PART ONE
A CALL FROM BEYOND

I sat watching the space of sky and the surrounding countryside just before twilight came. Everything appearing as though to have come more alive now with the last of a late afternoon’s blushing wink of day, in a bright fusion of golden, amber light. As the sun was westwardly bound, it shone radiantly onto the dazzling greenery of the young fleecy, thousand shades of green of May growth, seeming to touch everything, individually: one by one into fertile life, as with a magic wand, infusing them with a profound vital glow. And I felt a great call, a stirring deep from within, that remained throughout the night into several more days and following evenings. It was not a feeling that was in anyway incongruous, to my peace of mind; but rather something from beyond my ability to grasp and explain so readily. Which to me—I felt was a good phenomenon: some thing that was not germane to the surface of my existence, was where existed the true nature of my being; and there, was where my answers for a rich full life, and placed aside dreams, now forgotten, could once again be realized and lived full-measure; if I still possessed what it took to see it all through: to where it might lead. And so now, after many days I awoke with the renewed sun, and was beckoned on; believing, rather instinctively: that more than just a small part—perhaps the greater balance of me still remained. With this in mind, I called upon a friend to meet me down by the river’s edge, to seek his wise counsel, while enjoying his company.

Beneath the flawless blue skies of a May day, and the new green
Of the season, wavering in the breeze: feelings that I’d not known,
Or, feared to be too closely allied, began to return after so long,
As the amber-light of the day’s close intensified, as twilight came. 4

Wasn’t it good. . . .was not the feeling so right for one to sit in repose,
After an arduous life’s road, and look around at the sky and the expanse
Of countryside, and to just know. . . .sense. . . . to feel, faith, penetratingly,
That even more of these triumphant feelings were to come;— 8

To exhale, and know, that you were still very much alive; undefeated;
When after you assumed that this was only a salvage attempt; now
At living: sensing, all that verve and vim that’d formerly been suppressed
Vying now to come to the fore, as the more defining qualities? 12

For me, there’d never existed a more favorable place and time
Of year, than May, at the Quad Cities. Where the
Temperament in climate was suited just right; the skies overhead:
Blue, bright, cloudless and fantastic; full of sunshine, creating a mood 16

That seemed clearly suggestive that in the here and now, life: wasn’t a
Phenomenon to be guessed at,—but in actuality to be lived, full-measure;
With the individual spirit; the possession that always summoned deeply
From within; calling us back to our original thoughts and desires and 20

Hopes and dreams; a call deep from within, so far beyond the self,
Of current knowing, that becomes so intertwined, misguided; buried
Beneath the rubble of the day to day goings-on of guessing at life.
Taking one’s cues from externals. I’d faltered. Somewhere. So now— 24

Under the influence of some strange, fascinating and wild, most liberating,
Powerful impulse, in the evening so gentle and close, like a species of
Wild-things, being drawn towards some propagating ground: so it was that
I, awoke with a passionate notion, of urgency. Not to flee; but to discover. 28

This sudden motivation, was all a surprise; being as it were
I had only recently returned to my home that I’d longed
For so to be reunited. But the magnetic attraction that drew
Me, was profound. And now. . . .drawn toward what and where? 32

. . . . I could not elaborate. . . . I did not know;
Only that it was of a strong, magnetic pull, irresistible—
Slightly, exceeding my current grasp of knowing: and like any,
True, man of exploration—this captured, and held fastly, my attention. 36

But, sensing further, I understood, that now, the time had come: finally;
At long last, that I’d always anticipated, but had lapsed from memory,
While dreaming when living in the East-land, promising myself that
I’d explore the lands westward of my home, sometime upon my return. 40

And now it would seem, that perhaps, that time had now, come.
It was as if something primitive that seriously urged me:
So without much delay and little forethought: I made ready,
First my mind, as best I could in preparation: 44

Then, I’d to seek counsel of another: which is always prudent.
And that be, my friend Donaldson, who was like
The brother, that I’d never had, agreed to meet me,
Down by the river’s edge—to talk and consult. 48

His advice was sound, as I knew it would be, for twenty-five years
Of friendship, never survived: without mutual respect, and confidence,
In one’s ally. “Following your feelings: is the first true step—I’ve
Always believed,” he said supportively. And that was sufficient enough. 52

