(When Bob hitched into Sooke for th last time, I just bumped into him walking down the street. Over a cup of coffee in a cafe he studied me thoughtfully, 'You don't look a lot older than when we first met.' 'When you saw me or were seen by me?' He smiled, a little tired, maybe -- 'You find a short cut from Kabul to Sooke?' 'I just went straight ahead,' 'I just went straight around.'
This trip, my 'stump' had sprouted in the hills and to it we repaired. He pitched his pup tent in the hillside clearing and we had a pot of rice and bean and talked. He told me about Guatemala; beautiful country and people -- the Indians; rotten politics, and the 'dark-eyed gringa yoga teacher', who 'helped me see -- then see that she was going one way and I was going another,' So how was the uncelibate life lately? He smiled, 'Too late,' I found that the old adage 'what you don't use you lose' seemed to be working out pretty good for me. He said it seemed to work differently for him: 'Even using it I can't lose it.'
Not that it had anything to do with the subject, but he was somewhat intrigued presently about the notion of 'black holes'. We came to the conclusion that although the Buddha's Teaching pointed out our main problem and what to do about it -- this was probably just the light edge of an ontological black hole.
I mentioned my work on the sequel to Worthy Bones -- Mohel in America -- more or less the same story: only instead of a plot to pinch the Buddha bones it was the Declaration of Interdependence. 'So what is it?' he lifted an eyebrow at me and his recorder to his lips. 'An accusation,' I said.
With a ghost of a smile, he nodded, then blew -- quite beautifully -- a Bach bourrée.
Through my stump window I watched him in the autumn twilight sitting cross-legged by his tent watching the gulls wheel over the salmon-spawning river in the gorge below -- he seemed a natural part of the scene, with not a breath of pretension. (As I look out my stump window -- 12 years later -- I still see the rocks -- in the same place, just bearded with moss and lichen -- that he placed there as tent pegs.)
In the morning he pointed out to me a tiny, delicate, lacey white fungus with a bright red flower no bigger than a pinprick of blood. 'Sometimes I notice things,' he said quietly, then looked up at me, 'You're the only one I know who's kept at it, you know?'
We gave each other a 'rhino' hug. A tear in the eye.
After a few months back in LA, where he finished Getting Off, with little satisfaction, and even less satisfaction trying to find an agent, get it read, etc., etc., with a sigh of relief that even brushed by me in the Sooke hills, he flew the American coop once more -- and for the last time. In Asia again, he slipped into his Mexican premonition, his monk's robe again; it seemed to fit better this time around; anyhow, it fit for good. -- Hūm)