Sunday, February 28, 2010

Land's End

At the tippy-top of New Zealand is Cape Reinga: a dry, gritty, windswept place where people go to die. More accurately, it’s where those who have already died go to jump away, into the next world. It’s a place where journeys begin.

The place where New Zealand stops is a rocky, tempestuous point of land, with gusts of winds that can knock you over, where the oceans beat the shoreline with unrelenting fury. This is the meeting place of the Tasman and the Pacific. You can see the confluence where they join, a place of standing waves and treacherous whirlpools. You wouldn’t want to swim here. You wouldn’t want to sail anywhere near it.

But then again, this isn’t a place for the living. At the tip of Cape Reinga, there is an ancient Pohutukawa tree, a gnarled, twisted old specimen growing right out of the salt-washed rock. According to Maori tradition, it’s where their spirits go, when their bodies die. The Maori ghosts climb down the roots of the ancient tree, making atua peruperu, the snuffling sounds of the dead. From here, they begin their long journey toward Hawaiki, their ancient homeland. I talked to Emily, a local elder for the Ngatikuri iwi, and I asked her what Cape Reinga meant to her. “When Maori people pass away, that’s where we go,” she said simply. “And no one’s gonna tell us any different.”

The land doesn’t even look like New Zealand, up here. It’s dry and empty, with a broad pelagic wind off the Tasman. We pass brushfires, leaping through the sun-parched grass. We pass a forest of low, scorched trees. The light is hazy; the grit burns our throats. The dust creates a spirit-filled haze.

And the dead aren’t the only ones who come here. Each year, thousands of bar-tailed godwits use the fine white silica sand dunes around Cape Reinga as their launching pad. The birds take off in March, to begin a seven thousand-mile, trans-oceanic voyage to Alaska. No one knows how they navigate, or how they predict the weather: they seem to take off just as a low pressure system is building, propelling them thousands of miles toward their destination.

Many of the godwits complete the journey non-stop, flying for more than a week without food or rest. Why do they make it so hard on themselves? Why go direct, when the Pacific is full of fertile, tropical islands, where they could stop off for a few days, eat bugs, take a nap, drink a piƱa colada in the shade?

The answer, in short, is that no one knows. Scientists haven’t even monitored their altitude, and no one knows if they skim the waves or soar thousands of miles in the air. As we watched those tiny specks congregating on the sand dunes, we wondered if they were planning the journey ahead. Did they feel fear? Did they think about the sleepless nights, the storms, the surging, empty sea?

Every year, many of the birds don’t make it. But the ones that do: just think of the stories they have to tell.

Cape Reinga was a turning point for us as well. We drove our van until there was no more land to drive on, then we turned her around and headed south. For five months, we’ve travelled New Zealand by sea and by land. It’s time to stop. The signs are all around us: Silas, now running and saying words, increasingly anxious to meet new kids and make friends. My twitching, pregnant belly, and my aching backside in the van as our baby gets bigger and heavier. Our rapidly emptying bank account.

Even our ancient van, which has carried us across New Zealand though a fortuitous mix of dumb luck and Peter’s mechanical skill, started giving up the ghost. At Cape Reinga, it started screaming out loud, red-hot and unable to cool its engine. I was ready push the goddamned thing into the Pacific and let it find its own way to Hawaiki, but Peter fixed it with a party balloon, and drove us safely back to Whangarei.

And now: home again. We’ve rented a little house on a quiet street. We’ve collected our car out of storage, signed up Silas for nursery school, visited with our midwife. I’ll write a book about our travels, and hopefully I’ll make some people laugh. Peter is looking for work on the water. And in May, we’ll have a little baby girl.

As to Sereia, who brought us so far, and kept us so safe, she’s waiting for us in Lyttleton. Peter will deliver her to Whangarei, after we've delivered our daughter.

I don’t know why we did it. It wasn’t fun. It was a hell of a lot of hard work. And sometimes, we were afraid for our lives.

But we made it. And now, if I’m not mistaken, we have an excellent story to tell.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Suicide City

They don’t like John Cleese in Palmerston North. And he doesn’t like them, either.

In 2005, Cleese visited the town while touring with his one-man show. And this is what he had to say:

"If you wish to kill yourself but lack the courage to, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick. We had a thoroughly, bloody miserable time there and we were so happy to get out.”

