June 17th, 2002

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I find my lack of inner profundity, and embrace it

In a busy, productive day, I pause briefly to note with the sort of chagrin that turns into religious consolation that the true measure of anyone's life is which music seems relevant on a hectic day.

My boom box in my office today accompanies a variety of briefs, e mails and calls with the synthpop band The Buggles.
I do not know why seemingly random lyrics like "living in the plastic age", "video killed the radio star" and "elstree--remember me" resonate for me, but it is not mine to question the Mystic, but instead it is my calling merely to embrace it.
  • Current Music
    The Buggles, The Age of Plastic
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Jodie Foster transmutes into helium in the ether

When I left the office, I caught the LBJ Freeway, heading from the eastern suburb of Garland towards the northern suburb of Allen. Light traffic headed west made the earliest part of my journey simple and pleasant. When I headed north on the Central Expressway, I was pleased to see that the yuccas along the roadside retain their red bloom-like spikes. One thing I loved about living near the Angeles National Forest was the sight of yucca whipplei ("Our Lord's Candle"), a century plant, throwing up twelve foot tall bloom/spikes. The plant was called a "century plant" because it was reputed to bloom only once a hundredyear and then die, but in fact it blooms each twelve to sixteen years, upon which the individual plant does die. A June on the Angeles Forest Highway is a June filled with
huge yuccas on the mountains, some of which have those yellow spike "blooms". I miss that whipplei form of yucca, which speaks to me in some language I barely speak about cycles and change and death and renewal. The little red roadside yucca on the central expressway are a lesser but welcome reminder of my happy times in the "elven" chapparal forest in southern California.

When I was passing through Richardson, the radio program Fresh Air featured an interview with the actress Jodie Foster. She spoke with a poise and confidence I found deeply comforting and yet stimulating--not a gender thing, not a "gee, if I met her she would like me" thing, but a soothing, enjoying-life-lived-with-practiced-grace kind of thing. It may or may not have been a performance, but I was a very willing audience. I heard her constantly relate her story back to her history of working since she was three, and I thought again, for the xth time, how bound and limited and transformed we are by our narrow perspectives, however "picturesque" or workmanlike they might be. God save us from the unisize world view.

Traffic slowed near the Spring Creek Parkway exit, and I worried that I would be badly delayed. Soon, though, it became apparent that a fire engine and an ambulance were clearing up a road situation. I wondered for a moment about the people whose peace was shattered, just as my peace was setting back in, but my powers of creative visualization failed me, and I was reduced to a quick thought of good wishes.

Then, as the interview with Jodie Foster took an odd detour into the question of whether the Hinckley experience should cause one to question the making of movies such as Taxi Driver, I looked across the horizon at two colorful hot air balloons and an ultralight delta wing parachute plane. I love about my part of Collin County that any summer evening can be a picture show of things aloft; I leave my worries about poise and drama and interpersonal matters behind when I can pause, like a kid, in wonder at what flies above me.
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