A Eulogy Serenade
In October of 2002, after traversing the Mojave desert from Los Angeles, beaten and exhausted, I found myself disembarking, 2:00 am style, at an Amtrak station in Needles, California.
On the platform, about two train cars down, was Amy Elizabeth La Salle waiting for me, just as she said she would be. As I approached, her two dogs Bonnie El and Wuff started wagging their tails, all the indication my newfound friend needed that things would be good.
The drive to Lake Havasu that night was surreal and magical. In my half asleep dream state, I felt that Amy was guiding me through a panoramic world entirely unknown to me, mapped out by ever distant lights down unending stretches of desert highway.
During our many explorative trips afterwards that year and the next, Amy’s child like enthusiasm for life came through and served to continually inspire me. As an example, what should have been a mere jaunt to Prescott one day to pick up a friend’s Min Pin dog, turned into a 500 mile round trip junket through the vortex mysteries of Sedona and the eerie miasma of Skull Valley where we both fell into a kind of geomantic reverie as the surrounding mountains shared their memories with us, lulling us into their world.
On another occasion Amy’s travel zeal came through once again when we took a trip to Angel Fire, New Mexico. Upon our fourteen hour return to Lake Havasu a few days later, my companion insisted on a side exploration of the Valley of the Gods in Utah.
Afterwards, when we got to Tuba City, she felt compelled to introduce me to Navajo cuisine. Eating some exquisite mutton stew housed in a deep fried bowl, I wondered just where she was getting her energy from to fuel these wondrous trips.
Above all this outward boundedness though was Amy’s ongoing kindness, consideration and generosity towards both animals and humans. It was poignantly outstanding in so many ways. She would help others, often at the expense of her own well being.
One time she drove over 50 miles to a tack store to get a special bridle for a pony just so a friend’s child could ride it at the stable where her horses Skye and Rusty were. My admonishments in regards to her unnecessary altruism fell on deaf ears though.
Another time, when she dragged my reluctant self up to the Grand Canyon, we encountered a skeletal coyote who came to within ten begging feet of us. I had to prevent her from feeding the poor thing, fearing some massive park fine for doing so if we got caught.
Down in Los Algodones, Mexico we encountered another scab-ridden, malnourished canine. Amy then went and bought a couple of burritos and we followed the hobbling thing way off the beaten tourist path. I got a bit nervous doing so, but she managed to feed the starving animal and we quickly returned to safer streets afterwards.
Most remarkable though, guidance wise, was the ascent up Cupcake Mountain for the Leaping Lizard Tribe’s annual summit illumination there.
When we got to the top, after a prolonged and ardous climb, it started to lightning and hail. Then after this impressive flash of tempest, a brilliant rainbow arced over us all and the surrounding land below was carpeted with hail stones, making it looked like it had just snowed. The quality of the rarified light at that moment was most peculiar in that it enabled me to look at everyone there and see them as they truly were: loving beings. I could see through their character armor and societal conditioning. I saw them without any judgment-like I had eyes in my heart. Sadly, it only lasted for a moment, but I saw them all as they truly were.
I felt afterwards that somehow Amy was the catalyst for this experience and that she guided me up there just so I could have it.
And speaking of catalyst, there was the time an errant ferret escaped its Palisades apartment confines and Amy called me when I was back in Minnesota, asking me to join her and several others she had contacted to pray for its return. Then after much searching, her son Joel found the slinky rascal amongst some rocks in a wash far away from home. Amy attributed the find to the group praying and I did not disbelieve her, considering the lottery odds of ever finding the animal in such a big place.
Well, I must finish coloring this too brief, recollective eulogy with the most memorable occurrence of all, when I met Amy for the first time in May of 2002.
We were sitting on the ground near a lilac bush in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. She started singing my name over and over, apparently to help get my soul back into my body after some intensive, deep tissue bodywork she had done on me.
Then, a meadowlark only a few feet above us and semi-hidden in the leaves and clusters of violet colored flowers, started singing along with her, just full out chortling its wondrously clear melodies. The impromptu duet served as a resonant confirmation that could never be expressed otherwise-that I was in the presence of someone compassionate, genuine, empathetic and unique. Someone rare and as fleeting as the song bird that winged up back into the sky once I grasped the import of the beautiful message my friend Amy conveyed in her serenade.
Nov 3, 2018
Death Valley, CA