Archives for May 2005

Farewell, Old Flagstaff Town

In my sleep, I heard the wind softly whispering through the bedroom window all night. The mountain air moved about the bedroom walls, flapping the posters, shaking the window blinds. As the sun came up in the east, the soft rays came through the window and painted the bedroom wall. Last night, I slept on the urgency to leave Flagstaff. I don’t really want to leave this town, this dream. Flagstaff has become home. But the larger southwest is my home, from low desert, to the ponderosa highlands. My home is where giant thunderclouds sweep the dry desert with curtains of summer rainfall.

The wind has been howling in Flag over the passed few days. So I will leave this small town, and it will solidify into powerful memories. My home is in Utah, but my home is beneath the San Fransisco Peaks.

It is sad, but I must leave Flagstaff for a while. I cannot say whether I’ll return? I never can stay in one place too long. It is my hope to constantly move from one place to another, and follow what my spirit may dictate.

The Howling Wind

The pine trees howl with wind as it whips through the forest and cloud ships sail above the evergreen steeples. That bristlecone sky is ageless. The sticks crack beneath my feet. The forest howls like river rapids. I set the camping pack against a tree, lie down on the forest floor and close my eyes. As the tireless river flows like violent waves crashing into a sandy beach at midnight. The water is restless as if waiting to drown the living. But it is peaceful and enormous. The boundary of reality fades, and the mystery washes me away to a far off place.

Just imagine the reality, I live to be a hundred. My loved ones carry my body into the most desolate of canyons, somewhere off in Canyon Country. Yes, I had lived a good life and loved a beautiful woman. She and I ventured all the wild places. Finally, they dump me in some ravine. Sad they are, because they wanted to give me a proper funeral, but I wouldn’t allow it. After they say their last words and leave, the coyotes come out after dusk, yipping and howling like the wind.

But now, I truly feel the lonesomeness of the remote things in life. All is quiet in this peaceful world. Off into the deep woods I come face to face with my own spirit. It is in the wild that I bathed in strange conversations with the tree man. Like Rip Van Winkle, I fell asleep beneath a blue berried juniper, and there I dreamed.

There is no other place, like a hermit’s roost ten thousand miles in the middle of nowhere.

Watching the Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees are genetically 98% similar to human beings. That makes them the closest living relative to the human race. So why isn’t this okay? Is science really challenging religion? Or are we just keeping our minds closed to the evidence that is out there? Humans act similar to Chimpanzees. When the human male wants to show that he is stronger then another individual, he’ll demonstrate this by throwing objects at the floor, or raising his voice, or will act in an aggressive manner. This is the way that Chimpanzees behave. So what is the difference between us and them? They behave like us; they get depressed like us.

When I was a little, I remember watching the Chimpanzees at the Hogle Zoo, in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was hard for me to decipher the differences between the hands the chimps had, and human hands. I was fascinated with the feet of the Chimps, because they looked like hairy human hands. I remember my innocence, as I watched the monkeys in the jungle gym, and how they were very hard to distinguish from the humans. I remember this, before I learned the prejudices later on. As a child, I had an open minded acceptance that Chimpanzees and other apes were somehow our relatives. As I look back on the knowledge that I had, I want to find that same acceptance again.

So what is the real difference from human and Apes? Apes are unable to build cars, they don’t speak human language, and they definitely are not capable of producing the most sophisticated art. But Chimpanzees do have innovators because it is proven that they can invent very simple tools. Jane Goodman observed Chimpanzees using grass reeds and sticks to extract termites. The young ones learned and observed their parents, and they in turn figured it out. They had the talent and that ability to learn. They had social structures, and matriarchal leaders. They had disputes, and resolved them quickly, showing their affection and reassurance by grooming each other.

So I accept the fact that Chimpanzees are my relatives. What is so wrong with that? They are family, though they are truly inferior. But the fact is, when I was a child, I did not see these creatures as inferior. I didn’t even see them as animals. I hadn’t developed these perceptions, until I was to become older. So at one time, chimps were my equals, and they shared that connection. I remember sitting there at the exhibit, and having a diapered chimp walking up to the window, and having him study me with curious eyes. He was on my level, and he could’ve been a playmate, if there hadn’t been the glass that separated us.