My name is Roger Bobo, I was a musician in a symphony orchestra in the USA for most of my life and now at age 67 I am a conductor and a teacher in Japan. I am not a religious man although in my agnosticism I have to admit I am a searcher. Further, I have to say I have no history of occultism, extra sensory perception or communication with the dead, etc. I take an interest in such things but nothing much deeper that enjoying the Harry Potter books. I am aware that for some reason those who practice the occult arts are attracted to me and I do sometimes find them fascinating; perhaps in the occult as in religion, I should also call myself a searcher. But as in religion it’s not the answers that I feel are important, it’s the process of the search that makes my life richer.
On Valentine’s Day 1971 I lost my three and a half year old son Jan, who I loved dearly; I still miss him and I will miss him until the day I die. After his death through my years of searching there is something truly amazing I would like to share with anyone who might be interested. In my skepticism regarding the occult I’ve paid little attention to what people call miracles or magic but through this period of searching on three occasions I encountered something that requires I must pay attention and I feel it needs to be told.
When I was a boy of five, six and seven years old, my family would all get into the dark blue 1938 Plymouth four door sedan and drive the three hundred fifty mile eight hour trip north to June Lake in central California not far from the Nevada border. From that very first trip in 1943 my world started opening and expanding far beyond the horizon seen my home in Eagle Rock, a middle class suburban part of Los Angeles. For a young boy of five, June Lake and its surrounding area with it’s rich geological history and amazing natural beauty was a truly magical place. The ancient volcanoes, the beautiful lakes, the animals, the mountains and the smell of the forest, were all enhanced by a togetherness of my family, my mother, father and my two sisters, Martha and Peggy. There were the day trips to a place that had huge cracks in the ground caused by ancient earthquakes that men climbed down in to and disappeared in the deep dark shadows, mountains of lava and obsidian, views from the rims of long inactive volcanoes that were now filled with lakes of vivid green water, and there was the travertine rock mine with red and white stones that looked like strips of bacon in a mysterious place where nothing grew and stories echoed of secret sacred Indian grounds.
And there was the fireplace in the cabin where the family would sit and talk into the night about things I did and did not understand. One year there was talk about a powerful bomb that America dropped in a city in Japan called Hiroshima and that the war might end soon; it’s strange to think that sixty years later I would be working and living in that city. There was fishing with my father when I caught fish and he didn’t. And there were the walks with my father into the mountains, those mountains above June Lake that are as magical today as they were then.
Those hikes into the mountains with my father were monumental in my life and I think perhaps they were monumental in his too. We would get up before sunrise, walk down the road to two giant boulders, one was balanced on the other, that’s where we would turn and find the trail that went up the mountain.
It was just starting to get light and as we ascended the ground was covered with a carpet of small pinecones; they were so perfect and so beautiful and as I filled my pockets with them to take home my dad told me to save room for other beautiful things we would see on the way. He also said that the most beautiful thing of all would be the sunrise, which would happen in just a few minutes. Not knowing what to expect I waited as we walked and soon it happened, first the sky started to turn a pinkish orange color, then to yellow which got brighter and brighter until it exploded into a blinding gold. As it shined through the trees it made golden stripes that spotlighted the ground, the small pinecones ignited with the golden light and the woods came to life. We could hear and see many different kinds of birds and we even saw two deer dash across a small meadow as they sensed our arrival. We passed a place where there were many white rocks on the ground amongst the pinecones. My dad told me to take some of these rocks in my pocket too; when we got to water they would float. I did and when I got back to June Lake they floated. ‘We may see bears too’, and I was ready; even today I’m not sure if I was relieved or disappointed that we never saw them.
My dad was a great woodcarver, he could take a piece of wood and turn it into a dog, cat or horse and once he carved a lizard on a log, which looked so real that people jumped when they saw it.
At that age I had been ill and the walk up the mountain was hard for me and frequently my father would pick me up and carry me on his shoulders. Subsequently, having carried Jan on my shoulders on another June Lake trail, I am now aware how tiring it must have been especially since Jan was younger and smaller than I was at that time with my father. However, I walked most of the time and I watched my dad make himself a waking stick, probably to support his back after carrying me up hill. And, of course, when he had a walking stick I wanted one too. I think he welcomed the chance to sit and rest while he worked making me one. I remember it very well; he found a very straight piece of wood about an inch in diameter and a little over a meter long, took his knife and peeled the bark off, then he carved a beautiful spiral from the top about eight inches down and under that he carved five notches for each of my years; I was very proud of that walking stick, I wish I had kept it but at some point in the day I left it behind somewhere. I remember both my dad and I were disappointed that it was lost.
My father kept saying ‘let’s go a little further, we’ll reach a stream very soon’. I tried but I just couldn’t make it and it was clear he couldn’t make it either if he was going to have to carry me any further on his shoulders. We ended up in a huge beautiful grove of birch trees and my dad took out his knife again and carved a massive R for Roger on one of the trees next to the trail. He told me that I could come back to that spot in fifty years I would still be able to see that R.
That hike was one of the finest times I ever had with my father.