Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Buzz of LA

Irvine CA


The buzz of LA comes in part from its paradoxes.

There’s the manic aggression of drivers on the roads that drape the curving hills – the drivers competing for time and space, the roadways dipping and gliding like strains of Strauss’s Blue Danube.

There’s the local sheriff who is proposing gun control measures to resistant citizens of a county considering cutting funds for both criminal justice and emergency health care.

Then there were this morning’s fashion statements. Adornments of incomprehensible value covering bodies that stood patiently in line at the Starbuck’s off Beverly Drive at Mulholland. And, only hours later, the precise social commentary of uniformed high school students who hope to be the first in their families to attend college.

Yesterday in Santa Barbara, a small side conversation with the veterans tending Arlington West made poetry of paradox. Steve brought up the relationship between solid matter and life’s most agonizing challenges. To have a table, an ocean, or a flag there must be negative and positive atomic forces binding to sustain solid form.

It wasn’t a particularly comforting side conversation – it didn’t make death and war any more palpable. And, we all agreed that paradox seems to typify human experience in and as the natural world.

On her way out of the room today, one of the students in Kathy Goodman’s Advisory said, “Sometimes it’s only when things get really bad that we can see the good stuff we’ve taken for granted.”


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