This is the kind of celebrity commentary that tourism boards don’t print on brochures. Heather Tanguay, the town mayor, wondered out loud if Cleese needed more medication. And Paul O’ Brien, from the local chamber of commerce, tried to spin it into a slogan. “Palmerston North,” he proposed. “So Boring, You’ll Relax In a Minute!” Finally, the city came to a consensus. They just stuck a sign in front of the pile of rotting garbage at the city dump. “MT. CLEESE,” the sign reads. “ALT 45.2 M.”

Obviously, we were intrigued. What would the suicide capital of New Zealand look like? Would it be full of staggering zombies, inhaling solvents and looking hopelessly into a dead-end future? No, it couldn’t be. Because that’s Invercargill. Still, our curiosity was piqued.

By the time we got to Palmerston North, I was about ready to slit my wrists, but I think that had more to do with being tired and pregnant than any fault of the town’s. “Palmy,” as it’s locally known, seemed like a very nice place. There was sunshine, and colorful flowers in pleasant little planter boxes, and the locals displayed a healthy curiosity about life.

"How old is your two year-old?" asked the receptionist at the holiday park, and when Peter paused in confusion, she went on to offer him a map. "Sure," he replied. "I'd love a map."

"Would you like a shady one?" she asked, and then Peter backed slowly out of the office, before she could offer him a parakeet or start making airplane noises. Maybe she’s drunk, he thought, and a pitcher of martinis in the afternoon is her only way to cope.

But I needed hard data, so I rang up the guys who handle dead bodies. And that’s how I came to speak to Dr. Temple-Camp, a pathologist at the city hospital. Formerly of Zimbabwe and South Africa, Dr. Temple-Camp is delighted that Palmerston North is a boring place. He spent the first part of his life dodging carjackers, praying for the chance to be bored someday.

“I wanted to ask you about this comment John Cleese made,” I began, once I got him on the phone. “Is it true? Do you get a lot of suicides, here in Palmerston North? Are people really dying of boredom?”

The doctor reflected for a moment. “I wouldn’t say there’s anything unusual about the deaths or suicides in Palmerston North. If there’s anything unusual, it’s John Cleese. Have you seen any of his programmes? He’s rather an odd fellow.”

“So you can't tell if your bodies are overly bored?”

“No, but I can tell you they're overly nourished. They like their food here.”

“Any regional specialties in particular?” I asked, hoping for a restaurant recommendation. Death by Lamb Shank, for example, would be an excellent way to go.

“No, just good food. And lots of it.”

This was going nowhere. A sunny town, full of happy people, with flowers blooming on every corner, and now this: they die from deliciousness. Frustrated and annoyed, I changed the subject.

“Out of curiosity,” I asked, “what did people die of in Zimbabwe and South Africa?”

“Oh, that would have been a lot of gunshot wounds,” he said. “ We don't get many gunshot wounds here in Palmerston North.”

“Oh no?”

“You'd be pretty safe walking the streets here. You wouldn't really need a metal jacket.”

I thought about the flower-lined sidewalks, the pretty town square. Earlier that day, we’d seen a toddler, dressed in pink, splashing through a fountain. No carjackings in Palmerston North. Just good food, sunshine, and blossoms. I scowled into the telephone.

“I see. And just one more question. When people do commit suicide in Palmerston North, how do they do it?” Maybe now I’ll hear the real dirt. They overdose on chocolate, or impale themselves on butter knives.

“I’d say it’s fairly standard here. Pills, hanging, the occasional gunshot. Carbon monoxide.”

He paused, and then went on.

“The only strange thing about New Zealand suicides, I'd have to say, is up in Auckland. I attended a conference there, and apparently a lot of people are setting themselves on fire up there.”

“I’m sorry, what? People in Auckland are setting themselves on fire? Alive?”

“Yes. I don't know why they would do such a thing. Seems to me a terribly unpleasant way to do it. Perhaps John Cleese should have a look up there.”

Perhaps we should have another look up there. Auckland sounds like a fascinating place.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Happy Poo

We were having a perfectly nice day in the park when my ice cream shot up my nose. “Tell me that’s not a mural of dolphins playing under a rainbow.”

“Why yes, it is,” Peter confirmed. “And over there we have hippie in a knit cap playing guitar.” He paused for a moment, contemplating the music. “It’s remarkable how tone deaf this guy is. Just remarkable.”

But we listened, and we didn’t rip his throat out, or cook him and eat him. Which is more than I can say for some people.

Golden Bay is a very tolerant place now, much more so than it used to be when it was called Murderer’s Bay. You can take classes in yoga, permaculture and tarot cards. You can buy a wooden yurt for three hundred thousand dollars, or a didgeridoo for fifty bucks. You can sit under a tree all day and ruin old Eagles hits, and no one will bother you except a couple of sarcastic Americans who smell weird because they live in a van.

