Wordcarpenter Books

 Road Sailors

9

  "If one learns from others but does not think, one will be bewildered. If, on the other

hand, one thinks but does not learn from others, one will be in peril." - Confucius

  Somewhere west of Vanderhoof, British Columbia 

Remy is still asleep when I get up, so I take my dog for walk down the road. When she disappears into the bush I notice mushrooms growing along the side of the road and remember what Remy said last night about the wild mushrooms. . I kneel down to examine them closer and see mushroom patches in the forest sunned by the eastern sky. Having acquired my bodyguard against bears, I venture into the mossy forest where there are patches of all sorts of different coloured mushrooms. There are pinkish-red mushrooms, soggy beige mushrooms and mushrooms that are grey, blue, brown, yellow, black and pure white. It is a cornucopia. The pure white mushroom with pointy barbs around the top instinctively makes me regard them as deadly, as do the reddish-pink mushrooms. The soggy beige ones are just plain gooey. Having sampled magic mushrooms in my youth, I am determined to find some but am hampered by the fact that I don't know exactly what they look like before they are dried out. So I examine each mushroom, trying to determine if they are magic or not. After an hour of research, I find a yellowish mushroom that looks identical to the psychedelic mushroom posters of the sixties. It has a long stem and a penis-like head. So with a very light step I set out to pick as many magic mushrooms as I can. With a plastic bag in one hand, I find hundreds of them growing in mossy patches by fallen tree trunks.

So thick with moisture, it feels on the verge of rainfall. I scour the spongy floor, perfumed by fallen trees. Like a rainforest. When my bag is full I return to my camper where I empty it onto newspapers spread out in my dry sink. With Remy still sleeping, I return to the mossy bog with my plastic bag for more. I spend hours picking mushrooms. Finally, after returning with my fourth full bag, there is a protruding mound of mushrooms in my dry sink. Perhaps a bit extreme. I walk to the other side of the road to where Remy is sitting in his metal chair with a mug of coffee in his hand.

"Morning," I say.

"Morning. Good walk?"

"Indeed. The doggie was full of beans."

"Coffee? I have some hot water on."

"Love some padre." He hands me the mug with the single-mug coffee filter on top, scoops a full amount of coffee grounds into the filter followed by the hot water.

"Careful not to overflow now," I say, hoping to usurp any Tom Foolery. Remy administers the water as I hold the mug. Water reaches the lip of the filter.

"Steady." Reluctantly he stops pouring.

"I think I found some magic mushrooms." He scrutinizes my face to see if I'm joking.

"You sure they're magic mushrooms and not poisonous?"

"Not positive but pretty sure. They look just like the magic mushrooms on a Jefferson Airplane poster Tribby had on his wall at university."

"What colour are they?" Instead of describing them I take out about five specimens I had in my pocket. I put them in there because there were the best. Remy begins to laugh.

"You're mad! How many did you pick?"

"Well, there were a lot around and you slept so late." I glance at my watch for emphasis.

"I was having a good dream. It couldn't be interrupted."

"So I picked three or four plastic bags full." He lets out a long sigh.

"And is this for personal consumption?" He shakes his head and doesn't wait for a reply. "What's wrong with you? I can't believe you just picked four bags full of magic mushrooms for personal consumption." I shrug my shoulders because I'm at a loss for words. One can never have too many magic mushrooms I'm thinking in the back of my mind. "What happened to you over in Hong Kong?"

"What?"

"What if these mushrooms are duds? And you accidentally injure your person? Then what?"

"No, no. We have to test them first."

"How are you going to do that?" Loki, the spirit of mischief in Norse mythology, comes upon me like the sun breaking through clouds.

"We can test them by-"

"No-." He's already read my mind.

"By giving a sample to my new bear protector."

"No!"

"It must learn how to earn its name."

"Trapp..."

 "I'll only give her a small tester...first. Then..." My voice trails off.

