Salamander Cabin. Mariposa, CA. A Mid-Winter Month.
Outside the Gold Coin, Uncle Jonas negotiated with the Tavern’s owner.
From across the street we could feel the waves of Jonas’ big charm and carnival magic; holdin’ up numbers, gesturing wildly, pointing to us, jigging, signaling and slapping the some-what shocked, unprepared Proprietor on the shoulder like old friends do . Next came the handshake, the deal sealer and the “come on in” wave.
Uncle Jonas held the bar door open while chatting “Bartering, trading and bargaining are alive up here in the mountains boys! We’ll play songs for burgers and beers! Man! You guys need a manager like me to do some deal making! We’ll play thirty minutes for two pitchers of beer or an hour for four pitchers and food!”
The evening took off its training wheels.
The Mayor of Mariposa bought us whiskey and almost gave us a key to the Post Office.
The dark, dank Saloon bar kindly served us the coldest beer in the Universe.
An old Trapper wrapped in a raccoon cap and blue skin sat smoking a pipe with ancient eyes.
Some local kids showed up with banjos and Cowboy hats.
A stranger wanted to show us his new truck.
An old man with a wizard beard kept whispering something none of us could translate.
A woman wearing a Metallica T-shirt with cut off sleeves kept petting Crutchfield’s boots.
We played and sang and stomped and bobbed, swung and drank.
We snowballed electric, gaining momentum and good-timey joy with each stop. Epiphanies were becoming common, our hearts were aflame and our cheeks sore with laughter. We raged until it all became impossible. We finally returned to the cabin and the Moon rolled its eyes. We all found pillows. The windmill spun and creaked.
The morning mountains found the Sun and threw Her over their shoulders.
The a.m. offered a chilled dew and a deer family.
The trees were February bare and the clouds mayonnaise white.
Supposedly, the neighbors donkey, Eddie Murphy, survived some Summer fire by hiding in a miner’s cavern.
The Sun pored into the Valley like syrup.
The black, dirt coffee, a defibrillator in a cup, cranked our tails back to wagging.
We sat in a circle and played music for us and for them: for the Ballad-makers, for the all-Aloners, for our families and future wombs, for the gentle drunkards & the forgotten outlaws, for the Nancy & Court, for the can't-help-it Poets and the humble No-Grumblers, for all those who wrestle and sit at the table of Awe .
Evening and morning, Salamander seeps a magic wonder, a crisp mystery, a barter, a trade and a bargain.