Walking Alone-2 (Self-portrait & Plants)

It was like night and day—like two different lives. The Barney before the abduction and the Barney after. In some ways life was a lot less complicated now—in other ways it was more complex that he could ever have imagined. Whenever he found himself overwhelmed he reminded himself of the importance of fundamentals.

Always go back to the fundamentals.

It was both funny and bizarre—how quickly and easily the very solid, carefully managed and methodically developed life he had put together for himself and family had been jerked inside out. Everything he had worked for and earned over the course of over 40 years, gone in a matter of months. Career, financial assets, home, family, belief system, friends, reputation—gone like so much mist in the morning sun.

Standing before the little stove in his over-a-garage apartment he pondered the scrambled eggs he was preparing.

“Eggs—it comes down to eggs—after all these years and all the work,” he thought—“scrambled eggs in this crummy little apartment, a few boxes of clothes and personal effects, solitude, memories and silence.”

Sitting down on the couch with his meal on a plate, in front of the dormant TV he remembered again all the things that formerly seemed so important—projects at work—especially the budget—his golf game, saving enough money to put in a nice, in-ground pool, who to invite to the next party…


People who he used to think were certifiable nut-cases—UFO believers—were now his only friends. There were a few from BA (Before Abduction) who still seemed to care about him but even they—he could tell—looked at him differently. Even his own kids saw him in a different light these days. There was no escaping it—he was now a weirdo—one of those people on the margins of mainstream society’s perspective on reality.

Some times he felt he had done the wrong thing. As Allen said—maybe he should have kept his mouth shut. But that would mean he’d be a coward, a liar in a sense—walking around knowing something of such incredible importance it would impact all of human kind’s self-concept and sense of place in the universe. It would change—if not destroy—certain religions. It would alter the way nations related to each other. The impact on the economies of the world would be monumental—in what ways he had no idea—he just knew it would be unfathomable. He now understood why there had been a cover-up—but at the same time he felt people should know.

But he knew many people either don’t want to know or refuse to believe short of having an experience like he did.

He had learned to deal with catastrophe from his father who had served with distinction in Korea and Viet-Nam. His dad had been one of those rarest of men—a warrior-philosopher. In the past 3 years—in his thoughts and prayers—he had thanked his dad a thousand times for teaching him how to pare situations down to their essence. Growing up his dad was always telling him to keep asking the same two questions—“What is the situation and what are you going to do about it?”

The essence of his situation was his view of reality and of the human condition had changed fundamentally, his work or responsibilities had changed and the people in his life had changed.

Was he a different man or was he simply the same man in a different world?

He decided he was the same man but with new understandings and he was now in a different world.

He decided his responsibilities—at the moment—were to learn more, explore this new world and figure out how he could best serve his own nature—follow his revised vision.

Each day he walked around talking to people—listening to what their lives were about in terms of his own changed perspectives. He tried to maintain good health, he was respectful of those who were threatened by or impatient with what he now knew, he cultivated new relationships with others like himself but most of all—he now had to be patient and let the new imperatives come to him. To this end he meditated at least an hour every day—letting go of his thoughts—becoming a receiving vessel and opening himself to the new opportunities and challenges.

Not an easy thing to do sometimes—there was the old Barney who would try to sabotage things and there was the new Barney who tended to want to proselytize and enlighten others who he knew viewed him as, not just lacking credibility but had potential to be a problem in some as-yet-to-be-determined way.

He lived alone now—he had no job in the usual sense. He had ample time to reflect, absorb new ideas, evaluate, analyze and run little trial programs. He understood two important measures of intelligence were the capacity to adapt and the ability to solve problems. He felt these qualities in himself were intact. He had the invaluable legacy of his father’s intelligence and courage and he had his own life of experience. He would not fall prey to desperation—he knew he was up to the challenge—as his father would have been. Looking down at his eggs he asked himself again the same two questions he asked himself every day,

“What is the situation and what are you going to do about it?”

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