The Now (A land confused ‘Now’!)
Well we have Come and Gone!
The view from the porthole at 05h30 this morning is again a new one! Gone is the deep purple of the Pacific Ocean wilderness vista, replaced by a murky Pacific and fog enclosed capsule. Closer to The Porthole my view has expanded we are 500 containers less, and whole bunch of California’s will be thankful their prized NZ lamb and beef has arrived!
In between these changing vistas ‘was’ Oakland and San Francisco!
On arrival we were delayed by port traffic, so only ‘tied’ up at around 10pm on Wednesday, after an amazing experience of coming into the huge expanse of water that forms the perfect natural refuge: San Francisco Bay then ‘sailing’ past, through and under all the human created icons of development, having only the day before written about needing to use technology to spiritualise our world. Wow, this all caught me so much by surprise, as there I was dealing with all what I’d written about so fresh in the spirit of me … and I was now part of ‘it’ all in reality.
The Spiritual / Anthropocentric / Rational Man, conflicts when Society meets Nature, and the Great Chasm lies right before one’s eyes. I’d just left the big blue Wilderness where Nature is seemingly clearly unchallenged, and now was entering Man’s Den: One of the many places on the planet where man has won the local battle. A once intense harbour of Nature, now used brilliantly as a tool for progress, and yet also in the process creating a source of happiness and awe in Man’s eyes!
What am I? Can’t I just share really Who I Am, and My Struggle to Belong?
But in what capacity was I arriving here? Observer, Traitor, Spy for Nature, Tourist, Polemic journalist, or just Howard? To just feel this conflict and it’s tearing of my soul and keep it within? ‘The Crowd’ wants non-confusing ‘truths’ and ones that better medicate their also conflicted spirit? Where are the readers of my blog? Do they want entertainment, the truths, or medication? I sense from the many emails that I found in San Francisco, from you readers, the vote is for my honesty and its uniqueness. So …
I thought about providing ‘modern anthropocentric entertainment’ for ‘you guys’? Tom, my fellow ex-passenger, even offered me a 40 second long GoPro video of the 3 hours ship entry from ‘The big Bridge’ to wharf docking: Interval exposure that I sense shows the ship moving at 100 knots and coming to a ‘will it or won’t it?’, nail biting 1 second stop perfectly alongside the wharf. Miraculously not demolishing it!! All for free, too! Then: A split second, mindful reflection, connecting you to a business opportunity for future ‘roboticising’ such a clearly ‘simple procedure’!
Ha-ha, but where would be the soul in all of that, ‘My Boy’…?
I hear Tom saying: “Don’t worry about soul and that serious stuff, man, you’ll get lots of ‘readers’ with the video, maybe it will even go viral? It’s just about quick entertainment Howard: These people don’t have time, and need instant novelty, mate. And real instant: Even with 40 second clip there maybe someone posting the same scene but cut to only 30 seconds, and so their ship’s 1 second stop will even be more cool, exiting and beat yours! Its tough out there, Mate.”
“Wow, am I in the entertainment business?” I pondered. “No, but Ok, then maybe an activist has to become an entertainer and then use Entertainment, through Technology to ‘Spiritualise The World’?: ‘Without Nature we are Nothing!’ But that then makes it: ‘Without Technology I am Nothing’????
“Tom, mate, isn’t there something missing in all of this?” I ask with serious despair!
Ha-ha, remembering the risk my new One point Zero would involve: I hope this blog is better than that GoPro, and ‘they’ haven’t all left yet?
I decided that Tom’s ‘GoPro route’ was so un-spiritual and so rational for me, that if I went for it I’d have to follow the guys with the T-shirts below: Become a ‘Big Bridge conqueror’ but not for fame and glory, rather to get me to the ‘dive of shame’, jump off point and follow apparently many who have jumped off before me! So, that video is not an option, sorry guys, even I have to lose ya.
We have almost another two months on land ‘together’ before I’m back on the ship. I’ve decided that while I’m immersed in Society on land with you, I’m going to just be authentic Howard, and to share how I really feel as a One Point Zero-er: No t-shirt! Actually ‘no shirt or more! So there we go you’ll get this uniquely confusing naked blog!
Ha-ha, all fun but only if you have read my last post and particularly the part here!
Face to Face with ‘The Big Bridge’
Firstly, as many of you would know there are ‘lots’ of long impressive bridges in this Bay Area: In both The Bridges and their ‘sub spans’. We went under just two spans, the big ones, but I’ll just focus on the most famous one: ‘The Bridge’.
