There are two types of people in the world: those who divide people into two types, and everybody else.

There are two other types of people in the world: those who realize that given any parameter people can be binned logically and convenienly according to the argument one wishes to make.

Then, for instance, there are people who believe the government is hiding evidence of UFOs, and there are those that don't. There are those who believe in the shooter on the grassy knoll, and those who don't. Some people believe in ghosts and some don't. Given any administration there are people who believe the president is a dottering fool and those who don't.

One that's particularly important to me is this one: there are those who eventually come to believe in big invisible things. And the subsequent execution of life after conscious realization of that belief is responsible for most of the trouble in the world.

Then there's everyone else.

Statistically speaking, most people on Earth are Buddhist.

Kurt Vonnegut said the only proof he needed for the existence of God was music.

That's almost enough for me. But I have other things that belong to me. What I treasure about my own things is I can't prove them. I can't show them to you. I can tell you about them and you can say, "Hey, you made that up," but I know I didn't.

I've seen the world. With my own eyes I've seen ill-tempered, sociopathic scum achieve the highest altitudes of success. I've seen good souls die horrid, painful deaths. Innocents dead of terrible disease. Hurricanes take out entire cities, young and old, good and bad, the faithful along with the sinners. I have seen it happen with my own eyes.

Everyone dies and there's no dissonance in my mind because of it. The world is constructed to allow it. You can spend your breath blaming the invisible things, but it will do you no good. No one knows where lightning comes from, yet people are killed by lightning every year. Now we know lightning comes all the way from outer space, through sprites and elves, to the clouds to the ground. We can't blame clouds anymore. And tornadoes go where they go. It's chaos. We even have a theory for it. We call it "chaos theory", as if to say "we understand this, too." But we don't.

It has always been this way. People have written books and Bibles and Korans and Bhagvad Gitas and clay tablets and nothing has changed. The earth in the universe is smaller than a sand grain on a beach.

And some people come to believe in the invisible things because of it, and some in spite of it.

Volcanos erupt. The sea floor opens. Ice slips off Antarctica. The glaciers all melt and uncover the dinosaurs. Tsunamis wash away everything we own.

If I am killed tomorrow by a falling chunk of interstellar iron, be certain that amidst all the trouble in the world all I needed to prove the existence of God was you.

There are two types of people in the world: those who believe the invisible things provided by their religion follow certain rules, and those who think the rules are invisible too.

Sometimes the invisible things are terrifying. Some people are afraid they'll be noticed being scared. Other people have no problem running around as if there are mousetraps everywhere.

Your letter came today. Written on the deck of a ship leaving Disco Bay. Passing icebergs bigger than New England cities.

Natives flensed seals. Red seeped into the brilliant white ice. Smudges of the once living spread like errant brush strokes. Curtains of aurora, green and flowing. Northbound, the long dark winter approaches. Which year? Which ship?

The ropes are coarse against my palms. The sails aloft. We'll ride the storm as far as the ice allows. Anchor when the winds howl. Below the coal fires burn deep orange. Below we'll talk about the past. Display cherished photographs withdrawn from ragged leather wallets. Circulate pieces of life we've left, just to prove we had them. I lived this. I read this. I wrote this. Which ship? What year?

Some people know themselves very well, and other people think their heads are full of mystery. I dreamed of Discovery Bay for a lifetime before I stood on its shores. And I knew how the weathered hundred-year old wood would feel under my fingertips, peering out the rippled hut window where they saw Macintosh disappear. I knew how the carbonized stoves would smell. Hefted the axes. Touched Frank Wild's signature on the wall. Felt the cold get under my parka. I told it, "not this time," as if there had been one before.

There is a path to life that is huge and invisible and when I think of it I'm reminded there are illusions and things that are more solid than rock. And I know you can get out of bed one day and start moving and not stop till you get to where the world ends south. Now north. Ilusisat, Disko Bay, Narsarsuaq. Two hours in Nuuk. Satellite time. Speed of light. Boots on ice, forward while you sent this communication:

Take each step one at a
time. In mountaineering, high up on the slope, you are
always supposed to plant your foot before the next step, make
sure it is firm and will hold you, take a breath, then
take the next step.

