“Right now, but one day, when the dust settles, and you get your head screwed back on, and your feet are touching the ground, you’ll wake up and maybe I’ll just be a woman, not amazing, not beautiful, not anything special, just a woman.”
You don’t want to get caught on the wrong foot. Trying to change your footing after you’ve gone all in is most often impossible. Might be that the action you’ve taken is irreversible and you will suffer the consequences for the rest of your life. Going head over heels for a new love interest can be an exhilarating ride. It is fun to watch a friend’s dashboard light up and watch the launch. The risks of going all in with your heart is not a bad call, but sometimes these things don’t turn out, endings can be messy, feelings hurt worse in the end than the exhilarating feelings you had on the ride up into the wild blue yonder of romance. It is the ultimate damned if you do, damned if you don’t fact of a high risk love life. Too many people place too much caution into their romance and not enough chance. So, learning to keep your feet on the ground can turn into a lonely stance, losing your footing can be risky, then again being agile, staying on your toes, ready for whatever is next, open mind and open heart, when the moment arrives, and you find yourself right there at the beginning of something new, something you want to take a chance on…I wouldn’t recommend keeping your feet on the ground. I recommend being ready to change the foot your standing on. That’s dancing from the heart…
“He looked over his face in the mirror, checking his shave by running his hand across his cheek, chin, and neck. Thenhe took out his toothbrush and buffed up that wide grin of his. In-between strokes he kept practicing his smile.”
Noel Sanderson from Highway Home
I have had a steady stream of agreeable different versions of me. I’ve got my favorite version, the bad old version and of course the current version.I don’t get around to doing much about keeping up with all my versions. I usually check the daily version in the mirror first thing in the morning. I try to check under the gentleness of incandescent light. The florescent version goes against my current high opinion of the manipulated contemporary version. Having to carry all this around and it is a heavy load isn’t much fun for those people who come along and wish to puncture my ongoing personal version of a balloon. Now, this inflated balloon is a masterpiece, a lifework, an ongoing effort organized by the very nature of the beast to do everything in its power to sustain a maximum effort to place lipstick upon this present moment’s version. And then to find out all this is in fact a myth, a hoax, that there is no there “there”. Turns out I’ve been unmasked, that this fixed constant version never even existed, instead there is only yet another version. I’ve been getting out under a shade tree in the afternoons taking out the old version and waxing and polishing it up. Doesn’t stay clean long, I flip the light on the next morning and there it is looking at me in the mirror.
With each new day the world turns, and all things move, all things change and keep changing, and so time is marked by the hands on a clock and thoughts run through our minds and change comes and things go like tides in the oceans and clouds passing through the sky….always though, is this turning of the wheel, the whirling of the stars and shining of the sun, always infinite circles, symbolized by rings, unbroken and endless and timeless and infinite beyond words….a mystery….and in this infinite mystery, this life here and now, people the world over reach into their hearts and join their lives together, forged by vows and with each day they commit their efforts to love and compassion, living out our days on this earth mated, married, happily in the trust of each others care….
“Bingo brother, and you just watch yourself ’cause you can turn one year into ten just like that.” Crow snapped his fingers. “I swallowed a decade in the blink of an eye.”
“That’s a long drift, man, a long time.”
Momentum comes in every size and every color. You get a job, it pays the bills. You get into a relationship maybe it works well enough to keep you hanging around. I call it digging in. You get a place and jump into the day to day. For the moment things work well enough. You have stability and that can count. Might be you are working on something, developing something, might be something that develops over a longer time horizon. There are many things accomplished over a longer time frame. Homebuilders know what I mean. I knew a sculpture who worked on large urban sited monumental pieces. Restoring wood boats, writing novels, getting married having a family. There are things we set out to do that take dedication and a commitment of time. There’s a difference between falling into a sweet thing and setting out to do something you’ve made up in your mind to do. The mind sees into a thing only so far, the balance point tips, we run the risk, take the chance, we don’t really know how anything is going to turn out.
“That everything changes is the basic truth of existence.”
We do great harm to our lives when we surround it with worn out old stories. Nothing stays the same. Things are not fixed but rather in a state of flux. We have a lot of change going on in our world. In Japan there is change happening. In our own lives it is happening. It is wonderful in some circumstances to have fond memories of some special moment. Not so wonderful moments take advantage of our minds tendency to cling. We think that Japan is a fixed thing. I look at photographs of centuries old villages here Thursday and now vanished. Everything is gone. They can’t even find the bodies. It is difficult to accept. My mind doesn’t want to believe this can happen (to me). It happens out there somewhere, to somebody else. They were caught in a story. Someone didn’t look both ways before they crossed…. We have this mental trick in our head that tends to be dishonest about reality. We predict when something bad might happen. We avoid certain neighborhoods. We stay off the roads when weather is bad, we hope things will work out. Might be that we would be better served by taking a fresh look every next moment and forget about thinking we know how something might turn out. Might be better to not know how it is going to go. We don’t have to go around believing everything we tell ourselves. I got up Friday morning and it turned out I was wrong about what I believed about Japan. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. That is a fact.
. “The Last Chance” had a neon sign hanging out front. The bar had been there a long time. Ceiling fans twirled aimlessly and easy. Older patrons were smoking and seated at the stools. Two men tossed a few darts at a bull’s eye, while two old gals sat at the corner of the bar drinking high balls and gossiping. It was cozy, dim, and smoke filled.”
Late Night 1979… Portland, Oregon
From the novel Highway Home
My grandfather was a bootlegger. He built a bar at the end of prohibition in Oakland, California. It had fish tanks behind the bar, mirrors behind the booze. The bottles looked like they vanished into infinity. He had a parrot back where he did the books to keep him company. Bar was glued and doweled, not a nail was used in the Philippine mahogany interior. Place smelled like stale beer and tobacco. By 1965 the neighborhood had changed, swallowed any chance Tambo’s had of making a go of it. Had been a first class operation all the way, but nothing to do but close her down and walk away. Wrecking company demolished the building, would have been salvaged in this day and age. The whole of a man’s life vanished, in an instant, everything gone. Over the years when I can find an old joint to drink in, bars looking as if they’re cheating death, bars misplaced making a last stand in a decaying forgotten corner of a city. When I belly up to a bar, place named The Last Chance, I take a dive like that, I figure somebody must have known, place I can go, drink a few, listen for the voice of my grandfathers wisdom…
“At the same time there was a solitude to this place of a kind that was rare. Beyond this last gasp of farms the road began weaving through boulders and ridges and ran higher up off the immense and flat bottomlands. Noel took a dirt track off the highway and rolled amidst the boulders and red rocks into a small pull out where he’d camp for the night.”
Noel Sanderson on the run after things had not gone his way
I hit the road as a performer for my first national tour in 1974 with a small circus. I acquired a taste for running the road, sleeping in the back of a truck, going town to town. When I began planning my first novel Highway Home I wanted to tap into that experience, but as fiction not biography. I didn’t want to center the story around the world of street theater more out of instinct than for any reason. Instead I tried to build a close up look at a young man’s life, un-tethered, adrift, exploring, discovering, some days feeling grounded while other days alone and empty. If everything you have is in the back of your truck, if you are earning money working here-there picking up a days work doing one thing or another. If that was your circumstance might be that you just keep driving away time and time again when things turn against you again…young man might think he can keep changing places…eventually we have to own up to the thing, might be what needs changing isn’t located out there….