I went for what has become my usual morning run a little late this morning, and when I came out of the grove into the church lot, there were quite a lot of cars and people, and it looked like a funeral. Turns out it was Dennis Hopper's, which I began to suspect by the eclectic nature of the crowd.
I tried to stay to the perimeter of the parking lot to be respectful, but as I ran past a parked car with an open door, I couldn't help but notice that a man was sitting there in his underwear putting on dress pants. Anyhoo.
I definitely felt a pang when I heard that Hopper had died, since True Romance, one of my very favorite movies, features him. In fact, there is a truly brilliant scene between him and Christopher Walken which I feel is one of the best scenes in any movie, ever. I'm glad for the grace that allowed me to brush up against his funeral and, however briefly and incompletely, honor his life with the expression of my own through running, something I'm completely stoked to finally be doing. I've realized that I'm a person of passion and intensity and if I don't give that energy a release in vigorous physical activity, it's going to assert itself in less healthy ways.
So I like that this new passion of mine connected me in some tiny way to Dennis Hopper's life and death. He was known for being "difficult," an "enfant terrible" - things I have been seen as often myself. He walked a self-destructive path for many years, but eventually emerged out of that, and overall his life can be perceived as a wild adventure, a kind of trail-blazing, and an amazingly diverse expression of creative genius. That inspires me.
And in many ways, Hopper embodied the spirit of Taos, which is itself a sort of enfant terrible. I love that his funeral was at the San Francisco de Asis church, which strikes me as a wonderful meshing of the frontier-like wildness, noble tradition, profuse creativity, and eclectic spirituality that is Taos.
As I write this now, I hear the bells at the church announcing the end of services. I also just re-watched on YouTube the scene that I mentioned, and I'll leave you with that. Some of you may not want to watch it as it's pretty intense in terms of violence and profanity. But if you can get past those things, it's definitely worth seeing, as Hopper's character stands up against the mafia in a brilliant way to defend his son, and becomes sort of a Christ figure in the process.