It is interesting to look at the constructs we assemble in an attempt to define ourselves in our mind's eye. James, in his wisdom, reminded me of the "middle way". His point held more credence than my belief that I, needed to walk the long and rugged trail back to the cabin. That I ever walked such a long and difficult trail with such intent, James reminded me, has no gain or loss in walking or catching a ride to the cabin door. Especially as I walked with the intent of being an ascetic, as though my difficulty proved something. With an already beat up body, in a daily battle with pain, why would I not accept a ride? If I was walking for exercise, or to commune with nature (and to a degree, I was) then things might be different. But I strapped on the labor of the long hike not, as it were in union with the world about me but as if in suffering I might find myself.

Why indeed?

With a F150 and a Suzuki Quad in tow, I was back at the cabin in less time than it took to cook my rice and sweet potatoes which James and I devoured in still less time.

My purpose is to learn a little about what makes this, what I call "me", tick. A Taoist proverb states that if we desire to help the world, we must begin with helping our country; if we desire to help our country, we must first start with helping our community; if we want to help the community, we must begin with helping our family; if we want to help our family, we must begin with ourselves.

This brought to mind the fall of the Evangelical from Colorado who resigned after allegations of a homosexual prostitute and a drug buy of methamphetamine. Sad, that a man responsible for being a moral compass for a congregation of 14,000 and a leader of the National Association of Evangelicals with membership of 30 million, and an advocate of banning all same sex unions, was so out of touch with his own ticking.

But Buddhism or Taoism isn't about building a new model of ourselves as if we are broken. Many religions, based on their culture and convention of thought, all say the same thing. They just say it differently. The whole point of "grace"as taught by Jesus, when held up to the scrutiny of the "law", is that we are what we are. We are complex, sometimes difficult, This Being Human....we are called to liberty; not licence. We hold each other up with compassion, we don't look for rocks to throw at one another.

With that thought Earle arrived at the door inviting me to his home for some seafood "chowda". He recognized the worried look upon my face and announced, "Don't you worry. The truck is off the number twelve fire line on the lumber road. It'll take us thirty minutes to get home".

I could have cried. In some strange way, his arrival by truck seemed to confirm that my ride home was all right. Imagine. Locked up tight into my mind was some moral play about whether it was "good or bad" regarding my decision to ride back to my hermitage.

The chowder was delicious. The conversation equally so. The wood stove was in full blaze as the outside temperature was in the low twenties. Inside it had to be around ninety. Earle looked comfortable. I was starting to become well done. Interesting home, all lined with sign of hunting, wildlife, family. The bathroom reminded me of that of my grand-parents who were once woodsman in the New Hampshire hills where several of my aunts and uncles were delivered and led out on liters. The shelves over the toilet were packed tightly with old aftershaves, ointments, powders; rubbing alcohol, witch hazel and items that fall beyond description. The living area was filled with dark pine walls and a long line of cordwood running along the south wall.

I didn't ask to spend the night and Earle didn't offer. When we parted, with me and my light at the bottom of the cart road leading to my abode, Earle offered an embrace and a hug. "You're like a brother to me, Tim".

I returned the affection, for I too recognized a kindred spirit. I slept well.


"I yam what I yam, and that's all I yam" -- Popeye The Sailor Man
loralee said…
I loved this post, Tim.

I also am now ravenously hungry.
I love and adore sweet potatoes. I've never had them with rice, though. How do you make it??