Journey to Enlightenment

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Canal Trip......

I used to walk the Canals when I was a kid.
There are a lot of them in the Midlands of England in what's called the Black Country – taken I believe from when the whole area supported coal mining.
Anyway, more often than not, a gang of us kids would take the whole day off and mess around on the Canals.

A lot of the canals were disused with rotting barges and plenty of junk laying around to throw into the water. In some places however, a long way out, it was really beautiful and clean.
There was a beauty to it all! Even the old bits, because you could feel the history of the place reaching out to you.
I sometimes went solo, walking miles along the Canal banks to find favourite spots.

A while ago I found myself trying to retrace the ghostly footsteps of my childhood as I tiptoed along the towpath under the bridge once again.
The water was still dripping from the roof and there were even more calcite snots hanging from the brickwork, with little drops of water plopping from them down to the canal surface every few seconds.

The day was late and the rippled splashes from each drop marked better where each came from in the half-light. I remembered up ahead when the path opened out again there was a set of disused lock gates. I had loved to sit there and rest beside where the escaping water pushed through cracks in the timbers.
I saw as I walked on, there was a young guy sitting there on ‘my’ seat. The very seat I had sat so many times. I cursed to myself because I'd looked forward to claiming it back again.
Then I thought, ”Well maybe if I stop as usual, he'll move on when he sees me.”
However as I drew closer to him I felt a familiar rush of Spirit, like a sudden wind or static discharge rushing over my skin..

It put me on immediate red-alert because I recognized when that happened it was because my Minder was alerting me to something important.
So, I now took a closer interest in the guy up ahead, to try and work out what was meant to be?
He sat there in a slouch with his hands stuffed in the pockets of his long jacket. He wore all black. Very noticeable! I walked over, nearby and said, “Aw'right then!” He just grumphed without even looking up, and I got out my baccy tin to roll a cigarette.

I was still feeling the rush, and my senses were telling me a story. I felt this young guy was so bloody miserable. I looked at him out of my side gaze and he looked grim. I reckoned he’d even been weeping.
He just stared blankly ahead at the line of weeds in front of him. The feeling coming back from him was overwhelming. It sure matched his clothes. Black jacket, T- shirt and long flared black jeans, and he looked like he had used`eyeliner!’ “Bloody hell,” I thought.. “we got a right one here.. his brain is out of it.”

Then I checked myself because I'd got signals, so, this was a `meant to happen' meeting and I was going to make the best of it. I reached deeper and found the thought in my head, "sh-t! he's got pills in his pocket. He’s going for an overdose with them."

I just switched to automatic then and tried for conversation a second time.
Sh-t or bust ! that's me ! so without much decision I said to him, "How old are you?"
He got up to move, and spit back in a sullen voice, "23…what the fcuk's it to you?" He was already reaching around the lock-gate arm to move on and I stopped him in his tracks with, " I got something you want real bad." "What?" he growled.

He probably thought I was offering some pills or weed or something, and he sure got a proper shock when I said, "I can give you your life."
He spit back, "What - you some kind of weirdo or something?"

"No," I said, but I know you got a pocket full of pills you're gonna take." He went white. …… "Who sent you," he asked." (I knew I had his full attention then, and the conversation continued)…"Not who You think."
"Who then?"

"It doesn't matter right now; only that you are here right now,….and so am I."
"Let me ask you a real important question. Even though you been through a lot of sh-t, do you think there is some point to the World and how everything works; ...y'know… and theUniverse and all that?"

He eased back against the lock-gate arm facing away from me.
"Go on," I pushed…. I'm dead serious!…Even though you're trying to deal with all your stuff, do you think there's gotta be some kind of reason why it all exists?"
"What d'you think?"

He looked down to the ground and drew out a long "Yeeaahh, suppose so," and then in a quieter voice… "No bleedin' good to me though."

I said, "Why? …..
..The pills you got in your hand right now stopped your brain from working?"
He drew his hand from his pocket sharply and gripped the wooden lock beam behind him.
I could see my conversation was really winding him up.

He twisted to half face me. I could see his eyes were filling.
He spit it out, " There's no sodding sense in it I can see; ...all just crowding in, suffocating me... nobody gives a sh-t what I think."

"I do," I said! And I threw my next reply into his face. …

"If you think there's some purpose to it all, ….even if you can't see it…. do you suppose for one second, that you were put on this earth for 23 years just so when you reached 23 you could throw the towel in !!" "Come On !! ... give us a freaking break !! That idea would be just plain bloody stupid."

Now he was real angry and that was great!
He was now standing and faced me across the beam…
"OK smart-arse.. YOU tell ME how you get out of it when there aint no way out?"

I don't know what he expected me to reply, but he went straight back into himself when I said,
"That's easy to answer…. just Make the Choice." and I continued…"You haven't seen the way out, because you haven't been looking in the right place…. and that's because you spent too much time contemplating your own miserable little world ...instead of seeing the chances around you ....and getting lost in a few of them instead! You are just so fcuking selfish to yourself… Don't you think you are worth better? I do, and that's why I was arranged to be here…

It's about bleeding time you stepped out of your own shadow. People that are martyrs to themselves end up p-ss-ng themselves off and everybody else around them. It all just feeds on itself.
You heard the expression… Get a life. … Well its about time you did!
Start looking in the right places for where you've hid it up till now.

For a split second he tensed and I thought he was going to go for me; but he grabbed down into his pocket, took out a couple of bottles of pills and threw them over the top of me in defiance.
They splashed into the canal as he turned on his heels saying "Fcuk you," and stamped away up the towpath.

It was several weeks later and I was coming out of the newsagent shop in the High Street.
I was looking down at the newspaper headline and was about to turn left out of the doorway when I felta strong hand grab me tight for a second on my arm. I looked up in defense and it was him! He was dressed smart in a tie and suit.

He was on his way into the shop himself.
He just looked hard into my eyes for a couple of seconds and said, "Thanks mate."

He squeezed my arm again, and walked on into the shop.
I walked away smiling.


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Ross-On-Wye, Herefordshire, United Kingdom
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