As I was coming out of the the laundromat in Eureka, MT I bumped into a barefoot buckskin wearin' fella. It happened to be the infamous hide tanning guru 'Digger' from Rabbitstick. He didn't recognize me but I told him I had seen him the week before. He's one of the guys you could tell is the real deal...his bare feet look like tough leather. He immediately offered me a place to stay. He lives out in the woods, but he was passing through town on his way to visit some friends. He invited me to come along to the potluck/drumming party. He was with his friend Starlight Kompost and her son Tarin, who I also met at Rabbitstick. The three of them are in the picture above.
It was a great night of conversation, food, and music. After we ate we gathered in a room with all kinds of drums and people jammed out together. I felt very comfortable with everyone...I just grabbed a drum and banged along.
I stayed at Digger's outside of town. He gave me a spot in his hut to lay my sleeping bag. He lives completely off the grid...no electricity, no plumbing. He drinks "wild" water from a spring on his land. He even uses dried moss for toilet paper and his outhouse it not much more than a hole in the ground.
When I woke up there was a fire going outside and Digger was emerging naked from the nearby mountain stream. His whole body was steaming...there was frost on the ground. He says he does it year round, even if he has to break the ice. Like I said, this guy is no joke. He cooked up some beans and tea on the open fire and supplied me with some dried fruit for the road. When I looked in the bag later, I discovered he had given me $100 for Camden...quite an offering from a certified mountain man.
I found Digger to be intriguing as all get out. He lives more simply than anyone I know, yet he kept asking if I needed anything. He said, "I have more than enough stuff if you need anything." I asked him about his name and he said his given name is Doug. But he realized it was past tense (dug). He likes Digger because it's present tense and symbolizes that his life is a process. I like that.
There are certain people you meet who embody the way of Jesus and they may or may not call themselves Christians. I find that I meet them in the strangest places. There's a lyric in a song by the group Over the Rhine that says, "Last time I saw Jesus I was drinking bloody marys in the South...she wore a dark and faded blazer." Interestingly enough as I was leaving the laundomat on Saturday I was going to meet Jesus at the 5pm mass up the street...but I believe he met me before I even got there.