May 23, 1999
Lajitas, Texas, USA

9:30am. "It is empowering to know that life is fragile," said Richard. Two years ago, Richard told each of his family members that he loved them, and any thing else he thought they should know, as if it was his last day on earth-- because he didn’t know if it was. "I didn’t want to be laying in a ditch some day with my hog on top of me and thinking, ’I wish I could tell my mother and father how much I love them.’"

The page I am writing on, that Richard handed me, contains a quote by Carlos Castaneda:

"Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore, you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path. If you feel you should not following it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But, your decision to keep on the path must be free of fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then, ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question. Does this path have heart? All paths are the same; they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long, long paths, but I am not anywhere. My benefactor’s question has meaning now. Does this path have heart? If it does, the path is good. If it doesn’t it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere, but one has a heart and the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey - as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you."

12:29pm. I spent the past hour learning ’the passes,’ an ancient native American work-out routine - similar to a martial art-- like a sped-up Tai Chi. Many of the passes involve gathering energy and rubbing it into the body. Demonstrating, Richard was powerful, yet graceful. I was off balance, clumsy and felt pathetic. I want to master the movements.

I asked Richard why he smokes cigarettes. He says it is a tool of mediation and he doesn’t believe it is harmful as long as he thinks good thoughts in doing so-- like toking the chinupa- the native American prayer pipe. He rolls his own, which makes chain smoking difficult.

6pm. Randy showed me his Thompson chain-reference Bible, which he prefers over the other six Bibles here in his trailer. After sharing his ’faith in Christ’ with me, I asked him how much he knew about the life of Christ. "I was in Bible collage two years," he answered.
"When did you have time for that...?"
"I was in the ministry and running drugs at the same time."

8:15 pm. I’m on the Terlingua store porch, looking out toward the Chisos (Spanish for ghost) Mountains, watching lightning flashes. The sky is dark gray. Rain is heard sprinkling on the tin roof overhead, but not yet seen. A warm breeze is rustling the trees. ’Accordion Randy’ is bustin’ Bob’s No Woman No Cry. Three Mexican dudes are chill’n at the end of the porch in the corner by themselves. "It’s starting to suck. . ." Randy acknowledges the wind picking up. "That’s a good sign!"

The owner of Far Flung Adventures just gave me a fax from Dick saying, "no computer yet. I’m 60 miles outside of Austin in a motor home. Will not be able to travel around until June 3rd."

JR and I are talking about going on a mountain bike ride -- 20 miles over peaks in single tracks.

10:28 pm. "Normally he’d be running for cover, but his Dad is here." said Randy in a serious-though-cutesy voice, speaking of his kitten Buster and the thunder that is sending tremors through the trailer-home.

10:42pm. Randy is taking his herbal medicine through an antler pipe. I’m playing Lazy Bones, again. It’s a cool tune - one I should keep in mind for my slide show tour.

10:54pm. The aroma of the hamburger sauce Randy is brewing smells like it will cure the munchies nicely. A light rain is falling. Billy Thorpe is introducing himself to me on Children of the Sun-- which Randy says is his "favorite of all time," and "It’s worth $50. He only made one, made a million dollars, then retired."

I am watching an HBO documentary about the lives of night club strippers. Randy found another Hustler and handed it to me. I took a look, hoping to see something different, but it was the same ol’ same ol’ - they all got basically the same stuff. Boring.

1:38am. We’re chill’n around the kitchen table. After taking a photo, "Southern Draw" approached me looking concerned. He said that my photo could send him to prison. After his fourth arrest for drunk driving, he was told that if he is seen with alcohol again he will spend 30 years in prison. I assured him that his face was hidden.