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  • "I took myself a blue canoe
    And I floated like a leaf
    Dazzling dancing, half enchanted
    In my Merlin Sleep

    Crazy was the feeling
    Restless were my eyes
    Insane they took the paddles
    My arms they paralyzed

    So where to now, St. Peter
    If it's true I'm in your hands?
    I may not be a Christian
    But I've done all one man can
    I understand I'm on the road
    Where all that was is gone

    So where to now, St. Peter?
    Show me which road I'm on
    Which road I'm on..."

    - Bernie Taupin lyrics, from Elton John's "Where to Now, St. Peter?"
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I've lived in some interesting places in my life. There was the house I grew up in, a big 3 story, 6 bedroom place in Pittsburgh with the 9 year old blonde haired girl ghost who roamed the joint, appearing to a lot of different people, never to me, but I always felt her presence there. There was the house in the country in Ivyland, PA, I shared with a bunch of other folks in various stages of recovery from addiction, and where a lot of material for a basic test for recovery was written and compiled. There we hosted many literature conferences and weekend-long "meetings", or "addithons", as we called them. It became kind of a mythical place to many in that fellowship, a place that visitors from out of town always seemed to wind up at, more often than not crashing there during their stay. It was also a place I would hide away from the world at, as I waited for my real life to begin. Hard to explain, but that's how it often felt - unreal, but safe.

    Some of the same people I lived there with, invited me to move in to the place they moved to after Ivyland, in Southampton. I declined the invitation. That house had formerly been a sex club, where someone had been murdered, chopped up and stuffed into a 55 gallon barrel, then thrown into the swimming pool out back. My friends were the first tenants in the place after that happened, a year later. They'd gotten a good deal on the rent, as no one else wanted to live there. I'm glad I missed out on that adventure. I was just coming back to the area after having spent the previous ten months in my friend's basement in Maryland, where a flood after a heavy rain had destroyed ten years worth of my only copies of most of my writings. A couple of apartments in the city later, I was ready to head for greener pastures, the "concrete jungle" of living in the city really getting to me after a year or so. Maybe it was being there during the garbage strike, living upstairs from Steve the Lunch Truck Guy, who wound up keeping all his lunch truck garbage in the basement, smelling up the whole joint, that got to me. Or maybe it was the loud-mouthed mother down Mole Street always yelling, at the top of her lungs, for "Joey! Joey!" All I knew was, I needed green and open air - I desperately needed to get out of the city. It was not my bag, not anymore.
  • The place we found on the lake in little Franklinville, New Jersey, seemed like heaven to me, after the stifling, claustrophobic experience of living in South Philly. I had loved many things about living there - especially the food, but also the people, and being so close to so many of our friends was great - but I'd found the constantly being surrounded by concrete to be mind-numbing. I just had to get out.

    When we moved into Franklinville, on our little 3/4 of an acre spot down at the one end of the lake, with a shed and a dock, I luxuriated in the quiet and the peace of it. Our friend Polly gave us a great house-warming present - a canoe! We christened it and gave it the name, "The Emmet", after Emmet Fox, our favorite spiritual writer. I found many a peaceful, contemplative hour just floating in that canoe up the stream through the dense woods that were just beyond our end of the lake. I would paddle through an opening in the marshes that led to the stream, enjoying all the kingfisher birds that liked to hang out in the marshes there, and I'd just get lost in thought, in the quiet and peace of the place, really connecting with my spirit. Sometimes, I'd have some cool music playing on my cassette tape player - some Jimmy Spheeris or some mellow Carlos Santana stuff, soundtrack from Kayanascotsky (sp) - other times, it was just listening to the sounds of nature, while I would just float, and just be.

    I awoke this morning from a dream in which I floated in that canoe, in that stream, with the song quoted above playing in my soul. A nice way to float into the day. Dreams are such a blessing.
  • I thought I'd end with this poem I once wrote (that escaped the basement flood), that seems to fit, (despite it really being a springtime thought - maybe I'm trying to will away the winter's cold!):

    Let the seasons take you in
    To a land inside forgotten dreams,
    The boat's upon the water waiting
    For us to take it down the stream...

    Come take a ride with me!
    We'll let the current be our guide,
    Come glide away, for free!
    Floating to the other side
    Of today - come glide away!

    Don't let the reasons hold you down,
    The time has come to let them go,
    Listen to the gentle sound
    Of the rivers' timeless flow...

    Spring has come to melt the ice,
    Morning sunshine, rays of dawn,
    The waters of my soul are yearning
    To flow with you to banks beyond...

    Come take a ride with me!
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