|Dark clouds mass quickly behind a sunlit tree|
Carl drives a weathered blue Ford Econoline van with high top roof.
He's says he is part Apache and at peace with the universe. "I follow the ways of the Creator," he says without elaboration. Except that he meditates and eats mostly fruit and fish.
The van is as filled with things as is seemingly his mind. A stack of books rides shotgun beside him in a pile. History, mostly, he says. Carl is compact, has a beard that's fading to white. He says he has experienced death twice and returned.
Both times "my Spirit Guide called me back, said I wasn't ready."
Now, he has no fear of dying. He says it is beautiful on the other side.
There is kindness in Carl. He has had he his share of marriages, kids, jobs. "I used to chase the buck. Then I had my third heart attack."
You could easily mistake him for a loaner, escaping crowds and living a loner's life in his van. But he is not. He has been among many things a counselor helping others with additions. It is not people he is removing himself from much of the time but the imprinted of mass culture. "If you want to know your own thoughts you have to spend some time alone."
The real world, he insists, is more spiritual. We are, he says, all members of spirit tribes. "You go down that tunnel, cross to the other side, and your fellow spirit tribe members will be there to greet you."
|Afterward the promise|
The lakeside campground will be filled with merrymakers. Carl won't be one of them. He'll be reading and thinking somewhere else less crowded.
He tells me he'll be back.
Last night it rained again. This is monsoon season in New Mexico, in July, when masses of clouds build suddenly and rain comes quickly in hard pelting drops, often as not blown sideways by gust winds, creature of the mountain and desert terrain. In hours a porous desert sand soaks it in. You would be hard pressed to know it rained except that all at once everything is greener.