“The loss on this expedition, will be minimal, the rewards great,”
He said. “At least then you’ll unequivocally, know.”
My mind had already been made up, but like all things
In life, this exploration was enhanced by the positive reinforcement. 56

“Thank you,” I said to him: “you’re an honest man, and a good friend.”
“And you, a good model of example,” Donaldson said: “It’s always
Better to follow your own path than to just do what others do; uniquely,
For you—and not by some set, staid, worn-out standard.” 60

“That, I’ve always believed,” said I. “Makes the man—his own.”
“Be true to you—while you still have the strength to be,”
He said. “I wish I had while I was still your age. Full of strength
Muscle and vigor.” As it were, he had sons, close in age to me. 64

And must I say, it was so good to have his support,
As he’d always been there for me, without prejudice, or judgment:
So his comforting words, that entered soothingly at my ears,
Were like sweet nectar to the soul of my adventuring heart. 68

And before finally parting: “Go out and seek what you
Want; sate your curiosities,—but don’t shrug your Atlas’s
Responsibilities; in regards the bigger world: at-large.
That few are rarely aware. It’s what you owe to your fellows; 72

Whether they are forever in dark oblivious or not.
Believe in yourself, as I have always believed in your
Goodness, kindness—compassion; thoughtfulness: those
Are your strengths, not a weakness!—your shield and buckler. 76

Trust in yourself; and that stems from feeling: feel after it;
Let that be your guiding principle. If it’s not right
You will certainly know. One should always know; if they’d
Follow—feeling: that initial sensation, before too much thought, corrupts. 80

Remember, no matter whereabouts you end up touring: and among
Those whom you shall meet, love, and form acquaintanceships, that on
Very few instances, seldomly, is a man, righteous
Of heart—rarely seen as such. And do, leave some things, 84

Out in the world, up to mystery. Come back, soon,” he said.
I nodded. How well did he know me. I was such, that if
A Great power that determined all fate, were to tell the very
Moment of my departure from this realm, and if I had one last 88

Book that I desired to read: I’d start—and I’d be
As productive in that endeavor as possible, being conscious
Of that scheduled departure hour. And at the final sentence,
I’d cease. Such a being was I: to leave a tad for curiosity’s sake. 92

And now—so fast, so soon, already: another adventure
After only just a year of returning, to these shores,
Was almost underway; but then, this had always been a dream
Put on hold for far too long. 96

And not knowing how long I’d be gone, as best as I
Could, I put my affairs in many months order; then, with
This done, and a round of good-byes, delaying no further,
I set off from the familiar surroundings of my native home. 100

Home, along those fertile banks,
Of that most famous of all earthly rivers—
As far as I was concerned, and meant the most to me,
That divide east from west. 104

This ancient, majestic Mississippi River, a body of water so great
And powerful, yet springing from that small, little fountain
Body of a lake at the North land, then flowing
Steadily, rapidly onward down into the Gulf at the South. 108
It was more to me than just a river.
It was more likened to a sense of place:
A place whose memory had drawn me,
With visions of my youth, back home again. 112

And with so much I considered, to be gained,
I weighted in counter-balance: that there could be loss.
But, then I thought, we only lose: what impedes growth. So—
Like the river’s flow, without haste; I swiftly begun my adventure. 116

Across the lush and rolling hills of my homeland, Iowa,
My internal compass, some inborn guiding trait, beckoning,
Leading, coaxing me onward, westward. Trekking me
Over the flat and badlands, and sand-hills of Nebraska. 120

And never before had I desired so much, as now: to be a writer,
An artist, a sculptor, a painter, so that I might create, to forever enjoy
What my eyes were seeing, and showed my mind; by imitating, through
Those various mediums, what my mind couldn’t drink of enough. 124

It was a learning adventure, thus-far: seeing these new scenes;
Navigating the rugged terrain of undomesticated land; prairie dogs;
The tumbleweeds, that changed course with the wind, bringing to mind,
Faces of the multitude, that are without ballast, to steady their course. 128

And the wild pronghorn antelope: that ran wild and free, at play:
Grazing, in unattended rings; and bison herds too; with their primitive
Galloping, stampeding the plains; coming at last I did, to the windy outpost:
High up on the plateau, Cheyenne. Here, the air was dry and pleasant; 132

The inhabitants, here, unobtrusive, friendly—there inquisitiveness,
Reasonable: at first impression. Perhaps, thought I, that this could be
A home away from home, but. . . .wait a little yet, I thought;
Only time would tell. . . .with more impressions to come. 136