"What?"

"We'll see. Listen, I won't take anything that's going to injure my person so relax. Everything's fine." I sip my coffee and pick up the map that's beside Remy. "Think we'll hit Smithers today?" I say to change the subject. Again he sighs. Shakes his head.

"Naw, I don't think so. We're leaving too late. Remember, I live on Indian time. Besides, there's no rush. We'll get there in due course." 

Out on the valley road the sun highlights the avalanche chutes that cut through the deep green pine steeped on both mountainsides. Some mountains that face the road show large stretches of red moss - almost a dry rust colour - that looks soft against the rugged grey rock and the broken trunks of pine. The mountains too have a story told by the visible scars exposed under the smiling sun.

Since our road buggies are not considered a trailer; we can legally park anywhere. Maybe that's why Remy always spoke of the mountains and the countless hidden campgrounds and nameless nook-von-crannies as if they were his own property. They are all like his ports of call across Canada. His trip from Manitoba took him across the prairies and over the Rocky Mountains, from Banff through the ice fields of Jasper, and through McBride along the old Yellowhead Indian Trail, and he never once paid a fee. He called it "taxpayer's privilege." It's a life lived rolling on wheels across vast expanses of country, with each turn revealing a different landscape and a new memory. It's one thing to hear someone talk about it, but it's another thing entirely to live it yourself.

We drive through Fort Fraser and Burn's Lake to Houston, where we have a late lunch and refuel. The closer we come to Smithers, the busier the traffic becomes. Eighteen wheelers hurry towards Prince Rupert carrying countless massacred trees and I find their driving obnoxious. Everyone is in a hurry. And there's something about the steepness of the mountains around us that gives me claustrophobia. Hemmed in. Only east or west. Deepening more as we roll west. Despite this, it's a breathtaking landscape and the joy of being here pushes my hunger for mushrooms away and lessens the temptation to sample.

Abruptly the sun kisses the mountaintop in the west signalling the end of the day, so we look for a nook-von-crannie leading away from the highway. Remy passes me and turns off a logging road where we stop for the night at an abandoned quarry. We park ten metres apart, far enough to be out of range from one another. In no time Remy is eating stew he heats from a can while I eat bread and peanut butter and water. The dogs play in the wide-open quarry.

"Do you have a name for your doggie yet?" he asks.

"I think I'm going to name her Inge."

"As in Inge Hammerstrom?"

"Yes, that's the one." For some reason it feels appropriate as a name for my dog.

"Inge. It's good that it ends with a vowel," he says. "That's what you want."

I scoop out a large amount of peanut butter and stick three big mushrooms inside. Then I put the peanut butter-covered mushrooms into my dog's bowl. Inge comes immediately for the food but doesn't eat it. She leaves again to play with Blue. Both of us watch in silence.

"This may be more difficult than I thought," I say. I put in two more peanut-covered mushrooms in her bowl, wash up and then join Remy for a smoke.

