What Defines You?

What Defines You? Part One
The El Camino Real……

To some, the answer is found in the depths of their soul. That vast place inward of the heart, and the mind, it’s what defines mankind in all manners of life.
An important note: The soul reflects all that you hold as truth in life, the contents of the soul are what people see when they first meet you; and when they give you that definitive goodbye.
The outward dirt to the thoughtful mind, means less than the inward dirt ever will; to the thoughtful human mind, the inward part of mankind will always be the most important.
The soul, often forgotten, the least thought of in the human existance, between night and day; the soul is the least attended to.
A person spends their years addicted to one of the many addictions of man, Meth or whatever the case may be. They get tired of the filth and degradation that their lifestyle has garnered them, to them, life has to change for the better; so they quit their addiction. But they don’t see a viable change in their life, just the pain and suffer of withdrawals; the shaking coupled to the moods swings that bounce from side to side in the motion of life’s pendulum.
The depression sets in, tiny moments of clarity, they see their children’s faces, their spouses or their parents faces. They know that they have lost any dignity or respect that they were trying to hold onto, they made a choice to follow, they had a weak moment; they made a choice, the wrong choice. They are at the crossroads of life’s fast paced fast lane, another bad choice; and their life could be ruined.
It’s difficult, but in the same manner as the person living with the addiction, wallowing with others sharing the same lifestyle, the person must find people that live a better more self esteem building lifestyle; only then will the person start seeing better changes.
More often than not, pick the drug or drink of choice, people will find that people hangout with like people and like addictions. They quit, it’s time to focus on who you let into your life, and all the tainted parts of your past that is stored in the soul.
Everyone has an addiction, everyone. Some addictions cannot be defined as substance abuse related, recreational or otherwise. The rich man and his money or power, and his dreadful bottom line. The religious and their ferocity to spread the word like jelly on toast, at times lacking true Faith. The common citizens of the land, with their addictions to follow society’s manners no matter where they may lead them. The unseen, misunderstood man/woman of true Faith; a sweet addiction, society’s knowledgeable loss in their running away from man’s religion due to those that sit arrogantly inside the church.

