10/10/16 – This is a continuation of the previous post. File this under doing good AND things that freak you out…we need to invent a word for that. I can’t exactly call this serendipity, but in some ways, it feels like a form of it.
Climbing into the wayback machine for a moment….to a younger version of myself and my life. There was a strong possibility I would be relocating to the Seattle area. I was visiting the area house hunting. I had never seen the Pacific Ocean before, so a trip was made across the Peninsula so that would happen. The ocean was beautiful. The stacks were beautiful. The temperate rain forests were beautiful. Everything was beautiful. Except one thing.
The Native Americans in that area lived in shacks by the coast in abject, horrific poverty. I felt terrible…I literally wanted to give them the coat off my back and the shoes off my feet. We drove through. Everyone else in the vehicle I was in seemed to be used to seeing this…I didn’t see or feel it affect them. I was horrified at the third world conditions this tribe was living in. Since then, when recalling memories of my time there, I’ve always been haunted by the image of a man, standing outside his shack, staring at me. I was warm and snug inside the van we were driving, this man was staring at the van and at me. That image haunted me. And part of me wanted to do something to improve the conditions they were living in.
Fast forward to present day…
An old friend from high school emails me out of the blue. It has been years since we’ve spoken. He’s a computer guy, but he’s doing volunteer work for a Native American tribe. He was asked to help set up a recording studio for the tribe for the young people to use. Problem is, he was running into issues hooking up some of the audio gear. He doesn’t know much about audio, and he has to run this project. So we start shooting emails back and forth on what needs to be done. I see pictures….we start formulating a plan to tackle this project. After a week, he calls because a piece of gear wasn’t working, so I talked him through it and deduced what needed to be troubleshot. We hadn’t spoken in years. I asked him about how he ended up where he is now.
He replies “I’m at the edge of the world.”
I pause. Mental images and memories flood back….my memories back of the trip to the Pacific coast had been flooding back throughout the week. Including the man by the shack near the sea. But there’s so many tribes out there…literally 5 or 6 just around Seattle.
I ask where exactly he is…where is it that deems “the edge of the world”…images of stacks were flooding my brain now. My friend has a poet’s sensibilities…so I know the image type he is centering on…a beautiful untamed place, my brain felt hints of that phrase as well when I first saw that coast…”the edge of the world”. (Photos here and here will give you an idea.)
I nearly fainted when he said “the Pennisula”.
He describes it. He tells me what cities are nearby.
“Where ON the Pennisula are you?”
He mentions the town.
This isn’t getting any better. It’s only confirming things. “Tell me about the ocean.”
He starts to describe it. I stop him…”tell me…do you have standing rocks in the ocean?”
“The stacks? Sure.”
“I know exactly where you are. I visited there years ago.”
I could not make this up if I tried. I’m helping the exact same tribe in the EXACT same location I was at years ago. .the same tribe, in the SAME EXACT location. A town of three hundred people or so…in basically a globe with of billions of people…what are the chances of my friend ending up there?
After an inventory was taken of what they have, we’re beginning to gather donations to send out to the tribe for their studio project. (Really, it would be more accurate to call it a studio/rehearsal space/performance space project).
More to come on this project in coming days and months…