Wednesday, December 30, 2015

KAIROS







Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). 

The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos cand kairos. 

While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a time lapse, a moment of indeterminate time in which everything happens. 





Saturday, December 26, 2015

COINCIDENCE MULTIPLIES ON THE ROAD







Maybe you're crossing a border.

Maybe you're getting off planes and trains.


You're out and about.


In movement in the world, you tend to drop your normal, routine pattern of perceptions and notice some different things because you're in a different landscape.


-- Robert Moss


Monday, December 21, 2015

SHASTA UP CLOSE






April 2015



Lemurians or no, there is something awfully spiritual about Mount Shasta once you are within its magnetic pull.

Around three a.m., the devil’s hour, I awaken with a headache and a thirst:  Advil, a glass of Shasta water, from the tap, fresh and cold.  It takes a while, but I eventually fall into the sweetest sleep of the night, and with it a very vivid dream:  I am staying in this very room, but instead of a rustic setting, outside my door is a lively, vibrant street akin to San Francisco’s North Beach.  As I gingerly step out, joyous people engulf me, asking what I’m looking for, offering to take me to Mount Shasta’s central boulevard, which, they say, is even more vibrant and artsier than the street we are on.  I am awed by the joyfulness and gaiety exuded by these smiley, very happy people.  They call their main street Honore, and seem in a hurry—so gleeful they are—to take me there.


I awaken to a cold rustic setting, no people, and a few birds singing, shower and dress, and aim myself at Everett Memorial Highway, a curvaceous road that ascends the mountain to its baseline.   

Brilliant sunshine glistens upon fresh white powder.


Few others are on this road; few others are anywhere in this quiet community.


At road’s end, prematurely, due to winter snow, some folks have set up camp, with pitched tents, hoping, perhaps, to catch a glimpse of Bigfoot—or a Lemurian.


I park, amble about, and head back, this time to a town further north called Weed, for better views of Mount Shasta.   

In search of coffee, I wind up back in Dunsmuir, where a shack called All Aboard Espresso obliges with a latte I end up dumping in a refuse bin.  








Further down Dunsmuir Avenue, near the movie house, which may soon show its last picture, is the Cornerstone Bakery and Café—the only lively place I’ve seen since arriving near the mountain, decent coffee and breakfast.

Just past eleven, a shop called Unexpected Treasures opens.  I stroll in and announce I’m looking for one. 




The unexpected treasure is not here, but next door at Harley Antiques: a miniature oil-on-board of Mount Shasta by Kela Wyss, who, Harley explains, painted in this area during the 1970s—mine for fifty bucks.

I don’t want to drive 600 miles home, so I assess my options:  Petaluma, San Francisco, Carmel… ultimately, I opt for Healdsburg, nestled between Napa and the Russian River Valley.  



And just as well because I-5 is so straight, you want to scream after an hour.  

Route 20 takes me into wine country: hilly vineyards and curved roads, arriving a few minutes before four p.m., closing time...



...at Ridge Vineyards, just north of Healdsburg on Lytton Springs Road, and a tasting that includes their “collectible” Monte Bello cab. 





The Healdsburg Hotel is full up due to an event.  They recommend a hotel, which also turns out to be full, which recommends... The Honor Mansion.

Honore—from my dream.




My first novel about a road trip has been acquired by Skyhorse Publishing in New York City.



It will be published in Fall 2016



Saturday, December 19, 2015

ARRIVING IN SHASTA







April 2015



First stop is Valley Grind in Old Town Santa Ynez for a lavender latte to set me up for a marathon nine-hour drive, music alternating between Jack Savoretti and the soundtrack from a movie called Begin Again, a good fit for the mission at hand. 

In no time at all, I’m San Luis Obispo (a Madonna Inn pit stop), King City for gas and, many hours later, more gas in Winters before joining 505 and connecting to I-5.


Passing Shasta Lake, the great mystical mountain finally comes into view, peaking over lesser mountains, fleeting glimpses here and again.  

At first, second, and third glance, Shasta is every bit as majestic as painted by the Harry Cassie Best, a traveling musician who discovered his talent as an artist by painting this mountain.


Soon, the ancient volcano looms, providing me the same kind of thrill I used to get when approaching Disneyland as a kid and seeing the Matterhorn.

I exit the interstate into Dunsmuir, a quaint town that exists in a gully, from which most of Mount Shasta is hidden.  

I’d been minded to find overnight accommodation here and check out “the world’s best water” from a 5,000 year-old aquiver.    

