A Daoist might say: Go with the flow. A Buddhist might advise you: Detach from it. A Hindu yogi may conclude: There is no flow. It’s an illusion, and a Christian might tell you to embrace the flow. It has something to teach you. In the end, they all say the same thing.
I’d been drawn more to the Dao lately, an ancient Chinese tradition that envisions the cosmos as a kind of flow which seeks balance. Our task as humans is to come into harmony with it.
Just a couple weeks ago, Covid restrictions were lifted. I can see what people look like from the nose down. I’ve been in my own little zoo of one for the better part of 15 months, and I wanted to get out there and let my spring uncoil. So last week I went to a dance, a rave, where they played high-energy trance and electronica well into the night. The women were half-clad, strangers kept offering me Molly and hugging me. A strong wind blew dope smoke across the dance floor outside.
People dressed in faux, fur full-length coats and captains’ hats lined with mirrors made of mosaic tiles. I danced until my toe nails turned deep purple, the Animas River in full flow beside me. It was a bacchanal that would’ve done the Romans proud.
There was another hippy party this Memorial Day weekend. My friend said he’d send me the details. But I didn’t hear from him by Saturday. Rumor was it would be north of Mancos, so I drove up into the mountains in my Yaris. I searched for it along Echo Basin Road, and couldn’t find it. I drove up toward Transfer Campground and didn’t hear the music. I trammeled up Madden Peak Road, and there was no one there.
Back down in Mancos, I searched the bulletin boards all over town. The cashier at the health food store said he’d heard of some dance party in Durango. He looked on his phone as I scanned the message board. Nada.
I went home and looked online and my searches led nowhere. I drove again down Forest Service roads on those skinny little Toyota tires. I spotted a red balloon tied to a signpost and turned. 15 minutes later, another red balloon! I saw the tents between the trees. It was… a bible camp. I asked the guy raking leaves out front if he knew. He didn’t know what a rave was. Deflated, I headed home, in quarantine all over again.
All day long, I’d kept repeating the mantra: Go with the flow. But nothing flowed. I had no idea what the flow was. My chi was blocked. I was spiritually constipated. Flow!? Flow you, too, stupid Dao.
Next morning, I drove into Durango. I got a text from the friend who said he’d send me the directions to the hippy party. It was 10 miles south of Hesperus, which wasn’t too far out of my way back from Durango. There’d be signs, he texted. So, off down the La Plata Highway I went, for 10 miles. It was the middle of nowhere. I took side roads up toward Breen and Marvel. No hippies. No techno. No women time-travelling from Woodstock.
A huge, red arrow above a marquee at a livestock auction site pointed right. I followed it into an empty field. I turned down other side roads and finally got looped back to Durango again. This must’ve been where the flow wanted me to go. I parked. I wandered up and down Main on Memorial Day weekend and encountered tourists. How unexpected. No party girls in leopard-skin thongs writhing to house music. I drove home. What the hell was I supposed to be flowing with besides bible camps?
Restless, I got back back in my Yaris and drove to Cortez, then Mancos, and parked. I wandered up and down deserted streets. The music from the Fenceline Brewery drew in a few tourists. I meandered away from it and found a little park down by the Mancos River, rushing by with the spring runoff. Willow and elm and cottonwood leaned over the river as I nestled in on a park bench down from a footbridge. A steady, late afternoon breeze wafted in from the northwest. A peace settled over me.
The river flowed on west, burbling through the river rock. The breeze crossed it from the northwest, ruffling the ankle-length leaves. This was the flow I was supposed to be going with, not a dance party. Last weekend, I was a spring that’d been coiled too tight for over a year, and the fast music and wild people were who and what I was supposed to be flowing with, to let all that energy up and out. But flow is about balance, too. It moves back and forth in a rhythm, like music and water and wind. This weekend, the flow had settled down. The eternal swirl from yin to yang and back again.
The sun shone through the lime leaves and painted the clouds in cobalt silhouettes. The flow blows my way when I stop looking for it. There, in the stillness, the flow finally found me when I stopped searching.
© 2021 by Michael C. Just
Mike’s novel, The Dirt: The Journey of a Mystic Cowboy, is available in softcover or eBook formats through Amazon.
You can purchase the book through this website. Or go straight to amazon at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=the+dirt+journey+of+a+mystic+cowboy&crid=1S40Q4BXSUWJ6&sprefix=the+dirt%3A+journey+of+a+m%2Caps%2C180&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_23
Mike’s other titles, including The Crippy, The Mind Altar, and Canyon Calls, are available through Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002
Two of his short stories have recently been published online. The Obligate Carnivore has been published by the Scarlet Leaf Review @ Category: MICHAEL JUST – SCARLET LEAF REVIEW
I See You, Too has been published by the 96th of October @ I See You, Too – 96th of October