Honey goes to Lakeport

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February 1, 2013 · Posted in Notes from Above Ground 


By Honey van Blossom

(Honey is a Belgian Marxist former strip-tease artiste.)

Let us begin this story with Astarte, who is a dog living in San Felipe, Mexico on the coast of the Sea of Cortez.  To get to the story, however, I have to tell you the backstory.

The congregation of the Rainbow Church of Living Light had prayed together the night before I responded to their ad for a lawyer.  One of them said to me later that, when you need something, you open yourself to the universe.  You receive what you need.

What I need is an income.   I am open to the universe.

Two members of the church cut down and helped me haul away most of an old expansive yucca on the northeast corner of my property line.  The yucca is a species of evergreen with tough, sword-shaped leaves known colloquially in the Midwest United States as ghosts in the graveyard.  Its sharp leaves also drive off money.

The Rainbow people found in the weird sponge-like base of the yucca an old embossed silver spoon buried in the dirt and removed it because silver spoons are used in African-derived magic to transport graveyard dirt and a silver spoon is part of foot-track magic that results in bad luck that lasts for years.

I then noticed my next-door neighbor has a tall Mediterranean cypress in his front yard. It is a cemetery tree in both the Muslim world and Europe.  In classical antiquity the cypress was the symbol of morning, suitable for making wreaths to adorn statues of Pluto, ruler of the underworld. My neighbor on that side is from Iran.  He’s young and plays modern American music loudly so may not know the association but I do and hope these lots were not part of a family cemetery before an earlier farm was subdivided for tract homes.

My neighbors on the other side have plywood up instead of windows and a bulky man wearing black clothes comes outside sometimes and may be Pluto.  The man across the street has a long gray beard and walks a dog.  I don’t know anything about the rest of the neighbors.

Carlos, one of the Rainbow people, was born in Mexico City but his father was from Cuba and is part African.  He is a Classical guitarist, a writer and is a certified court interpreter.

He presently refuses to interpret for the courts because our justice system gives the illusion of justice but there isn’t any.  The legal system works for the rich.  He once had a harrowing week working in a slaughterhouse in Chicago.   He – and the other members of the church and its mother non-organization the Rainbow Family of Living Light – is a vegetarian.

The Reverend was born in England and grew up in Detroit.  She went to Cambridge.  She has an MBA, writes, and has had several businesses, including for about two years a raw food restaurant.

Carlos and the Reverend mostly live on the Sea of Cortez in Mexico and may be there now.

When I spoke with The Reverend on the phone before she came down from the mountains to see me the first time, I said I don’t represent hippies.  I advised a few hippies when I lived in Mendocino County and for perhaps two months I represented the Mendocino County Green Party against the state Green Party in a Sacramento Superior Court action.   Perhaps two hundred highly colorful people sat in the courtroom for the hearing.  The Green Party candidate for congress from LA wore a tuxedo and pink child’s sneakers.  He asked me if I thought he looked straight.  I said no.   He was dismayed and hung his head.

I told the Reverend about hippies and that I prefer to represent those who had least once in their lives thought in the box.

When they pulled up in front of my house in a small vehicle with a cracked windshield and an interesting seat belt arrangement, I beheld: hippies.

Now the dog story begins.  The first dog was a pit bull.  She ate a tray of blond marijuana brownies.  Chocolate is bad for dogs.  I don’t think they made a tray of blond brownies for the dog on purpose.

I asked what happened to the dog.

She dropped her big head to the ground but her eyes were open.  Carlos lifted her head and let it go.  It fell with a clunk.  Carlos’ eyes opened wide as they had opened when he first let go of the dog’s head years earlier when he told the story.  Gradually, the dog was able to lift her head, and then she looked out at the horizon for a long time.

After that, The Reverend told me, the dog was an enlightened dog and could talk to them with her thoughts.  The people had conversations with the dog in their heads.

Then the dog told them she was about to die — this was years later — and that her time had come but not to grieve because she would come back as another dog who would look just the same.

Six weeks after the dog died Carlos and The Reverend walked around San Felipe looking for another dog that would be a puppy six weeks old, and that would look just like the first one, and they found that six week old puppy.  This dog is still with them.  Her name is Astarte.  She can’t however communicate with her thoughts the way the first version of her had done after eating marijuana blond brownies.

