I’ve Always hated dude-talk.
From an early age I enjoyed playing sports but I Always detested locker room chatter, the conformity of teams and the rhetoric of coaches.
The way that guys would talk about girls, the objectification of women, I found it to be disgusting and lacking of Love and Compassion.
I quit sports.
I quit teams.
I found Skateboarding.
Here was a more sensitive, open minded and open hearted community, at least at first it felt that way, but of course, the other shit begins seeping in.
And then over time, it permeates and becomes the norm.
Conformity, teams, coaches — The objectification of women being offered up as “art”.
The predatory nature of competition.
None of it has anything to do with Skateboarding and everything to do with image.
And we marvel at how it feels like we are suddenly living in the Dark Ages.
How we are confronted by an authoritarian government.
Look at what we have given power to with every purchase we make and every stupid word that falls out of our mouths.
Our values have dictated our course, it should be no surprise.
We’ve been poisoned by testosterone.
The reality is, being a Warrior has nothing to do with displays of machoism.
It’s actually a matter of Sensitivity, of Self-Reliance.
The Courage to Stand Alone.
The predatory age of machoism is over.
There is nothing to win.
Let’s try a more Courageous and Meaningful path: Kindness and Cooperation.
Travel day back to California after spending the weekend in Beaver, PA with Matthew Ryan working on music. Matthew and I met back in September on the Street Plant Open Hearted Mid West Tour, and it was an immediate connection. Really, it was just a chance meeting but it is one that has blossomed into a friendship and now a creative relationship… Open Hearted, truly. After meeting Matthew, I immersed myself in his music. His records have been the soundtrack to my Autumn and Winter and they will be a part of the rest of my life. Working on music with Matthew these past 3 days has been an inspiration. The heart, soul and guts that he put into these songs really means a lot to me. I snapped this pic while Matthew was putting some guitar down, his playing on these songs is nothing short of beautiful and I can’t wait to share it all with you.
Yesterday morning I went for a walk along the Ohio River. I was thinking about my wife and our daughters and how far we all now seemed to reside from the world that we thought we’d be inheriting. And I thought about all those other people who also feel like the clock has been turned back on them. And as I walked, I watched the fog lift off the river as the sun burned down and through. The light was beautiful, the way it touched the trees, the river, the grass, the street, a bench. I thought about the reinvention of language for political purposes and how history gets to be rewritten by those in power, to justify their actions, to arouse patriotic fervor. But how our duty as citizens is to Not be intimidated into conformity. And as I walked along, I once again thought about my wife and our daughters and all of the people who felt this devastating and unjust blow to their sense of self, and my heart broke, and yet, it was also strengthened all in that same moment. That’s what Compassion will do: Give birth to Hope. I then stood still for a few moments, taking in the beauty all around me. I snapped this photo and then I kept walking. I had and I have so far to go.
I’d been laid up in bed with “flu-like symptoms” for nearly 72 hours, so when I woke up this morning feeling half way decent I knew I wanted to get out on the trail. I had to drive Ann and Lucy to Anaheim for a dance convention by 8:00 AM and I needed to be back in Anaheim to pick them up by 2:30 PM. I figured that’d give me more than enough time to get out to Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and put some miles down. I have hiked Laguna Coast many times but before today, and usually due to time constraints, I had yet to hike anywhere on those trails near to or overlooking the ocean. Today would be the day.
When I pulled into the Willow Canyon parking lot, it was already filling up with other hikers and I had a good buzz of pre-hike excitement pumping through me but then the damn parking permit machine would not read any of my credit cards and I had no cash. I nearly panicked. I was in no mood to get back in my car and drive who knows how many miles to an ATM Machine. A few hikers behind me started making noises in their throats as I retried each credit card over and over. Finally, I gave up, went back to my car and sat there and pouted for awhile. Then I decided to instead of driving to an ATM Machine, to drive to one of the other Laguna Coast parking lots and try their permit machine. Bingo! I got my permit at the James Dilley Preserve and then jumped in the car and sped back to Willow Canyon. The lesson, I don’t know how many times I have to learn this one, always have cash!
I hiked up Willow Canyon Road Trail to the Bommer Ridge Trail. I moved along Bommer Ridge until I saw a more difficult trail to my right. I checked my map and saw that it was the Old Emerald Trail and that it connected to the Emerald Canyon Road Trail which seemed to end at or near the ocean. I took it. This was a great hike and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it until it came to an end at a chain link fence, plastered with “No Trespassing” signs around some sort of maintenance lot in front of tennis courts at the base of some homes. Not the payoff I was looking for.
I had my heart set on seeing the ocean today and so I turned around and moved quickly back the way I came. Up Emerald Canyon Road, up Old Emerald Trail and back onto Bommer Ridge. I moved along the ridge and chose to take the Water Tank Trail towards the Pacific. It worked out perfectly. I got out there, ate my lunch (always PB&J) and snapped this photo. After soaking it in for a bit, I turned around, headed back to the car and was back in Anaheim to pick up the girls with time to spare.
The Songs I wrote with Saints Of Low and Good For You represent the road to Street Plant. I had been lost in my own darkness for many years. The writing of these Songs was an exercise in self-assessment. Whatever rueful reflections they engendered, they also Illuminated the first steps in what would prove to be a long ride home. The Songs on this playlist represent that journey. These Songs were Good For Me, maybe they could be Good For You.