driving

driving

today, it was a pigeon that nearly broke my heart. i had just left peet’s headed up california street with a single latte, when i saw an object flopping across the road ahead of me on the busy street. i was in the right lane, a bus was coming around my left side, and cars were stacked up behind me as i slowed while approaching it. its little head looked up and i saw that it was a pigeon with a broken wing. it somehow – miraculously – managed to flop all the way from the center of the road into the middle of my right-hand lane. it just lifted its head and looked up at me as i stopped in front of it. i turned my signal on, and went to the left around it, but the car behind me just carried on straight ahead… i agonized, as it seems i do, about the poor thing. in my mind’s eye, i saw myself stopping the car dead in traffic, getting out and lifting the pigeon out of the road to safety as cars honked and people around me angrily swore in passing. yet i did no such thing. i also transposed the homeless person i just passed, about whom i also did nothing, moments before in front of peet’s, as i was cradling my latte and my bag of groceries.

perhaps i need to stop driving like this. i learned today that the odd patch of blotchy skin on the left side of my neck comes from the sun through the driver’s side window. all this time– all this driving– and the window without UV protection. i’ve driven all my life. my life seems to be showing its age. vegas and back. cross the country. vancouver to mexico. all this time. broken wing…

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‘food grows where water flows’

‘food grows where water flows’

yesterday i slept the whole day, save for a somnambulist drive to the airport for leanne and an equally sleepy laundry experience. it hardly felt like san francisco because it was so hot. i had to draw the curtains and keep out the day anyway, which fit the mood of being one of those non-days. but today, the wind has whipped a milky layer of fog between my city and the sun and it feels good to be back.

there’s a highway in the middle of the central valley that cuts from 99 to 5 and takes you through “wasco — a nice place to live”. highway 46. i love highway 46. it’s one of those two-lanes where people speed faster than they do on the 5, even though the road is reguarly bisected by other roads, and trucks themselves pass other trucks at eighty. but on some stretches, there is no vehicle in sight, and i rolled down my window and turned up evanescence and felt like a teenager. ‘wasco — a nice place to live’ grows roses, and passing by rose-studded fields, the air was full of perfume. i tried not to think of the pesticides collecting in the bowl of the central valley – no sign of organics in sight – while i marvelled at the massive agriculture that we must ship everywhere in the world. ‘food grows where water flows’ – but there is hardly water in sight. how do our resources keep up?

leanne clued me in to the ‘desert demonstration gardens‘ in las vegas, which i got to visit on my way out on friday. it was definitely a neat little plot of land, showing how to grow gardens with varying levels of low resources, low water. it’s amazing what grows natively in the desert, though you wouldn’t think so driving down the freeway. the joshua trees don’t seem to start till the mojave desert, but i think it would be pretty cool to have a backyard full of joshua trees. that is, if i could take the heat anymore. the demonstration gardens were very sweet, though, and quite an interesting contrast at that, just a few scant blocks from venice, paris, new york, and the rest of what doesn’t exactly grow natively in the desert.

it was definitely odd to be in los vegas on september 11. money grown out of dust – and evaporated into thin air – by the what? billions? oases of trashy opulence – in the middle of the desert. most people living in the middle of the desert live with little resource, or so i guess, not having been to most major deserts in the world; not so in the middle of nevada. and i right there, making my living – one way or another – along with it. another contrast i don’t know what to do with. at least i try to recognize the contradiction, respect the resources we have, enjoy the local organic foods (thanks to jessica prentice for last saturday night in san francisco), value most the people who try to understand the sources of pain and attack, and respect the great diversity in the world. and in fact, uwe and i went to new york new york on september 11, and i do definitely recommend zumanity. no better place to respect diversity, and a fresh contrast to the rest of the silicone lapdance of the strip.

postscript

i had played johnny cash on my way down the 5 sunday. i didn’t find out he had died on friday until crossing the bay bridge later that night (well, standing on the bay bridge together with the pacbell park traffic). one more ‘voice of the common man’ – gone. or is it?

memorial for the dog by the side of the road

memorial for the dog by the side of the road

it takes me longer than normal to shake the images of animals killed on the road. yesterday, along dolores, out of the corner of my eye i saw a rock but later realized this was a dog. this was a very much alive dog walking with its person in the dolores median, but i thought it was funny how something could look like one thing, but be another.

it was later during that same commute when i passed the real trouble. sometimes, it seems like animals are just sitting resting by the side of the road, or maybe sleeping, but in the end this image only makes it sadder, as if they were struck, hobbled over to the side, just couldn’t go on anymore, and simply lay down. that was yesterday. by today, this particular dog definitely wasn’t just resting or sleeping anymore, because it had obviously been struck and was less a dog anymore than something to clean up from the road. i am sorry to have to share it but i am compelled since i have thought it, and have wondered if there was a loneliness in those last moments of resting, that i could change, transform, or – i suppose oppositely – memorialize.

i come home and wanda yells at me and i am still thinking about the sparkling lightning on either side of the plane. still wondering how to assimilate the flashing insights of barb macleod:

so why is takeoff so awful? Is it simply the acceleration (it's very sensual...I love it!!) or is it the commitment, the no-turning-back that it represents? Or are you spitted on images of takeoff disasters--either imagined or historical??

am i taking notes, she wants to know. i am having nightmares or at least vivid dreams. the kind you get after a big meal; big food for thought.

leanne has brought peak-season juicy tomatoes home again and i can smell dinner, nearly done.

things regenerate, transform, i guess or i hope.