031. RUMINATIONS ON 'NOW' AND SHASTAJI / by Cara Hines

IN 'NOW' I TRUST

"Crosswalk", image by Carl FuermannThe distance to ‘someday’ is infinite. Elusive. The word itself seems benign. This is our great fallacy. In our shallow minds ‘someday’ is a fixed destination ‘around the corner’—just a bigger paycheck or 10lbs lost or a prettier girl away. It embodies our attachments, our fears, our shadow selves, our successes. We cast them off with our accountability, across the ever-widening chasm between them and now. And we do this because they exist in the unknown, where each step is taken blindly, with little if any information about the lurking things beyond. And beyond is where we meet ourselves. 

We cast them off to ‘someday’ land, the destination we never reach because it doesn't exist, and we rarely move in the direction of it anyway. ‘Someday’ is a future phantom we cannot access ‘Now’, because the future cannot exist in the present moment. We cast them off, as voyeurs of life afraid to walk through the image projected on the screen in front of us, content to sit and watch and criticize and languish unfulfilled. We cast them off to ‘someday’…until we reach the edge of that chasm, no way to turn back without dying in our skin. At that edge, we’re met with the truth, unable  this time to close our eyes to it, our present moment truth, our mortality, our nature as ephemeral phenomena. We let go of the notion of ‘someday’, realizing ‘someday’ never existed. In other words, life is short. Live it…’Now’.

Well?! What are we waiting for?! Ah, yes. We're waiting to get to 'someday'.

There is nothing like a good jerking of the existential rug from beneath a person to make them realize ‘someday’ is too risky to bet on. That’s when ‘Now’ becomes the only place and time. Mostly. I mean, we are human after all. Fallable. Delusional. Perfect in our limitations.


NAMASTE, SHASTAJI

Posing with Mark, previous owner of the Shasta. His wife Tracey is not pictured. Stellar people.This is a fairly grandiose way for me to introduce a 1966 Shasta travel trailer. It seems like such a little thing, and rough around the edges at that. But this little box on wheels embodies for me much of what I’ve just written. It does not exist in ‘someday’ land. It’s ‘Now’. You see—and I understand if there are those who think I harp on this too much, but I do not apologize for it—when I was faced with the death of my brother a year ago, I faced my own. I always said most of the crying done at funerals had more to do with people’s sorrow for their own fleeting and seemingly futile existence. I think I was right. We’re crying for the loss of that person, indeed, but also for the reminder of our unknowable impending death. We cry for the loss of qualities that person reflected back to us that we think are gone forever into eternity with them. But, if we’re paying attention, we own those qualities in ourselves for the short time we have here, and we’re left with nothing but rejoicing, gratitude, and more life than we had before. And we live in ‘Now’ more often. This is hard to do, but essential if we are to thrive in the midst of unimaginable grief and human suffering.

So, the Shasta. She ain’t much, but she’s my new home. For the past 2 or 3 years ‘my Airstream’, my life filled with written and spoken words and art and earth and nature and the people who commune and create with them, my happiness, existed in ‘someday’. The Airstream is now a Shasta, my life in ‘Now’ is filled with written and spoken words and art and earth and nature and the people who commune and create with them, and despite or because of my unimaginable grief, I am happy as a daisy after a July thundershower.

Speaking of daisies, the Shasta daisy is just one kind. They’ve been known in various cultures to symbolize simplicity, innocence of youth, purity, loyal love, hope, patience, beauty, and sacred secrecy between two people. Some believe it prevents lightning. Mount Shasta in Northern California means “White Mountain”. Poet Joaquin Miller said of it, “Lonely as God, and white as a winter moon, Mount Shasta starts up sudden and solitary from the heart of the great black forests.” Believers in the spiritual significance of the Harmonic Convergence describe Mount Shasta as one of the global ‘power centers’. In Sanskrit, Shasta is a generic term for a teacher.

I like words and their meanings. They are my playthings. Shasta is the vessel I’m journeying with my innumerable playthings out of ‘someday’ and into ‘Now’. I can scarcely tell you what day it is half the time. Heck, last week it took me a full minute or more to remember the month! I’m more at home in ‘Now’ than I recall since before kindergarten began imposing mechanically divided units of time and robotic functions. In ‘Now’ I never want for anything, and everything is exactly as it is. The Shasta is a symbol of this simplicity, return to innocence, patience, beauty, hope, loyal love, and sacred secrecy between The All and me. A teacher and power center? Perhaps. My humble home? For ‘Now’. 

P.S. I got a traaailer!! I got a traailer!! Doo-do-doo-doo-do…! And it’s a Shaaasta!!!   [booty-shakin’, 2” hitch ball-spikin’ touchdown dance here, with vigor]

View more photos in the Ruminations on 'Now' and Shastaji gallery