"So how was your road trip down to the Hopi Indian reserve? We've never really talked about it." Here it is, the moose on the table now ready to be disembowelled. Finally brought up. When Tom Cardinal had told him about a vision he had had that the long-awaited Messiah would seek him out and learn from him, it planted the idea in Remy that he might be this Messiah. He told Remy that this Messiah had to be an identical twin, but this was before he knew that Remy was himself an identical twin. This stirred something within Remy so he read more about the Hopi prophecies. He discovered that the Messiah - or as the Hopi Indians called him: the Pahana - was not a full-blooded Indian but rather Métis who looked white on the outside but was red on the inside. The prophecies, Remy had told me, also referred to the Messiah as "The True White Brother." So being both an identical twin and Métis, Remy had come to believe that he "might be the guy." He told me that the only way to know for sure was to go to Arizona to speak with the Hopi elders. After all, he said, they were waiting for the arrival of the Pahana. He wasn't kidding around; his solemn seriousness scared me. I wondered if he had gone off the deep end while I had been working overseas. I feared that he had lost touch with who he was. For me it was new territory because Remy had always been very down to earth. Without me around to keep him grounded and to remind him of who he was, he had recreated himself through unchecked intellectual idiosyncrasies and had become carried away. I was frightened for him. I felt that where I should be was with my brother before he slipped over the edge into the abyss. I could sense this Messiah Complex had the potential of getting out of hand. I could tell he thought that he was the Pahana and that he had a ministry to perform through the publication of Tom Cardinal's teachings and his own ideas of humanity and religion. His belief that he could heal people was so thorough that it had swallowed his life. His absolute freedom of self was based on this single premise; all else fell away in deferment to it. It enabled him to let go of the things that hold men to the normal conventions of living. Remy believed that his mortality was not at risk until he had finished his book. So until then, he was the man who could only be killed by the golden bullet. Despite it only being a possibility, Remy's belief in his destiny as the Messiah eliminated any trace of doubt in his voice.

Being a sceptic at heart, I suggested to Remy that the only way for him to know for sure whether he was the Messiah was to go to the Hopi Reservation in Arizona. At the time I didn't realize the possible ramifications of such a road trip to Arizona. In fact I thought it would help to dispel the silly notion of being a Messiah, and would help Remy return to a more normal life. So I sent him the money last year to drive down to Arizona to meet with the elders, but I never heard from him what happened.

"It was cold," he replies. "That bearskin saved my life. Without it I could have perished." My reflex is to brush this off as more hyperbole but I am realizing that Remy is now more about understatement than exaggeration.

"So what did the elders say?" I only know that he had received my money and had gone down to Arizona.

"I didn't have enough money to even stay at the campground down there so I was only there for a night. It's pretty strict getting on the reservation and whatnot but I went into their office and asked to speak to an elder after I said I was Métis and that Tom Cardinal was my teacher. So after 1500 miles getting down there, the woman at the office says I can speak with one of the tribal elders. The elder was a man of few words." He is quiet for a moment as he smokes a cigarette.

"And?"

"So I asked him if I was the Métis Messiah that was expected during the Seventh Stage of mankind. I was even wearing red. He said that he was sure that I may be the Pahana but that he was not able to say if I was the long-awaited Anointed One. But I could tell from the twinkle in his eyes and the words he used that he was telling me that I was The Guy. I mean he couldn't say it outright, so I took it to mean that it wasn't a ‘no.' There wasn't much more to say. Since I couldn't stay overnight on the reservation I was forced to make a decision so I left that night another 1500 miles back to Manitoba."

"So the elder said that he was sure that you might be the Pahana?"

"Exactly."

"Did you tell him you were a twin and Metis Indian and all that stuff?"

"Yeah, but he didn't seem that interested to be honest. My feeling was that there were many people who came looking to be anointed but that only the True White Brother would know in his heart if he was the One or not. So I left the Hopis with that in my head - that only The One will know the truth. It was what was in his eye that said that which couldn't be said." I had to think about this for a second.

"Right."

"And I believe him that he wasn't in a position to say for sure if I was The Guy or not. That's the reality of the situation. So I think it's up to me to write the book of Grandfather's teachings in order to know for sure whether it's me. It will be Grandfather's teachings and my own - sort of a combo-plate."

"A bit inconclusive, non?" I regret the words as soon as I say them.

"Well, the elder looked at me in the eye as if communicating not to me but to my spirit; so on the way back it occurred to me that there was nothing he said to deter me from being the Pahana. Even when I spoke to Grandfather when I returned, he also had the same reaction. It is what the Pahana does that will determine if He is The One. Like Jesus, he was taken for a loony until his ministry gained momentum. It was His works that caused those stuck in the inertia of doubt to see that He was the Messenger they had been waiting for." We both sit in the dark thinking. There is a new and potent emotion swirling around my gut, a perturbation that I know intuitively leads down a road I am afraid to explore. Besides, he is a master of this slippery logic that simply cannot be dislodged.

