Unforgettable Beauty

3/26/17

I had an amazing day and night hiking around the Portuguese Bend Reserve, the Abalone Cove Ecological Reserve and the Filiorum Reserve in Rancho Palos Verdes with Lucy.

We rambled for hours down through countless trails of wildflowers, and then out onto Palos Verdes Drive, before cutting over and down the Cliffside Trail to the Pacific Ocean at Sacred Cove.

From there we headed back up to the bluff above, known as Inspiration Point, to take in the Ceremony Of The Sunset as it dropped below Portuguese Point.

At dusk, we started our journey back up and through the Portuguese Bend Reserve. As darkness fell we became slightly disoriented and jogged too far to the west and found ourselves entering the Filiorum Reserve. It wouldn’t have been a big deal in daylight but in darkness everything becomes intensified. As we moved briskly along the Kelvin Canyon Trail I realized our mistake, and just before giving Lucy the bad news that we had to turn around, we found ourselves at the foot of Rattlesnake Trail. The trail was barricaded and closed due to trail damage, but I knew it went directly to where our car was parked and so under the circumstances we stepped around the barricade and took off up the trail using extreme caution.

A few hours earlier, Lucy had been very wary of any trail with a climb in elevation or that hugged a cliffside, and because of that our scramble down and out of Sacred Cove was a bit tedious. But watching her navigate the precarious Rattlesnake Trail with the utmost certainty and confidence at night was an experience I’ll forever cherish. For as we climbed up the trail, I watched her grow and mature right in front of me. As we stepped out on to Crenshaw Blvd, I could plainly see that she now knew herself better, and standing there with her senses heightened and her adrenaline still pumping, she lit up the dark sky with an unforgettable beauty.

Razors Edge

Photo: Rob Wallace.

The dream had been over for many years
But by November of 2013, I could no longer out run it
Enveloped in shadows, I had lost the will to fight
I had lost the will to live
But somehow, someway, the days still rolled on

Every breath I took was an SOS
But I didn’t have any friends
Only people who wanted to use me
To sell their worthless crap
I was living in an Ice Age

I had walked the razors edge as far as I could go
All that I could do was turn around
Out of the shadows of the past
Into the Light of my Life
There were New Dreams to Dream

The New Arms EP
Produced By Matthew Ryan.
Release Date: April 7, 2017

Gratitude

Gratitude!

For years and years I had this reoccurring day dream.
That one day I would truly own my very own Skateboard Company, and that I would run it out of my Garage.
That I would somehow remove myself from the parasitic world of brands, sponsors and promoters and the oppressive commercial culture that they cling to.
That I would find the hole in the fence, and leave the small gray ghetto of the industry, filled with the endless broadcasting of self congratulatory noise, and step out into a Wider Reality where there is no sweating scramble for profit and domination, and no need for distinction.
I dreamt that I would one day Create My Own Destiny, By Myself, For Myself, and that I would cut a path that was clear, away from the misdirection and evasions of corporate initiatives.

I dreamt of a Skateboard Company that had a Positive Purpose.
I dreamt of a Skateboard Company that Connected People.
I dreamt of a Skateboard Company that was a Sincere Dialogue.
I dreamt of a Skateboard Company that was Open Hearted.
I dreamt of a Small Flower pushing up through a crack in the concrete.
I dreamt of Street Plant.

Thank You and Much Love to the Street Plant Battalion for helping make this dream come true.

— Mike Vallely

A Woman’s Touch

Ann, Emily, Lucy and Mike (2015). Photo: Sierra Prescott.

In January of 2015, we started this little Skateboard Company in our Garage. Born out of Love, Strength and Inspiration, Street Plant has been sown and cultivated with a Woman’s Touch, and it has made all the difference.

In my 31 years in Skateboarding, it was a rare occurrence where I shared a conference room or discussed the marketing or the business of Skateboarding with a Woman. I had to step outside of the industry, past the errors of tradition and shake the chains of commerce in order to find my way Home, into the Loving Arms of my Wife and Daughters, where I could finally Think, Feel and Attend Justly to my interests. It was here, that I once again found the Romance in My Nature, the Dignity to Go Forward and the Encouragement to Keep Dreaming. I truly have my Wife Ann and our Daughters Emily and Lucy to Thank for that.

