Smoking in the girls’ room, sneaking a drink, napping
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Years ago, while chasing my second-grade friend Margaret, I suddenly became acutely aware of feeling “here and elsewhere” at the same moment. This experience persisted even as we stopped our game and sat down to rest. My friend, curious about my silence, asked me what was the matter.
There are few questions more intriguing than whether man survives death — and if so, just what is it that survives?
There are some who say all you need to survive is canned peas. I don’t necessarily agree with that. The human is extraordinarily complex. Ask yourself: when were jackets invented?
We’re unsure whether to go. “I don’t want to hear about how we haven’t got much time left,” I lament. Earlier, I had asked Pete about it. “Survival,” he scoffed. “I went through that five years ago. You know, a lot of them talk about ecology, it’s fashionable, but underneath . . . ” He waves his hand. “I don’t even go into Chapel Hill anymore. I feel better with the grits here in Carrboro. I can’t explain it. It feels different.”
Ram Dass, the former Richard Alpert, is the author of “Be Here Now,” and “The Only Dance There Is.” He and Timothy Leary, both Harvard professors in the early sixties, helped to make LSD a household word. Ram Dass went on to India, where he met his guru and went through a profound spiritual transformation. He was instructed in yoga and returned to the West to share his teachings. He will be in Durham April 26 to give a public address at Duke University.
The New Age, they say, beginning. Atlantis, they say, rising. And we, the reincarnated Atlanteans, gathering, as any family before a celebration, or a storm.
“No more sheiks in this desert, man.” The dark-skinned, bearded one laughed half-heartedly through a mouthful of smiling teeth. “Not one of them bastards left now. Toke?”
I wanted to touch him, hold him and laugh with him, show him something — just one thing — good about the world, but I couldn’t think of anything just then. I wanted to fold his mother into me, whoever she was, and love her, build for myself and these two people I didn’t even know a world where laughter and gentleness is possible, not distorted.
You start with the energy to be somebody, then use it to become nobody.