A few years back, I spent a week in Peru with a bunch of other people from LA looking to experience spiritual encounters of the shamanic kind. We traveled in a small bus on narrow roads that switchbacked across the craggy peaks above Cuzco. We marveled at the massive umbrella of sky above peaks jagged like shark teeth. We chewed coca leaves purchased at the airport to stave off altitude sickness and chattered like monkeys about where we were from, what we hoped to learn on this trip, and what drugs we did in the eighties.
In the midst of one such chatter, our small bus pulled over to a turnout. We monkeys fell silent as a compact tow truck wheezed by. On its bed was a little bus just like ours, flattened to no more than a foot high.
“What happened?” someone asked.
“Big rock,” the driver said.
The talk turned to reincarnation, and what animals we reckoned we’d be in our next lives. I plan to be one of those beautiful wool-jacketed cows that graze in the meadow on the cliffs below Nepenthe in Big Sur. I’d even be a bull if I had to, and wouldn’t mind being slaughtered for steak. I promise I would make a delicious meal, as my every cell would be infused with the pure joy that comes from being slapped around by Pacific winds and drenched in gray cashmere fog.
How about you? Ever had a close encounter with a big rock? What do you think your next life will bring, or do you think reincarnation is bull-pucky?.