The Most Recent Strange Peregrination of F. S. Whinkla
. . . being an honest recollection of events as they occurred on the last leg of his return journey to Kleadrap from Dallas, Texas after wandering several months in and around the Orient.
I drove, rather dreamily, to the grove of cottonwoods and made camp, and as rain seemed unlikely simply unrolled a small tarp and fluffed-up my down-filled mummy bag. Then, after urinating in the dry wash, spelling my name, except for the last “la”, I built a small ring of stones and gathered enough twigs and small branches for an evening fire. It was quiet, very quiet, as I boiled the last of my water, on the two-burner propane stove I had bought in Dallas, for tea. I poured the heated water over the dark Camellia sinensis leaves, leaned my back against the thick, deeply fissured bark of one of the larger Poplars and opened ‘The Old Coyote of Big Sur’, a book about Jamie de Angulo, and began to read.
I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I remember was darkness, an empty tea cup, a closed book in my lap, and the distant lament, or exaltation, of a coyote somewhere high in the surrounding hills, and even though it must have been later than five in the afternoon I was immediately reminded of Lorca’s “Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías”, but don’t ask me why, I do not want to think about it.
Larry, when I opened my eyes a warm wind washing down the canyon had picked up the golden cottonwood leaves and set them dancing in a dozen dervish-like spiraling cones. I suddenly felt the essence of Σαλωμη (why did Whinkla use the Greek for Salome?) before me and hoped I was not to become a surrogate ‘John the Baptist’. The trees swayed in the quarter-moon moonlight and I thought they might be singing, singing or chanting, like a disciple of Pope Gregory the 1st. Conversely I felt I might just as easily encounter an aroused Oberon or Puck prancing along the bed of the stream, I sensed something magical afoot, but when I stood and stretched my limbs the colourful whirlwinds melted into the sand and the breeze died like a dying man’s last breath.
I walked over to the Odyssey, refilled my glass with Cabernet, and decided to light a fire and broil an Esposito’s cheese and parsley sausage or two for dinner. It was then I realized I had no water to cook the pasta I wanted and would have to return to the house to fill my bottles.
The moon and the milky way provided enough light so that I could clearly see the darker, geometric outline of the building, so, leaving my wine glass next to the unlit pyramid of twigs next to the fire ring I took two empty gallon plastic jugs and walked toward the house.
To be continued