In Search of Kokopelli .... intro
The knowledge of my journey came into my awareness long after the spiritual desire or hunger was felt. But we will start with the conscious knowledge of the journey.
This is jJ. He is going on a journey after Kokopelli. Kokopelli was a Hopi Indian deity. He appears in the early cave drawings and represents rebirth, coming of spring, fresh crops, new life and fertility. His arrival was cause for rejoicing and celebration! I want to hang with him!
I felt the bonds of responsibility being lifted as I planned my adventure. I was leaving Charlie behind. Going out west to find Kokopelli and when I left I would be jJ.
Finally my day arrived I got in my car and left my house trailer in Northern “middle of nowhere” Maine behind. Surely I was jJ now. Boldly leaving my security behind. Trusting to providence. But no, somehow I still felt like Charlie…. but never fear surely when I reach my destination, then I will be jJ.
So with that in mind I left with a high heart as Charlie. Master of the plan. The leader. He was in control. All forethought was calculated. Seasonal weather was considered. Affordability etc….
….arriving in southern California on Christmas weekend, at my glorious destination, “Boulder Oaks Campground”, I found the government just shut down. My campground was closed. Now I’m not jJ, now I’m not Charlie….. I’m Chuckles the clown!!
So begins the search for Kokopelli. Not as jJ as I had envisioned but as Chuckles the clown. First I had to find Charlie, then Jj then Kokopeli, wow some trip
To recap, Chuckles finds Charlie, Charlie finds jJ and jJ finds no, jJ searches for Kokopelli.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you of Marcus. This jumps the story ahead quite a bit to the “Anza Borego” period however there is something about Marcus that fits in right now.
On the third Wednesday of February I moved to “Little Blair Valley.” It was forecast to snow shower as a front was moving through but I left in the morning and heading for the desert.
At two am I was awake playing my guitar in my tent and it was howling outside. It was cold and I had a, construction type, tent heater running. There was a pah... pah.. “PUNCH” and the tent was down and it was trying to push me to the floor. In front of me was my cot and in front of that was the exit. The cot was up against the tent wall to my right, to my left was the tent heater, waist high, blocking the area I needed to go. The exit. If I fell the tent would catch on fire and I would burn to death. An example of not running a propane heater in a tent! And a construction heater to boot.
Not panicking I braced myself against the constant pummeling from behind. As I looked around in dim light my brain checked off: turn off the heater and wait for it to cool down, OK turned off the heater and pulled it toward the cot which had some upright to it. OK now wait, with my guitar around my neck, which was being held by one arm while the wind tried to push me to the floor. “POW POW POW POW”, I was pummeled that way until the glow of the heater stopped and the heater had cooled down a few minutes more. Getting out of the tent I put my guitar in my car followed by essentials, getting them all out safely. Nothing but my tent was damaged. Now three am, I pointed my car toward my tent. Peering out the rain whipped wind shield I slowly saw things I could accomplish. Dawn came and I continued to see a step and take it. Sit in the car see a step and take it. No sleep yet and little by little by the end of daylight that day I had a tent up.... I slept in my car that night.
The following day when I awoke, got out of the back of my car and looked around, I was crest fallen. Two polls were fractured and most of the anchors were ripped off of the tent. The stakes were in the ground and the tent loops were on the stakes but the tent was no longer attached to the loops. This happened to all four corner loops. By the way this was also a “Field and Stream” tent.
Being that this was a total catastrophic failure, yet again, the confidence in my plan was at a real low. Now I have moved to a place that squashed my tent like a “BUG”. My plan kind of depended on living in a tent!
I went in my tent and knelt on the floor and looked to the Heavens and cried, “Oh lord why am I here? I believe I have done what you have asked of me. I don’t know but please just help me. Help me as your child. I am lost and I am scared. Have I lost my way?”
No answer. And I “HOWLED” and I had no answer. I “CRIED” and still I had no answer.
After I could cry no more I got up and did my back yoga stretching things, ate breakfast and took a walk. You need to understand that at that time I was totally capable of staying at my campsite accomplishing sh*t! When I got to the place where I would have normally turned around I saw a figure off to the side. With a Forest Green Subaru wagon, something like a 2005 and I was thrilled. Not only did I cry to the lord just an hour or so ago that I was alone and needed direction but here was an artist with an easel, painting.
Timidly I asked “Can I talk to you?” He said “of course, that’s part of the job.”
He had a flowing white linen shirt. Many sizes to big. Baggy, desert green, linen pants and a substantially brimmed straw hat. There was a large canvas sitting on a flimsy easel, tied to the open hatch of his car. The overall impression was that of a “Musketeer”, a flowing figure, an apparition from long ago. His being seemed to come from the desert floor, through his brush, to the canvas. Like a swordsman’s lunge swiping the breast of an enemy but paint not blood was what you saw. Like Zorro, with flair. His stroke as artistic as his painting.
I told him of my mission to find my musical voice and how the people I knew could not understand the importance that played in my life. He told me that it took him eleven years once he fully committed himself to his art, before he was “Self Sustained”, and “Off the grid”.
When asked if he had any advise on keeping a tent up in the desert he said “Chuck, what kind of car do you drive?”
I told him I drove a Ford Escape to which he replied, with amazement “Chuck, you have no problem, sleep in your car, I do. Take a look.”
He had taken the interior of his car out. All of it was gone. When you looked inside you saw a drivers seat and the middle shifting console with a full dash. At the level of the middle console was plywood covered with wall to wall carpeting. Kinda like the infamous “Chevy Van”. On top a roof rack with spare tire and some camping things. I didn’t ask but I believe he had trap doors in the floor, I know I would.
I thought it was cool and told him so and I asked him what I would do with my interior. He said, “throw it away! You don’t need it! It is not part of your musical path is it? What do you care?”
Well he did come over and give me some great ideas on securing my tent in a better way. I used his tent ideas and kept my car interior. I did consider it many times and to be honest I think the deciding factor was my car’s computer system not working with out my seats or their censors.
Now my takeaway from this was;
The timing in relation to my prayers. The impression his fiscal appearance made on me. His willingness to forsake man’s objects (car interior). He had to work every day to make this happen. And he called me Chuck. That is not the name I gave him to use, it was the name my mother called me as a boy and that is surely what I felt like, a boy.
But my favorite was when he responded to my query, “can I talk to you” with the response, “of course, that’s part of the job.” I took that to mean as an artist it was part of his job to be there. Available. A beacon to those of us that might be lost. Not lost with a compass or map. Lost from ourself, from our path. He was surely a beacon and inspiration to me.