75 -Dreaming as Always

Just found this in my journal while looking to post some fresher writings. Well, can’t go forward without going back. So…

San Francisco. Hayes Valley. Ritual Coffee Roasters. I feel like I’m in a participatory art project, or, unbeknownst to me have wandered onto a movie set. White chairs scattered around a gravel lot like bird droppings, in no discernible pattern. Pedestrians lounging in the warming sun, some peering at a phone, others gazing into space or watching me taking in my surroundings as I write, or observing passersby themselves, but impossible to tell as most are in sunglasses. Regardless, they all look like extras in a movie waiting for the director’s call, or are extras in a movie, currently rolling, of which I am the star. A pigeon waddles by on orange, matchstick legs like a child’s toy. It should be pulled by a string and rolling on castors. A skateboarder at a grind box interrupts the general state of quiet calm, only briefly, but the clatter sounds of a rockslide. A blow to one’s reveries. A violent shaking awake from an aqueous dream of surrender. I can’t ascertain the use for the enormous blank board that leans over the lot like a spectator, pale and on the edge of his seat during the climax of a play or the last few meters of a too-close-to-call foot race. And the orange metal planters and tables, triangle shaped, the only splashes of color in the space, and so, humming with energy like tiny incubated explosions popping off repeatedly. There is the ever constant breeze which whisks through this dream of mine. I wonder if it will carry me home when I leave.

74 – More Etc. Edited to Mogwai’s Central Belters

In the Yard, Everywhere a Garden, Frisco
The rustle of the aspen leaves like strings of soft wooden beads gently pushed aside by a hand.
Swallows soaring swirling acrobatics tracing the world’s most complex roller coaster clear into the blue, chittering happily and madly because they are swallows and it is theirs, and theirs alone (but this they do not know: that it is also mine).
A hummingbird’s thrum as it zips there (where?) dashing lines in a picture book, now stopping—hovering stationary—motionless but for the soft blur of wings, in front of a purple flower its slender saber-like bill inserted like a bank card into the slot of an atm. Then, ZIP! from my watchful eye, the flower crystalline still.
And the sun filtering through clouds sweetly and warm, an exquisite hand, fingers wriggling, reaching through soap bubbles for something. The touch of my only lover on my skin.

On the tall green grasses
Water droplets
The mountain peaks
Obscured by rain clouds

A young boy
The pebbly shore
He picks one up

At Lake Dillon Marina. On a large boulder along the shore. The sky perfectly blue. Indescribably blue (indescribably perfect). The sky indescribable at any time. It’s more like an emotion than a physical thing, the sky.
The clouds punctuate long rambling sentences that are meaningless, wholly without sense. They’re beautiful and white. As monumental as the mountains, though they be so much more ethereal, insubstantial, always shifting, changing, bits vanishing like an old flag torn to tatters by the relentless wind. Of course, the mountains do too, just slower. So much slower, like the eternity it takes to find someone you love, and then they’re gone.
It’s been ages since I’ve sat like this, down by the water, just observing. Some time ago in Annapolis. Months ago. The breeze a mere whisper today—a comforting pat on the back by a missed friend. More ripples in the lake than unaccountable footsteps in the world. Infinite and everlasting. The sky contained within, but only a part. One could sit out here forever.

The End (not to be confused with the Birdhouse skate video)
Walking by Royal (in so much as one can walk by a mountain). I’m thinking about how my time here has nearly come to an end, and how this all seems like a dream, how all life seems like a dream, and that I’m nothing more than a wisp of smoke, an amalgam of gas and ashes that has somehow been bound together into a corporeal body, and that it makes no sense, but that trying to make sense of existence is like digging a hole in the desert hoping to strike water. That the beauty and the strangeness and awful magnificence and senselessness are to be loved and cherished and enjoyed (or not, if you so choose!). That it matters not if this is all just a dream and every leaf I touch and mountain I climb are mere tricks of these senses (those senses themselves being tricks, too), that their apparent solidity is nothing but an illusion, and my own solidity as well. I laugh! Because it is the air let out of the balloon, and it flies around the room making that silly noise. It is a revelation. But also the genesis of a dream or a reality (is there truly a difference?) that begins anew every moment of every uncountable moment which is this one singular moment that is and forever will be.

How does one draw a line for eternity, yet never move the pen?

72 – Etc.

Observations, thoughts, etc. with line breaks.

Sunset, Nevada
hazy citrus sky swimming in a champagne cloud.
the painted pale blue mountains: a curtain of curling waves.
the setting sun a flaming disc of death.
the hot steel of the railroad tracks burning beneath,
and glinting like a diamond-edged knife.
the earth is harsh, dry, orange and arsoned.
the sun is a killer.
black asphalt cuts through it all: an arrow into the horizon.

Colorado, South to North
the stillness of the train cars beneath the ageless mountains
the white clouds looking down like gods
casting shadows the size of cities
almost dwarfing the mountains, cliffs, and bluffs
which are this West’s forests
these huge, vertical masses pointed skyward
but growing smaller by the ages unlike the trees which press ever higher
and the people whose numbers grow greater
but, yet, like these mountains and cliffs
their wisdom erodes

Dreaming in Taos
i crawl from my tent
and upward peer brightly—there is the moon
and overhead the trees
shaking silver in its light
shooting stars skip like stones across the sky
like fingernail clippings flung from a god
into this landscape illuminated night
and the small tree beside me, a companion
lying down black in the grass
sleep comes gradually

A Day and a Walk Around Berkeley

I’ve been in Berkeley for a month now. My second day here I decided to take a couple hour walk around the neighborhood and the main commercial area, Shattuck and University streets, with my camera for fun, exploratory purposes.

