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I See Dead People

So called Tulsa, Oklahoma | Kickapoo, Cherokee, Osage, and Muscogee Territory

My kid and I have been traveling a great deal in our annual trek from the Michigan to New Mexico and Arizona. A week ago we found ourselves in Tulsa Oklahoma having lunch with a friend and fellow nomad. Our friend kept describing their desire to go to Arizona for the winter, yet their life was among friends and familiar places. I kept wondering to myself why she was in Tulsa at all. Then, the shit hit the fan.

During that lunch our friend learned that she was being kicked out of her parking spot that was hosted by the family owned restaurant that she worked for. So, she was losing her security and her job. She was spinning hard on the excited emotions and thoughts that come with having a rug pulled out from under her as a nomad. We promised her 24 hours to make a decision and offered to shadow her into the west, Arizona if she desired.

With time to kill and a slightly under the weather kid, I aimed for a park with some woods and a place for dog and I to walk. I prefer odd and out of the way places. The places that most humans take for granted and rarely go, like the bottomlands of the midwest where building is inadvisable due to seasonal flooding. In these places, some adjacent to highly populated areas, one finds a forgotten space, left to it’s own evolution. Volunteer trees dominate along with mushrooms and wild edibles as the landscape reestablishes itself from the great moving of dirt that made way for an office complex, strip mall or big box store.

Dog and I did our thing, playing with consciousness through our senses as we followed rabbit and deer trails through a young Oklahoma woods. The trees here surprised me in their diversity, something we had not seen on a recent run through oak dominated areas of Missouri. Box elder, juniper, osage orange, and young elms took shelter under time tested cottonwoods.

The old junk common to these places was ever present. A fence row of abandoned farming equipment to our right and railroad ties, a screen door and beer cans were underfoot. Dog and I wandered, attempting to let go of the travel weariness and mental attempts to keep a schedule. I opened myself to Spirit and simply walked, whistling as I do.

A pleasant looking grove of juniper lay ahead and the spent stems of grasses gave a healthy contrast to the still green junipers. It seemed a pleasant place that we made our way toward. Looking down toward my footfalls, I recognized the familiar shape of a resting human in my peripherals. I veered away, not wanting to disturb someone that was reading or resting in the woods, projecting that they came to this out of the way spot for a similar reason as myself.

Before my third footstep, I glanced back again and a shiver of electricity passed through me with the recognition of blackened eye sockets and a posture that showed life had left this human bean. Looking long enough to see, it was clear that this human was expired some time and undisturbed by birds or scavengers.

I exited the woods adjacent to the playground, on the phone with police dispatch.

“I’ve found some human remains in Hixaby Park…”
Let’s be clear. I was not particularly disturbed by finding this expired human. There was wonder and excitement there, not a mirror of my own structures that fear death. It was a neutral to positive emotional experience. I found myself in an experience that I have not had before and that was inwardly amazing to me.

I kneeled to the ground and, having recently had a formal training in psychopomp work, asked Spirit if and how I could work with this soul. I was taken back to this person’s childhood home where there was a great deal of mis-use, abuse. . . feelings, legacies of the past that persisted until this person’s death. He was so lost in his pain that he clung to what felt normal, his attachment to pain, preventing his soul from returning to it’s source for healing and remediation.

I find psychopomp much easier on the dead than working with the living. I could see through this man, I could see and feel his pain and know it was not a part of me. I could see his clinging and malingering in his pain, it was literally all that was available to him. I attempted to reason with him and got nowhere. I then dug into my hypnotist toolbox and did a spontaneous age regression with him. We walked back through the traumatic points in his life that he could not move on from. Still, he would not budge from his pain.

Dipping again in my hypnotist toolbox, I presented him with a felt vision of him being born and the love that his parents had for him in that moment. There I felt him soften. He saw it, he re-membered one glimmer, one spark of love in his life. With a little further convincing he gave permission to leave the Middle World and ascend.

I’ve long wondered at my seemingly innate ability to look at dark human things and hold myself together well. This comes up in hypnosis a great deal both as client or practitioner, where in the middle of an age regression big, lifetime emotions are stirred up to find release and remediation. There are amazingly dark experiences there where, from the outside looking in, one can see the strength and determination and resilience of rape, fists, pointed ‘jokes’, and decades of corrosive manipulation. Yet, these tough experiences form us into who we are today and how we see the world. There is amazing beauty in those that remain unwilling to give up on themselves and choose to shine their lights despite all the darkness they have witnessed.

Maybe someday I’ll see a Thestral, but for now I’m happy being able to get a laugh out my kid with, “I see dead people,” and can give friends that are starting an emu farm a run for their money with all of the emu-puns they’ve stumbled on. Hey, if you’re not going to get emu-tional about dead people, you might as well have fun.

The cops began arriving after another call with dispatch. First there were two, then a detective. They began securing the area and asked me to walk them back to the body. The detective seemed to be having a good day until I called, while the officer that accompanied him was visibly shaken and shaking. On exiting the woods again the arriving police had grown to six or eight cars, lights off. An officer stood on the wood’s edge having a conversation with a couple young girls. One officer, perhaps more experienced, was open to laughter and we got on well.“This kind of thing doesn’t happen here.”

“We’re just passing through, where am I in this town?”

“This is the burbs, across the street is Broken Arrow. That’s the bad side of town. This kind of thing doesn’t happen in Bixby.”

Yellow tape emerged in a couple rolls while I filled out a statement and wondered at my own neutral reaction. This just wasn’t a big deal to me, if anything I was glad to be of service and had an amazing sense of accomplishment.

I found my way back to the bus, my kid asking why I had been gone so long. They didn’t believe me at first when I told them about finding the body. We hung out for a while and watched the show. I have had numerous, numerous, numerous negative interactions with the police in my life. There is no fondness there, yet in this rather different interaction I was able to see their vulnerable side, the willing sacrifice of self to expose themselves to the worst humanity has to offer. I choose a spouse that consciously or unconsciously understands that the person that leaves the house for a shift may not be the same person that returns. That, in the farming world, is a tough row to hoe.

After a night in another Walmart kid and I spent the next day running errands. After collecting the necessary supplies I paid an exorbitant $67 for a fuel filter at a NAPA auto parts in a rough part of town and did a back alley oil and fuel filter change. The setting was perfect, no suburban cops to wonder why I was crawling around under my bus and an Autozone across the street to dump my used oil at.

I signed the oil dump sheet as G. Washington Hayduke, made up a zip code and made sure to log the filter change. Then, we were on our way through Tulsa and, eventually, the western states still running toward what I can’t see in myself and doing my best with the resources I have at hand. All of the constant movement and hustle changing from U stress to DIS-stress and back again with shifting plans and routes and stops along the way.

Our friend decided to get a move on, knowing that the weather in Tulsa was unlikely to be as fine during January as the sunny skies of Arizona. So, now we’re traveling in a Red Cross bus and a 30’ Majestic. My kid and I are on our third winter on the road while our friend hasn’t spent six weeks solo in her rig. I’m left wondering at the lessons of Tulsa and of the incredible timing around our friend’s radical shift in reality.

I always look forward to leaving Texas, yet Texas is looking pretty good in light of recent events in Tulsa. So, I willingly start the bus and push the D button. Totoro (the bus) is running smooth as silk with the fresh oil and filters, the dog is in the windshield again, and that sun is shining down on our solar panels at 65 miles per hour. So long, Tulsa.

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A dad, a kid, a kelpie and two cat brothers rubbertramping around the country doing our best to live authentic lives while awakening to our birthright. 

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