Memories in a Mason Jar: Those Were my Friends

I’ve always wondered how the funeral speeches of truly great men and women would sound through the mouths of those he met and loved and left, who stood to say a thing or two about his life. Like the first world explorers, the heroes and heroines of the viking sagas, and the men and women sung about in folkloric ballads, their nature sounds so exotic and far away from us that we can hardly imagine meeting such people in our day to day life. Those with such a persona and commanding presence so as to be even worthy of reverence. I have crossed paths with a few, but none so often. I’ve met a few thousand more, in hostels, on the street, at festivals, and forgot them easily, because they were swimming with the school, they didn’t stand out. Now there’s nothing wrong with that on most good days, it’s a lot easier to move around the flock unnoticed sometimes, but those that whose memories have really stay with me, are those who have changed their direction and gone upstream, against the herd, lived long and humble lives, behind every action was a means of inspiration, and behind every story a life experience, these were some of my friends…

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I met a man an old storyteller Wales, his name was Hymn, nothing less, nothing more, he was a weather Scottsman actually, but we met around a fire, covered in ash, giving our selves to pacha mama. He was a master of Reiki, but would never say so himself, instead in in primal slow dance movements linked in body at all times, he could work some pretty magic healing. Like a skeleton becoming aligned again after being bent and grown in the wrong direction. He was a wanderer of the W.I.S.E. isles, living off his art, writing poetry  on the sidewalks in chalk,  and you might be able to meet him in the streets of Camden, on the trails western England or where I found him, at a rainbow gathering. His candor was like the wise grandpa most people wish they grew up with, talking always in rhyme and poetics, a voice that spoke with a calming and humble attention. Each line of his face was a thousand miles traveled barefoot, as he gazed always on the horizon, the sunrise, the sunset, and into the wind, smelling for the fauna and flora ahead.

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I met a vagabundo from Spain, an old hobo to most eyes, a young spirit in heart. He told me he came from Bristol, the week before, where he lived in the Cheddar Gorge. He slept in a cave there for one year, and would meet thousands of tourists during the season, offering them coffee, exchanging stories, some even wanting to film him or get his picture. This soft spoken old man, weathered with the miles, but equipped as a soldier, we drank the black medicine together by the early warmth of a kindled fire, in a sheepfold somewhere in Welsh country. Knowledge known only from places been, small advice’s and vices on life that I could yield or avoid. He drank from the springs, and collected wood for the sacred fire, an indigenous soul held in his rib cage. I listened to his tales, of his days as a farmer and cowboy, until some Irish gypsies stole his horses, he continued to wanderlust on his own hooves.

I met a girl in Newfoundland, she picked me up on the road on a foggy cold morning. She said she was camping in the National park, and had parents that lived on the island. She drove me a few miles and we exchanged stories. She was a barista in Halifax, but wanted a change in lifestyle. After awhile I took the boat back to the mainland and we met again, we went around the city, trying to find her some more work at a coffee house, but it never paled. Instead she decided to apprentice on a local farm, though she would say it was I who inspired her, I found it mutually inspiring back to witness such a profound lifestyle change almost overnight. We kept on in contact overseas when I moved away, and a year later I found she had finished her apprenticeship, and was looking for a new one on yet another farm, she had learned so much by the time when we met again, and every so often I hear from her, and her times on the farm.
And sometimes the woman you meet you tend to fall in love with. When tramping in the deep south across the Arizona desert, I met the woman who would change my life in such maturing and profound ways, she has never left into fleeting memory. A mother of four sons, and a natural born gypsy, she was from the state, but moved to Texas to live an independent existence, cleaned up her life, and had her own house. Tall, dark, and mysterious, a feral woman at heart. She gave it up in the end, and sought a life of travel, so she bought an ambulance from the 80’s and ran her tumblr_n4x421shJZ1romrx1o1_1280apothecary business out the back of it. We met at a truck stop in Tucson, but we ‘knew’ about each other before. I helped her through a grief, and she helped me with mine, we painted the ambulance black, with red pinstriped ravens and runes on the sides, and built in a queen bed to the back, I helped her get the apothecary going again, and we lived in the desert for a romantic week. She told of one of her sons, who hunted deer at only age 9, and we cooked it slowly in spices over the flames, talked into the night, slept in a tent and fought of raccoons who tried to steal our meet. I had to leave her one day, and head to Canada, little did I know it was the last time I would see her, borders can be rough, and relationships harder and more defeating than the canyons and mountains I crossed. My heart pined for something left that never came, but I remembered and cherished to even know her…

 “The only thing I miss is my friends.  And it’s almost impossible to have any friends, at this level.  Jealousy is a great power.  Jealousy and fear.  Your fear goes to your worst, and asks for help to destroy your fear.  But in truth, your fear is your best friend.  It protects you, it protects everyone you love.” ~CM

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