This wasn’t the case in 1642. When Abel Tasman dropped anchor here, he and his men made history: they were the first Europeans to glimpse the New Zealand coast. The thrill didn’t last for long. Almost immediately, they were met with boatloads of local Maori, who hailed them by sounding wooden trumpets. Tasman thought it only polite to answer back, so he had his men blow a greeting in return.

As it turned out, this was a very bad move.

You’re not actually supposed to respond to the wero, the traditional Maori challenge. If someone drops a leaf or a feather, you should pick it up, but otherwise you should act very meek and respectful and try not to piss anyone off. The whole purpose of the ceremony is to find out if you’re up to no good, and if you respond to a trumpet call with a fanfare of your own, you’ve just made a declaration of war.

Tasman, of course, knew nothing about this. Before anyone had a chance to react, the Maori warriors overwhelmed his crew, smashing them in the necks with their taiohae, beating their brains out, and generally unleashing a world of hurt on the unsuspecting Dutchmen. They killed four, dragging their bodies to shore where they were presumably roasted and eaten.

Tasman, needless to say, got the hell out of there. And no white man dared set foot in New Zealand for another 127 years.

Since then, things have gotten a great deal more accommodating around here. Modern New Zealanders have a reputation for tolerance, and when we visited the Nelson-Tasman area, we found this to be true. Take Motueka, for instance. It’s a town of seven thousand people, approximately 6,999 of whom believe Jesus Christ is coming back in their lifetime. And the other one is Michael Jackson’s gay hairdresser.

Tommy’s an extremely handsome, friendly guy who happens to own a very good restaurant in town. And he spent seventeen glamorous years traveling the world with the King of Pop, retiring at 35 so he could slow down and enjoy life with his lover. In the late nineties, when his boyfriend emigrated to New Zealand, Tommy came along as the “domestic partner.” Yup, that’s right. More than a decade ago, New Zealand granted gay partners the same rights as married straight people. If anyone had tried to pass a law like that in the States, they’d probably have been roasted and eaten.

The Nelson-Tasman area is home to all sorts of folk—artists and hippies, evangelical Christians and gay hairdressers. There’s even some Dutch living there now, though they tend to be a little jumpy. Then there’s Megan Hansen-Knarhoi. She crochets shit on a blanket.

Megan is an Auckland artist who now lives in Nelson, and her medium is wool. She makes boobs from wool, Jesus from wool, and she’s even knitted a little brown turd, nestled on a blanket. She calls it Happy Poo.

New Zealand is a place where people take their knitting seriously. The country is teeming with grandmas who knit, shooting out pastel baby booties, cardigans and throw blankets at a furious pace. So when Megan makes a throw pillow in the shape of an erect penis and calls it Hampton Wick (Cockney rhyming slang for “Prick”), she is offending on a number of levels.

Surely she must get hate mail? I asked her. Surely people must tell her she’s a sicko?

“Oh, you don't do that,” she corrected me. “You say, oh that's nice. I like the colours.”

She looked a little dejected. “Feedback is so rare. Maybe I should be more proactive and ask people what they think. But then, a lot of people are scared to express what they think.”

Disappointing for an artist, but perhaps less confrontation is a good thing. Just ask Abel Tasman.

Friday, January 29, 2010


When Europeans landed on the West Coast in 1846, they encountered unbelievably hostile terrain. The northwest edge of the South Island was made of dense jungle bush, stinking swamps, and torrential rivers. The coast was lashed with rain, bashed by the storms that came hurtling off the Tasman, and—as if that weren’t bad enough—the whole place was infested with biting flies. They also found a bunch of skinny Maori, who were hanging on by their fingernails for one reason only: greenstone. They traded for it, they fought over it, and when negotiations failed, they killed for it. And they used the greenstone to do the killing.

Pounamu, as the Maori call it, is known to geologists as nephrite, the native New Zealand jade. It is beautiful, it is hard, and it can be carved to a razor edge.

In the Hokitika Historical Museum, I overheard a conversation between two bird-like old ladies. They were admiring some greenstone mere, on display in a glass case.

“These really are lovely, aren’t they?” the first one murmured, and her friend made a little twittering noise in agreement. The designs at the base of the mere were intricate and skillful, with interlocking curves carved in a low relief.

Then they started reading the caption. “Oh,” they said. “Oh my. Oh. Oh. Oh my word.”

