Sunday, February 24, 2008
Fragments from THE DREAM: I am on Tobacco Key, a tiny Belize reef island, 45 minutes boat ride from Dangriga. I have come to snorkel in the pristine Caribbean water. Stopping to chat with a couple workers under the shade of Coconut trees, I look up and jokingly wonder if the coconuts ever fall on people. One guy says yes, and that he had been hit on the shoulder, and knew a little girl who had been severely injured. The next day, as I sat by a dock waiting for the first boat back to the mainland, suddenly I heard a thud, and loud cry from a man in a group nearby. A coconut had fallen from a tall tree and hit him in the shoulder. Ouch!
I went with Windell, a native of Belize to see his house in the jungle, and make a painting. His Pontiac is a complete mess held together by wire, but he is a mechanic and loves it nonetheless. The windshield has cracks going every direction and the front hood is wired down. To start the ignition, he touches two wires together under the dashboard. A butane tank behind the back seat provides fuel, and as we drive, he cranks up the volume on the CD player, which skips every time we hit a bump. We listen and sing along to the blues as we drive through the jungle, waving to people as we go. The car slows to a crawl going up hills, and I joke about the story of the Little Engine That Could, and say, “I think I can, I think I can.” Windell shoots back, “No. It is: ‘I know I can, I know I can.’ ”
In Belmopan, I spent a couple nights at the lodging of Christine, a friend of Windell’s who rents rooms. It’s relaxing except for noise from a house next door, and a rooster in the back that belongs to a neighbor and that crows loudly at dawn. Christine says the rooster is a nuisance and that she has complained to city hall because it disturbs her guests. Friends have suggested poisoning it. Jokes go around about the possibility of it’s demise. One night, I have strange, violent dreams. At 12:30 AM, in the midst of deep sleep, I wake from vivid dreaming and hear a man’s voice saying, “I am going to fuck with your brain!” Immediately, the rooster crows loudly. I am dazed, and lay paralyzed, wondering if I am hallucinating and maybe have been drugged with something like LSD. I hear many noises; dogs barking, party sounds, and cars. Getting up, I go downstairs, where another guest is on the patio. Disoriented, I ask him if he heard the rooster, and he says, “Yes, it is crazy!” I can’t go back to sleep, and think, well, I’ll go to the party. Getting up, I get dressed and go out on the street, but by this time the party has toned down and I can’t find it.
Today, I went to a big Baha’i gathering celebrating Ayam-i-Ha in Belmopan. People from all over Belize were there, and I enjoyed being in the crowd of mostly brown and black people of all ages.
Monday, February 18, 2008
I am growing accustomed to the ceaseless sound of the wind and waves on the beach outside my room. One morning it was quiet when I awoke, and felt strange.
Dangriga folks are the most relaxed group of people I have ever been around. They seem to be absent of anger, and it is remarkable how open they are. There are also regular beggars, and at least one woman said I could live at her house.
I have friends, and often someone will see me and call my name hello. One guy took me to his shack tucked into the woods at the end of a beach. He lives with his girlfriend in a place thrown together with boards and tin. There is a garden, and chickens and dogs. I looked at the holes in his ceiling and asked did the place leak during rains? He said yes, and that then his girlfriend and he scrambled to find dry spots, and fought over them.
There is very little glass in Dangriga . . . most windows stay open all the time.
I am a bit bewildered these days since I do not feel driven or impelled to succeed. I wonder, have I lost my bearings? Where the heck am I and what am I doing? Is my life important while I do not oil the capitalist machine? What if I become a barefoot native, and play dominoes under a thatched roof every day?
Monday, February 11, 2008
This world is alive with visible and invisible forces that constantly play together. Imperceptible tides cause the sea to rise and fall, while hidden gravity keeps the moon circling around the earth. Scientists might have explanations for consciousness, but how do they explain the difference between human and animal thought? Dream thought and waking use the same brain for cognition but the experiences are different.
Belize is my first stop on my way around the world, and I have experienced stepping into THE DREAM I love to live in.
The first step to entering THE DREAM is letting go of preconceptions. I know that when I travel, so much is foreign that I feel like a child experiencing the world anew. Then surprises happen and if consciousness is fully open, a sense of wonder occurs; just like in a dream.
I wanted to come to Belize to get relaxed and start dreaming and also, to live among a community of black people. Dangriga is a black community on the coast. It is poor like most of Belize—people don’t have wealth and live simply. Ramshackle houses are everywhere, and are not seen in the USA except in the poorest regions of the south. Yet natives are friendly and almost always smile at me with a greeting, most often saying, “hello sir.” Their accent is sort of British but also mixed with a Caribbean dialect that is rythymic to the ear. Women sometimes stroll with parasols and children play everywhere. I’ve seen some climbing to the top of coconut trees to knock off the fruit. Belizean black people have skin color that is quite dark, much darker than typical blacks in the United States. I find them wonderful to look at and easy to become friends with.
Monday, February 04, 2008
The journey has begun and I am in a slight state of shock. It took more than a month to disburse of my former life. There were moments of grace, such as selling my van on the last day at the last hour, and also, intriguing episodes as when I lost my iPhone after setting it on the table in front of me in a restaurant and telling my friend that soon I would not be caring about such things.
My possessions for the coming year existed in two suitcases in hand as I left Santa Fe at 6:00 in the morning on February 1. One of them held art supplies. I am in Santa Barbara, California now, visiting my family, who are grateful to see me before I disappear for Belize on February 7th. My parents are getting up in years and have slowed down noticeably. I worry that something terrible might happen while I am away, but my brother and sister live here, and in an emergency, I will simply come back.
I feel disoriented but it is to be expected embarking on such a new life. I am sallying forth into the unknown.