worthy of the life I have been given, a time where I try to prove myself on my quest to gain acceptance into my next life when this one ends in less than 30 days.

It's another reason for the sober tone, the watery concentration that looks over my things without seeing any of them, trying to focus instead on where all the pieces fit and what they mean, why am I doing this again? I fight the big boss, I slay him and walk slowly into Los Angeles and to the Santa Monica Pier with plenty of time to rest and think and then the old me is gone, something new and unknown will stand on the edge of the Pacific Ocean with tears in it's eyes. Nine months to birth born of hardship and thought and a country that once seemed as foreign to me as any other, this new me will stand confused and hopeful, lost on a jumble of thoughts and friends and family, awash in a path that is already being constructed by the world for me. Nine months in which the walk has been a life in itself, a life I will put out when I reach the Ocean, and I will cry for it. The only place it will live on is in my memory or story and I am a poor archivist if ever there was one.

After the hero wins at the end of the movie, then what? It's something we never see. Sitting at home, tapping his fingernail on his front tooth as he watches television. Is it post traumatic stress syndrome from the loss of an old life that I have to look forward to?

It's calm here and the wind from the ceiling fan blows through my hair, hair that started in a place and time from when I was bald in Florida now waves lightly. Time barely means anything to me anymore except as a practical matter. I need this much water for this much time, I can go this many miles, I must have this much food, there's no thought to things strictly related to time or patience, no longer any consideration to anything that doesn't require years of life. A month hardly seems different to me than a day anymore but I can't really imagine that sounding like anything but a lie to anyone else. I don't know what day it is most of the time and I don't want to. It's a solemn state yes, but there is no sadness in it. It is a puzzle to work on, a puzzle that I can't turn away from and yet I work on it with a meticulous yet removed concentration that makes it something more than just fun, in fact, it is not fun, nor is it a labor, it just is. Eyes closed or far off, I suppose now that I am close to being something new, I am searching for where that piece fits and what it does, crossing my eyes over the magic eye painting of my life and knowing the picture is there, knowing my eyes can see it, but not yet sure how to. The same inept superman feeling.

I sound as if I am babbling, running nowhere, but writing is a sad vessel to carry thought. A small mouth of a river trying to let out an ocean. Who would God be without the Devil, or for that matter what would the Roadrunner be without Wile E. Coyote, where would Don Quixote be without his Windmill? What am I when I slay my nemesis? Where will I be in 30 days? It's a simple question I still don't know how to answer. Will I break away from my old life only to find myself in a new role pre-determined for me by my actions, is there something that people like me are supposed to do after we do things like this? Will I be strong enough to make my own path again in spite of that path? I feel I cannot stop, cannot be stopped, but I know that isn't the case and in fact the logical side of me sees no way around possibly even years stopped if something new does not pop up to bail me out of prison I have built with years of living truly free. And yet as I said, I feel I cannot be stopped. I'm doing good out here with the people I meet and if I fall it will be in a brilliant and glorious flame that people will wish upon.

Again, do not confuse my thoughtfulness for sadness, and though I try not to let it in, pragmatically I know not all great dreams end in success. That doesn't mean I'll stop dreaming though. Enjoy the following video in my continuing efforts to catch up on my editing and posting.

DESERT WIND

2 comments:

Dixxe's Doodles said...

You have been living in a parallel universe for the duration of your walk...now with the big desert looming and the end near your words almost ring of dread, regret, and grief. It's not easy in the dollar a day world where one is forced to live in 3 zones, the past, the present, and the future. You've been walking in Space, not you will have to come back to walking in Time and Space....no easy answer, only the over-used but so true phrase-when one door closes another is opened-!

Anonymous said...

What we often find is that the opponent, the foil, the villain who is subdued by the hero was not the true villain, but just a henchman. The true master villain is still masked, hidden away, pulling the strings. And what the hero is fighting for isn’t to defeat a specific evil doer, but to preserve safety and goodness for others. He is leading a crusade to allow people to live their lives and dreams. The people could do it themselves, they are just afraid, they need an example and some confidence.

After so many steps on your journey your walk is still just the first step in your battle. At the end of this walk those kids 8th graders in Texas will still need examples. They and the others around the world will need books and pencils and someone to open their minds. And those who host the hero need his inspiration. In these days when so many can find so much to fear, their hero is free, funny, inspirational and out there.

You’ve only started.

Dad