Painting Furthur

Dipping in and out of Neal Cassady’s letters, some by him some to him, I read Anne Murphy’s words “Im helping paint the bus, washing and cleaning for Faye, it’s a beautiful morning, the Hermit gave me some white powder he thinks is ground up aspirin, but in your spirit (and mine), I gobbled it up and I must admit that I haven’t got a headache, it might have been a little LSD, whoopee.”

Anne has no idea of the significance of what she was doing. It was one thing in a laundry list of chores: paint the bus, wash and clean, take some aspirin that might be acid, yet she writes to Neal about it, she documents and records without knowing the possible cultural significance, the value of her day or her actions.

She was not painting just any bus, she was painting The Bus. The bus of the Pranksters hungry for their On The Road, the bus of Kesey and the Grateful Dead, one of the most famous buses in our cultural lexicon: she was painting Furthur.

After all there is a genius in knowing when we are part of those great moments, when we are standing in the front row of a large festival, watching Nirvana turn into Nirvana, transform from Fecal Matter, Skid Row and Ed Ted Fred into the confident purveyors of grunge to Generation X, we do not know what we are part of. When we board the bus, when we hop on that plane, when we get caught in a moment that is “a part of that”, the collective experience, the consciousness changer. A few geniuses realize these moments in the moment – Ginsburg had that talent.

The rest of us are left painting the bus and only later able to turn back and say, “we were painting Furthur,” with a shake of the head and a leap in our souls.

I lived my life so far by the seat of my pants, I never sought “further” I never chased the dream, instead the dream chased me down, and I ran from it screaming. It is a type of cowardice, not not embrace the extraordinary, the cutting edge, the genius, to not know when we need to paint further.

I read your words, and look at your paintings, and listen to new music, I see you all creating at this end of life or that, and I feel a pang of joy in my out of time soul.

May all you all have your extraordinary days and ways and acts of bravery. You never know when you might end up painting Furthur.

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