I'm traveling in India with my family. One wonders if there is anything to say that has not been said before. A delicate smoke fills the air, coloring the sky with an endless smog. It's somewhere between burning wood, incense and exhaust fumes.
I’m freshly returned from the holiday break and find a lot of stuff waiting in my in-box. First up: a post from our latest inspiring guest blogger, Dharma Dog, a.k.a. Bruce Weaver. Bruce is a cinematic nomad traveling the world in search of wisdom wherever it’s found and capturing his discoveries on film. Currently in production of an independent feature documentary, Dance with Destiny, he’s a kindred spirit in every sense of every of those words. Here’s what he has to say today…
The wind whipped through both my microphone and bone marrow at something like 50 miles-an-hour north of Taos, New Mexico. July in the Southwest is better known for melanoma-causing sunshine, not bone-chilling wind. Naturally I packed light that time of year, but not without my Panasonic DVX100 which I wear like an appendage, nor the one-pointed focus of a bloodhound for which I am guilty, intent on capturing footage from the permaculture gathering held at the Lama Foundation, former home of Ram Das and birthplace of “Be Here Now,” the gig hosted by its land manager, Rico Zook.
Clearly unequipped for the windy conditions that weekend, as my footage would later reveal, yet despite the wind, the footage would remain faithful to the heart of both the message, and messenger. Rico proved to be a focal point of the story that weekend. A man of rare humility, straight-up earth steward, and indeed kin to my own heart: earth-conscious, and practicing the dharma of voluntarily living simply, while cultivating a recognition of his own intrinsic dignity and the dignity of all others.
I spent yesterday looking out the windows of planes. Looking down on a world I could barely see, feel or touch. For the better part of twelve hours I made the trip from Cortes Island, to Seattle, on to Washington, DC, and then home to Burlington, walking into the door of my home at the stroke of midnight.
Today is a celebration of sunlight, bright green colors, and crystal specks glowing off the lake. This is an amazing place to come back to on a day like today. Well actually it's an amazing place to return to almost any day but today especially. This is a day to decompress, to go slow, to look and listen. A day without phone calls or e-mail. A day to be home.
The expansive time and space of the long Labor Day weekend has faded, almost as if it never happened. Where does the past actually go other than taking up some space somewhere in my mind? I’m 36,000 feet up in the sky generating CO2 emissions that I’ll have to offset. The expansiveness has now moved from my mind to the picture outside my window. The sun just dipped down below the horizon. We aren’t heading West fast enough to keep it in sight as I fly in the late afternoon from Washington DC to Seattle, where I will head out to Cortes Island, off the Vancouver coast, to give a talk at the Hollyhock Institute.
The second in a series of on the road interviews with the many to find the Inspired Protagonist in the ALL.
We have been on the road for 3 days collecting inspired protagonist quote-vlogs from a variety of people. We were at the GreenPeace office on Friday and had a moment with John Passacantando, the Executive Director of GreenPeace, USA.
Good News! The Seventh Generation Team has made it all the way to Great Falls, Montana and from there to a brief thought of civilization named Dupuyer (which Dan Googled and found means 'bison back fat' in French). All of us were active at 4:00AM this morning and now that it is midnight our time, Penny and I are pretty drained. Dan however is ready for a hike.
I am hours away from my flight from Burlington, Vermont (my home and headquarters of Seventh Generation) to Great Falls, Montana- the closest commercial airport to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch in Dupuyer, MT. That's where I'll be participating in the 6 day workshop: Biologists at the Design Table (BaDT). There I'll be joining 2 other co-workers (Penny and Dan) and from the looks of it, 13 other participants.
I got back last night from a week in Portugal. It was our annual immediate family-only trip. Every year, Chiara, Alexander, Meika, my wife, and myself take a week alone somewhere to get reaquainted. It’s amazing what happens when we spend two hours having dinner rather than 2 minutes, and talk about world events rather than who’s going out tonight and what time they have to be home.
Life is so full of habits and distractions – rushing to do things that probably don’t really matter, or failing to see things because we think we already saw them – that almost anything that forces us out of our daily pattern can produce wonderful and unexpected results. We observed how different graffiti was in Portugal than in the U.S. (more often than not, it’s almost art or something actually better than most art), what our country looks like when viewed by others, which we did by reading the British newspapers (the Guardian has always been a favorite of mine), and what it’s like to be in a culture where there are more farmer’s markets than supermarkets.
I also noticed the beauty of their windmills and how they discourage people from driving cars. (An hour on their toll road costs $20 and three-quarters of a tank of diesel fuel for our mini-van cost $90 while a 3-hour express train ride about the distance from Washington DC to New York cost less than $40.) Food is served slowly. Almost all stores close from 1pm to 4pm. Tips seem deeply appreciated, and most newsstands seemed to have at least 5 to 7 local papers.
Arriving back at JFK airport in New York City last night was a shock to the senses even for someone who was born in New York. I missed the visual pleasure of being surrounded by a more thoughtfully designed architectual landscape, the slower pace, the absence of chain stores and getting into a 20 year-old Mercedes taxi!