Laid up with nasty colds. Feverish. Weak. Ugly smelling. Hacking coughs. At night we sweat so much we both get up a few times to change our sleeping gear but I’m kind of a monster and my side of the bed is like the edge of the sea, damp and briny all the time now. Our eyeballs hurt. Too damn cold. Too damn hot.
Our only comfort is that we are doing it together. Like inmates walking the yard, bitching about the man. That and the fact that we have nothing to do. Nowhere to go. No one asking anything of us. That’s something to be grateful for, and we are. That, and the vast and empty silence of this desert. All that time in the city and then back to the cooped up feeling at Sam’s with rigs on either side of us and now this openess- well, my body can feel it. It opens up into that space. My whole awareness expands to the horizon with a big sigh. It’s funny to me how the outside makes the inside feel different. I know, I know, but still- it keeps surprising me.
I read Peter Heller’s book, “The Painter” over the last two days. It had it all for me, you know, it did or it sure wanted to. I wanted it to. Big manly guy, painter, the real deal, plus fly fisherman, plus violent and dangerous, sensitive, smart, tortured- lost his daughter to murder, lost his marriages, lost his bearings and half of his soul and the book about working in that deep grief towards what might be the light. Anchored in the physical world with attentive and spare prose of uncommon beauty, and girded on all sides by love, and intelligence. And fly fishing. So much goddamn fly fishing it alone could kill you with tender awe for the world and the creatures in it.
I read his book “The Dog Stars” and it is one of my, what, ten favorite books? Up there. His first novel and written at fifty-three. I like it because I like it and because at fifty three. Maybe there’s still hope. Anyway that book is technically just flawless. This other one I can’t say that about but it doesn’t matter. A bigger book, I think, a deeper reach and broader scope, he flexes a little bit more in this one. So I’m not sure about every step, not sure about certain aspects, but I’m happy to have gone on the trip with him and I’m happy he’s in the world and writing. He is my kind of man, is what. Plus he has the best cops in this book- he nailed what it is and can be about the good ones, the ones who put down cases- anyway I like that. Probably because I felt it was flattering and I identified with them and it made me remember doing that job and knowing I was throwed in with something.
So we are out here in Eherenberg just over the Ca/Az border dry camping with a big scattered group of folks who are all standing by to shift over to Quartzsite in a day or two for the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. Which name I despise. Just for the record. But the thing itself not. Bob Wells from cheaprvliving.com has been putting these on for four or five years now and it just keeps growing. Folks new to van-dwelling and full-timing and old hands all gathered up to hang out and learn from each other, help each other fix up their rigs, teach workshops on solar and electrical systems, working on the road, safety, first aid, cooking, camping, you name it. A tribal gathering is what.
Yesterday I met Shawn. He drove into camp in a little Nissan hatchback thing, looking for Bob. Said it was his first day to camp. Been driving three days from DC to get out here and where was he supposed to go. I pointed out Bob’s camp and we wandered around talking. Ran into Bob and I introduced them.
That’s how it is. New ones show up every day. Full of anxiousness and hope and grit and to some degree or other getting distance from some bad thing. Like how it was moving west is what it seems to me. It wasn’t the happy ones who loaded up the wagons and lit out into desolation and violence to find something new at the end of the world. If you could stand it at all you stayed put.
My wife is sore put out with this illness I think I better tend to her and leave you all to fend for yourselves for a spell.
I am glad for your company I always am.