March 1999

I can return to my home in my mind.  Perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, held in place by the Los Padres National Forest.  In my mind I can climb the trail to the peak just before Little Pine Mountain.  Up there, there's nothing but you and the earth and the sky.

The ocean stretches out before you, curving over the horizon.  The wind is carrying the scent of wildflowers and grass from a distant meadow, the cry of a hawk miles away.  Turn around.  The mountains roll away from you for miles.  There is no sign of humanity.  Oak trees look painted onto a background of purple-green hills and golden grass valleys.  The clouds are white and fluffy, cotton balls stuck onto a blue-backed collage.  To your left, a storm is building.  You can see the anvil thunderheads beginning to form.  Further on the faint haze of rain conceals the details of the hills.

This is where I belong.  I can tap into it here, whatever it is that has been steadily draining from me since I left California.  I feel like an addict who has been removed from his fix.  What was it there that was nourishing, my soul, my spirit, my life?  Am I the only one to feel that way?  Are there others out there who suffer as I do?  Surely not, but then, maybe.  How can I help myself here, in the flat wetlands of Florida?  The humidity pushes down on me, like a giant hand.   I look around, desperate for some change in the terrain.  I once said that I could survive as long as I had either mountains or ocean.  Here, I have ocean, and I realize that I need mountains.  But if I move to a place where there is nothing but mountains, will I need ocean?  Am I doomed to live a life of spiritual distress, unless I live in California?  I hope not.  I hope to go back there, soon, to see if I can heal myself, recharge somehow.  It would be nice, if I could forge some sort of link, a direct connection to whatever it is out there.  Then I could move around and not have to deal with the pain of separation.  Only it's not really pain.  It's more like a sickness, a wasting disease, eating me from inside out.  If a person who could truly see auras looked at me, what would he see?  Would he see bits and pieces missing?  Or perhaps my aura would be a sickly green-black, the brighter colors of health and hope fading with each passing moment.

Turn around.  The sundowners race against your back, sweeping your clothes and hair forward as the hot blast runs down the mountainside.  Distant, there, a spark, caused by some careless person.  Fueled by the burning winds, the fire bites and takes hold of the mountainside.  In minutes it is raging, free to run rampant down to the ocean, eating anything in its path.  But the storm is here, and the wind has turned cold.

Look up.  Black clouds burgeoned with rain, racing above.  Lightning flashes and the thunder a split-second later, a crack that leaves you deafened.  The deluge begins; huge drops of rain fall, almost bruising you.  The steam rises around the fire, obscuring your vision.  You walk towards it, almost flying with the speed of thought.  You are there.

A patch of blackened earth, several feet wide, smoldering.  The storm passes quickly, continuing out over the Channel Islands.  The sun is almost blinding, the sky a brilliant blue.  A blink, and then: tiny green shoots push their way up through the burn, life almost immediately after death.  Raise your hands to the sky, and the warmth of the sun, and feel.

Just feel.