The first time I saw her face -
I was sitting along a little creek in Arizona, watching the moon come up. The night smelled of honeysuckle and dogwood; then the whole thing changed. Her scent, not unlike new musk; came wafting in from behind me. I turned round, and there she was; as I'll always remember her. Dark, full denim dress with large white buttons down the front; auburn hair pulled up high - and her smile. My God, how could I forget her smile? Like a pixie in full bloom, dimples and a twinkle in her deep blue eyes. She was holding a dog leash, with the tiniest yapper you've ever seen at the end of it. He was some kind of terrier, I guess; and he immediately rolled over on his back to have his tummy scratched. I complied with a grin, and never asked her permission at all. My first perceived mistake. I learned to always ask her permission for anything I did. It saved a lot of pain later.
She frowned quickly, then wiped it away like magic. Back to the famous smile again. Right then: I composed a piece of Haiku-like poetry for her - "I see eternity in the shadow of your smile." I never told her until much later, when it seemed all too prophetic.
We talked, and she was very interested in my researches into the Magdalene. [See the link.]
That night, she invited me out to dinner, which I accepted. Never turn down free food, especially with a beautiful lady. It had been a long time since I had enjoyed the company of a beautiful lady; a long time. I felt privileged, and honored. I was very conscious of her beauty, and I did not want to make any mistakes in our new friendship. I did not offer to touch her, even by inference. This is very difficult for me, because I am a naturally 'touchy feely' extroverted type A personality.
It wouldn't make any difference at all. Fear does that. Anything you fear will come to you, and I feared losing her, right from the very beginning.
I was a monastic, you see; and about as capable of male/female relationships at this point as of fighting a spanish bull without the cape. I know, you don't believe that a grown man can be innocent - well, for all intents and purposes - I was. I was not only monastic, but celibate, and chaste for more than 25 years. In today's society, it's the height of ignorance. And ignorance is no excuse, right? My own fault, I should have known better. No one, absolutely no one believes this story. So be it. Mea Culpa, Father. Mea Culpa. I digress.
We came back from dinner and could not find the Managers to get a key so I could take a shower. She graciously offered hers, and I gratefully accepted. If anything feels better than that after being dirty a long time, I don't know what it is.
Stepping out, she was standing there, with the weirdest expression in her eyes I had ever seen; like they were dead with a total, fixed intensity. Weird. I didn't say anything, and stepped aside. It was like she shook herself, and we chatted some more; nothing important.
Suddenly, a man stepped into her trailer like he owned it. He was introduced to me as 'Nat'. I wondered about the missing 'G'. He treated her with an intense contempt after she introduced me. I could almost see the sparks jump between them. He and I sat and talked for awhile, enough to find we had mutual technical interests in computers. His attitude was cold, condescending. I couldn't wait to get out of there. She followed me outside, and we agreed to stay in touch by E-Mail. I wiped my brow with relief, as I walked down the road. I was reminded of the old ditty: "Thank God and Greyhound she's gone." I giggled quietly to myself and kept on going.
Then, it got serious. Now, I don't care who you are or what culture you've been brought up in, men have a natural tendency to want to protect their wives, children, friends and all mankind; in that order. But not always.
This woman kept emailing me. One time it would be signed "love". The next time it would be signed with nothing at all. Her spelling was sometimes atrocious, sometimes perfect; almost like I was 'talking' to two different people. Most of the messages were light and chatty, some were so far off the norm I couldn't keep track. She mentioned having hormone problems. OK. I'll buy that. I don't know much about it, but I understand women have real problems when their hormones start to change. Or, are they using it for an excuse to be nasty when they feel like being nasty? Don't judge it. Try to understand.
I know I had become the recipient of something new in my life. I call it "night sweats" and "hot flashes". If this was anything like what the women had, it was not very comfortable at all. Nasty. Especially when I was out of cigarettes. Then, it got serious. The cigs seem to act like tranqs; calming me down when life got a little too intense. They had been doing that since I was fourteen years old, and I didn't like being addicted to anything or anyone. Not dignified. Quality, not quantity; in life just like everything else.
What is freedom? The option to think private thoughts without anyone intruding? The option to go anywhere I wanted to go? Or, is it the real beauty in life: a woman who loves you and a small house somewhere where you can shut the world out for awhile and just be together? I could not imagine anything nicer than that. I would even put up with an occasional night out to have that.
But, I would not put up with having other men or women in our life, disturbing that dream; especially romantically. Unrealistic? Too romantic? Too sensitive? Perhaps. Love defies logic. It just is.
Every book on 'psychology' I read advocates 'open marriage'. Who do they think they're kidding? The Bible tells them they will be condemned if they try this-self condemnation. Don't they read? In my own experience, and all the people I have known who have tried the 'free love' bit back in the sixties found this out, real quick. Now we have almost as many divorces as we have marriages. Is this what we want for our future? In my opinion, psychology is another religion - the wrong one.
We finally met again, after many emails we set up a meeting in a small town where I was holding outdoor seminars on what Christ taught.
My first student was a young man, quiet and a little shy; blonde and pale. He told me he was a sophomore in a local college, and enjoying the ambiance of the community, where he often found odd jobs at the local coffee house. His name was Joe.
I was having very little other attendance, except for a young woman Joe had met and seemed quite connected to. He also brought around another young woman he said he had gone to school with.
At the local coffee house, I met a man, rather young, but looking 'inbred', like I had met in the Ozarks. He asked if he could study with me. His name was Anacon. I had many reservations, but finally agreed. He certainly played excellent guitar, and I thought a little music might attract other young people. I knew Eve liked music, too. The next thing I knew Anacon had moved into my site on the side of a mountain.