Taking the Soul Cleanse.
Years ago, tired of all that was going on in my life, my surroundings, right down to the weather. I looked inward, trying to get a glimpse of what was balanced, and what was right. All I could see was the giving I have given, and the taking by others; guess there is no malice if there is no thought of nothing but self.
Change, I need a change, from all that is around me, for a week or a month, I needed a change. I needed to leave this poor excuse of an appeasing, misunderstood love, neatly wrapped up in society’s version of normal; I needed a real and honest normal, a normal seldom found in any city.
I loaded the car, gave my daughter a hundred dollars so that she had enough money to get back and forth to work; what is this for? She asked. I am taking a drive, be gone about a week, more maybe, I love you! No real affirming reply, I hit the road. “We are what we give,” doesn’t always apply in today’s world.
Just months before, death had been a part of my life, three in all, that followed two deaths four years prior. There was no sinking into depression, no popping bottle tops, no lighting a pipe, no needle and the damage done; there was only time and need for a means of escape, knowing the world as it is today would still be there when I get back.
The only spirits I wanted with me, were only two of the five lost, otherwise the living and the dead didn’t matter, as I was the convenience, not the person that I knew somewhere inside that I was; given freely to those I love.
The drive was to be a loop, the Kings Highway in the middle, after the Sequoias, before the mountains and a beautiful blue lake. The spirits, supportive less the haunting, traveling companions unseen by those passing by my ambling speed. The serenity sinking in, I began to breathe, nerves calming, vision began to clear before my life’s eye. Knowing who I was, who I will be, most important; who I am. Somehow knowing, that the cleansing will never start, till I know who I am.
All the little towns, where farming, ranching and logging feed their livelihoods. The country way of life I think as I drive through the hamlets and by the people, sometimes hating the truth comes easy; knowing that Meth and Marijuana has been established as the new cottage industry. No longer the hidden business it once was, feeding the children, the workers, the gas station attendant that scams the customers credit card.
I sometimes mourn the true country way of life, till I figure out that there are people there; keep driving, shake the loss of America’s sentinel.
Thinking as I leave the last town of any size, before the coastal breeze fills the sunroof and open windows with the enchanting coastal air. All roads have curves, life has thrown me a few, but for some reason, the road I am on is straight, balanced. I feel my companions hand on my neck, her beautiful hand, so soft. Like the drivers passing me, I look, an empty seat; but she is there nonetheless.
Our love, like love should be, eternal in this world and the next; the shortchanged society we live in that never looks for better in the soul, always feeding off the drama.
The trees in the distance, the waiting in motion, they seem so far away; so untouchable. Minute by minute, always home in the trees, closer and closer, the giants rise; the enormous keepers of the earth. We would lose ourselves there, stargazing in the midnight hour, after the first steps of twilight took hold; after the sun acquiesced, setting humbly below the horizon. If the disillusioned massess could roll up in such a manner, leaving the stillness of the night, to the seekers of life’s substance, to find the depth of their love; that in the stillness you might find the meaning of life or that you might hear God’s soft voice.
In the day, from dawn to dusk, what a canopy, nature’s umbrella of browns and greens. Life’s seemingly motionless breath, only the eagles or elk come out to visit; leaving the rest of life to the quietness of the visitor in forest.
Slow ambling drive, some call the road a highway, two lanes weave their way through the forest, past J.J.’s swimming hole; on its way to the highway, leaving the stately sentry’s to guard the Cathedral.
The Golden Gate, from the Sequoias to the bay, a transference from forest tranquility to city lights, fog, and the beautiful Golden Gate bridge in its ruddy primer. To go back in time, May 28th 1937, what a day that would have been in an area that held such a structure.
But for me, it was the harbor lights, the blocks we walked, the beginning of the El Comino Real; the soul cleanse has started to roll under my wheels. The thoughts so disrupting to the rekindling, the rebirth of the better part of life had begun.
Only memories could stop me now, the warmth of the soul lifted from me in the forgiveness of all that wasn’t right in me, driving in my companions guidence; knowing it was through me, the only way that they could ever touch the many paths our feet had walked in loves caring ways.
Drive on, leaving the hustle and bustle of the City on the Bay behind with their stigmas and beauty, it was time to sleep, stopping to see our home, the vine of life still holding on to the stick she had hung from the deck above. Oh she loved life, the natural life, the vine struggling when we got the place, her heart said save it, give it a chance to live. That was her heavenly heart, that beats in me, speaks to me, don’t lose you – you beautiful man she would say. The thought of her words, the birth . . . of a smile.
The night, Gilroy, the motel, didn’t even drive past Peterson’s, guess you are what you are, they didn’t care about anything but the bottom line encumbered in office politics; no visit given, that part of my journey so unneeded, so useless. Didn’t need their tarnished life to mingle with mine in presence nor in spirit, such yellow ground some in humanity walks today, but my journey was in the seeking of better; the tainting of humanity for the mammon in the same twisted value touted today; that is their cross to bear.
The morning light, Monterey Bay, Big Sur, Pismo. Every mile the experience of an unconditional love, Morro Bay, back to the interstate, Monrovia. The night, warm, the air thick with the tailings of summers grasp.
Monrovia, a small family reunion, dinner and reminiscing. Time to cure the wrongs done by a generation before any of us sitting in the Monrovian that night. The angry words gone, family feelings lifted. Ned the chair, the badge, back home where they belong, years of unseen frustration slipped through the front doors to the outside air; floating away in the darkness of night. Maybe just the rattling graves heard in the distance, discontented loyalty, family values were placed in the trinkets gathered or taken through the years; no thunder when the wrongs were set right, just distant rattles in graves long past.
Cruz the old streets but one, stayed the night with friends, drinking a late night coffee on the tailgate with Pard, talking about life, and the missing of a beautiful lady’s Mole poured over chicken and rice. Family, hugs, honest and welcome.
The morning broke early, back to the interstate, wrong turn. But isn’t that just like life?
We all take a wrong turn in our lives from time to time, the arrogant people of society won’t admit it, and they are the last to really understand life or Faith. The rest of the occasional wrong turners, they simply forget that they have done so and move on with the day, but they are the ones that make light of everyone’s mistakes.
Said goodbye to the Yucca trees, back on track, life and the road feel better; passing the exits not needed for the drive. Modesto, Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced, nice enough towns, just not on the list of stops.
The spirits guide, the path clearer, the love stronger; life has meaning again.
Highway 50, the south end of Lake Tahoe, staying on the western side, taking a room for the night. The clerk, a sickly middle aged man, too many years of drugs he says, the family put me to work here as long as I stay clean, he tells me. His skin, the missing teeth, his frail stature; they told the tale, speaking volumes of his life of wrong turns.
After settling in for the night, I went outside and looked at the stars, took a deep breath of the mountain air coming up off the lake; thinking, remembering, feeling life and my companions unseen. Slept well that night, dreaming in my peaceful state, thinking that if I died that I would be home in the blink of my sleepy eye, no pain; no suffer. And I would be holding my traveling companions that I have missed and loved so true.
Morning came early, before light I loaded my duffel and cooler into the car, then set sail on the western road north around the lake. The sunrise through the trees, the lake reflecting the sunrise, blues and oranges rippled across the water; sailboats anchored off shore across the lake the misplaced Mississippi riverboat sat tethered.
Mark Twain, his words floating in the air, the gamblers and travelers of the river, an earlier time than mine. Never accused of being the sharpest knife in the drawer, I find it gratifying to be clean and sober, lacking the effects of following society’s dysfunction; I may never have seen such beauty, let alone understand what I saw before me with such clarity and historic value.
Driving through the meadows and past the golfers, heading for Truckee. A quaint town now left in the bank of memories, society had entered the sleepy town of the past. Upscale restaurant’s, turnarounds separate traffic while confusing the drivers, not the same pleasant welcoming town as in years past. Change had come to Truckee and made it like any other town, coastal or mountain, the same but different. Not minding change if it’s for the better, but when it robs the beautiful little town of its charm; then something is wrong. Even towns can make wrong turns and wrong decisions, I find it strange, people run the town, they exact old and new law’s; then complain when things get out of hand.
Grab a bite to eat, planet ‘0’, the restaurant I stopped at was once in our past an old world restaurant, you could understand the menu; for the first time in my life, I actually needed help ordering a cheeseburger and fries. Nothing like going back in time, the so called colorful 1960’s, a party I never attended but brushed up against a few times. A world, then and now, so colorful in it’s existence, yet lacking the simple understanding of life; never cloud the issues of life, not even a menu.
In God’s time, I will be home with my loved ones, but for that day, it was time to head home. Get some sleep and pick up my daughter for work, maybe get some coffee and reflect. It is not that hard of math to understand, everyone on this dusty orbiting eye of the universe, the changers, the shakers, the movers, the builders and the destroyers, the believers and the nonbelievers; everyone or anyone can use a little time spent on a soul cleanse.

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