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    Wednesday
    May102017

    Two Paths and Why Should I Care? 

    I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed.

                                                                                                                                                                          –Deuteronomy 30:19 

    How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

                                                                                                                                                                          –Anne Frank


    Life is short, life is very short.  I like life, I like it.  I feel like that even if it ends up being short I got lucky because life is an amazing gift when you think about what you get with a basic life –not even a particularly lucky life, or a healthily life.  If you have a life it’s an amazing… Here’s your boiler plate deal with life, this is basic cable, what you get when you get life: you get to be on Earth – first of all, oh my God, what a location!  This is Earth, and for trillions of miles in every direction it fucking sucks so bad, it’s so shitty that your eyes bolt out of your head cause’ it sucks so bad.  You get to be on Earth and look at shit – as long as you’re not blind or whatever it is – you get to be here! 
                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                           –Louis C.K

     

                  Here are some pictures I took last week while visiting my go-to beach along the Northern California coast.   I’m extremely grateful that I have the luxury of time and the mental and physical faculties necessary to appreciate the multifaceted beauty, both on a macro and micro scale, of this incredible landscape.  When I think of my future I think of two different prospective roads that I can go down.  The less promising one is the dark road which involves me giving-in to my impulses and succumbing to bad habits.  This is the road of instant-gratification and selfishness, and leads to me becoming detached from nature, distanced from my loved ones and true friends, out of touch with reality, inarticulate, lacking confidence, unhealthy, unread, absent-minded, unproductive, stationary, feeble-minded, lethargic, and unable to properly and acutely interpret the world around me.  It is road of sorrow.  The other road, which is the one I seek to travel down, is a road filled with challenges, adventures (namely hiking, diving, and kayaking), sunrises and sunsets, a steadiness of mind and spirit, will-power, self-control, stability, courage, compassion for nature and my fellow man, love for my future-wife and family, good books to help quench my insatiable thirst for knowledge, and good beer to help quench my insatiable thirst for beer.  This road is filled with completed writing, drawing, and art projects, lined by redwood trees and coral reefs where pods of dolphins swim and cast their wild dreams into lapis lazuli seas beneath the full moon and twinkling stars, and on this road I am always striving to gain a better understanding of the world around me by closely studying the natural world, as well as an appreciation for our position in the universe by gazing at the night sky and contemplating the cosmos even if I can barely comprehend an infinitesimal fraction of it.  That I am freely able to make the choice as to which path to embark upon is a gift beyond belief, just as it is a gift to drive to the coast on a sunny California afternoon, pick my way down a steep bluff decked by colorful wildflowers, and wander through tidepools brimming with life.  To be able to simply look at such beautiful objects – be they living sea anemones, turban snails, or shore crabs, or be they the discarded calcium shells of bygone mollusks or the sun-bleached and desiccated exoskeleton remnants of sea urchins, chitons, whelks, or abalone – is something I am eternally grateful for.  To be able to sit still and see these phenomenal expressions of nature – fresh pines growing from a tips of tree branch in spring, turquoise waves crashing a rocky shore, the rising moon and setting sun – is truly a blessing that no man or woman whom is physically free and mentally capable should ever take for granted. 

     

               Not that I am some intrepid or trailblazing explorer venturing into the deep recesses of Earth or across the frozen hinterlands of Narnia, but I like to think that I have proclivity to venture off the beaten path whenever I can and often do so alone.  Without a doubt, I have rarely, if ever, regretted doing this.  The rewards for going somewhere new and unknown, even if it is as simple as down a road which leads to an unknown destination, has almost always resulted in a positive outcome. (I acknowledge that theoretically had I pursued an alternative course in these instances the outcome could have been even better than the one that I proclaim to be retrospectively favorable, but what I’m trying to say is that when I throw caution to the wind, it usually works out well.)  Furthermore, the rewards of staying in shape and exploring new places is that you will most likely live longer and be able to see more amazing places.  This is evidenced by the numerous older folks (usually German men) that I have crossed paths while backpacking through various national parks through the country.  They have adopted a lifestyle of exploration and challenge, and their reward for having done so is that they get to live longer and see more cool shit.

     

              I feel guilty that I take the time to routinely visit the same beach and collect shells, thereby neglecting a rapidly increasing mountain of personal projects and responsibilities that I should be attending to immediately, and also while millions of people are enduring nightmarish conditions that I will never be able to wrap by head around.  Moreover, I feel guilty that I have seem to have stopped caring about the state of the world, about the Syrian, Iraqi, Afghani, Somali, and Yemenis civilians burning the in hellfire of the bombs that rain upon their homelands and are suffering for want of food, water, and medical aid in the aftermath of an arguable quasi-genocide and hellish conditions induced and subsidized by my own government.  I really want to care, I even want to pretend to care, and I used to care, but what happened to me?  Why do I care more about going to the beach to collect shells than I do about helping to improve situations of deprivation and destruction in the world?   Rather than getting into the reasons as to why I stopped caring, let me tell you about a way of thinking that would facilitate my caring again about the world, and to once more partaking as person who helps the planet and humanity as opposed to a spectator, a removed observer who is merely commenting on the creative ways humanity destroys itself and the environment.  The newfound approach to thinking (which is a perhaps a belief that I once held but had forgotten) is so rudimentary and obvious that is it admittedly stupid.  It is simply this: that it is not fair for me to go around enjoying the tremendous beauty of life on Earth and existence in general without any consideration for future generations of people (and other lifeforms) to do the same.  It is not fair for me to be taking regular excursions if I am not doing anything to balance out the detrimental impact me and my ilk are having on the world.  I want my little niece and whatever posterity associated with her and following her to be able to see things of beauty tantamount to that which I have seen.  She deserves to enjoy the sunrises and sunsets, to experience the thrill of falling in love, the adrenaline rush of engaging in whatever crazy outdoor adventure she decides to take on.  She deserves a chance to be able to go to the beach, pick her way down a bluff, and collect shells.  In this sense, my niece is a metaphorical representation for all of posterity, whom we should be fighting to preserve the natural world for, and for whom we should ideally be working together as brothers to leave this world in a better state then when we as individuals arrived on the scene.  If we can do that as a species, if we can only choose the right path, we may be able to ascend above the quarreling and unsustainable environmental destruction presently afflicting humanity and the natural world.  If our species could only choose preservation over destruction, knowledge over ignorance, compassion over intolerance, love over hate, life over death, then what will the reward be?  I believe the reward would be that we would get to live longer and see more cool shit. 

     

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