He does wear a serape sometimes, but no, he’s not Clint Eastwood. He does roam the West with a broad message for governments trying to fence him – and others weary of unfettered development and growth – in.
We know his given name but when we’ve met in the past he just says to call him “Mule” so, well, okay.
Mule and his mules walked the Alfred Zampa Bridge from Vallejo to Crockett yesterday and headed to City Hall in Martinez to deliver his claim to use public space in a way that suited our ancestors.
Unfortunately for him, that isn’t always received well, but his supporters let us know that he’s coming back into the 24/680 – specifically to city halls in Pleasant Hill, Concord, Walnut Creek, Lafayette and Orinda before setting out for the newfangled Bay Bridge and a visit to the powers that be in San Francisco. That ought to be a sight.
Mule has been around a while and he’s seen a few things. We believe he’s approaching his 70s now. He has walked the boardwalk in Venice Beach and camped out alongside busy roadways, motorists pointing and staring at his caravan of three mules – which he usually leads on foot.
Police officers, sometimes summoned by unknowing citizens, sometimes just curious to meet the man who has slept under the stars in a quiet public quest, are almost as constant companions as his mules, which he uses to transport the goods he needs to stay as out of sight as possible. That’s getting harder to do, and he’s getting in trouble with the law more often.
Sometimes, someone with a horse trailer or wearing a cowboy hat will approach him, respectfully, and give him something: food, a new halter, matches, a length of rope.
He’s back. Look for him. Maybe tip your hat. He’s fighting for something we seem to have given up on having again.
… and if you’re lucky enough to have a place where he can camp without bothering anyone for the night, you might let him know.