by Travis Mateer
If synchronicities are not something that interest you, there is no need to read further.
But if they DO interest you, then oh BOY did I have a fun time in the land of my birth, a mystical place hidden beneath the rough SPOKOMPTON veneer most outsiders think of it as.
What took me to Spokane was the need to pick up a car that my parents had lent to a friend’s adult kid, who had his car break down in Missoula. I used this technical need to fulfill a personal need to get the fuck out of Zoom Town for a bit.
During my short trip I was hoping to investigate Expo ’74 (a World’s Fair my dad worked at), hit up some second-hand and antique stores, and swing by a church in Coeur d’Alene where an unstable person thought his pastor was a shapeshifter.
I knew I couldn’t dilly-dally, though, because I had to get back to Missoula in time for a 3pm Zoom conversation with Michael Wann, a synchronicity specialist I had enlisted to make some sense of the synchro-soup I was swimming in.
Before leaving, my wife gave me HER goal, which was to deal with a burst of anger that resulted in a disinvite to my birthday dinner.
I got to Spokane AND started working on my wife’s goal (thanks Tim!), then I went to an antique store and found a book on Expo ’74–a brash plan by Spokane’s civic leadership to use a World’s Fair to clean up a riverfront polluted by various industries that no longer needed riverfront access.
According to this book, the success of pulling off this audacious plan was laid at the feet of a man with a cartoon-like name I had to double-check to believe: King Cole.
I spent the night in a fancy hotel room in downtown Spokane with a glorious view of the fruits of the World Fair my dad worked at 4 years before starting a family and moving to Seattle, a much bigger city that held a much bigger World’s Fair the previous decade.
With new insights from my a-symmetric research into Missoula’s development history, I left the next day (my birthday) for home.
On my return drive I thought about how Michael Wann’s synchronicity work directed some of my own intuitions and inquiries into the recent past, especially Wann’s most recent presentation, titled The Field Of Dreams And The Merchants Of Death on The Higherside Chat podcast.
One aspect of Wann’s work is picking up signals from popular culture, something I experience frequently, so I should mention the two movies I watched in my hotel room: Old and Songbird.
Both movies had a bunch of personal significance I won’t get into. The one point I’ll reference is a scene in Songbird where the message ABANDON HOPE is spray-painted on an elevator door as it opens.
Switching to Wann’s pop-culture reference, Field of Dreams is a movie with Kevin Costner based on a book by W.P. Kinsella. My conversation with Michael Wann would connect Costner to the research I’m currently doing on the Chapel of the Dove.
This was what I was thinking about when I checked my progress to see if I had time to stop at a used book store, where I was of course delighted to find a book of short stories by W.P. Kinsella in the Montana section (I was told there were some scenes from Field of Dreams shot in Livingston, Montana, but so far I haven’t been able to confirm that).
I’ll leave most of the synchronistic connections I found for the podcast episode I’ll be posting Tuesday or Wednesday. For this post I’ll simply end with the portion of the short story, “Elevator” I found as I flipped through the story minutes before starting my conversation with Michael Wann, and ended up reading during our chat.
“You figure if you keep things up the white man going to bring his colored pictures back one day?” the old man says very slowly.
“Um-hm,” says Simon, staring at his feet. “I can hope.”
Standing-in-the-bush turns to starer across the clearing and corral to the scrub poplars standing all fluttery-leafed in the hot July wind.
“Don’t do no harm to dream,” the old man says.
“I’ll dream those movies back,” says Simon. “Everything’s painted and in better shape than when they quit it. They’ll be surprised when they come to open up again.”
“You see your movies on that big white screen,” says the old man, “sometimes when I look far away, I dream of the buffalo. I must be the only one who remembers them. I liked the train, but it went away. I liked the movies. Sometimes they made the earth tremble just like the buffalo.”
They are standing almost back to back, Simon shaped like a cross staring off toward his immaculate theater, Standing-in-the-bush gazing across his corral where two skinny roan steers reach their necks through the poles for grass.