An old anthropologist told me stories while we sat on the porch of a coffee shop near Ojai, which has some of the most natural black skies I have ever seen.
His body was held together by sheer will. Broken back, ribs and knees many times over. Some bones permanently jut out like a puzzle piece in the wrong spot.
"I like to play the hero, the bad guy...this is the result."
"It's always something," I added.
"Yeah, but I'm kind of glad it is."
He lives in a cabin twelve miles away and has no qualms with walking or depending on strangers for rides.
Lee is prone to forgetting his train of thought, but not his rhythym. Words slip out of stories and into others creating in his words "a reality that is so big."
A reality that can hardly hold itself in human form.
I can still picture his appearance...
masterful white hair pulled back in a ponytail with a few strands loose about his weathered face, but no wrinkles. Small features; ears and nose just there, a wry smile and missing teeth, some in good condition, all leading back to a pair of ordinary blue eyes, not unlike those of a portrait, stationary, but following you around the room, simply there - and looking right through you.
And how I knew as I said goodbye, driving away in the California dark that Lee knew - there is no other way to describe it - and I suspect the world still feeds off him in the way lightning is drawn to the rod, the way that plants slowly turn to face the sun.