adventures with Henk the Buell

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Saturday, October 01, 2005

The sun just set over Spring Valley turning the sage lavender and Mt. Sopris grape. I have been given the companionship of the dog named Ling and a skinny old black cat named Shadow for the weekend while their owners road trip to Denver for a beer festival. My coffee mug is full of “crisp white wine” from a five-liter box in the fridge and I just had a curried tofu and mango sandwich for dinner from the health food store in town. Henk is parked outside in the woody sage taking in the delicious scent. He’ll be happy to have his signal lights fixed tomorrow because riding through the canyon back from Aspen after dark with no signals is no fun. But riding through Woody Creek, then over Independence Pass in the shimmering golden aspens is.

I’ve been craving some time alone to digest the last couple of weeks of surprises and gifts and beautiful visions and unexpected turns and tears. Two weeks has somehow stretched into a luxurious elastic timeless state of being and I’ve had my heart emptied and filled and emptied and filled like a warm infinite tide. Each day seems to only get better, each sunset, impossibly, more beautiful. I’m living patterns and having breakthroughs followed by breakdowns followed by breakthroughs.

I had the dog named Ling alone for an entire day last week up at Bill’s round house in the hills. He’s become my new favorite person and we played and ran in the scrub and rolled in cow dung and stretched in the Colorado sun and meditated and drooled and wrote, and I thought wouldn’t it be nice next time to love deeply, to have a dog and stick around to feel it all and give it all and not run away, wisely and freely and unconditionally loving, and granting the same in return. I didn’t quite wish it; I just thought it for a minute the same way I’d think wouldn’t it be nice to have world peace…

Whenever I have a thought like that, I’m eight years old in Holland, being impacted for the first time by my grandparents’ relationship. They lived for each other. The first thought on my grandfather’s mind in the morning was what could he do for my grandmother to make her day easier or a little bit nicer. Everything Lucy did, she did for Henk. His happiness was hers and hers, his. I didn’t know the depth of what I was witnessing at that age, but I knew Grandma and Granddad were always a joy to be around. It was pure and sweet and maybe ruined me for life.

I’ve fallen in love at first sight twice. The first time was eight years ago when the man to whom I was married was picking up his brand new Road King at Heritage Harley Davidson in Edmonton. Henk and I saw each other from across the showroom through rows of gleaming chrome and glistening paint, and instantly knew: I was for him and he was for me. I had no fear attached to attachment. I took a photo back to my restaurant and taped it to my fridge for motivation. Within weeks I’d sold enough black bean chili and spicy peanut stir-fry to make a down payment. It didn’t matter that I had to scramble for a few years to pay my rent or pay the produce supplier. Henk and I were meant to be, and nothing was going to stop fate from unfolding her silver hand. It was uncomplicated. It still is. We understand each other and have a deep mutual respect that comes from shared experience.

The second time was with a human being, although I often wonder if he might be divine. We saw each other through a pane of glass reflecting California sunshine and ancient cryptic code. I was scared and afraid and disbelieving and awed and ultimately wretched. But it was instant and I knew: I was for him and he was for me. So I ran. I didn’t even take a photo. It was complicated. It still is. And too sacred for words. We have a deep mutual love that comes from knowing something profound took place the moment we became aware of each other’s existence. And we both had to let go. It’s been five years.

Somehow, though, despite my running, despite my riding, despite my ignorance and arrogance and blindness, fate manages to contort lines of latitude and longitude underfoot, twisting every meandering road I’ve never followed toward one inevitable essential destination. I almost needn’t open my eyes.

So when I find myself in the geographical vicinity of this divine human being, unexpectedly falling for a dog named Ling and his owner, after asking all the questions, is it just the landscape, is it just the Colorado sunshine, is it just the timing, is it just the hot springs or the underground vapor caves, is it just transferal of affection, am I just vulnerable, am I just dependent, is it just his razor-sharp wit or his easy charm or his perpetually sunny outlook or his freckles or his passion or his generosity of spirit or his unruly red curls or his sexy red motorbike, or is it just the damn dog, the lover dog named Ling Ling, the only thing after asking all the questions that makes any sense, any sense at all, is that the key to world peace, without a doubt in my mind, is just a thought away. Wouldn’t it be nice.


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