29 March 2005

Greetings from Ville Platte, LA...

Where it's 76 degrees and feels hotter. I've been backpacking the last three days - alone! - and just got out of the woods this morning. I smell like I've been backpacking for three days, so me thinks I'll get a hotel room tonight (somewhere on the coast) shower, eat a pizza, and write until little pieces of bone are sticking through my fingertips. The muse is singing a big, loud song in me, and I'll do my best to dictate what she is saying.

I spent Friday night in a motel room in Canton, Mississippi (just north of Jackson) and Sunday night in a rental cabin in St. Landry, Louisiana (five bonus points if you can find that on a map). To say the cabin was rustic is the understatement of the year. To say the people who own it are hill folk is also a great understatement. But, though the cabin was dilapidated, it was clean, and I wrote a LOT and slept almost ten hours, and the folks who owned it were very kind and absolutely fascinated my me.

Then I headed into the backcountry of Chicot State Park and camped alone...I thought I would be terrified, but I was not. It was so silent, so lovely...I felt very protected and at ease. Anyone who doubts the existence of a higher power should have been with me these last two nights. I could feel energy everywhere, and it seems the trees bent over me like sheltering parents. I was mere feet from a cypress filled lake that throbbed with stillness. For two and a half days I did nothing other than read (I finished two novels), hike, sleep, and think my way into and talk my way out of about a hundred brown fugues, all while at least three miles from the nearest human. (An owl did scare the bejeesus out of me Sunday night, but that was only temporary.)

I feel great right now. I was apprehensive about being alone, so I headed right into the dark, warm heart of solitude and feel reborn by it. I now crave solitude again. My friends are also incredible - I feel less alone now than I have in awhile. You guys have been with me on this trip, through every bending mile of it.

Beck's new album is out today, so I think I'll pick that up and crank the hell out of it.

This is just the beginning...there will be a much longer, much more introspective account of these proceedings in the days ahead.

Love from the road,

Dan

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