Archive | Long Reads

The Middle Ground

Mid-Morning

Mid Morning

The cold wet earth patiently endures the rare warmth of a sun-filled winter morning.  Beneath the surface of barely dry ground, the long memory of the Aleutian storm track lingers in the form of watery laughter in the face of the fiery sun’s futility.  It’s a battle as old as time itself, and there is no middle ground.

On this morning the sun declares it’s promise loudly, a promise of better times to those who’ve endured a long bitter season of soul shattering storms.  In this morning light there is also the promise of simple things. Joy and laughter and bicycle crashes.  Coffee and beer, skin and frivolity. These simple things may well fill the day and yet the first promise will remain unfulfilled. At the end of the day, profits will still be reaped from an illegal purity, just as it’s always been.

The sad truth is that the promise of hope that this day proclaimed to those who walk above the ground will soon be broken. Take your shoes off and stand in the bare dirt, listen with the soles of your feet, and you will hear the wisdom of the earth as it prophecies the patient endurance of coldness, and the water that by noon tomorrow will be falling from the sky once again.

 

Eureka – Finding California

The Land- part 1

Home.

Deep in the anxious nowhere of Los Angeles,  an old home stands in solemn opposition to the thousands of fleeting glimpses of a rushed humanity that bombard the busy thoroughfare just beyond it’s front steps.  Out on that street there is no longer any memory of the past, it’s been rewritten as a vain attempt at remembering the future. What comes next is all there is, or more accurately, all there will be then, for there is no longer any now. There’s no time for that sort of luxury anymore.  Not out there, anyway.

The old home is a different story though.  There’s plenty of now to be had here. There’s shade everywhere, as anything that grows out of the ground has been allowed to just keep on growing.  A huge tree stands in the yard next to the house.  Kids bikes lean against the tree, rusting into permanence at the end of the dirt driveway.  You can stand still here and see time pass.  The joy of now.

Stand on the porch and wait for a pause in the traffic, so you don’t inhale the future’s fumes, and take a deep breath.  Oranges.  The past here smells like oranges.  Acres of them.  As far as you could see in any direction.  Grandparents of today were once children here who drank fresh squeezed orange juice because that’s all they had.  They laughed and screamed and rode their bikes in every direction as far as they wanted down the dirt roads between the neighboring orchards. On hot summer days, though, this would get old and they’d complain that they were bored. They would wish that something would happen here, and figuring that it never would, they imagined a different life beyond the orange trees.

 

Pure Joy

1-shaping Nothing about it was easy, even from the very start. Sharpening his carpenter’s pencil, as he always did before tracing an outline on a fresh blank, his knife slipped a deep gash across his thumb. Blood dripped bright red onto the snow white foam covered floor.  After a makeshift bandage and a sip of warm beer, the shaper began the task of carefully bringing forth beauty from the blank. He knew where he wanted this one to go and each skillful pass of the planer would reveal a little more of what he had in mind all along. He was in no hurry to finish this one. Slow and sure, that was his method, right on through the shaping and into the glassing where he laid on its deck, right across the wood stringer, these two words, printed in red, PURE JOY. Those two simple words would have their impact on each subsequent rider, flavoring their expectations and ultimately shaping their experience of this board.

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