"Well I guess we both have books to write and things to do."

"Yes, indeed we do." It is late so we both retire to our campers for the night. I try to push it out of my mind but to no avail. Restless in the cold, I hardly sleep.

In the morning when I jump down from my camper into the quarry, Remy's dog sprints over to me, frantically wagging her tail as if she's in the middle of a run.

"Goooood doggies," I mumble at both dogs as Blue and Inge begin to play. Not wanting to wake up Remy, I take the dogs out for a walk down the deserted logging road. As I walk along the road and smoke a cigarette, I can't help look for more mushrooms but I'm disappointed when I can't find any. Eventually I turn around and begin walking back to my camper but soon notice that Blue is still running around with a manic look in her eyes and her tongue hanging out. When I return to the campers, Remy is stirring. It's barely eight in the morning so it's early for him.

"Morning," he says, as per our custom.

"Morning," I reply. As the water heats up on his propane stove, I notice all the dog tracks in the sand around the quarry.

"See all these tracks all over the place?" I say pointing at them. "Looks like something happened." Remy drinks his coffee pensively as he looks at all the tracks.

"Your dog was out all night?" I ask him.

"She wouldn't come in last night so I left her out. But look..." Remy points to the far sand wall where there are dog prints on almost all parts of the quarry's edge. Dog tracks are all over the sand enclave. There are also paw tracks around our rigs in the sandpit where we're parked.

"That is weird." Just at that moment, we both turn around and look at the empty bowl where I had left the mushrooms the night before. It's Remy who has a double take.

"Oh no. No. Did you-" He stops. He knows what happened but he isn't able to verbalize it.

"Blue's looking pretty chipper this morning," I say. The words just float there in the air.

"Inge was in your camper all night?"

"She was. She was very quiet." Remy ignores the words. We both look again at the empty bowl. There isn't any trace of peanut butter left at all; it has been licked clean.

"How many mushrooms did you put in there?" he asks me, motioning towards the bowl. I want to say only three mushrooms but no matter how hard I try I can't find it in me to lie to Remy, even a little bit.

"Well, I put in three mushrooms but she wouldn't eat it," I say. Remy keeps his eyes on mine.

"How many mushrooms were in the peanut butter Trapp?" The tone is firm. Remy watches his dog running in circles around Inge. A manic and cockeyed canine.

"And then I added another mushroom - or two."

"Five!" Remy is silent for a moment, drinking his coffee and finding more tracks behind my camper. Despite the hair on his face, I can see his stiff upper lip. Blue is jumping with glee around my dog with its tongue protruding loosely out of its mouth.

"Lots of spunk in that dog of yours this morning," I add for good measure. I skip my morning coffee and prepare for the day's journey.

 


 10

 "Men are close to one another by nature.

They diverge as a result of repeated practice." - Confucius

Smithers, British Columbia

I try my best not to tailgate Remy but because he is driving so slowly, truckers are tailgating and beeping their horn at me. It doesn't take me long to figure out that I need to leave a large gap between our two rigs so I can be passed first and then the truckers can pass Remy. I know Remy is nursing his freaked-out dog in the front seat as he drives, and that he's still sore about the peanut butter-covered mushroom incident.

Dead trees look almost white in the valley around Smithers where single-lane bridges made of cedar wood still stand over white-water creeks that crash down the mountains. The waterfalls, like tear ducts of God, stir both day and night as if emoting at mankind's never-ending folly. Bright yellow shrubs and young poplar trees are reminders that the tremendous edifice of nature is still regenerating in our epoch of environmental rape and decimation of the world's forests. I had drifted far away from nature after living in the labyrinth of concrete in the urban jungles in Asia as a salary man.

