In 1969 Margaret Atwood’s “The Edible Woman” reveals the life of a young woman whose structured and consumer-driven life alters drastically.

When I was a student, the majestic peaks of the Grand Tetons made me wish I could fill my dorm room with rocks. I didn’t want imported beer bottles, or old Christmas cards or calendar girls straddling motorcycles on my shelf. I wanted to adorn my study area with rock formations. But I settled for books and LP’s because they were easier to move at the end of the semester. The best plan was to visit the rocks in their own habitat.

I encountered the wonderment of random rocks as I hiked a trail to Lake Solitude. It was in this remote locale that I met a Buddhist monk.

The monk had been there for seven days. He spoke English as well as seven other languages. Our minds closed ranks on the third day as rain pelted the rocks. It turned out that we both wrote poems so we created a piece alternating lines:

You and I were in a dream together
asleep under a rhododendron leaf
protesting second-hand smoke
a retired poet injected you with a free-will serum
desert winds were born from your wound
and activated the machinery of fraudulence
as the infernal blue buzz crawled through the rubbish
of our collective DNA
through the canebrake of verbiage


This story originally appeared in Backpack Trekker: A 60’s Flashback (Beatlick Press, 2011).

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