The Charlie Bravo Story

Desert solitude

“The role of the artist is not to tell people what to think but rather to encourage them to think for themselves.”

Charlie here; things have been so loco around the Casa del Whackos that it has crowded the ability to chronicle those changes. Dad’s dad is rapidly declining , (uh, I’ll be having the Parkinson Special with a side of Alzheimer’s, hold the shake), and the sight sometimes takes a bit of the zip out of our doo dah.

But it also reinforces my appreciation for Chark diem-ing, if you will, living in the moment; every day out of the crate is a good day. The following words were written in the early 1600’s:

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

It also gives me a new appreciation for the loneliness of both the sufferers of
mental illness and that of their caregivers, as the patient gradually retreats into the shadows of their mind, and the other feels that life is marching on without them while they, alone, wait on the inevitable.

I recently read a study that stated the the physical effects of chronic loneliness was equal to that of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day; dad says both pale in comparison to watching even fifteen minutes of the news, but I digress. Loneliness is very much like depression as the sufferer can sometimes help heal themselves, as reaching out to others is the most effective cure for what ails ya.

But my time in the crate taught me many things, not the least of which is that our own conditions can severely hamper our own efforts to reach out to others, but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying. Dad still has my former crate, and the claw and bite marks on the inside bear mute witness to my determination to not be forgotten.

But solitude is not necessarily loneliness, for it’s in those times that the greatest growth occurs. If loneliness is the state of being acutely aware of your aloneness, then solitude is different: to be solitary is to be inside yourself with no need for escape- a separateness without the human ache of isolation.

Sometimes I think that’s why dad and I live to travel by motorcycle; no cell phones, no media invading our world and sucking at our souls, but always knowing that we have the option of making a human connection at almost any stop we make.

But therein lies the secret: we have to be willing to stop, and most of the time be the party to initiate contact. That’s why travelling alone on the road is rarely lonely, and always a party; people can’t come in unless you unlock the door, but sometimes you at least need to turn on the porch light and let them know your available for visitation.

Dad has a few adventures of his own on the horizon, one that he is taking with others , and one he is going alone. The first is the scary prospect of ACTUALLY FINISHING THE BOOK! The final 10% of any project is the most difficult and the most important; the writing is finished and, for the most part, formatted, Susan Norris is working her magic on the artwork, and it’s very close to hitting the presses. Stay tuned for updates.

The other is that dad is taking Jehu the mighty Suzuki back to Moab in a week, going with Zach, Craig, and Levi; I’m sitting this one out as the trails he will be taking under the blinding Utah sun are not conducive to black dogs on bikes. He may even find a way to sneak down into New Mexico and pay a visit to the sisters of Our Lady of the Desert Monastery, maybe uncover a little more info on their meeting with Trevor all these years ago.

So we have a lot of preparation over the next week, but that won’t slow us down; Marty Stuart is in town Saturday night, so you can add that to the list of activities as well….

It’s always a party at the Casa, and as always,

Happy Charlie Bravo Day!

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