I had earmarked this area around Smithers as a possible location for my writer's cabin, so when I pass Remy's Dodge I pull off the highway when we reach town. I stop in front of the second ‘For Sale' sign I see because there is a car parked in the driveway and a workbench is in use. But it's the property next door that looks worthy of investigation.

"I'm going to ask about the place back there," I say to Remy parked behind me on a side road. "Probably a couple acres but it looks like it's abandoned, which may be good for us." He remains in the driver's seat beside Blue, who appears to have calmed down. I walk up the driveway to the door.

"Hello," I say. "I notice this property is for sale?"

"Yes, it is" the Chinese man replies.

"May I ask how much the property costs?"

"Well it's not quite finished but that should be done in the next month." He gestures to its interior and I have a polite look inside. I see bare wood floors without a scratch and perfectly finished walls except for an unfinished corner in the main room.

"I'm just wondering if it's in my ball park. You see, I don't have much to spend." I already know it's too nice for what I'm looking for. A writer's cabin should be rustic.

"It's listed at one-hundred, twenty-five thousand dollars." The way he says "dollars" brings me back to my old life in Hong Kong, a life I want to get away from. I tell him it's out of my price range but ask him about the place next door for sale. The Chinese man appears to at first be confused by the sudden reversal of direction, but recovers sufficiently to reply.

"Yes, it's for sale but he's not there. No one there."

"That's what I thought. Mind if I go have a look at it?" The Chinese man grabs his coat and leaves with me, leading along the road to the home with a broken front window.

"How much they want for it?" I ask.

"I think forty thousand dollars but I'm not sure. I think I remember around forty." I walk to the back and see a small bridge that goes over a small pond, or swamp. The trail looks as if the property goes back an acre or more.

"How big are the plots?"

"Two-and-a-half acres." It's a nice property but there is something about mobile homes that I don't like, no matter how hard I try to overcome it. Mobile homes, no matter how much they're dressed up, simply aren't sexy. Zero charm. I want to like the property but I can't. I want it to be a perfect fit but it isn't. Besides, it still feels too close to that which I'm trying to escape. The Chinese man however, now appears to be quite interested in his neighbour's property.

"Thank you for showing me the properties," I say to him. "I appreciate it."

"Going?" he asks.

"Yes, still searching." We shake hands and Remy and I drive away to the highway. I hit the road faster than Remy, who is crowded by tailgating truckers who decompress their air brakes as they pass in a show of disrespect. The highway becomes busier the closer we get to Prince Rupert. From studying the map I determined this area was far enough away from Vancouver and close enough to the ocean, but being here gives me a vibe that isn't what I'm looking for. I feel crowded in this valley, as if there are only two trails to take - one going west and one east. The mountains are too steep and imposing for my liking, and the noise from the highway traffic bounces off the rock, which sounds angry to my ears. I need more open space.

Passing through Hazelton we reach the town of Kitwanga, where the turn off leads north to the Yukon. I pull over to refuel at the gas station on the corner. I also pick up a big bag of beef jerky and two large coffees and wait for Remy. It had been decades since I had eaten beef jerky. Standing by our rigs outside, mist rises from a waterfall across the road like a flower's scent, covering our jackets with moisture. A soft mist that feeds the surrounding fauna. The air rich with fragrance. The roar of the water cannot be drowned out by the constant buzz of trucks and industrial vehicles. Remy removes his map from his pocket and spreads it out on the hood. We stand around the map and Remy points to exactly where we are.

"Kitwanga," he says, enunciating clearly. I'm not sure why but for some reason we both laugh at the name. "Right here. We're at the turn off." Remy moves his finger due north on the map to where the highway cuts through the heart of the Stikine Mountains up to the Alaska Highway. It's the route to Atlin.

"I think we're still too close to the grid here," I volunteer. Natives stand by the front door of the gas station looking at us curiously. "It's a bit phybic."