But Dunsmuir is sleepy and I’d read the best views of Shasta are seen from the drive north from Dunsmuir when the sun is about the set, and the sun is about to set, so it’s a no-brainer to continue on to Mount Shasta City, which isn’t much of one, more a village combining retirement community with new age mystics. 

My iPad navigates me to the Mount Shasta Resort, which seems right, due to its astonishing view of the mountain and a name suggesting something reasonably elegant.

I’m sent down to a “chalet,” a quarter-mile away, but “chalet” is just a façade for a sparse motel room with basic plumbing.  Miniature soaps in paper and cellophane-covered plastic cups conclude the amenities. 


An absence of cars suggests I am to be the only being around this night, except maybe Bigfoot stomping around nearby.

It is now 6:55 and I return to the Clubhouse, where I’m told the bar and restaurant stops serving at eight o’clock.

“What about in town?” I ask.

“Pretty much the same.”


I grab a high top by the picture window and content myself with martini, up, twist, leave the shaker.  The only thing I’d eaten all day was a banana and a handful of dry granola before departing, so the combination of extra-large pour and nothing in my stomach is lethal—though after nine hours on the road I am extremely grateful.

Meantime, the sun not so much sets as disappears behind hills to the west.

I order “Thai BBQ salmon” on a bed of spinach, and it’s a crying shame the poor fish had to give up its life for so dismal a dish. I’d wondered why the few others around me were eating bacon cheeseburgers, and now I knew. 

By nine o’clock I am only customer remaining, finishing a glass of Rosenblum cab. 

The bartender, who has kindly stayed to see me through, wears black eyeliner and eye shadow and, when I ask about the magic mountain, revels in its lore; waxing enthusiastic about an ancient civilization called the Lemurians that reside under the mountain in the golden city of Telos.

And isn’t this why I drove 600 miles in one day to get here?

Lemurians or no, there is something awfully spiritual about Mount Shasta once you are within its magnetic pull.


Around three a.m., the devil’s hour, I awaken with a headache and a thirst:  Advil, a glass of Shasta water, from the tap, fresh and cold.  

It takes a while, but I eventually fall into the sweetest sleep of the night, and with it a very vivid dream:  

I am staying in this very room, but instead of a rustic setting, outside my door is a lively, vibrant street akin to San Francisco’s North Beach.  As I gingerly step out, joyous people engulf me, asking what I’m looking for, offering to take me to Mount Shasta’s central boulevard, which, they say, is even more vibrant and artsier than the street we are on.  I am awed by the joyfulness exuded by these smiley, very happy people.  They call their main street Honore, and seem in a hurry—so gleeful they are—to take me there.




My first novel about a road trip has been acquired by Skyhorse Publishing in New York City.



It will be published in Fall 2016



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

MOUNT SHASTA



A View of Mount Shasta
Harry Cassie Best





April 2015


You do not need to travel to India for spiritual enlightenment.  

If you do, spiritually enlightened Indians are likely to point you elsewhere.  

Like, back where you came from.  

Specifically, to Mount Shasta, in northern California. 

You've heard of Born Again Christians.

Mystical Mount Shasta is where you go to be reborn without having to become Christian, or anything other than your own reborn spirit.

The mountain itself is an ancient volcano 14,000 feet high, once home (maybe still is) to an ancient civilization called the Lemurians.

Nearby, Bigfoot runs amuck.

UFOs drop in for a magnetic energy fix, rendering this real magic mountain a service station for extraterrestrials. 

Assorted New Agers, Buddhists, shamans and charlatans hang their shingles to milk the pilgrims, some of whom never leave. 

Purge the past.  Spiritual rebirth.  Tranquility.  

Hell, it doesn’t hurt to try—not least because Shasta is only a nine-hour drive from Santa Barbara.  

Plus I have a novel playing in my mind set around a road trip like this.

Torrential rainstorms throughout the Golden State keep me home.  Although I welcome moodiness over stark blue sky, it seems senseless to go when the mountain may be obscured by raincloud. 

I aim to depart the day after Easter, but another winter storm gets in the way, dumping fifteen inches of snow.  

Finally, I'm off.

First stop, Valley Grind in Old Town Santa Ynez for a lavender latte to set me up for a marathon nine-hour drive, music alternating between Jack Savoretti and the soundtrack from a movie called Begin Again, a good fit for the mission at hand. 




My first novel about a road trip has been acquired by Skyhorse Publishing in New York City.



It will be published in Fall 2016



Saturday, December 12, 2015

FUNK ZONE ART WALK





Featuring the creations of artist Dan Levin.

















For only fifty bucks I now possess the devil.  (The devil is cheap.)

A new way to vanquish evil...