Driving through the central valley after a rain storm, as winter grudgingly gives way to spring, everything crisp, clear and blindingly green, I looked over and saw Mt Diablo in the distance, sharply outlined stone teeth against drifting clouds in the sky. And although I was anxious to get home to do some things I wished to do, wanted to do, needed to do, I also wanted to be on that mountain. There was no way I had the time to go fifty miles out of my way, but it was the idea that I hungered to be in two places at the same time.
Then the idea of two places at once brought a flood of sensation, and I was awash with all the treasured experiences and moments from the past, the array of possibilities available in the present moment and the almost infinite future possibilities. I was torn. Life is so achingly beautiful, joyous, ecstatic , and at the same time so deeply sad, sad because one must choose from all that is possible, knowing that things left undone, unexperienced may never be visited, never experienced, never incorporated into my life. The ecstasy and the anguish, these two sides of the coin of life, pull at me. There are moments with people who have come and gone from my life, moments in time where the right places and people came together for a once in a lifetime joyful occasion. There are a hundred things I want to do as the warm months begin, and there is the sadness of knowing that when the first snow falls again, I will have only done a very few of these.
If I were granted a thousand years on earth, I would still be hungry at the end. There would be things I hadn’t tasted, songs I hadn’t heard, love I hadn’t made, dreams I hadn’t dreamed. If in the black endlessness that surrounds this tiny planet there are gods that stamp us with our fate, I raise my fist in protest against them, accuse them of throwing crumbs to a starving man, demand a way to resolve the tug of war within.
It is not just the places or even the people. I could go to the same spot with the same people a dozen times, and each experience would be unique. It is, in the end, the qualia that defines it all, crystalizes the memories, give the experience its reality.
There is so much of this world I haven’t tasted, but I’ve feasted to excess on California, gotten drunk on California and have taken it into my DNA. There are many things I love and relate to in this varied state. One of my favorites is the redwood forests.