Friday, March 14, 2008

searching for signs

how the devil do other people make major decisions? everytime i come up against one, i thrash about in hot water like the proverbial frog boiling to death without knowing it.

of course, first i have to decide: is this a turning point? does it demand a mere tweaking, or do i have to throw out the whole aparatus and start anew?

alas, exercising the 'change your life' tactic rarely gets me anywhere. for example, in 1995 i decided i had to make a change. i drove to seattle twice, to san luis obispo. i took a plane to new york. trouble is, i couldn't find anyplace better to live. so, how do you renew your capacity for adventure without leaving town? this time, i got involved in live theater again. and that impulse propelled me for twelve years. in the midst of it, i turned from writing to photography. my desire to live jumped up again. if only i could get that one photo.....

then the theater where i'd found so much satisfaction fell apart. thus the search began. to begin the year i decided to take care of health issues, ie. at least find out if i had any. well, i do. for better or worse, yesterday i suffered a colonoscopy. the doctor found a solitary polyp. for twenty four hours i was thinking, 'how will i spend my last six months?' i definitely decided on one last trip to europe. i also decided i'd pay for ten years storage on my papers and photos, in case they were ever 'discovered'.

what else? ah, i'd like to drive around california one last time and take landscape pictures, despite the climbing price of gas. i'd put everything on a no-interest credit card and run up the bill, laughing on my way to the grave.

unfortunately, the best-laid plans... a call this afternoon and the polyp discovered to be 'totally benign.' now i'd have to find a way to go on living. my father died of a heart-attack at 53 (same age as shakespeare) and my mother's father three months shy of a hundred. i realized if i lived as long as the latter, i've half a lifetime more to go. (yes, i am one of those who constantly reads the dates on tombtones and in biographies. camus said, 'there is no substitute for a long life,' his own cut tragically short.)

trouble is, most of a person's best work has been done before forty. after that? live on the glory? but the modern age admires productivity. one masterpiece is not enough. you have to go on producing them.

well, i've no answer for the present dilemma, not yet. i did experience a salutary lesson last saturday and i've recorded it as 'the mandala returns to the sea.' if only i felt like jumping the the ocean, for a long swim! hope you enjoy these pictures. and i am looking for more signs. something that appears again and again on the street, in the news, pasted in books, or attached to e-mails, a consistent re-inforcement of something which grows out of my current obsessions, a clue to the way through the dark wood.

oh, i forgot the most important thing: in the fall i have to find a new place to live. that always throws me into a tizzy.