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.
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.
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.