If You Don't Remember This, What Will You Remember?
This is a photo taken in May of 1968. If you look at the door of the train, that is me getting off, coming
home from Viet Nam. There is an old blog where I talk about alienation from those who are waiting there
for me. In rereading that post, it seems as though I am implying that it somehow was their fault. It was not.
They were all good people. So was I. It's just that war changes you so dramatically. They didn't understand.
I didn't understand then. Now? Surely, I understand more.
The question I was addressing in that previous post was: "What if I hadn't gotten off that train?" Now I know
that I would not have. Not because of the people. They were my family. Now I know I should not have even
boarded that train. You see, you just never go back.
Now, so many years since then, and I wonder. Not what if, but what has it all been about, the roundabout way
of leaving that place; and the where the heck am I now?
Today, I found myself feeling disconnected. Yes, again. I did a meditation with Rinpoche that left me a little sad,
and hopeless. He says that enlightenment comes to each being, eventually. I think that I likely will be among the
last. I went for a bike ride that I didn't really want to do. It's hot here in Phoenix, again. I look down at my salt
encrusted cloths, and wonder why I am still doing it. And it starts me thinking of the years that followed the taking
of this photo. In particular I am reminded of some of the bands that I used to go see. I remember seeing a band
called "The Bushes" (ironic sort of name), which included a couple of friends, one in particular named Ron Stockert
from Havana, Illinois. He went on to be a founding member of Rufus before Chaka Khan, and later played briefly with
Three Dog Night. There were good bands in central Illinois in those days. But, see, it was part of my life that had departed from my previous life, like a part of me that had not gotten off that train, a ghost. I thought those were good
times. Was I mistaken? They led me to many years of suffering. But what else is there? All is dukka. "The suffering
must be known."
And if I were to be honest, I would confess that I feel more alienated today than I ever felt in those days. I am pro-
foundly disappointed in my fellow man. I don't want to go into politics here, I've done enough of that already, but suffice it to say I am sad and disturbed that we have fallen for such a shallow and stupid trap, not cunning, not sly, not deceptive, simply dumb fully taking advantage of our childish and base fears. Simply pathetic.