Nothing left to lose on the proud highway
Updated: Jul 5
"Freedom is something that dies unless it is used" Hunter S Thompson
It's that time of year again here in the northern Chihuahuan desert: midsummer full moon and unrelenting extreme heat, day after day with no monsoon rain storm relief for weeks now.
The lakes are full of snowmelt and crazy drunken tourists in charge of too much horsepower, this being that noisy, gunpowder tinged, barbecue flavoured, alcohol fueled holiday in the Yuu Ess of Hay. It's a holiday which purports to celebrate freedom, but everywhere I see people wearing the red, white and star spangled blue chain store clothing which screams consumer conformity, parades of obedience to the commercial imperative. Entrapment. Capitalism and its sidekick greed have murdered true freedom.
Speaking of freedom and bondage, the Rio Grande currently gallops between the two (man made) lakes: fast, angry and taking no prisoners, disdainfully spitting out drowned bodies day after day with alarming regularity. Medical choppers and sirens rip the hot desert air to shreds with their crisis soundtrack.
Me? I'm going nowhere near those disturbed, dangerous waters.
For my water experiences in these days of crash and burn, I am sticking with hotsprings soaks in the blissfully empty of people, blissfully air conditioned Pelican Spa bathhouse where the water temperature at 102 is the same as the outside air and there are cold showers to mediate. Aaaah!
For the rest, I'm staying inside the refrigerated air of my expensively cooled house, grateful that I spent the money to install the magic box on the roof a few years ago.
I'm spending 30 minutes a day lying on the bed of nails, more commonly known as an acupressure mat, hoping the million wasp stings sensation of the experience will stimulate my nervous and lymphatic system and reduce inflammation. Paradoxically, those million wasp stings notwithstanding, sessons on the bed of nails leave one feeling incredibly good: revitalized with back pain and sciatica magically gone gone gone. In the absence of access to real acupuncture, I highly recommend an acupressure mat experience to support the body's recovery from daily toil. No, I don't work for any company making or selling these.
Nor these. My order of occupational therapist recommended tools arrived, so now I get to explore exercises to strengthen and rehabilitate my hand and arm in the comfort of my own home.
These little neon bright devices are devilishly hard to manipulate. The different colours are different levels of difficulty. I am still on the easiest level, on the left hand, though the right hand needs some work too and is functioning at about a level harder at the moment. The right hand was always the weaker, damaged a while back by arthritis and a fall on ice about 20 years ago. Now I have two semi functional, weak, damaged hands. Sigh.
In the cool of the early mornings, walking barefoot around the garden, I can still be surprised by brief flares of magnificence from the undergrowth. Gladioli are currently blooming. They don't last long once the heat of the day gets to them, but there they are, standing a proud salute to the advent of just another midsummer rattlesnake and cactus day.
The heat of the day is also a good time to catch up on some books which I've been meaning to get to for a while now.
Essential recommended reading this week, for a perspective on these nuevo gonzo times, or just for the breathtaking, untethered rollercoaster ride kind of freedom in the way Hunter S wields language:
Proud Highway: the Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman 1955-67. (The Fear and Loathing Letters vol 1). Letters of Hunter S Thompson, edited by Douglas Brinkley (1997)
It doesn't often happen, but every now and then I find a book where the impulse is to start from the beginning again after the last word has been read. This collection of Hunter S Thompson letters is one of those books. For me.