What follows is an unusual travail, rife with peril and pitfalls and which has made me realize,
quite involuntarily, a kind of indestructible essence that we all have within us that enables us
to survive. Cut off from this source, many break down, lose it, open fire on random people and
even their own families and usually end up doing themselves in. The reason for this is
because they are ill equipped at integrating the experiences they have and making sense of
them in a redeeming way. Something I attempt to do in the following travelogue.
If there is any retribution it is that I no longer take what is described in the story below
personally, but rather use the discernment garnered all along the road to see the source of
people's behaviors-their self absorbed carelessness, delusions and fear/greed induced
motivations most of all. However, the gauntlet does not come to some cut and dried end
simply by forgiving and letting go. In fact, it tends to betray such a contrivance, intensify and
becomes even more challenging, for it is up to us to draw upon our own resiliency and self
reliance and having a trust in something so much higher than our ego bound selves.
I consider it an all out miracle indeed that I'm able to place my hands on a keyboard on this,
my 57th birthday and type away. May what follows here inspire and help you realize your own
I dedicate this work to Beth Sweere. A rare and beautiful someone as you will see.
January 1st, 2012
Battle Lake, Mn.
On this New Year’s Eve, I reflect on a year that surely was most challenging for many. For me
the apocalypse happened in its entirety. Not in the Four Horsemen kind of way as many have
come to expect, but rather a silent and invisible neutron bomb has globally detonated, killing
people’s souls en masse while preserving their bodies intact like real estate property to be
occupied in the future by God knows what.
Most evident for me of the success of this devastating report was when I sat across from my
pudgy, balding insurance agent as he scrutinized changes in my car policy. Squinting at a
computer screen, he asked about my family. I responded to the obviously wooden inquiry and
told him how tough it was burying my mother the previous winter.
He then turned to face me and asked about the status of the house. I told him that it had sold
but refrained from filling him in on how a warm and amiable guy named Freddie Mac had
bought it sight unseen. I guess his hopes of selling me another policy were dashed, although
he didn’t show it when he handed me a complimentary 2012 calendar on my way out.
The revelry of my fair weather friend Christmas was deafening. During one particularly dismal
day, an Anishanabe woman with one lung arrived at my door with her 120 lb. dog named Taz,
a cross between a Pit Bull and a Great Dane from what I could gather of its uniquely
overbearing pedigree. We sat together in the cold, empty house by the cracked fireplace, on
folding chairs, chewing on some pizza. With the two inch wide scar that arced over her right
shoulder visible, she confided to me that her doctors claimed all her medical records had
somehow vanished when she asked about them. She told me how a group of 'student'
doctors were in front of her when her gown was ripped off in some basement in a hospital in
Anoka and pictures taken. Afraid of another bout of steroid psychosis and a trip to the psych
ward, she grew nervous.
|R.I.P. Beth Sweere|
She then started crying when I asked her if there was anyone sober in the Pine Marten clan
she was a part of to give her support.
“I just want to have a happy Christmas.” She sobbed, crossing her arms to prevent me from
hugging her and looking away.
I tried to rectify things by giving her pooch some Rib Eye steak, but I haven’t seen my Indian
friend with the unbelievably thick, beautiful hair since then, nor has she returned my calls.
Maybe the ambulance siren I heard the other day was for her. Maybe it was DOA for real this
time. Perhaps I should have burned the Frankincense she so dearly wanted to smell and
remained silent during the visit like indigenous people usually do when together.
After she left, I was quite saddened. But I re-read the Christmas card she had bothered to give me:
I have come into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me will not remain in the
She penned on one side and on the other:
May great spirit be with you.
Why I couldn't fully appreciate my friend's light that day, I'll never know. Maybe my heart too
has gone dead, seared by the neutron bomb.
And now on the cusp of 2012, we are left with nothing but ruin and loss and total
disillusionment. At least for me anyway.
Matthew 24:12 comes to mind:
Because of the increase of wickedness, the hearts of many will wax cold.
Yet, we should respond to such wickedness with love and not acclimate to it by shutting
down-especially to each other. That surely is the most disheartening thing of all considering
just how pervasive this kind of heart closure has become and the profound division it has
Please do what you can for others less fortunate than yourselves in the New Year, in a very
down to earth and tangible way. Lose the perennial idealism you keep stored up in the stars.
And most of all, chuck all of your salvational assumptions in regards to the 2012 hype for
there will be no delivering transformation. No collapse of the crypto-fascist corporate system
If any transformation is to take place, it will come from whatever humaneness, empathy and
compassion we have left within ourselves as individuals and not something 'activated' by
some global meditation during the next winter solstice. Most of all, during these perilous
times, be wise as serpents and harmless as the beautiful mourning dove I saw this afternoon
during a very rare winter encounter.
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