So this is the way it ends—lying by the side of an old logging road, waiting to die. What a waste! To go from a life of unbridled hedonism…rather appropriate for a single guy, to getting a wake-up call to what life is really all about, just in time to have to cozy up to death.
Camping here in the Gila has been a real eye-opener… 3.3 million acres of rugged terrain—Geronimo country. I love the awesome cliff dwellings from six-hundred years ago and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. How these people survived out here, way back when, is a mystery to me. Each day is a struggle just to stay alive.
I’ve never been so physically exhausted and yet, so spiritually alive. Four thousand miles of hot, dusty, backpacking—a seven-day, outdoor rock festival in the woods, an invitation to a lynching, a close encounter with Mexican drug dealers, months of triple-digit heat by day and freezing at night and a life-changing awakening from God.
It certainly hasn’t been boring. Now I know, down to my bones, that I’m part of some-thing greater than myself. What am I to do with this magnificent new mindset? What good can come from this knowledge if I can’t get out of this place? I’m probably going to die…this day, this hour, right here, right now.
Within a few days there won’t even be any remains—What the bears don’t get the mountain lions will. I’ll be dust before anyone knows I’m missing. What the heck is it all for? Thirty years of hard work and playing around and for what?...to die alone, in the high desert country—out of food, out of water, lost and worn out. With this enlightenment I can accept my mortality, my death. But, why now? Why so soon after discovering the ultimate treasure?
Now that I have a purpose in my life. Now that my life has meaning—I can help others make some sense out of their lives. Now that I know what it means to be a human being what happens?—I’m being groomed for the main course at the roadkill café.
My parents will never know what happened to me. I’ve been too busy, too much on the move…like a cork in a swift moving stream..just bobbing along, aimlessly. And now, I won’t have a wife or kids either. Nothing will be left to pass on and no one to pass it on to. What a shame. I have so much to offer, now.
It all seems rather pointless. You listen to your parents, go to school, get a career—in my case teaching art on the university level. Have a little fun…OK, a lot of fun. Live a non-threatening life-style and BAM, you’re predator lunchmeat. I never dreamed I’d end up like this. How could I? What’s a city boy doing way out here, in the wilderness, by himself, with a backpack? What ever possessed me to think that going on-the-road at age 29 was the right thing to do? How could I be so stupid? What do I know about camping? I don’t even have a decent sense of direction.
No one to share my epiphany with. No one to help with their awakening. No books to write. No lectures to give. Lessons learned but not to be passed on…all too briefly. From what’s it all about? Is this all there is? To Aha! I get it, To, I’m screwed. All in thirty years.
Well, so be it. Out of food, out of water and too tired to stand. Physically lost but spiritually found. I’m coming home. Back to where I started, only now I know what it means to be here now…in the moment. So long outside. Hello inside. Getting weaker. Giving in to that long, long sleep. Shutting down. Goodbye all.
What’s that? I heard a sound. An unnatural sound…a mechanical sound. Well, son-of-a-gun…a truck. Out here, in the middle of nowhere. If I can just get to my feet I know he’ll see me. I’ll just stand here in the middle of the road. He’ll have to stop then…or run me over.
Yes! Yes! He’s slowing down. If I wasn’t so dehydrated, I’d cry tears of joy. I DO get a second chance. I DO get to share. This is NOT my time to die. On the contrary, it’s my time to really live…for the first time. Thank you! Thank you!
Even now, 40 years after this life-altering event, I get shivers just thinking about what happened in the summer of 1971. I’ve never felt alone since this incident; never doubted it’s authenticity. Things happen when and where they are supposed to happen. There are no coincidences.
Submitted by Anonymous
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