Entry for September 14, 2007

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Picture–me in my apartment 1979.

The Result Of Love Preserving What Is Best In All Things-Rejuvenation

Humpty Dumpty Revisited Or Whatever Happened To That South Dakota Guy

July 22, ‘77

Everybody knows about Humpty Dumpty, but they probably don’t know the whole story. Of course he fell from the wall, everybody knows that, but why? Did the love bug smote Humpty? Is that what caused him to lose his balance and fall? Humpty admired the world from atop his perch, and he was happy, even jubilant. But then a not so beautiful daisy captured his attention, a daisy struggling to free its face from the matted grass holding it down. The struggle had a hypnotic affect on Humpty. As he watched the flower struggle to free itself from the grass that pinned its face to the ground, he got so emotional that he stopped eating. Finally, after his vigil that was already into its third day, the flower began to die, or at least that’s what Humpty thought. Fearing the end, he turned away from the daisy. After giving the daisy up for dead, he was extremely surprised to see (when he finally brought himself look again) the flower’s yellow petals and soft brown center reaching out to him from just above the tangled grass. The unexpected sight so startled him that he almost fell off his wall. For Humpty, that could have been the end, but it wasn’t.

Everything changed for Humpty after that. Where as before he was always carefree and happy, now he was totally overcome by his desire for the daisy. Alas, it was not to come to pass. Humpty was fated to look upon his beloved and likewise, the daisy’s fate was to reach out for (but never touch) her beloved admirer. Day after day, Humpty gazed down upon the daisy with a longing that only two lovers kept apart could know. The morning dew was envied as the tiny droplets graced the petals of his daisy. Under the rising sun, watching the dewdrops shrink and slip away into nothingness became, for Humpty, a morning ritual. Needless to say, Humpty’s love grew stronger (and more tragic), as the sun journeyed north along the summer’s horizon. It was a sad day indeed when the daisy started to wilt and die.

Humpty was not dumb. He knew he could not stop the inevitable, but that didn’t make it any easier. In the beginning, he simply denied what was happening. But when the daisy’s head drooped under its own weight, Humpty was overcome by a torrent of distress. He screamed, “Don’t go. I love you. My love will never, never die. It is forever. Know that I love you now and forever.” But in reality Humpty knew that it was over. The next morning, in the place where his beautiful daisy reached out to him, he spied only a brown tangled mass of grass. Humpty retreated into his shell after that, his life’s passion only a memory. For him, all beauty, love, and life had evaporated, just like the dew droplets that had once adorned the petals of his beloved flower. The emptiness would not go away, a torture beyond belief, replaced his reason for living.

We will never know for sure why Humpty fell off his wall. Some say it was simply a case of negligence. He just lost his balance. Others say it was a mercy killing. Humpty’s lifelong perch afforded him an opportunity for freedom and release, and in the end, some would say he just took advantage of it. There was no questioning the result–massive amounts of broken eggshell. For most, that was the end of the story, but it really wasn’t.

It is well known that all the king’s men and all the king’s horses failed to put Humpty back together again, but what is not so well known is the fate of poor Humpty’s remains. In the spring, beside the patches of melting snow, something incredible happened. A shoot of grass sprouted. The hearty blade shot up right beside a large piece of Humpty, connecting that piece to another. More grass sprouted, and more pieces of Humpty came together. Amazingly, Humpty’s pieces, when connected, stuck together. But Humpty wasn’t just coming together; piece-by-piece he was growing. It was a slow process, but for Humpty, his newfound “wholeness” had become meaningful in a way that he previously could not have imagined.

To this day, what happened to Humpty remains a mystery. But somehow he pulled himself together. And when a broken egg becomes whole again, it is quite an event! The significance of this comeback did not go unrecognized by Humpty. Being an egg, he was already hypersensitive, but his hypersensitivity now mushroomed. Love was indeed the motivator here, but Humpty also realized that the tragedy of lost love had something to do with his recovery and transformation too.

We will never know what, ultimately, was responsible for Humpty’s rejuvenation. Was it the workings of some miracle of Mother Nature, or was it the mysterious power of love preserving what is best in all things? It is impossible to get beyond speculation here. One thing is for sure, though, the demise of the daisy meant, for Humpty, the demise of meaning and hope, and without meaning, death’s door opens wide. That door, in Humpty’s case, opened to massive amounts of eggshell all over the place. That’s all history now, even if it remains an unfinished story.

I heard that Humpty was climbing back up to his perch on the wall. That climb would be difficult for anybody, but for an egg it would be doubly hard. He fell a couple of times, but, I also heard that he at least learned how to fall without going to pieces. For the life of me, I can’t fathom why he would want to climb back up that wall. To be sure, the ground is the only safe place for an egg. Oh, well, whatever it takes to find happiness. Who am I to judge anyway? Climb on Humpty! Climb on and on, for as long as it takes, for as long as you can. It’s your life, live it. Your story is still unfinished!

If I Don’t Take Advantage Of The Potential Surrounding
Me I Only Have Myself To Blame

Sitting At My Typewriter

Oct. 17, 1977

In closing, I need to add a few observations concerning the trip.