At this juncture, I was now two days, twelve hard car hours’ ride
From home; and this was the farthest—I had ever ventured
West of the Mississippi River. . . .and now, I was truly
Getting into the West. I could feel the change in atmosphere. Here, was 140

Tempered just right for a mind that needed to contemplate—
The Beyond. Having always been a thinker, I needed a place
To serve in capacity of a stable dwelling; but also, like any explorer,
So often I had to roam. Might I discover what lay beyond Perception? 144

It was truly good, I thought, so often to do so,
Because it was the true nature at the heart
Of man; because if he dreamed, more than fitfully so,
Following the heart’s dictates: he wouldn’t so often: go wrong. 148

This much I knew to be so true about myself;
And for so long, I did the opposite: that’s how I knew;
Falling into a place of conformity, of a work-a-job, for a time,
And emulating, without further thought, what others did, I ruined me. 152

So this wandering into the wilderness was me trying to find myself, again;
Maybe even—for the first time. To realize my childhood dreams; having
Become mislead by the adult-world, that lacks a child’s will, or tenacity;
And was but a trap: this pretentious, grownup world. 156

I felt myself right now fortunate, to have questioned what I saw,
In everyday life: the feigned happiness, the ill-content,
So many unnecessary stressors and dramas that did nothing, little else
But delivered up, one into old age with so many vain regrets. 160

So now, if there’d been furtive, lingering doubts and misgivings,
They were slipping away. There was no-one who could cast me the
Chiding eye and point the stern finger of conformity, making me feel
As if, I squandering life. If I did—I did as an individual, of my own accord. 164

And briefly, profoundly: I considered what Donaldson had said, “Feel after it.
Let your feelings guide you” : Now I thought that I really understood—
It wasn’t at all simple, it was: unique,—and I realized now, that feeling
was key—sadly, in an entire lifetime: most never did conclude this realization. 168

PART TWO
JOURNEY INTO THE WILDERNESS

All my life I felt as though there was something that I ‘had’ to do—was destined to do: a certain place or many places that I ‘had’ to travel to,‘had’ to see; ‘had’ to experience—sometimes for both good and ill; and once there, the reason why, would simply come clear; or, a specific person I was to meet, and then ordained events would commence; or, a theme that needed to possess me—and the acts, for my part scheduled to be performed on the Universe’s stage of my life would become known; or, simply my heart’s desire demanded more than the standard routes so many men travel and are so oftentimes satisfied with for just being carried along, caught up in the wakes of the momentum of the activity: and nothing more sustaining.
Or, perhaps some thing that had been willed by something beyond me and far greater than I could ever imagine: that had decreed that I would be part of certain events and happenings; and nothing on earth would prevent their coming to pass: no matter what length of time it took. And not just the few standard things either, that so many men seem to find such comfort and ease in doing, in conformed complacency; but something truly unique: unique because it was created from within and not from, and a part of the goings-on from the outside world of savorless palates, and ill-passionate hearts, and ill-compassionate minds. And for far too long out east—the years that numbered the same in total amount as Odysseus’ years, of trying to find his way back to Ithaca and Princess Penelope, so did I, struggle to make it back home, from that place of unwavering Puritan heritage that will forever be; and past Revolution and Tea-Party history did I exist in barren, fruitless waste, of all my most potent energies suppressed. Around those that feared to live passionately, yet were green with envy—(one of man’s most horrific sins)—towards anyone who did embraced life with passion. And longing did I, for the shores of my upper Mississippi River and the Western-world that was unexplored by me, that lay spread beyond its shores; and had so possessed my dreams. And now—like one who had dreamed a specific dream for so long, and thinking that that was all it would ever be; and now seeing that it was playing out on the screen of space, manifesting much the same, as it had been dreamt—I had to gather myself with poise, and not flee out of fear—from the joyous sensations of success as many sometimes do. So with this in mind, and coming to and under control: I was ready for that next, one giant leap; my journey into the wilderness not only of the land but in my heart and mind.

