Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Friends In High Places

Just got back from freezing a part of me that's hard to thaw out on Mexico's highest mountain: Pico de Orizaba. Some New Year's reflections are in order. To guard my rep as a fearless adventurer and journalist, I showed up at base camp without any high-tech equipment. (Except for the expandable, long-lasting, him-a-layin' recreational pole that nature hung on my sleek durable frame.) Why would I do this? In gathering material for my next book Fresh Wind & Strange Fire, I'm completely ready to give my life on behalf of you loyal readers. Even those too damn cheap to buy my critically-acclaimed Sacred Ground & Holy Water.

Let me grab a tissue here. No, I'm not getting weepy. I came back with a cold. On a positive note, with each noseblowing, I lose 2 to 3 unwanted and unsightly pounds. Anyway, it's essential for us travelers to face the new year with positive global convictions, because earth-tripping so demolishes one's faith in the truisms of this or that culture. (I'll never forget the day I was driving across Oregon, listening to the radio announce the legislation of my inalienable right to choose assisted suicide, when a cop gave me a hefty ticket for choosing to unbuckle my seat belt.) Freezing my butt and gasping for oxygen this week, I was refreshed in my passion for three global creeds with which to celebrate a new year of life.

1) People are good. At base camp, a guy named Peter from my hometown in California loaned me some gloves. Rob from Denver loaned me a down jacket (even though I don't usually hang with Colorado people because they're a different tribe and my grandma said they smell funny). Granted: not all people are good. Yet, there are enough decent folks to fill a life with friends, plus many of the bad apples have smokin' bodies and like to be spanked.

2) Nature is good. Huffing and puffing up a frozen Walden Pond called a glacier, I was reminded that one can suck the marrow out of life in pristine wilderness or let a bad-to-the-bone city suck the life out of you. Know what I mean? If eveyone around you has too many hobbies and gadgets to have any peace, get the fuck out of there - at least as often as you can.

3) God is good. Whether you prefer the name Goddess, Ganesh, or Steve (as I do), the artist-formerly-known-as-God clearly does some astonishing work. Even the most disturbing creations are mostly misinterpreted. Allowing us humans to do bad or good also allows for an artist/artwork relationship that is chosen and authentic, rather than the kind one has with an inflatable blow-up doll, which I've found to be highly overrated.

So, before you watch too many European films and try doctor-assisted suicide, read my cheesy book and try people/nature/Steve-assisted living in this wonderful gift we call another year. Speaking of blow-up dolls, the stuffed old man in this photo (called El Viejo) is a New Year's tradition in my region of Mexico. We're gonna blow his ass up with fireworks to signify "out with the old and in with the new." How dangerous is that? Somewhere between offing yourself and not wearing a seatbelt but a lot more fun than both. Thanks everyone for reading Sacred Ground Magazine in 2012!

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