Friday, August 06, 2010

Luckiest Guy in the World

Well, I hope you all feel like you're the luckiest people int he world and I hope you don't mind that I do as well. I just sit here--wherever I am--sometimes and sort of break out chuckling. Yes, I've got my problems. No, there isn't enough money. No, I'm not getting the sexual attention I want. No, the government isn't going to give me back the land they've taken through eminent domain. No, I have not become enlightened, given up cigarettes or enjoy a day without a couple of whiskeys in it. And no, my stories still won't write themselves.
BUTTTTTT, I still chuckle when I think of the joy I get by living my life. I've got everything. I've got my fantastic kids, a grandbaby, two old Ford Rangers that have nearly 500,000 miles between them but are fully paid for and run real well. I've got a house halfway paid for and a beautiful piece of property. I get to be an investigative reporter for one of the best weekly papers in the country, I got to finish my book, I even got those awards. I get to take people down to the Amazon and give them a glimpse of another way to live, partly through the medicines we use and partly just by slowing them down enough to count the leaves on the trees rather than just seeing the forest. I have gotten to rebuild my own boats on the Amazon, have collected plants and artifacts and that fantastic frog, the Phylomedusa bicolor, with that wonderful medicine. I get to work with the most amazing team several times a year down there, get to get wired up getting a trip ready and then fired up while running it and later breaking it down. I get to meet fantastic people all the time, many of whom stay in touch years later, an indication that they were touched by something on the trips.
When I was younger I was just as lucky. I got to grow up in a great family, got to learn how to eat with beggers and dine with kings, got to play sports into my 50s and will again now that I've been given the green light by my surgeon in Cuzco, Peru. I worked wonderful art galleries, helped build Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland, had a roommate in college who taught me how to be cool and smart, had three fantastic teachers in Pablo, the Matses headman, Moises, my jungle survival teacher and Julio, the ayahuasquero. I had Clare love me for years--though I didn't really know how to take it very well, something I have since grown into--and Gail, and Albie and then Chepa. And even though the Chepa marriage didn't finally work, for five-six years I was the happiest married guy on the planet. And now we get along, so even that turned out okay.
And last week I had an old college pal come into town--I hadn't seen her in 40 years--and we took a long drive out to Marfa, Texas, an artist's colony, and just had a freaking blast, talking late into the night for days.
And then the animals that died while I was in Peru have mostly been replaced and once again I hear those birds in their cage in the kitchen having a good time singing and shouting at me. And Boots the wonderdog is still fantastic.
A few minutes ago I got to load the garbage into my truck to haul it to the dump. And when I'm done that I'm driving on to go pay the water bill. And I'm happy about those things too. I guess I'm just saying thanks to the universe. And I guess I've been saying it for a while now. Thanks that the flesh eating infection on my legs has stopped eating flesh. Thanks that today is just such a great day to be alive. And I'm hoping you are feeling just as lucky as me.

5 comments:

23 said...

Sometimes you gotta climb the tallest tree to get perspective. You're a lucky guy to know this and you're life is richer for it!

Smiling with you Peter!

Sean said...

That post brought a smile to my face. Thank YOU, Peter.

The Grudge said...

Thanks for sharing Peter. Hope your leg heals completely.

Graccus said...

I like to start our Medicine ceremonies with the lines "oh, you lucky people, getting to do this Medicine" and " this is the hardest darn thing you could be doing right now, good luck." Of course, those lines can totally be said for Life itself, which is really just another form of the Medicine. Lucky and difficult, goes with the territory.
Then I was showing off your book after ceremony the other morning also, telling the gang that it gives a perfect perspective on the Medicine work from someone who has done it seriously and gets it. Actually three nights of ceremony, very tough and very beautiful times were had by all.

Peter Gorman said...

Graccus: Well, thanks for sharing my book, and I think your perspective is right on about both life and the medicine: You have to just dive the freak into the water and see what's what. Standing on the shore is beautiful but shortchanges the experience.