Departure From Mesopotamia

[Continues from: “And so it begins…”]

© — The drive from Elko toward San Francisco was lovely.  Outside of the car.  The Spring day brought glistening sunshine, and bouquets of desert flowers that poked their heads through the guardrails.  I had just left a 10-day meditation retreat at a center near the Jarbidge Wilderness in NE Nevada.  I, and two real-life friends, had found each other in a Facebook group that concerned itself with meditation for deep serenity.  I had thought that the group title read “Medication for Deep Serenity,” and while waiting for this really quiet group to get around to pharmaceutical answers for my unsettled nervousness, I got into a nice sidebar chat with Facebook friends Lois and Bill McCarthy on the proper way to make date bars at home.

After the retreat, we rented an old cabin once used by sheepherders, set up a clear space next to the kitchen (a plank on two logs) to meditate in, and started talking about what to do next.  We never did get around to meditation; we had had enough over the last 10 days.  We did make some great fruit bars using Lois’ date bar recipe, and the grape jelly and box of graham cracker crust mix we found at the country store 12 miles down the hill.  We ate the bars in silence, noticing the texture in our mouths and the grape jelly sticking to our fingers.  We had finally found that thing they called “mindfulness” in that Facebook group.  And then we became mindful of the lack of food, and our weariness with the lack of a toilet, indoors or out.  So, Lois and Bill headed back to Iowa City; Bill was going to check out the fishing at lakes along the way.  I headed west toward San Francisco.  I really had no notion where I was going, but West sounded good.  And I had an idea.  Ya see, all a real coddiwompler needs is an idea, and knowledge of where the sun sets.  After that, it’s downhill.  And then uphill, and then…well…you get the idea. Now, do you know where your sun sets? (Or is it rises?…or does it matter?…I forget…)

Now here is where the idea began: There was an old National Geographic at a clinic I went to in Salt Lake City to have a tick removed.  The cover story was about Mesopotamia, and I thought the name of the place was pretty cool…mezo-po-tay-mia; it just rolled off the lips.  By the time I was called to see the APN, I had learned that it was an awesome place in Persia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and that it had all the plants and animals people could ever want.  You see, Mesopotamia literally means “the land between rivers,” and it must have been a hot-spot for river rafters.  Not only did this place look like a ton of fun, but it was also the place where people learned to build cities and live together.  Sort of like Los Angeles, but without the cars and smog.  Or Anaheim, with corn and wheat fields instead of orange orchards, and pyramids that you could build fires on and dance around instead of Disneyland.  It sounded like a wondrous place.

First, because…just because…we’ll take a look at Mesopotamia.  Coddiwompling continues below:


Mesopotamia…back in the day…

Well, not having anywhere near enough money to get to Mesopotamia (which I hear has changed since, anyway), I went looking for the exact opposite…because I’m like that.  So, when I got to Elko, I swung by the library, and found a great big atlas.  I studied it for two days, and considered what the opposite side of the earth would be for people back in the day.  Of course, they’d be walking, and therefore, if one person walked East, and one person walked West, at some point they would meet up, and that would be, for the Mesopotamians, the opposite.  And they would doubtless learn may things along the way, and different things, too.  One would traverse the Alps…the other the Himalaya.  One would see elephants…the other French poodles.  One would pass Angkor Wat in Cambodia…the other Trump Tower in New York City.  By the time they hooked up, they would be different people entirely, and probably think differently, too.  And that would make for one totally cool conversation, and one I wanted to hear!

So, I borrowed a ruler from the nice librarian lady, and, using the calculator on my cell phone, set about determining where these two people might meet up. Now, I had to figure they were walking, which was common in those days, so this journey probably took a while. (I did need to assume that the polar ice pack was strong enough to hold a person carrying a backpack.)  However, following the most likely places where one could find water, shelter, and restaurants with reasonable prices, my dual routes…one East and one West…roughly intersected just north of San Francisco, and within a reasonable margin of error, these two Mesopotamians would be saying, “Hi!”, right about in the middle of a little town called Woodacre.  So, that’s the general direction I was headed.  Feeling most excellent about going in a direction…and pretty darned serene, too…without that medication.

(For your convenience, we offer…The Coddiwomplers Route Guide)

Copyright – Robert W. Hansen – 2017

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