This had to be good. I leaned over their shoulders to see what they were reading:


Essentially, the mere is a can opener for your brains. This comes as a surprise to most Europeans, but unlike these sweet old ladies, the first pakeha settlers didn’t learn about greenstone mere in a museum. They found out the other way.

But greenstone can be put to all sorts of peaceful uses as well. Like jewelry, for example. Many Maori still wear pendants made of greenstone, but mostly their culture is appropriated by white people on holiday. I decided to join in this happy tradition when we came across a studio in Hokitika that lets you carve your own greenstone.

“I need to make a necklace,” I announced to Peter. “It’s for our new baby girl. She’s going to be the first New Zealander in the family, and she needs to start her jewelry collection.”

Peter, who is accustomed to this kind of self-serving logic, agreed. So he got to spend the whole day babysitting, while I got to take the day off to play in an art studio. This may seem like a hard bargain, but as I keep reminding him, I am a sacred vessel. I need special attention. And jewels.

Also, a little talent in stone carving wouldn’t hurt. Carving pounamu is a lot harder than it looks. The first Maori, who had no metal tools, worked the stone with a combination of sand, water, and the kind of mind-bending patience that we’ve lost since the invention of channel surfing. I had a whole roomful of power tools, and a teacher to supervise me, and I still came up with a greenstone turd.

Possibly, my design was too complicated. After looking through the binder of traditional motifs (fern fronds, fish hooks, marijuana leaves), I settled on the manaia, which seemed a good choice for a baby. Said to protect against evil, the manaia usually depicts a being with the head of a bird, the body of a man, and the tail of a fish. This is not as disgusting as it sounds. They’re actually quite beautiful.

First, I worked out my design. Note the bulbous bulges. I was trying to make the figure look female, since we’re having a girl:

Next, I chose which part of the stone to carve. You have to look at it with a backlight, so you can check for faults:

Then came seven hours of grinding and polishing. This got a little boring. It would have been more fun with cable TV and a remote. Also, possibly an iPod. And a sandwich.

Finally, at the end of the day, the finished product! The… Cancerous Aardvark!

Those bulges were supposed to be a breast and a belly, rather than malignant tumors. But as the Maori discovered long ago, greenstone is hard.

Besides, an aardvark makes a good guardian, too. Those claws'll tear you right up. Just like a can opener.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Exposure Therapy

People who suffer from irrational phobias cope with a host of unpleasant symptoms, such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and the fear that they’re going insane.

A few days ago, we drove into Invercargill. It was the first time we’d visited since escaping six months ago. And as soon as we got there, I started to choke.

“What the hell’s wrong with you?” asked Peter, steering our ancient van through familiar streets. “You sound like you’re coughing up a hairball.”

“I’m dying,” I told him. My left hand started picking chunks of flesh from my forearm. It felt strangely relaxing.

“Stop that,” Peter swatted my hand away. “You’re acting crazy. Let’s go get a burger.”

“Not crazy,” I corrected him. “Phobic. I have Inverphobia. It’s an irrational fear of the Asshole of the World.”

“Whatever.” He rolled his eyes, parking our van in front of the world’s most southerly Burger King. “We’re here now, so you’re getting exposure therapy. Let’s try to find something to like about Invercargill, instead of just bitching about what a depressing place it is.”

Peter’s so great. He knows exactly how to pull me out of a funk. And he was right. While visiting Invercargill, our mission was clear: we’d find things to like about the Asshole of the World.

First up: the media. The main Invercargill newspaper is called The Southland Times, and that day’s copy just happened to be lying on the counter while we ordered our lunch. As luck would have it, the headline was a heartwarming animal rescue story. SOLVENT POURED ON DOG, the cover read, with a big color picture of the dog. The dog was bald, his skin bright pink. This made him especially cute and soft-looking.

Next, we visited the Southland Museum. Now, the great thing about the Southland Museum is that a dinosaur lives there. It’s true. His name is Henry.

Henry looks sort of like a dried-up iguana, but he’s actually a tuatara, which is a kind of Mesozoic sphenodon that flourished about 200 million years ago. Henry’s not quite that old, but he was born at the end of the nineteenth century, which means he’s seen pretty much all of New Zealand’s European settlement. If he wasn’t around for the Treaty of Waitangi, he hatched soon after, and he’s borne witness to the end of the Land Wars, World Wars I and II, the great flu epidemic of 1918, and the world’s first votes for women. Now, he lives in a glass box in Invercargill. He spends a lot of time biting the other tuatara. Nobody's sure why.

