Saturday, January 21, 2012
MAN WHO LIVES IN A HOUSE OF STICKS
FOUND: MEANING AND DIGNITY IN THE HINTERLANDS. My readers have (properly)chastened and hopefully sensitized me a bit regarding the eccentric folks I encounter. I shall now ask how I would feel if my own story were told by someone in the harshest spin----and would I be willing to show my interviewees the story I had written about them? So here I go---with a new resolve:
Deeper into the bushes near Yuma, Az--than I have gone before---following this track---I am prepared--with camera and a gift.
Bingo---someone lives here. I shout out a hello.
Out comes "Mike" ---the builder of a real-life house of sticks---(you too, might have reflected: Just like the second little piggy in the fairytale)
I give him my gift and admire his handiwork. He shows me the inner structure--bedroom--cooking area etc. but asked that I not show it.
There it is---dear readers---a house of sticks. Can you guess why he has piled branches in this manner? To camouflage it of course from casual observers. From a hundred yards ---it disappears --despite being built on a slight hill. Of course I want to ask: Why--and eventually I do.
His answer touched and amazed me: He did it 2 years ago FOR HIS 2 CATS. He was living in the Mission, somehow caring for them on the outside---when one day (he says) one of his cats SPOKE to him telepathically---but in clear english--saying: "PLEASE TAKE US AWAY FROM HERE!" He then searched---found this spot and began to build. But coyotes kept trying to get his cats--creeping close in the nights. So he constructed this escape trough so they can scamper to safety.
From the house area, they run down this protective tunnel
down this hole
Down that plank into the safety of this cage.
I engage mike at some length and learn a lot---about mission life---living in the bushes like this---LEGALLY. Turns out for $65 a year the Quechan Indian tribe will sell you a permit to live on their land---however you wish to live. Another surprising revelation was that his family comes to visit him here on some occasions.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: I'm delighted there is still room in the world for mavericks. I wish conventional governments would allow off the grid--in the bushes living. He does no harm and cost us little. More significantly--to me--HERE IN A MOST UNLIKELY SPOT---MIKE IS GENERATING MEANING. His head is on fire with purpose--he's interested--he has projects going.
He has enemies---coyotes to defend against. Most importantly he has sentient beings to care for and who care for him--He has someone to love. I have engaged hundreds of loners and invariably, those with pets seem more approachable------and happier.