Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Secret Of Life


Once again, to newcomers, for whom it will not be “once again”, just once, take a look at my first blog to find out who I am. I know there’s an “About Me” feature, but mine’s blank, due to technological incompetence.


Here’s the blog I meant to write the last time but I got sidetracked by a story about Oprah Winfrey.

As I mentioned, next week, I’m off to a spa in Mexico where guests eat healthy and exercise and I eat healthy and nap. They call it the Ranch, and it’s been around since 1940, though it’s continually being expanded and refurbished. That’s an odd word, “refurbished.” You never hear the non-“re” version. Furbished.

“I got my house furbished.”

“You mean re-furbished.”

“No, I just did it once.”

Anyway, I mentioned that I basically go to the Ranch to hang out, but the Ranch, or at least its location, has another powerful draw. It’s a very spiritual place. What do I mean by “spiritual”? I have no idea. I’m hardly an expert on spirituality. If it were up to me, I’d designate Maple Leaf Gardens a spiritual place. (That’s where my favorite team used to play hockey. I’m Canadian. It matters.)

The Ranch sits directly below Mount Cuchima, which has been officially designated one of a small number of sacred mountains in Mexico. You can actually feel the vibrations emanating from it, like at Stonehenge and the Western Wall, only these ones are in Spanish.

Here’s something that’ll drive you away. Ever since I’ve been going to the Ranch, I’ve seen, um…I hesitate because I know how crazy this sounds…okay, here goes. As I take my only Ranch exercise of the day, the morning hike, I have seen a Mariachi band, eleven members strong, strung out along the crest of Mount Cuchima, and I have heard them sing Mariachi-flavored melodies directly and exclusively to me.

See yuh.

I have seen them, nobody else has seen them, and they only sing to me. I’m leaving it

Okay, one song.

Mr. Pomerantz is on the trail…
Mr. Pomerantz is looking pale…
He seems to be ill
As he climbs up the hill
Mr. Pomerantz is o-on the trail.

It sounds better with the music in the background. And me on the trail. Looking pale.

It’s not just the mountain that’s spiritual, it’s also the people who work on the Ranch. Maybe they catch it from the mountain, I don’t know how “spiritual” works. But I do know Pedro. Pedro, recently retired, was a massage therapist at the Ranch for almost fifty years, and he never lost his powerful hands. Pedro once told me he and his wife had fourteen children. When he asked me how many I had, I said two. Then Pedro said three words I’ve kept with me for thirty years. He said:

“Better than nothing.”

On another visit, I was told there was an old Indian living on Ranch property. I can’t tell you how I feel about Indians, except we have an affinity, they and I. If you looked at my living room, you’d see a lot of Indian paraphernalia, from Edward Curtis photographs to a metal paint box filled with Indian “medicine.” It’s not like, I want to be an Indian, there are people like that. I just feel a connection.

So when I discovered an sheet announcement that Chief Silver Raven, sometimes called Grandfather Raven, would be sharing his secret of life outside Pinetree Gym, Wednesday at noon, I was understandably excited. The talk conflicted with lunch, but I didn’t care. I’d always wanted to know the secret of life. And if an Indian was delivering the message, I was certain it would be true.

Waits of anticipation seem to take forever, but finally, it was Wednesday. As noon neared, I sought out the location of Pinetree Gym. I’d visited the Ranch more than twenty-five times, but, having never taken an exercise class, I had no idea where it was. I then headed to Pinetree, walking at an uncharacteristically rapid clip, a pace that said, “Secret of life, here we come!”

We were a small group, three or four. Seekers of truth, willing to blow off the tofu quesadilla Lunch Special for the secret of life. Finally, in the distance, we saw dust being kicked up along the oncoming path. Somebody was heading our way. Was it Chief Silver Raven?

No. It was a Ranch staffer. She had come to announce that Chief Silver Raven had been delayed. “Come back at three.”

A minor glitch. No problem. Wait a second! I had a manicure at three. I immediately called the Beauty Shop to re-schedule, but they were all booked up. I had a conflict:

Manicure – secret of life.

I chose secret of life.

I return at three, even more excited than before. This was it! In a few minutes, I’d be totally enlightened

Footsteps approaching. Is it the Chief? No. Ranch staffer, with another announcement. Chief Silver Raven would not be coming. Earlier in the day, the chief had dropped a rock on his foot and he’d been taken to San Diego for x-rays.

That was it. No secret of life. My guru was a klutz.

On Saturday, I leave for the Ranch again. The Chief is long gone, but who knows, maybe somebody else knows the secret of life. Maybe it’s something you’re supposed to figure out for yourself. Or, maybe it was something I’d already heard.

From Pedro.


I’ll be back on Monday, February Fourth. Feel free to miss me. February the Fourth is my birthday; I consider my birthday a holiday, but we still get our mail. The scary thing is this is the oldest I’ve ever been. And I know it can’t last forever.
Can it?


anna said...

Hey Dad!

This is my favorite post so far!!! Keep it up...and i will miss you.


Anonymous said...

I'm trying to envision your Mariachi band, but somehow they all look like RCMP's.

Oh, and I learned the Secret of Life from James Gandolfini, who was a close personal friend of Chief Silver Raven. The Secret Of Life is

Anonymous said...

You're Canadian and you use the word 'Indian'?

Been south for a while, haven't you? ;o)

I've been enjoying your posts and look forward to your return.

P.S. I thought the most sacred place for a Canadian to be was Tim Horton's. I, however, will never dispute hockey arenas.

Max Clarke said...

You mentioned your experiences with mountains.

Mountains do have vibrations, according to quite a few people sensitive enough to detect them. You hear lots of comments about spots on Mount Shasta where you can feel the yang energy, and then you can walk over to spots which radiate yin energy.

There's a mountain in India which reportedly has significant spiritual energies, Arunachula. The great sage of India, Ramana Maharshi, lived there.

There's also Mount Kailas in Tibet, the supposed home of the god Shiva. Regardless of its energies, its appearance is amazing. It attracts dedicated Buddhists who circle it each year on a pilgrimage. Galen Rowell shot a photo of Mount Kailas which you see on calendars and spiritual books.

Anonymous said...

Hi Earl:

It was great hanging out with you last week at the Ranch. Thanks for the stories and the humor. I laughed as hard at "my guru was a klutz" as Steve laughed at "Sweet Adoline!"

I look forward to having you as a blogging buddy. Since I'm about as much a techi as you, how are we going to figure out how to set up our links?

Warm regards and Happy Birthday.
Judy Marcus

Tania said...

Earl, I learnt the secret of life from your story:
Life is one disappointment after another.

Unknown said...
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