79 days and what did I have to show for it? I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like I was trapped. I hadn’t made any progress since meeting Heather, it was starting to seem like she was a dead end. Leading me around and around in circles with task after task, inviting me to stay indefinitely on her compound, working for her with other escapees from the world. I think she just liked having us around. In another life, I’d love to install a beautiful reflecting pond on her property. But that life is behind me, it’s not why I came all the way to Maui. I needed a drastic change. I knew that Swami Sami was in the jungle and relatively nearby. That’s about as much as I’d gathered.
I woke up right after sunrise on March 3rd ready to bring my scheme into reality. I was going to just head into the jungle and hope for the best. In God I trust. His infinite wisdom and power will guide me. I packed a backpack with water, food for three days, and a headlamp. I brought a bit of weed too just for good measure. Slipping out the front door without a sound, I set off through the hedge on the backside of the property for the jungle.
Sticks and stones crunched under my feet as I started to move through the trees. “Wow, I should have brought a machete,” I thought to myself as if I’d know how to use that. Through mud and rocks, tall grass, and trees I trekked for miles. Aimlessly searching with purpose for the man who was supposed to be the most enlightened Swami on the planet. Thrashing and running through the jungle now. Batting branches away from my face seconds before they hit me. Running from an unknown threat. Deeper and deeper into the jungle. Panting, I reached a clearing encircled by waist-high grass and palm trees mixed with bamboo. Normally I’d be afraid of tall grass, but Maui doesn’t have snakes. I confidently walked into the field. Basking in the glory of the late morning sun. I thought I felt a holy energy. Was I just imagining it?
Swami Sami has been here before.
I let the glory of my feelings wash over me. Strangely, I felt like I was heading in the right direction. Now seemed like as good a time as ever to stop for a snack. I packed light on most things. I sipped some water and ate half of a protein bar. I had a long day ahead of me and it wasn’t even noon.
Maui is not a huge place. There are jungles but they are not infinite like the Amazon.
After a 30 minute break, a snack, and a quick mediation. I decided it was time to head out again. I entered on the north side of the clearing so I decided to keep going south. I walked across the full length of the clearing. I felt the sun beat down on my neck. I couldn’t quite explain it but I knew I was heading in the right direction.
Back in the thick of it, I batted palm fronds and tree branches out of my way as my pants got stuck on sticks and twigs on the ground. Further into the jungle. Away from Heather’s. What wonderful hospitality she had shown me, I hope she’s not offended. I left without saying anything. What about the others? I wonder if they will even notice I am gone. Leaving suddenly wasn’t an enlightened thing to do. If I was truly civilized I would have waited and thanked everyone over an early breakfast and then headed out.
As the thought crossed my mind I was distracted by the sounds of the road, two cars had just gone by. Maui’s a small island. I mindlessly headed towards the noise. Branches and brush. Tall sharp grass and flowers with thorns. I pushed through the thickness of the jungle to eventually get to a road. I looked around and realized that I couldn’t have been more than 2 miles from Heather’s place at this point.
A black truck was heading towards me. Not a huge four by four. A small well loved two door black truck. The driver started to slow down. He was going to talk to me.
“You lost son?”
“No, I’m alright”
“You look like hell”
I hadn’t thought much about how I looked since I got the Heathers. She only had one mirror in the whole house. It was for special occasions. On top of months of hair growth, I had been running through the jungle for hours. I probably had twigs in my hair and beard.
I chuckled, then shrugged my shoulders while reaching into my hair to explore and extract. “I’ve had a productive morning.”
“Do you want a lift into town?”
“No, not really, thank you”
“Where ya headed?”
“It’s hard to explain.” I was starting to get nervous. I knew I didn’t present well and I didn’t want to attract unnecessary attention. “Have a good day.”
I turned to walk away back into the jungle. No consideration for just how absurd I must have looked.
“Hang on! I know where you’re going.”
I stopped in my tracks. Shocked to my core that he had seen me so transparently. A moment earlier I was beyond comprehension. Now I was obvious.
“Boy, it’s been a while. I was wondering if anyone else was coming”
Dumbfounded. Frozen in the ground. I couldn’t speak. “Anyone else?” I barely squeaked out.
“There have been a few. You read Dale’s book?”
“Yea…” I couldn’t believe it. I’d gone aimlessly searching for him and he’d showed up. Swami Sami in the flesh. In a straw cowboy hat, salt and pepper pony tall and well-kempt beard. An old tank top hung effortlessly off his tanned physique. Worn jeans and the most practical yet stylish pair of boots.
“Nobody calls me that. I’m Sam.”
I picked up my backpack and got into the truck.
“Sam, I’m glad I found you. I have some questions”
Sam’s head knocked back with laughter. He put the car into gear and started driving. “I’ll bet you do”
That’s the end of the Swami Sami Saga for now.
As per usual thanks to my editor Zahr Gould