Yesterday I felt compelled to explain to a new colleague why it is that I moved out of Silicon Valley and into the Santa Cruz Mountains forty years ago, even though I must still go to the valley to find any sort of interesting or decent paying job. The urgency I sensed to remove myself back then no longer seems so pressing. I was fleeing from modern progress and the urbanization of rich farm land. Now all that richness of natural life in the Santa Clara Valley is gone and forgotten by most residents. There seems to be little recall of what the valley used to be. The wife and I feel lucky to have lived our shared life just beyond the reaches of this weird phenomenon called progress, which promotes blanketing rich farm land with asphalt and concrete. I still feel like running away from progress. I don’t think that instinct will ever leave me.
How much different our culture has become. In my limited view I see it trending toward an inauthentic plasticity, driven by greed and a desire for others to dominate or force their will on other people, rather than promote unity and cooperation. I look for tendencies or trends in what goes on in the world around me, and even though I can identify them I cannot comprehend the changes. Maybe my ability to understand was removed from me in the original game plan for life on earth? Understanding can be shocking and painful, so perhaps I am being spared some of that. I began keeping a journal so that I might be able to focus on my experience, rather than having my sense of self and individuality stripped by social forces that tend to deny me an identity. The journal helps keep me centered and focused more than almost anything else. The other day I read one journal keeper say that his journal was his daily prayer.
I notice this morning when walking over the cat walk between office buildings to fetch a bowl of oatmeal in the cafeteria that the sky is more than half covered with clouds. When the day is cloudless, all blue sky, I see constancy, but when clouds move in, as with this morning, the appearance of the sky is never quite the same, not even from minute to the next. It is still all blue beyond the clouds, but from my perspective on the surface of the earth the constancy is gone. Instead, the wind moves shadows over the buildings, over the valley, opening and closing holes that show and hide the blue beyond. It would be so much easier to keep a journal that only details blue sky.