I was told this was an old shaman site by some of the locals. We were camped in a cut on the mountain, with nearly pure white granite on all sides. Some said gold had been found there, but was all played out.
Joe and I worked very hard to make it habitable. One day a high wind came up very suddenly; and only on that spot. I prayed very quickly to Christ, and I could hear the wind circle the mountain and come back; finally ending right above me. I wiped the sweat from my brow. A spirit from the Shaman? Who knows? I sensed Christ had saved us. Joe's eyes were about as big around as saucers, so I knew he had heard it too.
Joe seemed acquainted with our newest arrival, -Anacon- because Anacon took over Joe's tent. This was beginning to smell a little fishy, but they had both asked to be students; and this is the order Christ has given to all His Disciples - "Ask, and ye shall receive". I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed. Two doesn't seem like very many, but I was fielding spiritual questions, cooking and trying to keep trash picked up, all at the same time. Joe was some help, but he often worked and was only around in the evenings. A good kid. He reminded me of what life could have been like for me if I had raised my sons to his age. Quite pleasant, because he was always full of questions.
He and I camped in the cut, but slept elsewhere on the mountain, often moving our sleeping areas. Mutual privacy was well respected, but there were plenty of camping sites there. It wasn't private land, and I noticed there was a potential for more people than I could handle by myself camping there; so the idea of Eve coming to help was very welcome.
The day before Eve was due to arrive, I spotted another young man with Anaconda. I only saw them from the back and some distance up on the mountain; but they were about the same height and build; and dressed nearly identically with all dark camouflage clothing, right down to the staffs they carried. I got a good look at Anaconda's staff later, and it was full of strange markings I had never seen before. Then Anaconda showed up wearing a sorcerers cap, black and floppy with gold stars on it, like a medieval black jester's cap. Oh, boy; I thought to myself. What have I let myself in for? I felt the cold wind of fear raise the hackles and hairs on the back of my neck.
The day before Eve was due to arrive, Anaconda suddenly changed his friendly demeanor and confronted me, very hostile. "I'm going to fuck up your mind." He snarled, and proceeded to give me some long winded story which made no sense at all. I told him:"You can't do that"; and walked off the mountain.
All I could think about suddenly was that Eve was coming, and this guy wasn't wrapped real tight. I knew I was judging him, but I had to make a decision, and quickly. There was no way I could reach her. If she had a cell phone, I didn't have the number. So, I went down the moutain, and waiting beside the only road she could come up on. I could try to wait in town, but she would be very hard to catch there. I didn't have to wait long. Within hours, she was there.
She stopped, and her smile lightened my whole day. Spontaneously, I hugged her and didn't want to let her go. That shook me too. It was like we were glued. I couldn't let go of her, and I couldn't understand it. I had hugged many people in my lifetime, but never had I encountered anything like this. I couldn't take my hands off of her. She was unlike anyone I had ever touched before, like a strong energy field surrounded us both. I could feel every hair on my body, I was so sensitive. And, oh Dear God; she was so soft. I had been married before, but I have never felt any woman who felt like her. She was like every dream I had ever had, all rolled into one. What is this? Nervous was too small a description for what I felt at that moment. It was like my brain was on short circuit. All I could do was feel. From a stodgy academic monk to a lovesick teenager, all in one touch. I was thrilled, and breathless; and deeply afraid.
If that creep hurt her, I didn't know what I would do. Suddenly, all the primal urges I had ever read about surged up in me, and all I could think about was protecting this lovely, innocent woman. 'Innocent'? I thought to myself. This woman had a recent boyfriend, and had been married. How could I think of her as totally innocent? But, I did; and that sense would not leave me. It went so far beyond logic, I can't even describe it.
I could not decide what to do. I didn't want to scare here off, and yet that primal urge to protect her was so overpowering I could not make sense of it. So, I told her about the 'witch' on the mountain, but only the one. I never told her about the other until now, and I wish I had. She sensed I wasn't telling her the whole truth, I think; and she rebelled against my not wanting to go back up on that mountain with her. I felt her wrath, and disavowed myself of the notion right there that she was innocent. The chewing she gave me would do credit to any female drill sergeant I ever knew.
Then she told me she was rescue wilderness qualified, and my respect for her grew considerably, but my decision was already made. I was frankly scared spitless something would happen to her. It defied logic, like the most basic of dreads we all feel in the middle of the night under a full moon. Indescribable, just there.
Oh, Dear God, the salt was in my mouth. I could taste it, like bitter gall. The flip side of the coin was the physical urges I was experiencing anew after so many years. I so wanted to not mess up this relationship with physical lovemaking right now. I wanted so much to hold off and let this relationship grow, like aging a fine wine. Please God? Help me. I prayed.
I slept across the door of her tent, like an old dog. I so remember watching her undress against the lantern light shining from inside her tent, and wondering how long I could hold out, or she. Three night was all it took. It was clouding up, and she quietly invited me inside.
Oh, Dear God; I am so sorry. Mea Culpa. Mea Culpa. I should have run down that mountain, with everything I had. Instead, I crawled in and put my arms around her. After all, there was only room for the two of us. I encountered nothing but soft, bare skin; and the rest is history.
Like I had been shot in the head. From that moment on, I did not have a bit of sense in my head. It was like my brains took a vacation. All I could do was feel, and she was so soft; and finally someone cared about me. After twenty five years of celibacy, someone loved me. In the final judgment, I know God will say: "You know better. The Payback is yours."