This was about my fifth meeting with ‘The Bridge’. The first was in 1979, and ‘we’ had just bust through the One Point Zero point. Quite scary hey! As a free twenty one year old ‘boy’ I was just focused on adventure and survival. I’d hiked the Grand Canyon, seen a lot of vast America and I had no clue that this had happened and was even an issue, or would become an issue!! From my reading I now do know lots who did know back then there was a serious problem. These were the real lonely activists, and I’m studying them to find out why we haven’t taken notice? I guess if someone had explained the One Point Zero Earth’s concept and asked me what I thought, I’d have said we were at Zero Point Two or so, and I would responded: “What’s the issue, Mate? I’m in Saaan Fraaaancisco, man let’s just forget about any Point Zero’s and have self-indulgent, ‘anthropocentric’ fun!”
This time my meeting with ‘The Bridge’ is a different fun: A real deep, mindful Serious Fun. Back then I seemed to know very clearly my relationship with ‘The Bridge’, little did I know as I got older it would change and become very confusing, hey?!
Thanks to www.goldengatebridge.org I found these interesting facts and perspectives:
In 1937 when it was opened, it was the longest span bridge in the world: San Francisco Chronicle reporter Wills O’Brien wrote, “A necklace of surpassing beauty was placed about the lovely throat of San Francisco yesterday.”
In February 16, 1994: The Golden Gate Bridge was named one of the Seven Civil Engineering Wonders of the United States by the American Society of Civil Engineers, along with the Hoover Dam, Interstate Highway System, Kennedy Space Center, Panama Canal, Trans-Alaska Pipeline and World Trade Center. (Hmmm, one can see what a trophy ‘Mr Laden’ and his team went away with! I wonder what the 2016 ‘Top Seven’ would be?)
January 20, 2010: Travel + Leisure Magazine names the Golden Gate Bridge as one of the World’s Ten Most Amazing Views, along with the Grand Canyon; Manhattan skyline in New York City; The Matterhorn, Switzerland; Cliffs of Moher, Ireland; Paris skyline; Great Wall of China; Machu Picchu, Peru; Great Barrier Reef, Australia; The Tiger’s Nest (or Paro Taktsang Monastery), Bhutan.
This one is confusing: Amazing? How can a human ‘feat’ ever sit alongside nature ‘feat’ as far as “Amazing” goes? This is a struggling anthropocentric ranking mind, at worst it is a commercially inspired singularly anthropocentric mind!!
‘What’ is Alcatraz? Nature or Human or Both?
In this trailing sunrise shot of Alcatraz Island, I sense for most people the evidence of human occupation (and the place of desertion!!) seen in the picture is what makes the island special and maybe ‘amazing’. Maybe for some this picture would have been more ‘amazing’ without that evidence of human interference? Have we lost our sense of difference in ‘submissive awe’ vs. our own ‘self-fulfilling dominant awe’ between human created awe and ‘Nature and Planet’ awe? To me they are incomparable, with Nature’s mystery, scale and complexity at the highest level Spiritual context: Most of Western Society man’s amazing developments merely at a narrow, Rational Human, context. Albeit a very impressive one in the human context of focusing human capability! The challenge is not let the uncontrolled human ego drive a sense of anthropocentric pride, dominance and superiority that in it’s the myopic rational focus blinds us to our higher level submissive spiritual context. For this we need a ‘balancing audit’ that can only be provided by those disconnected from the addictive Power of their Egos and who have Power through their Submission, not through their Domination and Exploitation of all other fellow creatures.
Landing Ashore: Exploring Oakland and San Francisco
Awaking in Oakland to a new tethered dawn, I was confused as whether becoming a tourist would be a worthwhile and soulful experience of not? I decided to just head out and follow my soul’s directives. I gave up on Lonely Planet for this ‘Trumped by Nature’ adventure, the ‘How to start exploring San Francisco from The Oakland Container Terminal?’ doesn’t pass the commercially viable, content test!
Not desiring of Google phone exploring directives, I befriended the Pilot who had brought Cap Capricorn in ‘for us’ and he told me about BART the underground from Oakland to downtown San Francisco. The bike would be perfect, although from his animated warnings about container truck traffic I could see he didn’t think so! That just increased my desire to be living as ‘intensely and sustainably’ as I can!
So with now a very excited skip in my step, that had to be restrained as I cautiously negotiated the three storie rope ladder from the upper deck to the wharf. No freedom yet, the terminal security have to come pick me up to take me the exit gate! The quest for freedom and sustainable travel is fraught with system constraints!
Asking my way around I bump into Jim who just happened to be arriving at work to offload Cap Capricorn containers for the day! He tells me the way to the BART station but in genuine concern says: “Please watch it those truckies as they don’t care a f…k for you mate, and the road to Oakland is just full of them all.” Well what a ratchet up from container terminal in New Zealand: This was four lanes either side from the exit, and just container trucks after container truck, and huge ones! I thought of Long Beach ahead and reminded myself: “This is America man and you’d better step up to its challenge. These roads are not for bicycles, and so you’d better ride with that in mind!”
