Thursday, October 4, 2012
I got up again before the sun reached us. It was high enough to lighten the sky and to illumine the mountain tops to the west. The now familiar view had been transformed overnight. A great incoming tide of fog had filled the large valley before us to the south. Mountain tops, like where we were camped, had become peaked islands of trees. The deeper and higher fog in the valley to the west – strengthen by its closer proximity to the Pacific – began spilling through a pass between peaks, like a silent, slow-motion waterfall. I could actually see the fog gently flowing, cascading into the next valley. The fog seemed undecided whether it was water or air, existing in both worlds. This pure white ephemeral sea with its soft swells, its majestic and vast expanse toward the horizon, would be gone in a few hours.
I am upgrading my new life from “dharma bum” to “dharma vagabond”. Their meaning is about the same, but vagabond is a little more romantic and poetic . . . unless you are a diehard fan of Jack Kerouac and prefer the original expression. A vagabond is known for “moving from place to place without a home” and has the “characteristic of a wanderer.” But being a bum also connotes a devotion to something, usually an activity, like a ski bum, and therefore a dharma bum is dedicate to practicing the dharma. This meaning is not included in the definition of vagabond. Which term to you prefer?
NEXT STOP? Today we leave to Napa and will camp near Calistoga.