Sunday, November 7, 2010

If I Lead, Will They Follow?

Today marked a milestone of sorts for this blog, as it acquired its fifth 'follower'. I had told Alma that as soon as the blog crossed that threshold, I would be willing to extend our walks to a third mile. That we did today. We were rewarded with perhaps the best sunset we have had since we began walking in June. The day did not promise to start out that way.

Due to the switch from Daylight Savings Time last night, we arrived at the beach today at about 3:30 p.m. (about an hour earlier than we were arriving before the switch to DST). When we arrived, the sky was socked in with ominous looking rain clouds. The sun was not shining and, in fact, the skies appeared as if rain was imminent. We decided to give the walk a go anyway. Much to our surprise and relief, about 30 minutes in, strangely, the skies at the western most horizon cleared somewhat of clouds and the sun began to shine through them, warming us and giving us the bright light Alma needs so badly.

But the clouds remained in the rest of the sky, which proved to our advantage when it came to the sunset. Because those clouds became a canvass on which the sun could paint as it fell into the far western horizon. It was simply amazing to see how the sky pinked up in every direction. The photos below will give you a sense of what we saw. Had we not walked the extra mile today, we would not have seen this sunset. We did our standard roundtrip from the pier at Washington Boulevard to the Villa Marina breakwater, but upon our return walked a further half-mile north from the pier to an unnamed breakwater where the big lifeguard administration building and tower is and then a half-mile back. That final mile is where we witnessed the full glory of today's sunset.

Sunset at Venice Beach - Novembe 7, 2010

So, thank you to the 'Gang of Five.' as I refer to my first group of followers. One of you jokingly remarked the other day that signing up to become a follower reminded you of joining a cult. Were I to start a cult, what would be its tenets? Well, my cult would thoroughly repudiate the world of commerce and consumption. So I would insist that any members of my cult commit to spending at least an hour a day completely "off the grid," whether that be at the beach with me and my acolytes or in your own particular space. In fact, I would demand that my cult members renounce the consumption and materialism that seem to characterize so much of modern life. I suppose I would also demand that each of my cult followers blog or journal daily about his or her activities, thoughts and feelings.

Henry David Thoreau has always struck me as the type of figure suitable to lead a cult. Thoreau's rugged and militant individualism strongly suggests that he would have been very uncomfortable as the head of any movement of followers. And yet that same uncompromising individualism would draw others to him like a candle flame draws moths.

In his later years,Thoreau attached himself to the anti-slavery\abolitionist cause with some zeal. This leads to what may seem a decided contradiction in his life and work, I guess. Thoreau strongly endorsed the ill-fated violent insurrection at Harper's Ferry of abolitionist John Brown. But in other parts of his life and work, Thoreau seems to endorse only non-violent resistance. So at least on one central issue in his life and work, whether the use violence is justified to resist injustice, Thoreau seems to want to have it both ways. (While I admire and respect John Brown, I pretty much come down on the non-violent side of this spectrum, as I think that violence usually tends to beget only more violence.)

By these standards, I suppose I would make a good cult leader. My life is and has been a contradiction and any of my acolytes expecting much internal consistency from me will look in vain. Likewise, I have spent about 1/2 of my adult  life protesting non-violently against various Republican Presidents (Reagan, George H.W. Bush and, most recently, George W. Bush) with a zeal that approaches Thoreau's. Finally, I think I know how to save the world if it will only let itself be saved.

Care to join my cult? Become my follower and you will be amply rewarded.

1 comment:

  1. LOL I have joined your cult. But let me tell you I so enjoy reading what you write it has inspired me to write more on my blog thanks Charlie for the insparation