It was about 4 miles of challenge, and it certainly put all senses on full alert. There I was on the now two lane, 7th street. Big trucks almost squeezing me out as the road narrowed, the BART rapid transit rail system running overhead, and trains using it every 3 or four minutes making a huge noise above me. I thought of my friend Imi’s comments about the human noise impacting the albatross; well this was the multi-source human noise of progress impacting severely on an ‘albatross human’! Somehow this was intensity, four of the five capabilities were being highly stimulated in a strange sense of adventure, but the fifth source of intensity connecting to spirituality was screaming out loud: Let’s go back go back to ‘That Ocean’ and The Grand Adventure!
Through further human rational ingenuity I was soon in downtown San Francisco. I was impressed how many BART commuters were travelling with their bicycles. I was soon presented with buses that made me question my One Point Zero strategy. A Zero Emission Bus, that’s even better on the environment than my bicycle? No risk, cheap, and sit back and relax mode, it must run on fresh air? Just great that there are so many eco-friendly buses around, but let’s be truthful guys: Where does the electric power to drive the bus come from? I sound cynical and critical, but our challenge is so huge we cannot afford to let people think that once they sit in an electric bus ‘Our One Point Zero Challenge disappears. We seem to be always trying to make things seem better than the truths, to ease the pain or increase popularity or whatever. One of the fine gentlemen I met below refused to do this his whole life…
I have always thought it’s a great city, as far as cities go, but within minutes I felt a desperate need for over stimulation blinkers. I was shattered as I reflected on the fact that in 1850 the population of San Francisco was just 400 people! Less than 170 years ago….Two generations ago, the bridge was built one generation ago, and we passed One Point Zero less than half a generation ago, and that all made me think back to my favourite shocking energy usage chart and ask: When the big, big ramp up of One Point Six all start? I needed some quite time, and I found another man seeking the same solitude, his name was Mr Gandhi!
Then Mr Mandela appeared, and I was surprised in how many places? Oakland loves him!
Then President Bush…
This was quite profound meeting three people who have significantly impacted our world, but how did One Point Zero fit in..?
Was I becoming too narrowly focused on One Point Zero? Well although these three gentlemen had very different focuses they were all narrow? Well maybe that’s not good, so I decided to ride up the historic tram route next to the trams crowded with tourists, get to the top and then see if the most crooked road in the world could bring me the straight answer to my question?
Amazingly with each turn in that crocked road, I saw more and more how Mr Gandhi, Mr Mandela and Mr Bush fitted into One Point Zero, but that’s for another day’s Big Day Blog!
It had been an intensive trip from Cap Capricorn, and I was hungry. It was a lovely downhill ride from intersection to intersection with the perfect cop, immaculately presented in ‘police shades’ on his perfect Harley ‘Police series’ motorcycle. A SFPD (You know what that stands for I’m sure? The San Francisco equivalent of NYPD: That’s if they could ever contemplate any other PD, having ‘touchability’??) Stuck for a few minutes at one intersection we made eye contact, and I said to him: “Great bike, great package, you look so professional, mate. It must be great riding that machine?” Man I saw the cop unable to hold back his professional pose, and with a huge grin he simply said: “Thank You”. I was on my bicycle and we had bonded like I sense one couldn’t do in a car. These are simple special moments, because he was all ‘it is supposed to be’, and I sensed he knew he was ‘it’, and I found that so simply lovely!
On to Wharf ‘whatever’ where you are ‘supposed to go’ for late lunch…?
A simple clam chowder in a hollowed out sour dough roll, after deciding I’d definitely not eat at this ‘King Anthropocentric’s’ restaurant! To me this exudes a total human’s first, Planet’s for us, rape and pillage, mind set, but I’m sure they never mean it like that. However I sense if they linked up with this retailer in Tauranga, NZ’s apparent ‘cunningness’, Nature and the planet would have to worry!!
Ok this has been a long one, but ‘Serious Fun’ too I hope? We are scheduled to arrive in Long Beach, LA tomorrow at 6am, and whoopee another whole new unknown awaits: I say goodbye to my truly wonderful Cap Capricorn home, get on my bike home, and head off without a map or working mobile phone to my sister in San Diego, some 100 miles (I think?) away. Not sure how long, where I’ll sleep, and maybe most importantly for you, when my next blog will be? I’m going to try my very hardest to get one out from the bicycle saddle somewhere along the way.
Thanks again for all your emails, they make it just that last bit more worthwhile! I’ll be responding to those I haven’t yet soon, and send your thoughts and comments if you don’t want to put them publicly on the blog: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally Love to ya all from San Francisco… A place to Sail!