Day 40/41 (The Catskills/Woodstock)

Miles Traveled:  286                                                                                                                    Total miles traveled: 8,027                                                                                                  Location: The Catskills/Woodstock

Least we forget:  My sense is that it is easy to get the impression that I believe no one should be in prison and that is far from the truth. In the fifteen years I have as a volunteer, there is no doubt in my mind that prisons can be a good thing and that maybe 15 percent of the people I have seen and known in prison should be there and I am so glad they are there. There is another big percentage that should be in mental institutions and not prisons. However, my sense is that at least 50 percent of the people I have meet in prison should not be there but could be dealt with in a cheaper and more effective way in some other form of treatment or rehabilitation. The biggest pay off is not sending single parents/caregivers and opportunity to become effective parents. The Zero to 3 program in Judge Cindy Leaderman’s court is a case in point.

Coming into New York:  Don’t know why but coming into New York marks the beginning of the end of the journey. Don’t mind saying that am OK with it coming to an end in many respects. However, in more respects, I have learned more about a lot of things and that includes myself than at any other time of my life. Much of it will serve me well in the classes I teach in the prisons if visit and the people that come to listen to what I have to say. 8,000 miles on a motor cycle is quite an experience.

Our camp in the Catskills:  This is a rather sad comment on the economy. We are in the middle of the vacation time and all these cabins are empty. Essentially, we had the entire section of the KOA camp ground to ourselves. This was the first time that we ever stopped by choice and took time to clean and maintain the bikes. The one exception was Sturges where I was grounded by a broken starter in the repair shop.

Its a tree house:  Over the last five or so days, a lot of stuff was either packed wet or soaked on the road. At this or that stop there was a chance to clean this or that but not to take everything out and look at it and allow it to dry in the sun. The tent was the biggest item. The ground was wet so instead of setting it up and letting the bottom stay wet, I strung a rope over a tall and pulled it up for the day. By the end of the day, it was dry and did not stink. It truely is a good tent but not designed for what it did. I this ride was just to ride and camp, the tent would have been very adequate. But at times, I had to set the inside to be an office to blog from in the rain. Not good, need a four man tent for that. However, a four man tent does not ride well on a motor cycle. Nevertheless, to date have only missed two days and in the end, the tent served me well.

The Gray Ghost is brown with dirt: Don’t know how I got through some of the rain encountered over the last five days. Got to say, these bikes are tough and built for whatever is thrown at them. Broke down and took a bottle of Windex and steel wool and turned to on it for a couple of hours. Put the music on the phone and Johnny Cash combined with some rock and rock made it a pleasant walk down memory lane. Two songs really stayed with me for the whole day. One was an old rock and roll song from the 60s titled Tell Laura I Love Her and then Johnny Cash’s song The Man in Black.  Gave me a much deeper appreciation of his songs and the man in particular. It was good sitting with those songs.

Life sucks: This is a picture that Joe took and powerful it is. If you double click on the photo, you will see that the granite has cut or blown away from the trees and they have adjusted to the situation by finding or creating new footholds in the new situation and they continue to thrive. Unfortunately, man has a brain and memory which all to often leaves him stuck in the past with all the coulda, shoulda and oughtas. All of which diverts time and energy from making accommodations with the reality of the moment and using them as a foundation for growth. You know the TAO.

Woodstock: Drove into Woodstock and must have taken 50 photos of this and that. In going through the photos settled on two. To me, this was the most revealing of the entire situation. It was a farmers market and this was one of the booths. They were selling all kinds of stuff and I saw the peaches and asked how they were picked, to which they look at their hands and said one at a time. Don’t know why but it gave me great hope after seeing all the migrant labor in the south. Then they said they were from not far away and said they were real New Yorkers and farmers as well. Don’t know why but the chapter from the The Cider House Rules that rotates around the apple pickers in Maine came to mind. Migrant workers, Cider House Rules and these kids make an interesting triangle but will have to work it out later.

Chance:  In taking all the photos I have taken of the trip to date, chance is the biggest player. I point and shot hoping that something of value will appear. Went through Woodstock just shooting photos and this was so unintentional. It captures the technique so clearly. Got to say that I have come to Woodstock 50 years too late and don’t mind it at all. Having said that, if I was to move there doubt I wouldn’t last a year.

My Bed: The universe has a way of boxing you in to do what is best for yourself even if you don’t like it. When I got here, I had no idea how tired I was. Yes, it is day 41 and there are over 8,000 miles behind me. Yes, have been wet for 5 days. Yes, this is my 69th summer and a young buck I am not. When I pulled in yesterday, I felt like an old warhorse that needed a cool green pasture. Within a couple of hours was sound asleep and only got up for chow and went back to bed. You see the KOA WiFi only has one or two bars and could get no good internet. We were in the mountains and my cell phone only had one bar so my alternate internet was not working. Decided, OK, sleep and sleep I did till 0300 and woke up refreshed. Tried the internet and found if I was the only one on it, then one bar was enough. Got a couple of hours done and went back to sleep for a couple of more hours.

Death: A couple of years ago, Anne Rudloe did a YouTube production The Nature of Cancer which describes her encounter with cancer. In it, she talks with death being a part of life. Never felt comfortable with that concept and for some reason while listening to Johnny Cash and the other song, the whole thing came together and in a very visceral way am comfortable with the thought. Trailing after that feeling was a flashing thought about the pine beetle battle going on in the west. Where as mother nature uses Forrest fires to control the expansion of the pine beetle and give new life a chance, man kind has put a stop to tha cycle. So, mother nature does an end run and unleashes the pine beetle to create a wasteland of dead trees that are themselves a greater hazard than any drought condition could be. In the process, mother nature is punishing mankind because the wasteland of old trees is producing CO2 instead of filtering the CO2 and producing oxygen.  This is beginning to look like shades of the Matrix.

The Human Route

Coming empty-handed, going empty-handed – that is human.
When you are born, where do you come from?
When you die, where do you go?
Life is like a floating cloud which appears.
Death is like a floating cloud which disappears.
The floating cloud itself originally does not exist.
Life and death, coming and going, are also like that.
But there is one thing which always remains clear.
It is pure and clear, not depending on life and death.

Then what is the one pure and clear thing?

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