To Warner and Family


Here I am, in a group selfie, with Warner Recabaren and his multi-talented daughter, Kyra. This was two nights ago, my last night in San Diego County.

Warner is yet another friend I met through the didgeridoo. He regularly hosts local didgeridoo gatherings at his ranch in a Shangra-la mountain valley in rural East County.

Soon after my heart surgery and change in my living situation, Warner invited me to stay in his trailer. The conditions were primitive, but I was waking up to nature. In the mornings, still in my pajama bottoms, I would take my cup of tea outside and enjoy being at one with my immediate environment. Heart surgery has a way of kicking you in the butt. Being out with the birds and coyotes was just what the doctor ordered.


Here is what I was looking out at:


And another pic:


And, of course, the mandatory turkeys:


As the days went by, I felt myself healing. I had dropped 24 pounds in the month after my surgery. Now I was putting most of it back on. My ribs had knitted back together, I could trust my heart to keep beating. I was becoming whole again. Time for eye surgery.

When I was able to focus on work, I managed to complete the second book in my Bipolar Expert Series, as well as finish the new iteration of, not to mention help Warner with a website. I also knocked two novels into shape .

Every once in a while I would pop over and we’d do didgeridoo together or I would just hang out with him and his family. As well as his daughter Kyra, I enjoyed the company of his most gracious wife, Karen.

Warner and his family are the model of people who were there for someone in a time of need. They were in a position to help, I was in a position to receive. I regarded myself as a guest. He and his family regarded me as a neighbor.

At last, it was time to make tracks. My body had mended. My soul had begun its next transformation project. My work was done. My stuff was organized. I popped into Warner’s place one last time. Karen was at work. Warner was about to drive Kyra to her hip-hop class. Just enough time for one quick didge jam. Then to sign my special road didge.

The road didge is a separate story. Basically, what is starting as a blank slate will be filled in by the end of my journey, when-or-wherever it may end. Warner wrote something and Kyra sketched in the mandatory turkey.


Didge in hand, I stepped out into the night. The rain had lifted, the clouds had dispersed. Above was a brilliant night sky dominated by the constellation, Orion. The magic of the valley. A true Shangra-la. Here, in this sacred space, with the aid of good neighbors, I succeeded in retrieving a small piece of my lost youth. I had a beating heart, along with vision that no longer required glasses. My soul, a constant work-in-progress, was on the mend.

New heart, new start. Thanks to a little help from my friends.


2 thoughts on “To Warner and Family

  1. John, let me just say here that you are one beautiful (not to mention strong) human being. You and I have each traveled our own journeys since those days at the UCONN Farmington Bipolar Support Group. And yet, here we are.

    I am so happy for you that you can still make beautiful music with your “dig”, culminating with the beautiful sounds of nature that God has graced us with, when only we stop and listen.

    Yes, the simple miracle that we are all living and hopefully breathing is amazing. As was with my latest venture, literally not knowing if I was going to take another breath. Or not. Being swept away from my home in an ambulance last week, thinking it was a ‘heart attack’ but only turned out to be pneumonia, was, still, a wake-up call for me.

    I have now been out of the hospital for four days now with a complete turnabout regarding what is “really important” in this life and that which can be put on hold for another time. The most important thing in my life right at this moment in time just happens to be ‘this moment in time’. And it has been a great pleasure to have shared this little piece of time with you, John. Take good care of yourself, John and never stop listening for the ‘call of the wild’. With peace & love, your friend, Betsy


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