Ira's self portrait on his front porch
Ira’s self portrait on his front porch

Ira went on to resume the life he had always had: that of a solitary man. He lived in his one room cabin for nearly twenty years after Barbara left before the lonely road seemed to call him again, awakening his restlessness once more. This time around, however, he felt he had purpose.

A bible that had been gifted to him by his sister became a catalyst for the next big change in Ira’s life, spurring a new line of thinking that was in it’s infancy in a nation of post-war allegiance. The Haight-Ashbury movement was yet to come as many came to believe what Ira did: Our country had become immersed in servitude veiled as patriotism.

Although his family was steeped in religion, Ira was not, choosing to believe in himself, the things that he valued and that which he could see in front of his face. Still, the words he read in his bible came to bring meaning to his life, spurring a silent personal protest against Big Brother as well as a need to declare himself free from under the thumb of anyone at all.

Ira believed that as Americans we had become prisoners of our government, each of us bearing the “mark of the beast”, a number that kept track of who we are, where we work, how much money we make and what we own. Our social security numbers had stolen our personal identities and kept us under the tough rule of a poisoned government that hid under the guise of a democracy, manipulating a call to patriotism to both its advantage and its demise.

Ira's various hunting gear
Ira’s various hunting gear

Ira was never one to allow another to control him, asserting his own life intentions and visions from the time he was a young man. He had mounted his horse for the life of a nomad before in an unruly, if not defiant way to protest the complacent life of a follower. Further, he refused to simply conform to a society that was increasingly blinded by its financial status, entangled in a cultural boom birthed from sensationalism and ego and saturated in decadence.

Disillusioned, Ira felt he could have no part of a life that he came to see as a lie and became determined to leave the self-indulgent lifestyle of his neighbors – and, to some degree even his own – behind. He renounced his government stamp, taking the sharp blade of his hunting knife to his social security card and any accompanying identification. With that, reminiscent of the seventeen-year-old boy he once was, eager to live the life of a wanderer, once again, he simply left on the back of his trusted horse.

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