Thought, the ability to think, when confronted with pivotal decisions,
Was a gift, a worthy course of action. And no matter to what depths
One had felt himself descended and plummeted, into the various
Tortured cells of human-hells: of guilt and notions of time wasted, 4

Within the haunting planes and divisions of the mind: it was never too
Late, as I now believed—if they had but a ray of hope; not
In the outside world, but in themselves to make a course correction.
When once they came to realize, that the creative energy of the 8

Universe was infinite. So, better late than never, I thought now, as I
Was beginning to come again into my own, and in the fairness,
If that word be true, and not just some hypocritical-sputtering
From my lips, I’d to begin with the honesty, of what’d been: 12

In truth, not all the two decades, groaned in agony, back east.
I had seen a lot, to give theory to life; but I hadn’t lived, really.
Working to beget meat and bread—was no fair exchange: for suppressed
Vitality. Life was to be lived. And that life, came out of living. 16

Jet-setting, traveling to places, far and wide, just because, was not living
As many pretend; glancing at things, hurriedly: historical landmarks;
Sculpted figures; fountains still flowing from long ago
In ancient foreign lands, but really not seeing anything: 20

The good of it all, if there be any—a plane that departed,
Arriving on time as scheduled; a stamped passport to show
Ohers who boasted, revealing too, their aimless earthly wandering:
Nothing meaning anything, lest we should ever be forbade to brag. 24

Sure, I’d made love to many a Circe, and Calypsos, too—and
In their enticing bed-chambers, of Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and
North End dwellings: those Chthonic-regions, I’d succumb to their flirtatious
Charms, and all whims of delights; so aggressive and pleasing 28

In the physical; yet so debilitating and thwarting and draining of heart;
That took me for a time—too long, completely away from myself.
Why had I hurt myself? I knew deep within, that it was just no more
Than just lowly rounds of unfulfilling acts. Yet, too enthralled to act otherwise. 32

In the process, so much of me had become misplaced; my boyhood perspective,
Jovial outlook, of what was paradise, had been lost. I wanted redemption.
I knew now, standing in this West wilderness: that if not for this
Collision with consciousness: what would’ve come of me? 36

Enticed, I was then: by smooth words, that flowed like oil; warm
Flesh and satin evening. Drugged by the opiates of coitus; to blissful
Heights beyond the calls of reasoning faculties; fully incapacitated,
By this most addictive man-fix—I was, after each encounter and episode. 40

So allied to beautiful nature: this intimacy, in propagating the species;
Yet so wonton in desire; as to become reckless, fiendish:
If gone to limitations unchecked: taken so far to extreme:
As to reach de Sade-like enticements. 44

That world, such an antithesis to a country boy such as I:
That hard, driving life: cold; its manipulative smiles of denial; its
Indiscriminate nature, no one’s special; easily replaced—a sentiment
That said, ‘Anyone is better to couple with, than no one at all.’ 48

What was I thinking? I thought, staring around at this Mountain-West,
Where I now found myself, in such awe. That was it, I told myself: You
Weren’t thinking at all. It wasn’t the physical acts—just your distorted
Choices. It happens—to the most noble! Even Prince Odysseus, succumbed. 52

It was life, I considered, after-all; and being so—some times
There’s just no way of sidestepping its Comedies or Tragedies;
The greater balance of its whole: for so very cleverly well are they
Kneaded together. More real, than at first glance one might imagine. 56

Your extra curricular activities wasn’t by the nature of things,
Inherently fiendish. . . .no; on the contrary, I said to myself, reflectively;
You only strayed, when you attached, notions of love being in it:
When there was a distinct difference—a common, human error. 60

Sometimes, there’s a risk when a man’s away from his home, he
Loses sight, becomes an amnesiac to the passing of time, place or,
objective, and all prospection: fades; as he’s strayed off course,
By the many distractions: perhaps, for ceasing to believe in himself. 64

And like Odysseus, whether fairy-tale or real, such things happen,
To the best of us: we lose for a time, the vision of our dreams;
So, ease up on yourself. It’s never too late: if the will’s intact,
And Will, to succeed has always been your greatest attribute, I believed. 68

So—that’s how it’d been. I’d lived thoughtlessly, recklessly.
Only to come to, weeks, months, sometime years later: impaired;
Regretful; shameful of me. Not knowing if I go hither or thither:
All my goals and the recollection of time, having been lost; distorted: 72

Squandered in debauched illusions, that these intense, love-making
Orgies, incapable of ever bearing fruit: was somehow, love! That took me,
Many times, “Beyond the Pleasure Principles” of those theories,
Postulated by that Titan, the greatest of all psychoanalyst. 76