So I told the church members that I felt I could tell them anything at all, and they’d believe it.

In the fall, I drove up to Lakeport for the church.

I don’t have power windows on my car.  If I fall off a bridge and the car sinks to the bottom, I’ll have an air pocket at the top.  I can roll down the window and escape.   The San Francisco Bay is only 14 feet deep.  I think I could survive.

I didn’t worry about the car going over a bridge and submerging when I lived in Los Angeles: that is an advantage Los Angeles has over the Bay Area.

Before Google maps, I carried paper maps.  I still carry my old maps in a paper bag in the back of the car in case but nothing ever used to get me through Vallejo except for trial and error.  Over the years, I have seen a lot of Vallejo.

I mapped the route to Lakeport with Google maps.  My mistake was that I didn’t map the route back as well.  I was to pay dearly. I took the Benicia-Martinez Bridge over the Carquinez Strait.

The day was glorious: a little cool, the winter light brilliant.  The trees lining 29 had turned as yellow as the middle of flame with purple foothills behind them, the vineyards rusting orange.

From Calistoga up through the Robert Louis Stevenson State Park past the old toll road winding a long time to Middletown, from Middletown to South Lake.

I reached the Mallard Motel and, because just about no one visits Lakeport in late fall or winter.  A statue of a duck is in front of the motel.  I had a cottage with one window facing the lake.  There’s a boat dock.  Personally, I don’t see the point in boating around in a lake or boating around anywhere.  I find boating to be an exercise in boredom punctuated with moments of terror.

The lake is a very good lake surrounded by hills but I’m used to cities and cannot imagine spending days on a boat on a lake.   I used to swim in the lake when it was summer, and twice I drove up from Lakeport to Lake Pillsbury, a lake impounded from the Eel River to swim.   Once a year, the Mendocino Bar Association met on the Eel River but no one is allowed to talk about what happens at the Bar.  They only allowed women to join after the 1960s because all the lawyers but one were male until then.   They ate salmon and had a performance of dancers wearing cervical collars called “Tortland.”  Half of the lawyers and judges went naked and all of us got poison oak and tick bites.   Going naked in the forest is another thing I don’t see the point in doing and never did.

I met my friend Francine in the evening.  She lives with her brother out in Potter Valley.  At dinner, she handed me a Jehovah’s Witness tract.  She doesn’t want to change my beliefs, she said, only to let me know what she believes, and I think what she believes is that all is well, which I do not think at all.

When we were only middle aged, before everyone had a cell phone, we had to stop every few miles to phone her mother from gas stations whenever we drove to Santa Rosa.  Anna was then in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and thought of us as young girls and imagined we’d be kidnapped and ransomed.   Years after that, Francine had to go out looking for her mother who kept taking off her clothes and running into the forest. (Her mother was not a member of the Mendocino County Bar Association.)  I rather thought then Francine should let her  — that Anna had become like a cat looking for a place to die in peace — but Anna wasn’t my mother.  She hadn’t been willing to let her go like that.

Her brother almost killed Francine once when she jumped out of the car to save a feral cat a hawk was about to devour and Paul backed up over her.

Francine is the only person I ever heard of who was stampeded by sheep.  Sheep do not ordinarily stampede.  She had only been trying to save them.  They had not agreed to be saved and apparently did not understood her objective.

As soon as she emerged from her car, I realized Francine could not hear a thing and should not be driving a car anymore.  If I faced her, though, and spoke simply, she understood.  She also seemed really short but told me she always had been really short so not to worry but she wasn’t always really short.

It did not really get dark all night long.  I saw the mountains and the lake in moonlight each time I went to my window.

I met my client in the morning.  We sat through a long morning calendar.  The judge found I’d filed the papers correctly so we got the court order I wanted.

I had spent a week once in that courtroom with a different judge.  That judge’s photo was on the wall ending a line of photos of dead judges who served in that room going way back to the beginning of the court.   When this judge dies, a photo of him will go up on the wall.

I packed up and drove back down the mountain and through Napa and saw the sign “Vallejo, City of Ambiguity” suspended over the off ramp and then spent a lot of time in Vallejo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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