Wake up. Jungle palms. Sunlight.
These are great signs that I am very much alive and ok.
Justin walks in carrying some little diapered angel in his arms and remarks as to whether or not the mosquitos bothered me throughout the night. I mumble something about being from Minnesota as he drifts out of my line of sight and I flirt in and out of consciousness. Finally a cute little boy walks up with what I can vaguely recognize as a board-game and asks I if I want to play Krishna land. This is cute and a little surreal.
At this point I am definitely awake.
So here I am. 21. Waking from a peaceful moonlight sleep in a jungle paradise to a little boy who wants to play Krishna land. Downtown I read of rumors of war in the newspaper. Nuclear explosions fade in and out of fairytale dreams. Dark whispers are on the horizon but here in this moment all is well. All is gentle and the earth, as far as I can see it, is exactly as it should be. I take a moment and give thanks. A moment passes and I’m showering in the sunlight wondering how on earth I ended up on this beautiful trajectory. Wandering early morning thoughts fade into action and I’m riding passenger style in a little black car named “Misty,” staying faithful to our morning ritual and in route to get our standard caffeinated delights from a local coffee shop called “Sharky’s.”
Things progress. Pleasantries are exchanged, followed by currency. Cold coffee fills our hands as cold money exits. The owner of Sharky’s is an old Minnesota hunting hound turned island snow bird-slash-coffee officianado-slash-chocolateer-slash-entrepreneur. Almost all of his stories are about fishing and hunting in a lot of places I visited growing up. He reminds me of the not-so-old days back in the rural MN and he mentions rivers and lakes I haven’t thought of in years. All in all the dude “Sharky” is pretty classic. Wild grey hair, standard +40 visor. He’s a total business man and as such all conversations are always one sided.
Post coffee and a grounding meeting with a filmmaking acquaintance who is pretty keen on the west coast scene, Ev and I make a quick run up to the pink house where I make my not-so-final goodbyes, grab the last of my things. It’s short, sweet, and definitely sentimental. I shake a few hands, burn a little sage, and send my love to the future endeavors of the inhabitants who rest their heads within the safety of those beautiful pink walls. It’s been an incredible run. The most delightful housing experience of my almost-adult life. Nothing felt so much like home as walking in to the house to a whirlwind of people I’ve never met and finding new and wonderful friends in each of them. People from all over the world. Walls filled with the high vibrational art of friends and travelers from all over the hippie underground. There were so many times in that house, even when it was just us “guys” who lived there full time, where everyone was in their own rooms or own space in the house, just zenned out on a Sunday afternoon, all playing guitar, singing his own song, carrying his own light. Those mornings after shows and walking into the entryway to see 7 guitar cases from the night before. Drums scattered about. This was home. That was my life. In some dimension it still is. I’m still waking up to surf prospects, and smoothies, and ginger and turmeric and Koda nuzzling me awake and licking my face. I’ve learned so much from my Pink House brothers. Real, solid, dudes who know how to build and farm and garden. Real homies who can talk stuff out and get real in the kitchen grooving hard and cooking steady on some Miles Davis. It’s so real I can barely believe it’s been 4 months and not 4 years.
Trunk closes. Cruising back into Hilo town. Getting close to the beach we stop at the market for some food. One thing leads to another and I’m talking to the oil man. A real alchemist who can break down some heady downloads on homeopathic native medicine and ancient egyptian mixtures for just about everything. Protection from darkness. Invigorating potions. Sweet dreams. Calming scents, soothing tonics, and oils that can heal minor cuts and pains better than anything you could buy in a store. I’ve learned a lot from this one. He’s a real world traveler. A maverick indeed.
Our conversation on the ways of the heart is cut short by a woman with a bear tattoo. She interrupts and pats me on the back with one hand and gives me a copy of the Big Island Weekly with the other with a quick congratulations. A little look through the pages results in some pictures of yours truly and a headline that reads “In the Rain with Dustin Thomas.” Goosebumps. Joyful. I share a nice closing with the two of them, thank the kind woman for her heads up as I pack away my oils, walk on down the street to the nearest paper spot, pick up a couple copies for the family back home, and hop back in the car with Ev to make our way to the beach.
A lot can happen in 20 minutes.
The beach was divine as it always is. That wide open and roaring expanse washes away all the simple ways of my sometimes muddled and all too developing understanding. The waves crash, I dive under and let my eyes feel the saltwater. I let myself feel the fear of the god-like immensity of the ocean. I send some prayers to whatever deity rests under the surface. I walk ashore and give some offerings of sage while brother Ev wraps up his paddle boarding mission and we prepare to head up to the Volcano.
Then the unexpected.
After a few months of missed connections, my homie Hoku (owner, producer 19mile studios) and I finally link up. Our leave time for the Volcano is one hour and Hoku has just as much time in his schedule to try to lay down some tracks. After 3 attempts resulted in system overload, I was beginning to think that the spirit had other plans in mind. Hoku insisted on a 4th try and after a little restart we got cooking. It only seemed right that we did 4 tracks. In just under an hour a lot of energy manifested. I haven’t heard the tracks yet, but I got into the van feeling on top of the world. Working with Hoku was in a lot of ways a dream come true. We see eye to eye on the simple things and I admire his bravery and perseverance as a self made man of color. I admire any self made man for that matter, Hoku just strikes a lot of the right chords in the right ways.
Flash to the van. Driving through miles of dark jungle roads. Dark shapes play in the shadows and our caravan speeds every further into the abyss. Up the volcano. Up to Pele. The rain is falling. The mist is swirling. Curling smoke and churning ash. Ethereal gray spirits dance along the side of the crater like dancers around a bonfire. Mysterious omens of happenings past, present, and future are echoes in that sacred space. This is a holy moment. I can hardly describe how it feels to be so close to the source of all created land. So close to destruction and life. Internal debate is hushed pretty quick in the presence of such mighty natural forces. That which destroys hold the key to new life. Sometimes the truth is so obvious. Sometimes it slips through my fingers like black sand. I am content with the un-knowing.
Articles. Recordings. Adventures. New journeys. It’s a Full Moon Thursday afternoon. The year is 2012 and once again I am living on the road with my backpack and guitar. The world is on the brink of something terrible and altogether wonderful.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You can find a link to the article in the “Big Island Weekly” here, and listen to the whole interview at J Walk’s podcast here.
Dream well my brothers and sisters. This is the first blog post of what I hope to be many. Tonight when I lay down to rest I’m going to imagine a world without nuclear weapons. By all means, feel free to join me.