nUkiEmOLe sToRies #4/ 03 Dec 2013
I was into swimming, and pilgrimages was for me
Many pilgrimages started in 1966 to Red Barn Theatre on Stanford University ‘farm’ where Jim Morrison introduced me on stage. Later that colder weather in blue-Oaks country of grasslands, I had pilgrimaged from Colorado Springs and the Merry Pranksters camped at a place where, the author and writor, Ken Kesey would eventuate from near where my uncle lived in coastal range to the West. That was in mid-spring 1967. That Fall, I found Noam Chomsky’s office on 5th avenue New York City and he was not there that time, so I must have visited him on my attempt to rap w the Velvet Underground ensemble musicians—drug-users, or whatever—the year before, after I’d started gRad-studies @ UC Berkeley, in summer 1966! I saw en route to NY city, during daylight many eco-zone space-Places, where I could swim and wash grit, while maybe enjoying the countryside, as that-Ecology was imperiled, etc. Thus, by getting from vehicular traffic that two-lanes America was changing to an adversity of moribund land rip-offs, both of farmlands-Arable and mountains for making scarps and hard-pack dynamited rock as trains need ballast! However, I wanted a woman for myself, but who was the type and how could I find someone younger than I when we-peers were in Universities and at work approximating same-ole young-age. I was in shape for sculpturing in metals and was not interested in any but association w other artists, writors, Intelligentsia, playwrites, dancers (modern) had happened as a POet, altho I was morosely into deep-Ecology. Therefore science and Philosophy would mix because I did mix the raps of social-Consciousness, as I sought methods of protesting against the madness of nuclear-Molecular: air-land-water contaminations. Plural.
In 1969 I was in bitchen-Cal. I went to Baker beach and joined the bay-to-bReakers older guys. Being the youngest did not bother me, as I oiled-up. Quite a few others were naked for the enterprising swim, and how the January waters were cold, around 51*. I wish that I had my journals from 1967 thru May 1991—approximately 12,000 pages typed and hand-scrawl. They were inside Oro-bar alongside 20,000 slides. The loss is a hardship, too!
I remember swimming in high-Sierra w a UC Davis roommate, Bob Johnson. We camped and I was chagrined that our fire was leaving charcoal upon the surface. That would need a decade of snow to be rid the black coloration on hard-granite! Next day, I dived in the icy 34* water, from atop a hard-granite blop, partially cliff, a height of approximately15 feet to get into the frigid water of a lake at 6,500 feet. I wanted to see how much my muscles would react, altho I had not warmed-up enough. Johnson, helped authenticate that I could swim underwater in the UC Davis 50-metters Olympic-sized pool, when that replaced the older indoors one, the next year.
Later that year, 1969 summer, the Ecology group was formulated as a social, but tight-knit group of outdoors minded Ecology seekers—so, I thought! We hiked many trails in Yellowstone and sought the guidance of the two Professors doing research on Grizzlies, by adding collar-receivers for scientific-data gathering–the Craighead brothers from Montana & Idaho. Later, returning to my practice swims in cold and warm water pools I turned to the lake, wanting a longer and continuous distance. But, finding windswept conditions at the lake’s altitude 7,732 feet, also the highest lake on the north-Americas. I hiked east and found a better, less windy, and just as wide, spot to swim across the Yellowstone lake. That point was named: Flat Mountain Arm, and I traversed to the Promontory, hiked over rocks of peninsula to warm-up, and then swam the South Arm to the muddy flat where Charley was w Steve and Prof Sam checkin’ for grizzlies—both for me, but for their horses, too.
1970, I did swim that Olympic pool. Four times underwater w.o. surfacing, or 110-meters and approximately 4:10 minutes! Actually, I astonished myself, and also received some applause—neat!
That fall I was in Sausalito, where I’d wanted to hear Alan Watts, when he had an open session. Someone told me he had a boat in the fishing area, where the herring-nets herded scores of “school of fish is a beautiful and familiar part of the natural world he resided” into the several buildings on piers that I’d managed to get invited when in high-School. The fact was I was un-invited, but needed to discuss w Mr. Watts whether I could get a ticket by bringing to his attention that living on water is akin camping, and that certain seasons were specific to human defication allowed pumped from sewerage plant on-shore. I got two passes for his shore-discussions in one of the converted community and city-Hall chambers. He at first asked me “how far and where was my boat”? I told him “in my Ford Van”. Amazed at the swimming feat, we talked about Existentialism, at least an hour or more—at last my question was resolved!
Next, I was at a hearty party in Belvedere, but was invited to Angel Island, which was because I had wanted to see where the three escapees had to land—rocky shoreline usefully had logs from Redding and Petaluma that had remained from 50-60 years before. They had a beach party but I had no way of BYO, and someone shared a glass of wine. I did get to know several writors, and they were as amazed by my getting there as Alan Watts had been. I had again, swam across the bay-waters to a island or spot just to stay in shape. That feat was done that afternoon, and in 14-15 months, I returned 1971 to do both directions, w my pants wrapped in waterproof bag. Three times across was a great feeling. A great fReedom. I was ready for the next decade of staying in shape and swimming in natural ‘waters’. We’d camped, paddled, hiked many rivers– as we’d done on north and south Plate rivers, on Arkansas river, on Missouri river soooo many times because of slow flow due the damnable damming and no restitution for fishing rights being taken from indige-Amers on their lands, too!
The next body of water I swam was lots warmer, that of the Mississippi River, from Arkansas to Mississippi. This time Charley Klatt swam somewhere close by, going same direction, eastward—upstream from me. We headed to New York city, but when in the downtown wharves area, I was checkinG-out the current and the barnacles laced pilings, which would make for bloodwater and murkiness in 5-feet shark river saltwater confines anywhere else but contaminated Hudson River. Whereupon, all factors factualized (internalized a better word), Charley and I met the Ecology group in New Jersey, and found our ride, as Steve took the horse break to get Charley and I there. Where, the Hudson river again. I walked into the marsh grasses as the tide went down the river. As, I waded out we finally spotted a few smaller, but noticeable logs. They were moving at two miles an hour was partly off, as more like 2.5 m.p.h. Hmmm. I suggested lower tide the next day, and higher water. Lower tide, northerly, however along the western shoreline in marsh-Mucko for the current carrying a swimmer. We then hiked north to find a better place, as we were not w outer-Tubes and current was a study of topography, strength and speed.
That next day while we checked the higher-tide. The water level was up about 10-inches, too. That meant the flow was faster. Charley said let’s wait, but at 2:30 and knowing this was he last day for our budget to stay balanced I started in and the 1.5 miles began to feel like 2.5 miles. I made the pier in New York city, because my Ecology friends had gauged me for days in advance. Next onto swimming the East river. When we got there after a couple days overcast in which to rest and have a beer, we were accosted by NY city police. No swimming signs challenged us pre than the tides, and the sheer walls of so-called riverine, a highway of-Transportation run by the Port Authority as all four of us noticed the arm badges were a shade off color. I tried the tides off Coney and found the water too contaminated, because of sewerage stench from plant that was doomed to be removed—sooner the better!
We got to the upper Mississippi river, after the locks made equitable a campspot in fog. Too much after committing ourselves to a mosquito-free mid-Spring. The water was colder than where I had swam across from ? IA to Davenport IL
 In today’s (12-03-13) Democracy Now (five days a week) program Prof Chomsky amazed me, as he’d done when I showed at his door 20-miles from around Harvard, smith, M.I.T. start @ 54:04 mins…