Saturday, March 10, 2007
EXTREME? DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU'RE FROM.
Dissatisfaction or, better, discomfort with the weather is a pretty apt metaphor for what, on a much larger scale, amounts to man's alteration of any and all environment that he can rationalize as being his, be it through promises in Genesis or corporate greed or just, plain desire for privacy. As it turns out, the effort or accident of altering any part of the weather, effects the delicate balance within which our life, all life can exist. As evidence and example of the effects of global warming we are shown melting glaciers, stranded polar bears and coastlines moving inward. By the time the Atlantic is in the streets of Manhattan most life will have been fried to crispy critters way beyond Coppertone's cherubic tan lines. While national attention is focused on the increasing dollar damage to developer speculation in untenable coastal property, it ignores the ultimate cost of life and living space for people who don't have a lobby nor money to buy the attention of people they elected much less get the justice everyone deserves.
That's enough of that wander into politics. I meant to remain with the individual preference for comfort and how the recent past shades the present beyond our capacity to rationalize that 78° is 78° no matter what. The love I share with my friend in Johnson City is the same wonderful recognition and sharing of our mutual strength, vision and independence as it has been for over a decade now, but having not seen her in more than a year, looking down at the floor at some strewn rose petals in the wake of her alighting last week long enough to whisk me off to see John Prine brings an especially large gulp of missing her that would not have occurred two weeks earlier. Human perception is a wondrous sliding scale and my engineering background hasn't a clue where to put the cross hairs. Just not at the service of a weapon.
This addition was added the next day's dawn:
Having partaken of the pleasant pre dawn light to plant some okra, marigolds, onions, peppers and tomatoes and having sat in my seat in the green greenhouse house to survey the state of the garden in transition from the salad days of winter (three lettuces, mustard, arugula, spinach, bok choy, carrots, radishes, radiccio) to spring’s early fecundity when axe handles start sprouting and the hide and seek progress of the sun to melt away the morning’s overcast — having enjoyed all that and a sip of eyes and a toke of wings my thoughts gravitated toward the subject of the last post and to what I begin to realize is the beginning place for all my thoughts — the contrast of extremes.
One of the characteristics of an individual is their attitude to extremity, whether it is the weather or public or private conditions. At one end of that spectrum lie the very narrow, life by law, color inside the lines, unaware there’s even a box within which they are sheep for whom anyone willing to keep the boat concrete still is their leader. At the other are the “bleeding hearts and artists” pushing the envelope of human capacity for beholding the full extremity of the universe as a complimentary dynamic spinning out endless variety rather than the competitive destruction of entropic chaos seen by the intolerant reality tunnel of the box dwellers. Pirsig sees this contrast itself as yet another dynamic he calls static quality and dynamic quality in a sort of ratcheting through evolution with the heretics dreaming and pulling and the establishmentarians trying to cling to wherever they are pulled.
This is all fairly easy to talk about on the philosophical, macrocosmic level of humanity. But being able to envision to what degree oneself is clinging or climbing is always out of focus because the “to or up what” is rarely ever understood to be no thing. In my experience, by the time I came to realize the “to what” was to my happiness, the need to cling to or get any more had dissolved from their obvious uselessness.
Within extremes lies the essence of beauty. A thin graceful line across the broad stroke of a blank sheet of paper enhances the quality of each. A dusty side to the thin line enhances the depth of the paper. The area within the shading that the light of the paper equals the dark of the line is the threshold of the extremes, the poignance of both being necessary for either. The value of peace is dependent on realizations of equal measure of war. The value of love is dependent on realizations of equal measures of abuse. At the threshold lies our center witnessing us choose sides like a baby learning to walk on a see-saw pivoting on the axis of a gyroscope blown by the wind. The sea is my life. My home port is my boat. Land is western civilization.
The new spring begins to appear against the dullness of the bare trees like light strokes of the broad side of a piece of chartreuse pastel being captured by the high points of the textured grey paper, and it begins again, this extraordinary renditition of a timeless tradition.