Oh, and the picture of the boat was taken the morning of my drive over from Davis. It’s perched on a bluff, a few hundred feet above a reservoir. Why it was left, I couldn’t say, but it had obviously been there a long time (months? years?).

71 – California Dreaming

California, so far, is like a dream. Specifically San Francisco, Berkeley, Point Reyes, Marin County, the mysterious pacific coast shrouded in fog: in short, much of the Bay Area.

Point Reyes is a beacon of Earth’s agelessness and perfection. Of what is possible. Ancient trees tower above one like monuments, like ancient colossi. Douglas Firs with their ridges of bark as thick as one’s fist, like ropes to be climbed up. The hiking trail twisting its way up and down and through, soft and damp, spongy, loamy, guided on both sides by the lushest, greenest vegetation I’ve ever seen, all fragrancing the air with verdant, earthy aromas of  life and amazement, of how this world once was all over ….

I wish to put what I’ve seen into words, but how can I!? The magnitude of the task binds the gears of my mind and wrenches the cogs off track. How does one translate the colossal magnificence of such an ancient, prehistoric world (or anything, for that matter) into idea, into these scrawny characters that even when strung together into something greater than their individual selves are little more than a whisper in a  storm, that are not truly experience, but merely place holders for experience. How can one translate a piece of bark into a string of characters and somehow communicate all that is that piece of bark and what it means to be present to it?

Words are like fake fruits and pastries in a display case, but even more pathetic, because at least those things, as false and unreal as they are, maintain a resemblance to that which they imitate, but words, words are nothing. Just amalgamations of parts of an alphabet. Just attempts to translate a feeling, an emotion into a communicable symbol that still can’t ever communicate properly that which they must. They’re idea, and idea is only something in the world of idea. In the world of experience, which is Life, they’re just “POOF!” They’re even less substantial than the fog that rests just off the Marin coast, the fog that appears so thick, so heavy and luxurious that one would delight in wrapping oneself in it like a blanket, or weaving it into a sweater, or filling a pillow. Yet the world of idea is a fun world nonetheless, because it is an imaginary world. It is unreal and completely made up. And that, of course, is its virtue. And the challenge of describing something! All one has to do is read a few quotes from Giacometti on painting and sculpture to get the gist of what that’s like.

The trees were tall. Colossal like the dreams of history’s greatest thinkers, but greater and older still. Untouchable. Incomparable. Point Reyes, you stir something in me that I can only call awe, but what is that, and what does it mean? I’d like to smash it with a hammer…. The temperature cooled as I moved closer to the shore, like the Pacific itself was washing over me, and when I did finally gain view of that vast, empty nothingness that had no horizon but vanished into the fog like life into death, I could only stop running, and stare, thunderstruck. “THIS is what is meant by eternity, ” I thought. “This is immortality.”

It’s like digging a hole. Digging after something  buried there that can’t ever be excavated. But this isn’t a physical hole, it is a hole in my mind being dug. It is a metaphysical hole—the idea of digging the idea of a hole.

Utah and Nevada

Not a whole lot here because I spent little time as I was driving to California, but there’s a few not terribly shabby photos.

70 -Love and Hate, and Thinking

I think I hate road trips. Of the vehicular kind. Not so much the self-powered-on-a-bicycle kind. There is, obviously, a greater sense of adventure, and a more seamless connection to one’s environment—the relationship is felt more acutely; the suffering, if there is any, is different (of course, one doesn’t suffer much sitting in a car other than perhaps from monotony and ennui, so maybe in this case they are similar), and the joys are greater, the pleasures more pleasurable. Less is lost, more is gained and seen. To stop for something, say, to take a picture, is a simpler task. You are not polluting…

Sure, in a car one covers more ground but feels like a slug. Just sitting. Sitting, sitting, sitting. At least today I hiked part way up a mountain. I think my photographs of the salt flats should turn out nicely.
The fifty or sixty year old waitress at the Black Rock Grill, where I’m having dinner, across the street from The Cadillac Inn (a homey, inexpensive, little place that I would recommend, run by a single mother) in Lovelock, NV, is having a conversation with a cook. “We’re shaking our cans out here!” she exclaims (she and the other server mercifully are not). But she is so mirthful. So friendly and amicable. Would that all the people of this world be like her on a daily basis.
The sunset. The Nevada landscape. Can one be separated from the other? They will forever be inseparable to me. I’ve recorded myself rhapsodizing over them… it, while driving.

Nevada is vast. It is like a piece of classical music, Beethoven’s 9th perhaps, become geography. All vertiginous highs and vast, yawning lows (that Great Basin!), and those highs erupting from the dry ground of the valley, apropos of nothing, like stalactites up, up, up! from the floor of a cave, nonetheless, projecting harmoniously, and all the while the shimmering interstate insinuating itself in thread-like fashion through the warp and weft of the land, winding on continuously over tall masses and plummeting back down again whatever the topography be.

A narrow scrawl on a limitless sheet of paper.