"Yeah. The trucks are bothering me on this highway. Everyone's in a rush. And it's getting worse. But if we hang a Ralphie here, then we can hit Atlin. I mean I love the Beachcombers and everything but I don't think the deep-sea fishing piece is my onion bun, you know?"

"So why don't we go north to Atlin?" I know that's what he wants to hear and I know it has to come from me.

"Maybe that's where we're destined to go. We need to get north of the 60th parallel." I stare at the large totem pole at the end of the Cassiar Highway beside the waterfall. It's the first authentic totem pole I've seen in 30 years.

"We can check out that geomancy you were talking about so that we can find some peace, though to be honest I'm still a little hazy as to what ‘geomancy' means."

"I don't usually read DH Lawrence but there's something he wrote that's stuck with me ever since I read it a few years back. It's about geomancy. I wrote it down because I thought you may want more of an onion on it." Remy takes out his wallet and removes a crumpled piece of paper. "This is what I think geomancy is," he says. "‘The spirit of place is a great reality. Different places on the face of the earth have different effluences, different vibration, different chemical exhalation, different polarity, with different stars.'"

"Ahhh, I see said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and didn't see," I say.

"And that's what Atlin may have: a unique vibration that enhances our bun." My coffee is the perfect temperature to sip and somehow it tastes better with the perfumed spray coming from the waterfall.

"You think Atlin really could be the original location of Atlantis?"

"Could be. Different climate. Long history. Heavy geomancy. Access to the sea. Fresh water lakes. Mountains for protection and plenty of wild game. Jade resources. Chinese legends. You never know, it could be." He pops in ‘Chinese legends' for my benefit.

"Chinese legends, you say?" taking the bait.

"The Chinese believe Atlin was the centre of an old civilization rich in jade and gold."

"Fair dinkum."

"Sailors used to leave the shores of China for northern British Columbia to mine jade. That's one of the reasons China is such a biggie in the jade trade." I provide the requisite nod since I'm busy wondering how he knows this after it's me who has spent so much time living over there.

"But how could anyone prove Atlin is the original Atlantis?"

"Don't know if it's possible." We both work on our coffees, looking more at the totem pole now rather than the waterfall.

"It looks like a raven," I say pointing to the bird figure carved into the wood at the top of the totem pole.

"I think it is too." The tiny flecks of water in the air behind the totem pole give life to the sunlight sneaking out of the clouds. A small rainbow can be seen just above the raven like a seven-coloured halo. A bridge to heaven. 

"Is it cool if I call you by your spirit name?" The question throws Remy for a moment. He dips his head in thought as he rubs his beard.

"It should only be used in ceremonies." Remy's voice is soft, contemplative. He was given his Indian spirit name by Tom Cardinal a few years ago during a sweat lodge. His Indian name is a source of great pride, and for this reason he didn't use it often, like a favourite pair of boots never worn.

"Well, it seems like such a waste then, because it's such a cool spirit name and yet gets cobwebs from lack of use," I say. Twin-to-twin, this is cutting it close to the bone, almost overstepping the strict boundaries that exist between identical twins, which forever go unnamed. Arguments and conflict is a poison among twin brothers to be avoided at all costs.

"I see what you're saying," he says, acknowledging between the lines what I'm trying to do. "It could be said that this road trip is a type of ceremony - a right-of-passage of a returning brother after a seven-year campaign overseas. And seven years is a full life cycle, as you know. So yeah, you can use my spirit name if you want."

"It has indeed been a full life cycle," I reply. "So it's OK if I call you by your spirit name during our road trip?"

"As long as you use it with respect."

"OK Rainbow Thunderbird." A few years ago when he wrote to me about his Indian spirit name he explained that the rainbow symbolizes a bridge from earth to the spirit world, and a thunderbird is the Native American equivalent to the eagle, which symbolizes the Creator. Therefore Remy's spirit name means ‘Bridge to the Creator," a pretty heavy duty name and perhaps another reason for his belief that he is the new Messiah.