1. When I began my bicycle trip my hair was long. I wondered how my long hair would be received on the road. I assumed the outside world would have regressed back to the “I hate longhairs” attitude, since back at university long hair had pretty much been disinherited by the student population. I was wrong. What I found “out there” was no hassle whatsoever. In fact, a large majority of the working class had assimilated long hair, along with its assorted life styles. In retrospect, that’s not too surprising since the working class has become my generation while college students are now from another time.

2. It was interesting that among the many bicyclers I met (Richard had more than his share of stories here), all had problems with unfriendly canines. Everybody had special defenses for dealing with the unfriendly critters. Richard kept his bicycle lock and chain at arm’s reach, so if needed he could easily use it to fend off attacking dogs. I also had many occasions where I had to deal with the unruly four-legged clan, but I was fortunate not to have to get physical. I perfected a procedure that got me through the scariest of times. It went something like this: Most dogs were only protecting their territory. Their charge slowed the closer they got to the bike. However, some actually wanted to eat the biker, and when that happened (I got so I could measure up the dog pretty well), I didn’t panic. I just kept looking forward until the dog was almost on top of me. Then I would turn and look directly down into the dog’s eyes. Immediately I could tell how “serious” the dog was, with varying degrees of intensity, I would scream at the dog “Go Home.” It worked every time. Sometimes it was just a case of telling the dog to go home. On other occasions, it took a little more energy. Once a large dog, a very serious large dog, attacked me. From out of the bowels of my being I mustered a roar that even shocked me. Fortunately, the dog stopped, and I pedaled faster.

3. Arcadia National Park in Maine was extremely beautiful, but I found it lacking because of an absence of wild animals.

4 Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were my mainstay on the road. I got tired of eating all the other “not so good stuff,” but I never got tired of eating PB&J sandwiches.

5. This trip completed my many year old goal—the goal of putting myself in a position to study and travel continuously. Now, after achieving that goal, I feel freer than ever. I can pursue my studies, or travel if I want to. More importantly, though, I am free not to do either. I like that! And best of all, I am under no pressure to choose either way. Society, peers, and even my own conscience no longer play a role in how I decide. All future decisions will now be based on whatever feels good. Being a CMU custodian, I have enough money to live nicely, and I also have opportunities galore for intellectual pursuits. I can explore new thoughts whenever they arise, and the university is there to keep me honest. I am working in the middle of all the intellectual stimulation I will ever need, and more importantly, I am free from measure—no more A’s, B’s, C’s…. I can be smart, dumb, eccentric, or just plain plain. It’s up to me. It’s an absolutely great feeling! I only have myself to blame if I don’t take advantage of the potential that surrounds me.

6. The last point I want to make is in defense of this journal as a whole. Because I had to actualize my possibilities, and because I had to follow through on a plan in order to put myself in that position, this trip has been lacking in what I enjoy most—spontaneity. I needed to complete this trip, however, and in doing so, I have validated all the work I had put into getting myself to this point. It’s a dream come true. Just being here now is the exclamation point to everything. I am really free from here on out.

7. Last comment: for good or bad C. S. and I have begun correspondence. It appears as though we might get back together. Whether this is a manifestation of the tragic flaw in “mankind,” or just in me, time will tell. For the record, I guess I want this to happen. It would be, for me, more than a dream come true.

P.S. The correspondence ended (8-25-77). She will stay in South Dakota.


6 Responses to “Entry for September 14, 2007”

  1. sue s Says:

    And did you? Get back together–or did she stay in South Dakota?

  2. dave Says:

    I actually wrote the above while I was on my bicycle trip, the second part, though, I wrote after I had finished that trip. No, we never did get back together, and yes, she stayed in S.D. a few more years (I can’t remember how long). Once back in Michigan, she got married a couple more times, but we still remain friends (at least I think we’re friends, she was disappointed I didn’t go to the last class reunion to see her). It will be awhile before I start posting my 1980 bicycle trip. Things will probably be slow here. Most of the posts will concern books that I’ve studied. Thanks for the comment.

  3. subra Says:


  4. Beverly Says:

    Dave, I love what you have done with the story of Humpty Dumpty. I am one who never knew the rest of the story. Poor Humpty, I know how he felt…I’m not sure there is anything quite so painful as a lost love…one that never even gets a chance to grow. Except in the heart of one. And yet, for that one anyway, the illusion that is love is as real as the imagination can make it. The pain is real. The tears are real. The broken heart is real. Only the love is an illusion, for how could it be real when it is not returned?

    Knowing that Humpty came to know “wholeness” again gives one reason to hope for the same “wholeness”

    You are right….the story is unfinished….and it has so many possibilities.

  5. wings Says:

    I knew it! I just knew it! The King’s horses and men are NOT the answer and certainly NOT the solution. They could not put together a safety pin or a zip lock bag if their lives depended upon it. Good riddance and the sprouting miracle and recreation moves as it always has…in its own time off in the corner out of view and out of reach of that silly king without his clothes. Bravo…and thanks for the reminder and the inspiration.
    PS: Yes it is 9:29 in the morning and no, I am not drinking anything but coffee. LOL Hope you have a restful and happy weekend, Dave. I am glad you write and that I get to read what you post.

  6. dave Says:

    Thank You All for the kind comments.

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