01 January 2008

Utopian Wishes

I've spent the holidays dealing with family obligations, airports, long term decisions, creative debacles, searching for harmony and contemplating death. Yes! I had a nuke-mare dream! A little too close to a nuclear test site and blammo... 3 days to live. Witnessing and being overcome by the shockwave was actually pretty beautiful and had all kinds of sparkling details I wasn't expecting. The sudden appearance of weaping burn marks on my skin wasn't so nice. The weight of life and that I'm not ready to die hit me like an anvil on the chest. Then I woke up and went directly to a dream interpretation Web-site that said, "To dream of your own death, indicates a transitional phase in your life. You are becoming more enlightened or spiritual. Alternatively, you are trying desperately to escape the demands of your daily life."

Well, if the interpretation said otherwise, I probably wouldn't believe any "expert" who said they knew better. In this case, yeah, right on, I am changing and thinking of moving in different directions. Doesn't help that I'm presently reading "Islandia" by Austin Tappan Wright. A 900 page tome that I'm 300 pages through. Suggested to me by Jane, it's the Utopian novel to end all Utopian novels based in history around 1910.

To appreciate Utopian novels, you really have to appreciate life. Life sans war, life sans religion, life sans intolerance. I'm not talking about a leftist, tofu eating, nudist colony on the beach either. I'm talking about a society that rewards hard work. Hard work meaning love of life, your place in it, and the quality of your environment. Based in a agrarian economy, farming is the richest life you can pursue. It connects you with the land, natural rythms, and the responsibility of the human as 'husbander' of nature. Beyond that is architecture that lasts generations, textiles that are beautiful and comfortable, exquisite fresh food, quality works of art, education that is rich and varied, and a time schedule that is in harmony with nature. So, it's a Utopian society 100 yrs ago. Tappan saw the downward spiral of capitalism and consumer greed, which to us is God, but is detrimental to the quality of life. How complicated it is to have a simple life today.

Looking at my own life, this simplicity is still very hard to achieve and I have a simple situation. No kids, no mortgage. Perhaps I just haven't been taking the type of vacations I need to. Drifting down a lazy river on the deck of a small boat in the sunshine, dipping my toe in the water and wondering at the shore and it's secret stories as I pass by. When my mind is most blank, and most perceptive, I'm at harmony with my surroundings. I've met people that possess this inner peace and I can only hope that when I am old that I have a decade or two to wander through time with that kind of wisdom, always at harmony, always appreciative and ready at any moment to let go and die, because for long enough, it all was perfect.

I still have some twisted hope that I can wrangle my skills and the technology available today to create my own Utopian bubble. Hope that I can create some kind of harmonic flow in life that lets me work remotely, have a place in the country, a great house, good fresh food, keep good contact with friends, create great pieces of art, and have time to just enjoy life.

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