We listen to the slow drawl of loons, the arresting squawks of crows and then to the haunting sounds of owls around us. I know that Remy thinks that owls symbolize death, so knowing he's thinking what I'm thinking, we both climb in our rigs without a word and begin our long trek north up the Cassiar Mountain Highway, away from the non-stop stream of eighteen-wheelers and the walls of rock. Remy leads the way to the Yukon, passing through a few Native villages and some large fields where hay has just been harvested. Half and hour into the drive there isn't any more traffic at all, and after a few hours there is nothing around, not even a farm. Only endless evergreen forests encircle us with the occasional river flowing southwest or a waterfall falling on the east side of the highway. I welcome the quietude, which gives me time to think about what it's like being an identical twin. I think about Remy and the way he is now, and how we have both evolved at different speeds during our lives. Remembering my doctor friend in Hong Kong who was so keen on twins, I recall a theory he told me about twins called the Twin Paradox. It's a scientific theory used to refute Einstein's Theory of Relativity, but to me it's quite simple in its basic form. It suggests that if one identical twin remained on earth while the other twin traveled away into space, the twin on earth would be older in years when the traveling twin returned. The life lived "on earth" is lived at a different speed than the life lived off of earth. It helped me explain the differences between Remy and me as mirror twins. When I was at university, Remy left Canada and traveled the world for seven years. It was clear to me that he developed at a different rate. Then when I left for my seven years of travel, he remained in Canada. So now with my return, the theory suggests that we have once again become the same age. Despite our growth being different at times in our development, there is still a peculiar symmetry. Like a double helix thread of genetic markers, we seem to come together at a point of intersection every seven years where we meet and are identical again. It's strange that seven years is a life cycle (one's DNA regenerates completely every seven years), and that it is every seven years that is our time of intersection.

The Twin Paradox may go some way to explain how we have developed at different speeds. It seems to be compatible with what I call ‘the twin dynamic,' the best measure of how we relate. Like Hegel's dialectic, we work together in terms of a thesis, antithesis and synthesis. We feed off each other bouncing ideas back and forth like a tennis match until a point is won and the thesis and antithesis become a synthesis. The result is that we both learn regardless of who wins the point. In this way, Remy is a conduit of truth for me, and I for him. Fourth-generation computer models for artificial intelligence use the same dynamic: twin computers working and feeding off each other to become smarter. One of us takes the South Pole while the other assumes the North Pole position in any given situation in order to achieve this synthesis - this new insight. The serious competition of our early high school days has passed, so the object is now symbiosis. It's easier to work together when each of us takes a south or north position in any given situation because it's less destructive. It's evolution of being in its purest form. By being apart, we have missed this vital aspect and I wonder if it has retarded our collective growth. I wonder if Remy would ever have reached this belief that he is the Pahana. I wonder if he's drifted too far and cannot be brought back from the precipice.

My walkie-talkie rings as we are climbing a steep grade somewhere past Cranberry Junction.

"This is Rainbow Thunderbird. Come in, over."

"This is... This is-"

"Chirping Chipmunk," he says.

"No, not that one," I reply.

"Standing Raven," says Remy into his walkie-talkie.

"Nice one. Better than Chippy mon frere. What does it mean please?"

"He who sees like the Creator. Perhaps your unofficial spirit name?" I sense he has been thinking about a name for me so I accept it knowing that some thought has gone into it.

"Yes. This is Standing Raven, perhaps half a klick behind you. Over."

"Roger that. Was thinking we may want to retire to the next nook-von-crannie we see, preferably beside the river. Over."

"Will follow your lead to the next von crannie RT. Any wildlife up there? Over."

"Roger. Have seen some moose on the eastern flank soaking up the late afternoon light. Could be a heavy bear factor in these parts. Over."

"Roger that," I say. With all that thinking about twins, I haven't noticed it has become dark.

 
 

 

 

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