I am writing this where you can see it. I'm putting this where it will find you no matter how far away you are, no matter how many thousands of years are between us. No matter how many miles. It would be a lie to make you think it doesn't scare me. But I don't have it in me to run around avoiding unseen mousetraps.

So if I have to, know that I can do it. I found you amid the boulders of the terminal moraine of the Rhone Glacier, in a place where fewer than fifty people ever planted their feet, and I became the fifty-first. I kissed you under the eaves of the hut at Winter Quarters Bay, and held your hand on the slopes beside the Earth's only active volcanic lake. What year? Which storm?

Do not doubt that despite all the trouble in the world, I can find you at Ultima Thule.

I have been there before. I have help, large and invisible and they're asking me if I want to go. All I have to do is nod and I'll be on the plane to the aurora.

Sometimes it's terrifying. But at I know that at the end of the journey you'll be there. There's a reason I'm discovering. I will find my soul this time. I won't die before I do.

September, 2005. North America. West Coast. Please answer.

Not much to log in. I'm still staying at the Three Judges, which I've accessorized by getting a microwave salvaged from one of the previous times I was here. The place is nice, run by a family from the far-flung Patel clan of innkeepers, no pool, no pets, the parking lot is not a playground (for children). The TV has cable, but not very many channels. You can cook in your room (some, but not all units have refrigerators) but not with a hot plate. Still, I manage to cook noodles in a tea kettle, and can keep things cool enough to eat lots of vegetable cuts with dip, fresh fruit, cheese and cold cuts. I've got food stamps, and a few bucks, but don't like take-out.

Looks like another week here if I don't get a phone call back. Only two usable leads in the last few days. My mom's feeling better; yesterday we went shopping, which ended up with me having a new set of sweats and a ball of twine, at least some of which is going in my Useful Kit. On my way back, I take some of the twine and start making string figures. "We spent..what, two dollars...just so you can make..." She laughs her pretty little laugh.

"No, it's going in my emergency kit, for my emergency twining needs."

"You can say that about just about anything."

Mom doesn't believe in the Useful Kit. After all, you can put everything in her car. Or she'll get it for me from home. (I can't go there. Her husband owns the house, and has had the cops come over and warn me for trespassing.) But, she forgets. Or she doesn't have it. Or...well, you can go without safety pins, or a few rubber bands, or Band-Aids, can't you? I mean, I see you almost every day...and anyhow, you carry so much stuff. "You could never back-pack. You carry your whole library with you, and your art studio, and I don't know what-all." and gives me another little chuckle... "You know I'm just kidding, you know I love you..."

But she forgets. And she complains when I have too much in the car. And, well, she can't keep track of what I have and what I haven't. And sometimes...

"Why is my wand in the bottom of the car? I told you not to touch it."

"It was too big for the box, it would break."

"How do you know it was too big for the box, when I told you not to open the box?"

"You didn't tell me to open the box, and I needed to put your other stuff away. I thought you said not to neaten up the box." (Neatening up, in her practise, though not her vocabulary, involves reading any papers she finds interesting, tossing out anything she considers old, broken or unnecessary, taking whatever she considers interesting or useful, and leaving me clueless as to what's inside.)

"I told you that box was private, and you shouldn't go through it."

"Well, what do you want me to do with all this stuff? Throw it away? I'll drop it out in this parking lot right now if you want. I'm paying enough for storage, my house is full...I never thought I'd be driving around with my car looking like it belonged to a gypsy. Now, let's talk about something else. What's your friend's zip code?"

I don't answer, then I say "My worker is going to be very disappointed in you."

"I don't give a rat's ass about her. She only hears half the story. If she heard how little you respect me...You don't even answer a simple question."

"How can I respect someone who doesn't keep their promises?"

"You don't respect mine."

"Listen, when is your time up here? I'll pick you up, we can have a good time." And she shorts me on house money, and drives off.

I spend the evening lying around and watching Bruce Perry get high on Going Tribal. He's kind of cute, when he's wasted. I eat a dinner of high-protein pasta, pesto, and meat saved from a rotisserie chicken I had on Sunday, and a few more vegetable snacks. Hoping to tell you good news tomorrow, signing off....

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