The road to Arkansas is a long way from Maryland but Americans are used to driving long distances to get where we are going. Hours of driving mean nothing to us. Some people drive hours just to get to work in the morning. We just listen to music or talk radio and enjoy the ride, however long. I’ve had times when I arrived at my destination but needed to sit in the car just a little longer to complete the song or hear the response to a discussion question.
We had something better than talk radio though, we had Ron. Ron loved to tell us the interesting stories of his wild adventures. He told us tales of digging crystals up on Miller Mountain, and stories of his run-ins with the law. How he was arrested in Texas for sheets of LSD but told the judge, “You should try it! It will set you free!” Then he made and sold tie-dyes while imprisoned in jail to all the policemen in the town. True or not, they were very entertaining and the time on the road passed quickly. (Knowing Ron, I believe they were true).
Glug, glug, glug…
We arrived at a friend of Ron’s house in Hot Springs, just about dark. Several people were watching a documentary about colorful fish on the television. They were lovely to watch, darting here and there. They were all happy to see Ron and his guests. Someone asked if we were thirsty after such a long ride. I told them I would love something to drink and they offered some apple juice.
I took a giant slug of it. Glug, glug, glug, and handed it to Donna, who also took a good swig of the liquid. The guy’s eyes widened in disbelief as he said, “Oh my God, you just guzzled a huge amount of some of the best acid we have seen around here in a long time! I thought you realized….”
Not feeling strange yet, we talked with some of the people. Some were well lost in the colors of the television, but others seemed fine.
A Most Wonderful House!
One man had just arrived, and we talked with him for a while. He told us he was a lawyer and had the most fantastic house that was built into the side of a mountain. Would we like to see it? Why, yes, we would! So we climbed into his sweet little sports car. We went zooming down the road and up some curvy mountain roads. This is about when the acid started kicking in, and we told him so. He said, “Oh, I didn’t know, but it’s okay.”
It was a lovely moonlit night, and the trees were singing to me. The gentle curves gave me body rushes that were like massages to the soul. In a short while, we arrived at his house. Donna got out of the car and threw up in his flowers. They were all right with it, and so was he.
We floated into his beautiful home, where he sat Donna down with an illustrated book of angels that sang to her. He sat me down at a fantastic synthesizer that was connected to his unique sound system. I believe that it was a Synclavier; those who know, know. The sweeping sounds enveloped me as I watched my fingers do what they knew how to do.
Donna was laughing and speaking with the angels who were dancing off the book’s pages all around her. The colors were vibrant and said of the happiness enveloping us and the interconnectivity we all share. Silver strands of light, like a web, touched each person in the whole of the universe, bringing our spirits to a point where we were all one consciousness connected in ways we could never truly grasp, although it seemed so close.
Our guide sat back and enjoyed watching our wonderment. I have no idea how long we were there, but eventually, we were back at the house with Ron and his friends. The edginess was still there, but there was no desire to grind my teeth. This was some pure stuff! This was the best trip ever, and after I had no desire to try and top it. Once the door is open, it’s open.
Ron’s friend had a great sense of humor. He named his dog Sorrow because the Bible said, “and Sorrow shall follow you all the days of your life.” There was Sorrow on the front porch, Sorrow in the kitchen. Sorrow would follow him wherever he went, all the days of his life.
A Place of Peace
Because Hot Springs, Arkansas, is such a unique and cosmic place, we decided we should be tourists just a little bit. Historically, Hot Springs is a place of peace and truces. Warring Indian tribes would meet here to work out differences without violence. Later the gangsters did the same. Al Jolson and Mae West both played the local pub here.
Al Capone and many others came to visit this neutral territory. It was all because of the seemingly magical hot springs that flowed from a source that could heal so many ailments. The water is free to take your fill, and people line up to do just that.
Mining for Crystals
This area is also famous for some of the purest crystals in the world. Ron had suggested we all take a trip up to Miller Mountain and dig some crystals, so we hopped in the van, and off we went! On the way up to the mines, we saw a crystal the size of a car. Several crystal mining companies excavate enormous crystals using backhoes and bulldozers. As I understand it, these crystals are sold to companies that use them to improve the function of many everyday objects, like watches, plugs, hospital equipment, and lasers.
The little ones aren’t interesting to them, so they dump the leavings of clay and mud and let tourists and amateur rock hounds dig through for $10 a day. It is difficult to determine what you have with gloves on, so you feel around in the muddy clay and your hands end up getting minor cuts all over them. It’s like looking for shards of broken glass in the mud.
Why is This Crystal Black?
When you find a crystal, it doesn’t look like what you see in the shops. After you wash the mud off, it is covered in a hard, black coating and must be boiled off in a pot of boric acid. I know none of this sounds very cosmic, but the crystals look great after finishing the process.
Arriving at the mine, we unpacked what we needed, and Ron showed us how to do it. We dug for hours mostly finding crystals the size of your toes or fingers. Many would be perfect for making wire-wrapped jewelry. Occasionally, we would find one quite a bit larger.
We had quite a few lovely specimens by the end of the day. We bought a package of boric acid from the crystal store and set about boiling the black coating off. The boric acid wasn’t a particularly pleasant odor, but the results were spectacular. They all glimmered like diamonds in the late afternoon light.