“Why are you rushing so at life?” once said a mentor,
Who was so like a mother, who had daughters
Herself, near my age: “Why do you waste you vital-self,
In these lonely pursuits, of those that can ever only heartlessly take?” 80

And I to her: my shameful response: “Life must be lived, where I am…”
With a chiding motherly stare, “You don’t have to rush; this is not living.
Just as I tell my daughters: ‘Loving at eighteen is no more worthy,
Or more blissful, than doing so, at eighty. Observe moderation.’” 84

In my shame then, I knew she’d been right, and wholly so now,
I was certain. I’d been running all along, from me, it now seemed.
Yes, I’d clearly wasted myself, a vital part, at least. But why. . .had I?
I now asked myself, then, there at the plateau, just beyond Cheyenne. 88

Fear it was; it’s always man’s greatest motivating drive,
That makes a fool of us all—at some juncture along our way.
But that was then, this was now: a hard lesson learned, understood.
I couldn’t go back one day, or even one minute, or a second; 92

Just the living forward could I do, and hope to undo. . . .the
Damage; restoring fully my beliefs in self; righting, in a mammoth
Undertaking, the perpetrations committed against myself: if, indeed—
Such a thing of so vast an epic proportion of undoing existed. 96

Something beyond my current knowing, stirred, within: like
Some creation. I sense it. Something that’d been mine, meant for me:
But delayed. Was vying to come to the fore.
Maybe. . . .just maybe there was more of me in reserve. 100

Was there something always to look forward too—to give hope?
Even in the most remote places, of the heart and mind;
There was still a ray of hope: that something, even lost years,
Could be redeemed. . . .wasn’t there such a phenomenon: delayed gratification? 104

I had to believe. How else, after so long. . . .two decades, did I find
My way back along the shores of that most famous river;
And once there, for awhile—my boyhood dreams of venturing here,
And beyond, in this West-land, had been revived, and born anew? 108

Something was calling out in this wild unmolested wilderness, to me.
And some innate-thing within, with equal innocence was answering, though
Yet: just out of grasp. Then it must be good, unalloyed with fear,
Free, unabridged, untrammeled—and without a mind’s conformity. 112

I was here now, all I had to do was to not rush; chill, enjoy,
Be natural. . . .look and see. Let it happen. And I heard the voice
Of another mentor, after I had asked: “What’s the key to it all?”
His reply had been: “To never give up after the first, failed attempt.” 116

These words of his wisdom, that I had long forgotten,
Now streamed through the currents of my mind:
And now, after all these years having past, and my mentor gone,
They were serving me well. Like a trusty guide, his words, there, 120

Were to me. I had asked him, then, because I felt trapped, lost;
As though, at that time—my life had become suspended between
Walls in time, as the past, present and future, revolved around
All my worlds, fragmented. But upon remembering his wise words 124

Like a man who had been reprieve from all wrong-doings: so was
I, now in this wilderness, feeling renewed in my heart, stirred inwardly
Into believing, that all manner of things, all seeds, flowered
And brought forth proper fruit in their proper season. So there, 128

I stood on the flat-ground of this high altitude plain, looking
Up with that youthful, fluttering sensation of anticipation, in my belly,
At the Vedauwoo’s eighty-two hundred feet summit. And I, one who
Had always been leery of heights, grew ready for the challenge 132

That marked the way, and would be the defining moment, for that paradise
So desired, which lay up ahead—I was sure; as no true course was
Ever so easy to mount. But not knowing how it would be done; yet by
An unwavering faith in my undiscovered self, that somehow it’d be. 136