There’s also some great art at the Southland Museum, such as this lampshade made out of a varnished blowfish:

Many people choose to mock the bedraggled citizens of New Zealand’s most southerly city, but that seems cruel. Instead, we chose to count them, like endangered birds. In a rigorously scientific enquiry, we defined three basic population groups for study. They are:

THE TEENAGE MUM (TM): This group is easy to spot. They are pushing baby carriages, and they’re too young to drink in the United States.

THE CRAZY SOUTHLAND MAN (CSM): Somewhat more elusive than the Teenage Mum, the Crazy Southland Man displays at a minimum three of the following characteristics:
• wild grey hair
• darting eyes
• sunken cheeks
• autolalia (talking to self)
• open container (likely containing solvents to pour on dog)
• gum boots
THE AIMLESS RUFFIAN (AR): The Aimless Ruffian is defined by the following: he or she would be quite happy to spend a happy afternoon inhaling solvents. In fact, he would consider it time well-spent.

During the course of a 48-hour observation period, Peter and I observed the following:
TEENAGE MUMS (TM)............................10
AIMLESS RUFFIANS (AR)...................... 65
There are a great number of important conclusions to be derived from this data, such as the likely fact that each Crazy Southland Man has mated with an average of 1.6 teenagers, impregnating each an average of 6.5 times, thereby producing a small army of Aimless Ruffians. Where, one might ask, do they get all the solvents? How much of it do they inhale, and how much do they pour on dogs? These questions go beyond the parameters of our initial study, but I’m considering applying for a grant.

Then, there’s the wild mushrooms. Sure, the Italians talk big about their truffles, and in the American Northwest folks pick chanterelles right off the forest floor. But how many of those so-called connoisseurs can harvest mushrooms from their living room carpet? My friend Melissa can. Last winter, she couldn’t afford enough coal to heat her home, so she only warmed the place up a couple of times a week. Her house was so poorly insulated, and the air was so cold and damp, that she grew a healthy crop of mushrooms right in the living room floor. Imagine that. Wild mushroom risotto, without even leaving the frigid damp of your own house. That’s the kind of life Invercargill can offer.

And without a doubt, the highlight of our trip was our visit to Alliance Freezing Works, a sort of Wal-Mart mega mall of sheep death. This is the local slaughterhouse, where they process four million sheep in a nine-month season. By “process,” I mean electrocute, kill, eviscerate, dismember, and shrink-wrap to feed the world.

This was an amazing experience, and not just because Peter had to wear a sexy beard net. We got to follow the whole operation, dodging sheep carcasses and doing our best not to slip in the gore. And here, at the heart of the slaughterhouse, I saw the philosophical core of Invercargill, the man who made our trip complete.

"This guy here's cutting the asshole off,” our tour guide told us, indicating an elderly man on the line. He was wielding a razor-sharp knife, and as each sheep carcass came past, he lopped off the asshole with a flick of his wrist. That’s 16,000 assholes in a 12-hour shift. This man sliced out the assholes of sheep, lodged deep in the Asshole of the World. Four million assholes, all in a nine-month season.

I caught the guy’s eye, and he gave me a wink. And that’s the best part about Invercargill. If you can have a laugh here, you’re doing all right.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Peter and I recently attended the Convergence Festival, where we hoped to cavort with naked hippies and obtain enlightenment. Unfortunately, the only naked hippy there was me.

This happened accidentally, when the door to the composting toilet I was using unexpectedly swung open. Before I knew it, I was displaying my nakedness in all its pregnant glory, complete with fat pants around my ankles and a fistful of composting sawdust in my sweaty palm. When I finally slammed the door shut, I found someone had scrawled the words ALL THAT IS IS NOW on the wall, which means that I will be a fat pregnant lady with a handful of wood shavings in a porta-potty, again and again, forever. Which is one kind of enlightenment. I guess.

I like to think of hippies as nature-loving free spirits, but these hippies had a lot of rules. The Convergence Festival is GE-free, alcohol and drug free, dog-free, and meat-free. It is also, apparently, ejaculation-free. I learned this when I attended the Introduction to Tantra Workshop, at which the teacher informed us that he had not ejaculated for months, because the loss of his divine sex energy would drain his body of vital life energy. After he said this, there was a long pause in the sharing circle.

“Is that all ejaculations, or just the ones from intercourse?” asked one participant.

“All of them,” the teacher replied. “Including intimacy with yourself, and er… nocturnal emissions.”