Street Plant: A Skateboard Company Owned By 3 Women and a Street Scoundrel From New Jersey.

Love

Photo: Mark Nisbet.

I Believe in Love.
Love is Open, Optimistic, Hopeful and Kind.
Love is Compassionate, Sympathetic, Tolerant and Understanding.
Love is Sincere, Courageous, Enthusiastic and Strong.
Love is Thoughtful, Patient, Spontaneous and Imaginative.
Love is Enlightened, Reflective, Humble and Wise.
Love is Sturdy, Cheerful, Sensitive and Enduring.
Love is Humorous, Generous, Authentic and Free.
Love is Diverse, Dignified, Independent and Just.
Love is Earnest, Joyful, Energetic and Inspirational.
Love is Considerate, Tender, Persistent and Peaceful.
Love is Heroic, Humane, Persevering and Fair.
Love is Gracious, Thankful, Happy and Positive.
Love is Honorable, Reasonable, Liberating and Protective.
Love is a Dialogue
Love is a Movement.
Love is an Exclamation.
Love is The Dawn.
Love is Life.
I Believe in Love.

Travel Well…

I’m riding through the endless narrows, across a frozen landscape. The rearview mirror has been extricated and I’m chasing a horizon that I can’t see. My headlights shine their dim light on failure after failure lining the roadside: broken systems, collapsed institutions, vacant motifs. Still I push forward, driven by something innate: Survival. But my survival must be purposeful. Survival with Honor. Step by step, mile by mile, the point is to Travel Well.

What direction I go is completely up to me, it always has been. My biggest mistakes have come from giving that power to someone else, allowing my personal boundaries to be violated. In doing so, I lost heart, I lost courage, I lost my way. No more. I have been found. I am right here, right now and the rest of it is gone, evaporated into nothingness. I have retired from the past.

My girls, our dogs, our lives and our time together on this Earth, our work and our dreams are my focus. My allegiance is pledged with every word spoken, every action, every waking moment.

The future is ours.

The New Arms EP
Produced By Matthew Ryan​.
Release Date: April 7, 2017

Bridge To Nowhere

2/2/17

I got up early yesterday, I worked for a few hours and then I got in my car and drove out to the San Gabriel Mountains. I needed some time on the trail: Feet and legs and openness.

I spent six hours hiking along the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, crossing the river numerous times in fast rushing water as deep as my waist in some places. I put down some 10 – 12 miles hiking over the demanding terrain of boulders, logs, spiked plants and rushing water.

The trail I hiked is a rather popular trail as it leads to a destination known as the Bridge To Nowhere. The bridge itself is really nothing special, an abandoned bridge that was built in 1936, and now only serves as a bungee jumping platform and a place for me to eat my lunch. The trail that leads out to the bridge is interesting because in some places you can see asphalt and concrete slabs along the trail where a roadway used to be located, and now after 70 some years of disuse, has seen nature all but claim it back.

As I walked along I thought about how we have such precious little wilderness left, and how it remains under constant attack by those in power, by those who have something to sell, by those looking to influence public opinion. But the race to the bottom is so short sighted, and it gives no heed to the well-being of future generations or to the Earth itself, but instead it values degrading jobs, cheating and lying business men and the intolerable arrogance of our elected officials. What we really need to pledge allegiance to is the Earth, not the swarming, distended bulge of real estate and industry. Instead, we listen to, give power to and are led by people who have spent most of their lives in air conditioned buildings. It doesn’t make any sense.

As I walked back along the river, the sun was setting behind the mountains and the only sound was the water flowing. I stopped in the middle of the stream on a bed of rocks and took this picture. A frozen moment on the trail, a memo to the powers that be.

Kindness

Maria and Elise Wimmer / Women’s March Casper, Wyoming. / Photo By: E.K. Wimmer.

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.
Disgusting.
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.

So Far To Go…

1/22/17

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.