PART THREE
MY NEW LIFE BEGINS

My time here was oh so pleasant, underneath these Big Skies and starry nights camping out on the high plains, at Vedauwoo. What a scenic earthy place, that the heavens created here: this rocky outcrop, so rugged! This here was life, like I had never before seen, but had been a dream in my boyhood’s heart, for always: and lulled me to sleep on many a night; even in adulthood; dreaming of these wide-open Westland spaces. This here, was life to be lived. And it was truly spectacular for a mature boy like me to now see. I was a flatlander, as those here in these elevations referred, in their kind and hospitable way. So easy it was here to become acquainted, not just on the surface, either. But really engage folk on so many level through so many layers, down to the core. Life here seemed to open itself up, like spring flowers to rain and sunshine, and free and liberally so. And just over a month as I was discovering the place and who and what I was along with it, as I looked about listing in my mind for memory, as I was trying to discern my place in the big scheme of things—I made such an intimate acquaintance, and the pleasure it brought, had been so much mine. And we began exploring together a portion of this vast terrain, and the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, that she had grown up around, being a native from nearby Laramie.
I found a Penelope, in this wilderness-world which had now become my true ‘Acres of Diamonds’. And this time, just revealed to me, that those two decades at Boston, Massachusetts, had been but a necessary thing, no more now than: just a previous condition. . . . and that the true delights in life were never won by an easy course—but a steady one. And that the lives of those who ‘did’ manage to glide along smoothly, never encountering any obstacles, was a forever: inchoate life: built upon the grounds of shifting sands of unreality;—and was thereby, but an illusion. And without challenges to overcome, how could anything ever mean, ‘anything’? What would Hercules have been without the wild-things: the trials and tribulations with which to struggle against, and, ultimately overcome, defeat? And so—it was likened unto my very life. The metaphors were oh so clear! And now—just as Prince Odysseus had been privy to discover, from his travails—I also now knew, with pride, for my new life to come—the value and true appreciation of things won by never giving up.

There’s no more potent, healing-balm to a man’s spiritual-constitution:
Than to lay out on the floor of the high plains desert, at night,
In so wide open of spaces; and from his back gazing at the starry skies
Winking across the darkness in their orbits,—made me a bastion of privilege; 4

Where only after some nights of contemplating the heavens,
The crackling sounds of campfire, and calls of wild, truly free-things
Echoing across the night; soothed two decades of conflicts from within;
Taming the wildness of my temperament; any doubts—subsiding. 8

Perhaps, there was something to it, I thought, of what I’d once
Heard. That truth, more readily gave up its mysterious secrets; and that,
In so much darkness, as I’d experienced on my earth-bed, lying
On the floor of the desert plain, surrounded by darkness— 12

Was where existed, in that fecundity of blackness of night,
Some true beacon-light. There was now, a renewal of sorts; like freshly
Planted seeds, germinating in my breast. And I was now, more certain
Than ever, that in the proper season I would reap a beautiful harvest. 16

Sure, I’d rushed at life, foolishly so; and, in doing—failed to productively
Get the living. Only here and there: fitfully so; only seeing
Glimpses, as one sees images peripherally from a train’s window
As it speeds past much too swiftly, distortedly so. 20

And in such a panic-like course as I’d existed: never finding
What would be renewing, sustaining; only draining, and thwarting;
Limiting; noting no permanency, only conditions, and conformed popularity
There, existing in its stead, among the unaware masses. 24

In their instinctive beliefs, that they submitted to, without
Further analysis and review, but believing, the more and bigger
The better; and, an even more ancient and distorted view: of flawed,
Premise: “That which is pretty must by that nature, be good also,” 28

How ludicrous a thought! Now though, with that mad-dash world, I
Knew was behind, and with sighs of relief my heart was gladly filled:
There had always existed more, if even up till now, only did,
In my dreams. But if the fitfulness of that past life was gone, 32

Then now, the manifesting of dreams, could only ensue unencumbered.
The days were adventurous, positive and sure; as I’d met Cristen now
On the plateau, seeming to be translated just there at my side, when my
Want was pure and great; and my neediness was null. The Universe’s 36

Timing, as always, even when we do not understand: being absolutely,
Right.
A call now not so uncontrollably wild, but still yet—profound,
Existed. And of a truer, worthier nature. It was the subsiding of 38

The untamed summer seasons of my life, giving way to all those
Grand possibilities, of the fall-times to come, in seasons of change.
And there, in my mind’s eye, in the midst of our exploring the land
As we simultaneously, became fairly well-acquainted each with 42

The other, pleased as we did, with no regrets for the rapidity
In which the affair commenced; I revisited, with
A daring and resolute heart, days gone by; seeing the motherly
Face of Mrs Newcombe, my mentor, who was so like 46

The mother I’d not known. Hearing her say, with her
Caring eyes never leaving mine, the son I was, to her,
A sentiment she’d confessed, with a tender glow in her Nordic eyes,
Gladness in her soul, that she had always wanted, as she said: 50

        “Loving in mature years is no less worthy than in youth, my son.” 

