Life is just a dream
Lucky, lucky me!
Have you found
Or are you lost at sea?
Do you know
Where you go
Is where I want to be?
So cast your troubles into the sky.
They can be the stars in our eyes
And we can count them all another day,
From far away.
Life is just a dream…
Lucky, lucky me!
Life is just a dream…
Lucky, lucky me!
Sung by Kat Edmondson
I had been in Nicaragua less than three months and was bitten by scorpions three times. That should have been warning enough right there, telling me that, as rough and ready as I thought I was, I really didn’t have the true grit it takes to make it in Nicaragua. So, not knowing any better, and having this silly sense of accomplishment at having adventured to a brand-new world full of palm trees, coconuts, and sand, I stayed on.
I went down to Pali and bought rice and beans, came home and cooked it and put away enough for the next few days, then I went down and bought a motorcycle and began exploring the countryside.
In my travels I came across a few watering holes I really liked, one of which is Dorado’s. A tiki shack bar on the beach with a thatched roof and open on both sides, and the cool sea breeze blew right through. I drank rum with Dyrti Dan, Shirtless Harry, and Fisherman Mike; and Bob kept serving us, even when we ran out of money. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll catch you tomorrow,” He’d say.
One night I was sipping rum in the corner of the beachfront bar with Fisherman Mike and a sweet Nicaraguan couple. I drank all my rum and the rest of theirs, and came to rest in a lounge chair out on the beach. The account of the whole story is a little fuzzy to me right now, but I do remember the familiar voices of Fisherman Mike and the old man telling me I was going to be all right. The next day I asked Mike, “What happened, and what did I do?”
“You were no problem at all.” He said they gathered me up and walked me over to a taxi, and then the old man put me up in a room at his house. I remember waking up and marveling at how I arrived at such a pristine environment.
My journey has not been like Alice who fell down the rabbit hole, but rather more akin to Aesop’s fables, and maybe more like Gulliver’s Travels, but there’s more to it than that. My wanderings have been travels of my mind, soul and heart, led on by muses who tantalize me with visions of laughter, love, and happiness; promising me everything, and then leading me on just to see how gullible I am.
I do feel a little bit like Gulliver… He was a storyteller like me, and townsfolk would gather around him and listen with delight as he told of the politics in his home country. Even though he professed that his stories were God’s Truth, they took his tales with a grain of salt.
Gulliver signed on for a voyage to the East Indies, but the ship wrecked and he washed ashore on Lulliput, where he woke up to find he had been tied up with lines by tiny people. He was in quite a fix for a while, but eventually broke free and left that place.
Gulliver then wondered into the land of the giants and, exhausted, climbed up into a tree to rest, and eventually fell into a deep sleep. When he awoke, he was astonished to find two giants sitting directly below him, leaned up against his very tree, sleeping. As the story goes, Gulliver devised an exit plan. He dropped nuts on the giants’ heads until they began fighting, and then escaped while they were thus distracted (an astute assessment of US and British foreign policy).
Eventually a huge eagle picked up Gulliver and carried him out over the ocean and then dropped him, where an English freighter came by and rescued him. When Gulliver told the mariners his story they thought he was crazy.
If I told you my story you’d think I’d gone crazy too. As my beloved housekeeper Evon often said, “It’s fun being crazy.” So that’s okay, I’ll save that story for later and tell you this one. Besides, if being crazy was good enough for her, it’s good enough for me, so I’m not going to worry about it.
Fisherman Mike says that aliens not only exist, but they’ve been here on Earth for a long time. While I agree with certainty that there is other life out there among the stars, I’m not fully convinced that we have alien DNA.
Myself, I fear the giants, those malicious beasts that are furiously stomping around our planet, creating mayhem everywhere they go; and bellowing, “HE WHO DEFIES THE GIANT MUST BE CRUSHED”*. I don’t know if my minuscule existence will be a lasting thing, or will I be wiped out too?… But get this: What’s even worse for me, way worse than the giants, worse than anything, are all those lines with which the little people bind me; it’s harder to get rid of those. I struggle with them.
But, you know, like Sinatra said, “That’s life… That’s life and I can’t deny it. I thought of quittin’ baby, but my heart just won’t buy it.”
Truth be known, I’m only blaming the little people for the lines, because I think my bonds are self- imposed…Those lines are the hardest ones to break. And the thing is… I know I don’t suffer alone. We all suffer some. We are fellow travelers on this rocky road called life.
My suggestion to you, gentle reader, is to read and be encouraged by the fabulous Poet of Freedom, Friedrich Schiller–“If you have never seen beauty in a moment of suffering, you have never seen beauty at all. If you have never seen joy in a beautiful face, you have never seen joy at all.”
From my cottage overlooking the coastline I can step back a little bit and take a larger view of the world, one with more perspective. I lay in my hammock one night watching the rain when an electrical storm rolled in from the south, and within minutes lightning and thunder lit up the village and the hill on the north side of the harbor where the statue of Christ stands. Bolt after bolt assaulted the statue as I watched amazed. Then suddenly a trio of lightning bolts struck at once with a powerful report. I thought the statue would explode in a burst of light, but it never did (I found out later that the builders had wisely installed a lightning rod for just such an occasion). I watched the show for a long time. It slowly crept over the town and worked its way up the coast, the flashes and thunder fading into the night sky. I went to bed a happier man having witnessed it.
In the stillness of the morning after that electrical storm, I began hearing the call of the street vendor way down in the barrio where the fish plant used to be. I could’ve heard him before and just never realized it, but the vendor’s call came to my ears that particular morning while I was still sleeping in. Maybe it was especially quiet that morning, right after the electrical storm, when his voice registered in my ears. The voice of the street vendor carried up the hill as he made his way through the barrio. Now, every morning I would hear his soulful cry. To describe the sound he makes I could only accomplish it by asking you this one question: Do you remember when you had your first baby and you played a little game of hide and seek with her, when you flipped the baby blanket over and said, “I see you!” Do you remember the love and excitement in your baby’s eyes, and the way it made you feel? You flipped the blanket back down for a second and then did it again. “I see you!” You remember, don’t you? That’s the kind of call this sweet man has chosen, music so sweet that I want to run down the hill and buy something from him. It’s his soul, the sweetness of it.
Finally, I didn’t care what he was selling, and I jumped on my moto and rode down to meet him.
*Ken Follett, THE FALL OF GIANTS