More silence.

“Is that healthy?” asked one woman. “I mean, not just on an energetic level, but like, for your body?”

Apparently, it is very healthy, and keeps our teacher in a constant state of ecstatic bliss. This might explain why later on, when I was peeling back the layers of his psychic mask to reveal his true and God-like form, he contorted his face into a grimace of sexual climax. I felt a little icky, as though I’d caught a stranger having a wank outside my window, but the Convergence Festival is judgment-free, so I didn’t say anything.

It is not, however, spelling mistake-free. I noticed this when I was sneaking back to our van for a snack of illegal ham. The festival is decorated with a number of multi-colored and uplifting banners, saying very nice words like BLISS and DIVINE and EXTASY. Perhaps the seamstress was thinking about exhuming her execrable ex-husband to smear his body with excrement, and she just got carried away. But somebody should really tell her that ecstasy starts with “ec.” Like eco-friendly. And eczema.

Speaking of eco-friendly, we’re not. Silas is a Huggies man, which is our diaper brand of choice, despite the unpleasant fact that they take 500 years to biodegrade in a landfill. We flirted briefly with the idea of Elimination Communication, before deciding that we do enough laundry without letting our baby pee all over the floor. Besides, Silas is entitled. He’s going to save the planet.

As it turns out, Silas is a Crystal Child. The Auckland pediatrician may have diagnosed him as globally delayed and autistic, but that’s because he is a limited man who is stuck in third-dimensional consciousness. As a Crystal Child, Silas was born on the Sixth Dimension of Consciousness, with the potential to open up rapidly to the Ninth Dimensional level of Full Christ Consciousness, and then from there to the Thirteenth Dimension which represents Universal Consciousness.

Allow me to back up a little. We first learned of Silas’ gifts when he started a staring contest with one of the participants at the Convergence Festival. The man pushed back his dreadlocks and gave Peter a serious look. “Have you ever heard of the Crystal Children?” he asked. “I’m no expert, but I think you should look into it. That child is special.”

We knew that Silas was special, of course, in the sense of special homes, where people learn to live independently, eat special food, and pet the special kitty-cat. But when we left the festival, I raced to the Internet to learn more about the Crystal Children. And now, everything is clear.

Apparently, Crystal Children began appearing on the planet in the year 2000. As Celia Fenn says on her website, they are “extremely powerful children, whose main purpose is to take us to the next level in our evolution, and reveal to us our inner power and divinity.”

But wait, there’s more. “The first thing most people notice about Crystal Children is their eyes, large, penetrating, and wise beyond their years. Their eyes lock on and hypnotize you, while you realize your soul is being laid bare for the child to see.” This is what so confused the Auckland pediatrician. “His gaze is very intense, but it’s not a social gaze,” the doctor told us. “He doesn’t really smile at me.”

Clearly, this is because the doctor’s soul was being laid bare, and Silas didn’t like the guy’s limited, third-dimensional aura. In fact, Fenn explains, “It's no coincidence that as the number of Crystals are born, the number of diagnoses for autism is at a record high.” This is because the Crystals often wait until they are three or four years old to begin talking. And why do they wait, you may ask? Are they autistic? Dispraxic? Globally delayed? Dumb?

No. They’re telepathic. In the future, Fenn writes, “We won't rely so much upon the spoken or written word. Communication will be faster, more direct, and more honest, because it will be mind to mind.” And that’s why Silas doesn’t talk yet. He is far too evolved to rely on verbal communication. He is communicating, just on the sixth dimension. So if you can’t understand him, that’s your problem. You’re just not spiritually evolved.

Another way you can spot a Crystal Child is that they are fascinated with rocks. Now, Silas has always loved rocks, to the point where he used to sit in the parking lot, popping rocks into his mouth like gumdrops. I used to worry that the engine oil and other toxins on the gravel might have given him some kind of brain damage, but now I know: it’s just his sixth-dimensional Crystal energy manifesting.

As a Crystal Child, Silas represents the next step in our evolution as a human species. As Fenn writes, the Crystal Children “are the pointers for where humanity is headed... and it’s a good direction!” Silas, and other special children like him, “aren’t autistic. They’re AWE-tistic!”

On the other hand, as I recently learned in the porta-potty, ALL THAT IS IS NOW. So the possibility remains that my son might never speak, but just eat rocks, forever and ever, into infinity.

And as a Crystal Child, he’s pointing the way to where humanity is headed. So take heart. When you’re ready, you’ll be eating rocks too.