Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mornings with Thoreau

I was reading this morning in Thoreau's Walden, and came upon a passage that I found very lovely. I was reading in German, and decided to look up the lines in English. Here they are:

"Willst du ein Leser sein, ein bloss Lernender--oder ein Sehender? Lies dein Schicksal, sieh, was vor dir liegt, und gehe ruhig deiner Zukunft entgegend." (123)

"Will you be a reader, a student merely, or a seer? Read your fate, see what is before you, and walk on into futurity." (105)

I must admit, the German translation is so much more beautiful. I love Thoreau's view on life. It is refreshing. Look at life, see what is to be seen, and go meet the future with open eyes.

"I had this advantage, at least, in my mode of life, over those who were obliged to look abroad for amusement, to society and the theatre, that my life itself was become my amusement and never ceased to be novel."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

South on I-15

I went to L.A. once again this past weekend. I took with me a pair of jeans, two shirts, a change of underwear, shoes, my toothbrush, floss, shaving cream, shaver, and alarm clock. Sadly, what I failed to pack into my under-filled duffle bag, was any sort of plan. I hit the snowy road at 6:30am on the 27th of February, only knowing but two things: I'd have road underneath my tires and Provo at my back.

I am not a Provo-hater.

I do, however, feel the need to see new things. And this weekend I felt the need to see open road, followed by populated city-scape. I drove early Saturday into, through, and out of heavy Utah snow storms. I nearly lost my life approaching Cedar City, as my tires became skis and my car spun haphazardly out of control down 100 yards of freeway. Luckily, it was early and the road was empty. All I could say while fishtailing at 70 mph down the freeway was, "Oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please." Experiences--it's what life is about.

After 10 long hours of driving in snow and sun, mountain and vale, dirt and Vegas, I arrived in the City of Angels. Oddly, it wasn't until this point in the trip that I realized the costly error I had made in failing to prepare any sort of schedule. I parked my car in a parking lot, and looked for a long while at the approaching sunset. After about 10 minutes, I asked myself, "well, now what?"

Fortunately, I had grabbed the address of the LA temple minutes before jettisoning my apartment that morning. I drove to the temple and was blown away by its awesome majesty--rising up out of the city over Santa Monica. I grabbed a bag of bagels from the store, some condiments and snacks (total=$11), and felt sustained for the weekend. I changed from street clothes to shirt and tie, grabbed my temple garb, and walked through the huge, brass doors leading inside.
The interior beauty of the LA temple helped throw me into a mood of contemplation and introspection. There is something about beholding beauty, that causes you to stop for a moment and reconsider. I consider things on a frequent basis, as a rule, but something beautiful helps me reconsider the basis on which I frequently view them.

I left the temple feeling reimbursed for my drive, and was once again hit with the matter of, "what now?" I left Santa Monica, drove to a town near the I-15 Northbound freeway, found an empty parking, and began my preparation for a night in my car.

I lasted 2 hours.

I started in the front seat. Moved to the passenger seat. Resorted to the back seat. I learned that a compact car is no place for a 6 ft.+ man/woman to set up shop and try to sleep. I finally fell asleep as rain pounded the windshield, only to wake thirty minutes later, wide-awake, to silence. I climbed out of the back seat, a bit irked by the eerie ambiance of 3am L.A., and made a quick decision to bag the trip, and start back to Provo. An upset stomach was my main argument. I had planned on traveling to Santa Barbara the next day (sorry sister), but didn't want my surprise visit to just be a burden.

I drove back early Sunday morning. About the time I was exiting Vegas, the sun was rising and I'd had enough time to glean a little something from my short trip. I felt very dry--like I was lacking some necessary nourishment-and not in a bodily sense. I looked back over the weekend and realized that I had had no contact with another person. The closest I came to conversing with someone, was in the temple, as I told the man sitting next to me I wasn't going to sit directly next to him, so-as to give us a 'buffer zone'. Essentially, the only human-to-human contact I had, was telling another human that I didn't want too much human-to-human contact going on.

People are good. I missed not talking with people. I am not as big of an isolationist as I originally thought. So if you think that a weekend without people is fun--reconsider. I would much rather spend my saturdays and sundays doing nothing yet surrounded by people, than doing something surrounded by no one.