If you have been following along you’ll have noted that I have
placed a particular accent on change. I am fascinated by changes directional
nature, that it is by one dimension bound to time…going from present to future…we
can’t change the past we are it seems doomed to repeat it. I am also interested
in how change can be a bully. It can intimidate, it can harangue. Change can
shatter. Change is constant our awareness of change is not. The people that
gain my greatest attention seem to come with spine, put shoulder into it,
resist nonsense, and are capable of articulating the reasons for the course
they intend to take. If you haven’t noticed reason is not fashionable. We do
life by way of force. We don’t seem to be guided by this ability to look at the
whole playing field. We are not enacting change based upon the biggest frame of
all frames. It appears we are hijacked by some sub-frame. The less than best
choice forces less favorable outcomes, at the expense of the many for the
benefit of few. The game has an end.
Among the greatest achievements of my generation is how little we have done. In California where I live we are in the midst of building a new bridge that will link the Oakland, California side of the San Fransico Bay with San Franicsco, California. In the middle of this sits Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island. The bridge we are replacing is a cantilever affair that is insufficient when put up against an earthquake. On the other half is a suspension bridge that is more likely to withstand an earthquake. My generation seems to be a bunch of moochers, we literally are living off the past and not all that interested in creating a robust infrastructure for the future. Instead we are tied in knots about all manner of things doing with doing things and thus we resist contributing to the future because right now is so dang vital to our present moment. It is the most profound form of insanity…because soon an earthquake will hit here and we will have to fix the damage and we will have to reckon with the fact we did not set aside sufficent funding for this predictable event. Instead we ate our seed corn in this present moment fixation with what? This blog is not just a report on change it is about reporting on the insanity of not embracing change…sometimes we must wake up to the reality that nothing we were born into is about what we are living in and what we will leave to our children. High speed rail, big collosal bridges, super highways, new more advanced electrical grids………….maybe this is what we are supposed to be leaving in our journey of being here….otherwise why go visit the pyramids?
We can be changed. A good sail on a warm day, that can change a person. If we do something for a long time it will have an impact on us. It becomes part of something we reference. We talk about the things we learn and those lessons are often the result of the experiences we’ve had. Still some changes happen that instant, in that moment, we are better for it, and right now. Some of what we do has a longer time line. And then of course we might go in search of one thing and discover another thing we didn’t know we would find there. Most all of us attempt to bend the storyline in our own favor: get out of the hot sun, meet the girl we are interested in for a drink, go to the movie we are interested in, avoid the speeding tickets, and when we see our doctor hope for a clean bill of health… Sailing is surprising. Things come up you could never dream up. Wind increases, waves grow steep, docile sea conditions become wild, then wilder and then the recreational sail you imagined becomes a journey demanding attention, focus, skill and precision. More than once my boat has taken me to places I didn’t want to go, put me into a bind I didn’t want to be in, left me humbled. People who claim sailing is boring strike me as funny. An breezy afternoon on San Francisco Bay will change that after just one stout gust….
Mojave on Monday, Wednesday middle of the San Francisco Bay. Natives of Northern California anticipate seasonal change. Spring
arrives and comes at a time and a moment of our dreaming. We know we are anchored to our own sliver of reality, but it is our elixir, today is a moment that intoxicates, it frames the hills, it sweeps the bay, the sun aches to speak, to touch us, to tell us, that for one more moment on this ride call life……that life is sweet right here….Californian dreaming…….
One of the challenges of long fiction is chronicling change over time. Observations of how things change asks of the observer to maintain a fresh and open mind. I performed my street show on Mill Avenue in Tempe, Arizona last week. New businesses have arrived while old businesses have vanished. My relationship to this neighborhood extends back to 1974. My first visit was to a dusty, simple, funky, partially paved street of pizza joints and sun baked old housing mixed in among stout brick buildings. In the scrimmage that is life this neighborhood is at risk. Too many ideas have not met with success. We feel this tension. Bright, educated, young people define the districts vitality. If we
could have pressed the pause button, if we could have deleted this decision, if the valleys population had not exploded, growing so fast as to exceed the speed of thoughtful urban planning things might have been different. Where once people felt that in this place anything was possible there are now many who are left to wonder. Even if Mill Avenue by some miracle had got all its changes right there is still the surrounding tumult of what we know as the Valley of the Sun. We all watch the rise and fall, the waves of change… it tugs at our heartstrings.
“At the junction with the Coast Highway and the Carmel Valley Road he paused at a traffic light and then proceeded straight into the heart of Carmel. The business district was comprised of a quaint group of buildings nestled together beneath cypresses, eucalyptus, live oaks, palms, and all manner of magnificent trees.”
Slow ride across the desert today. Road trip for the last week. Heading back to Bay Area but before a short respite in the cathedral of the rocks…that will snap me out of the long pull of twelve shows in three days…