Fear & Loving: Where Sea Level Meets the Deep – a literary blogstory – PART ONE

Midnight Special – through the Deep South: Part 1

February 17, 2014

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So I finally left Dallas, Texas around 8 p.m. Friday night, January 31st.  I was originally supposed to be in Miami by Saturday February 1st.

You know I downsized my entire life to what I could fit into that little silver Kia. Not that I ever owned a lot of stuff.

I am honored and extraordinarily grateful for the generosity of my literary donors. Without them, this mid-career 2 year blogstory journey Fear & Loving: Where Sea Level Meets the Deep – a literary blogstory would not be happening.

unnamed14 years after founding the non-profit organization Great Plains Restoration Council (GPRC), I’ve got our current main projects in Fort Worth, Houston and Santa Fe County (NM headed by capable people on the ground, so that I can manage those non-profit efforts by computer, phone and plane for these next two years. This writing sojourn is actually a detailed and well-organized strategy with my top team and funders at Great Plains Restoration Council to not only use literature and the arts to advance our mission of connecting people deeper with the world, but build our non-profit organization stronger and more supported in the long run.

“One writer is worth several activists,” GPRC board chair Frank Popper remarked last year.

As I write this I’m sitting on an old graffiti-tagged concrete wall by Biscayne Bay, with downtown Miami skyscrapers and the Port of Miami’s big shipping cranes visible in the near distance.

Wondering how I will be struck these next 2 years… What’s going to happen? I can sense it. 2 years from now I will look back to this day, and smh at what I didn’t know. At what happened, which at this very moment right now today, is still the future and ‘un-happened’.

I’m actually really excited. I have specific plans. Let’s do this blogstory journey together in layers, one peeling off into the next, as we go deeper and deeper.

Sunday afternoon when I arrived in Miami I walked to the beach. Looking to the aqua-fading-to-darker waters of the Atlantic Ocean beyond these two black men holding each other and having their pic taken, I suddenly thought:

I can’t believe I’m really going to become a scuba diver & dive deep these next 2 years.

It’s big & scary and there are all these THINGS swimming around I’m gon have to face!

ocean-water

Last night I walked to this same bay where I am right now and looked down into the shallow waters as a dinghy floated tethered. The water is pretty clear, even at night. What is it about night that adds another layer? I imagined what it would be like if I jumped in at night. Crazy. What the hell would I do that for?

Leaving Dallas two days later than planned, I was already tired. Long night of driving ahead.

boatatnight

I-30 east out of Dallas merges with I-20, which takes you across the Deep South. Can you believe I actually drove 80 miles before realizing I had made a mistake? I’m embarrassed to even admit that somehow I missed the merge and kept driving. I mean I’m a plainsman, a traveler, a nomad! I had my iPhone earbuds in my ear but wasn’t listening to music. Was talking to a new friend in Philly. He’s a sergeant in the Army and also works on the tarmac at the airport up there.

It’s been a long time for me. We’ll see. But so far…

Dimly I recall thinking “why I keep seeing signs for Texarkana?”, which is in the far northeastern part of the state, near Arkansas. What distracted me so much I went 80 miles out of my way, listening to his voice?

leadbelly

By the time I realized I’d fucked up = no exit, just deep woods and the freeway. Pitch black night. No choice but to drive the last 20 or so miles all the way into Texarkana then try to work my way back down through side roads at night to Shreveport, Louisiana and Interstate 20 East. This is not prairie wide-open Texas, but part of that closed-in deep woods looming on either side of the road East Texas.

Was pretty agitated, but since I teach my Restoration Not Incarceration™ crew members in my non-profit organization how to manage feelings, I applied that to myself and let my pissed-offness dissipate out the cold open window. Just drive.

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  1. Pingback: Midnight Special – through the Deep South – Part 2 | Jarid Manos  /  American writer & activist

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