Her words to me just then, motherly, loving—
Full of truth and concern: even though I heed not as
I should; were always there to aid me when needed most. 54

And that, Cristen and I did: love! Like the celestial bodies above
Moving so infinitely well together: in unison of flesh,
Allied by a commonality of heart, unlike anytime in my past,
That I had once come to regret. But there, under the starry nights, 58

Near the campfire, natural and as pure as nature ever intended,
Were we, on the blanketed earth-bed. Wild things called, stirred
And stimulated by our faint murmurers, to all their readiness
Around, in the near distant darkness, howling in rapturous climax: 62

Triumphant at the night, these nocturnal creatures,
There, and near, and all about—veiled in shadows.
And her blue eyes, reflecting the flickering campfire light
In a reddish-like glow of loving eeriness. 66

She asserting her female dominance, like Lilith
Adam’s first wed, as it was written in the Zohar. But,
I, unlike it was spoken of he in that ancient text, didn’t dare
For one moment deny her role at the superior of the top; 70

As his male assertion, commanded that she was forever
To remain missionary, in that paradise world; and her
Great refusal: had brought them to part. But the adventurer
That was I, harkened to her roar, submitted to Cristen’s wont. 74

Now to make this portrait complete, to the eyes that will
Ever read this saga, and that enhanced my imagination, in the throes
Of that moment, that we lay and forever etch it in my memory—
Is only to view John Collier’s painting of Lilith’s nakedness, all enrapt 78

By her serpent, her long hair flowing, to know what bliss we achieved,
Time and time again, coiled in our own passion, so close to that
Campfire, yet no brimstone and hell-scene here; and no expulsion from
This heavenly plateau realm. Only an initiation into paradises reclaimed. 82

At first, trust knew a little difficulty—but only in me; for past
Images, of smooth, soothing words in bed-chambers of all
Those Circes that so did corrupt my heart, tainting my visions
Of my real purpose and dreams: still, at intervals—haunted me yet. 86

This contact, so soon, the epitome of intimacy that had now
Been between us, served to bring about a oneness, a union,
Allying us together, as is known among but a few creatures
That has one solitary, lifetime mate, so it was drawing upon us 90

The very same universal theme.
This fascinating fate, in the passionate heritage of man and woman;
Now condoned by nature and the heavens above.
Unlike any experiences of either one of our past. 94

It had served, and still yet had purpose—meaning, of parts
Yet to be performed, playing-out on future stages in front of worlds.
Yet unknown to full extent: I sensed it, as did she—individually:
And together we felt it, and both ourselves: thought deserving; 98

Now allied and bonded in the present-time:
It would most surely seem,
To a future fate that neither one of us could ever achieve
Alone, and certainly not attainable with any other, a notion now, 102

We would most certainly concur, at present, our incapability of conceiving;
A thought of another. When so much had already come to be,
Yet was only but a prelude, the introduction, a gateway
Through which we might enter into a future long ago destined. 106

And owing to the sounds of the songs that now, and continued
In the mind to play throughout the month, and replaying; those romantic,
Jazzy-tunes from growing passions for Cristen whose heart seemed
Forever true, from each of the nights before that we’d lain: 110

“A little further westward,” it summoned, in my mind, the soft voice:
“Follow me there, you man from the flatlander-region.”
And who was I, but a mortal man: on this Universe’s pilgrimage:
Not to oblige. . . . these impulses that seemed attached now to heart-strings? 114

Maybe, there sincerely existed, great things undeniable.
Then for real in the midst of it all: “You are coming to Laramie, with me,
Aren’t you not. . . .to visit awhile there with me?” she asked, now dangling
Before me, that proverbial Apple. “Of course,” I answered, with no delay. 120

My heart’s curiosity for Knowing, leapt. And though the time had been
Not that long, just more than a year in turning over the pages of the
Calendar; owing to my meditative, contemplative nature—now, in
So short a span, more than many decades I had matured; 124

For not more than a moment, for the year past, since I’d arrived at the
Shores of my beloved upper Mississippi River, at Davenport,
Had I spent the vast portion of my time other than
The necessity of sleep: the remainder in study and philosophical thought: 128

Now having created of myself, like an enigma,
And entirely different person, with far-reaching perspectives.
A new man, I’d become in that short span, one that I was
Now but fairly familiar: but was growing proud to know. 132

