THE SIERRA MADRES TAKE UP WHERE THE ROCKIES LEFT OFF with an attitude of exigency unexpected of inanimate objects. They MOVE, not just in their massive ranks but by the slight shirks and sometimes shudders that characterize plate tectonics. There's personality to these peaks, of a kind I was blind to in San Francisco. These mountains LOOM (lazily, lackadaisically, lecherously) like Mexican men, list lividly like the difference in the way you say saints' names this side of Tijuana. Why I watch it all go by when I haven't set but ten steps on this pseudonymous soil (that's what it took to get from Greyhound to White Star, a bus brand that sounds better in Spanish)--here are SERIOUS hills, who the locals will deign to call mountains only when they don't have to walk over, there being the rare tunnel or winding road connecting occident and orient--WHY I watch it all go by without protesting the cold remoteness of the trip, I'll leave to my old friend Ali (new as the countryside, but old as the hills in meaning, purpose) to refuse to explain with a silent smile.
It's all like a new lease: before I was complacent about the fact he would eventually find me, my father, and force me to finish school, get a regular job, shore up with one of his co-worker's Cal boys. Now there's a new identity and the invitation into a guerilla hippie clique with not just a ritual but a MISSION. In the club with Leary and the late John Griggs. I don't know for sure if I'm the first girl, but probably so and in any case there can't be many others. No turning back to suburban banalities, no return to mundane mediocrity.
The roadside goes by like a diorama, twirling children beneath flopping signs tenuously announcing uvas in the split-second hurricane of our hurtling bus. It's like a television set, only we're on the inside: a box of cartoon animals gawking glumly at the life outside.
A portfolio of briefing materials, two tickets to Mexico,
and a set of identification cards officializing my assumed name--so far
these are the only clues as to our directive.
Wonder what Murdock's up to. . . .
pssst. . .sign the guestbook!