So now, in the epoch, and my introduction of things to
Come, in knowing Cristen,
Was the beginning of a life, as though all prior, had been little
More than a preview of some great coming attraction; 136

And any time heretofore, that I thought wasted in trivial
Pursuits, spent in debauched idleness—was but little misplaced
Footsteps upon stairs in total darkness, as I was mounting
The stairway that led into the light of perfection. 140

And so now down through the thick and ancient Phantasia of woods,
Like traversing the years of life, that stream back to mind,
My mind’s eye seeing the now, intertwined with yesteryears,
And all at once the future; this adventure so real seeming a fantasy; 144

As I descended full of anticipation, along this winding evergreen forest:
Dotted here and there, I glimpsed bold tints of the Crimson King
Maples’ leaves, that appeared out of the nowhere of this vast wood,
Like Nature’s own spying eyes; of the evergreen Medicine Bow Pass 148

From the heights of Vedauwoo’s eighty-two hundred feet, arriving at last—
I did, down into Laramie
My present destiny, at last—set in place, perhaps, long ago;
That I should at last, descend down into this high plains desert; 152

Far be it though, this grassy desert-meadow,
From any Dante’s Inferno realms; vastly populous with festive,
Colorful desert flowers: sprightly yellow, orange and violet, as it were.
There’s no exaggeration, here—my heart palpitated, 156

On high, for the sheer exhilaration of the thought and ride;
Of having descended, and still yet, to remain at such heights;
Was bliss. The land here, giving a more enduring impression,
Than Vedauwoo up above, yet subdued, 160

Ever so unassuming;
The permafrost snowcapped mountains range stood tall and unmoving,
Forever, as they were all around in the distance: as I turned round;
Fixed against the backdrop of the Big Sky; the mood 164

Of the encroach of evening now having set my tempo. . . .
Perhaps for life: beyond just any outward aspect, too: I knew.
Here, no mechanical time piece, would ever be necessary:
“It’s the universe’s doing,” I stood saying to myself, and not 168

Too quietly and subdued either, did I declared.
Sunset was commencing: change across the sky space was inevitable,
And now, I too conceded, to the intuitive calls, from within;
That beckoned me, beseeching, entreating—that I must oblige; 172

Lest I should want to be left, just marking time,
Fixed and congealed, by a past that I didn’t have to
Fear, or regret any longer—that it was all where it was,
And had to at one time be, but could not reproach 176

Me again; its lessons thoroughly learned,
Now acknowledge by me, that the time had come
Time to set it all free, the past. So there, standing out on the
Mountain West plains of tumbleweeds, among prairie-dogs, 180

And buffalo, and where antelope bowed alertly,
At cool flowing streams, meadows strummed with desert-flowers;
All this life and me a part along with it, all
Moving freely and unabridged in unattended rings: 184

The festive flowers, and the tumbleweeds coaxed by the breezes;
The animals by instinctive impulses; and me by
Internal heart-felt emotional drives and authentic loving dreams,
And whose to say, which is supreme. . . . ? 188

The evening sun was sinking low, on yet a much further
Horizon: lowing as it were in a brassy-orange
Filling the atmosphere of twilight to come with a golden-orange haze;
Where the floor of the sky, looked like upturned embers smothering 192

On the horizon where it was sinking, from this world’s view,
Leaving a trail behind, mottled here and there
In patches of rustic gold, lavenders and crimson interwoven—
And eastward of that scene a shimmering of darkening blue. 196

And I, an overawed witness of this splendor, was made ready now,
To take the next Giant leap of faith into the new life that beckoned
Me onward, into the never-ending adventure; the continuing Saga to
Know, those ever increasing depths of me. My Hercules’ tests throughout 200

My life, up till now: proved that no true course was ever won by an easy
Route; and no future was ever etched so in stone, that it couldn’t be molded,
Simply as the potter’s clay, into whatever we so choose of our own lives to be.
Challenges, no more than the smithy’s forge, shaping our authentic-selves. 204

So, far from the droning-chants of maddening-crowds, at sunset over Laramie,

Et Incipit Novam Vitam Meam. . . .

T. M. Boughnou was drawn to the writers and thinkers of the ninetieth and early twentieth centuries.  After years of a dedicated reading and writing regimen and journal-keeping of his thoughts and observations of his daily routines and personal travels, he began to write.  He splits his living-time between Davenport, Iowa and Boston, Massachusetts.  He works as a wellness specialist. 

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