A time in 1976
I remember visiting some of the family in Texas, it was in 1976 and I guess I spent about 4 months there. I was 26, questioning on which direction that I wanted my life to go in. I was not in any kind of crisis, but just realized that I needed to think about some things, figured out why I made certain choices, and come to some kind of decision if I wanted to continue in the direction I was going. Since I was only going to be there a short time, I got a job on a construction site as a laborer; you know cleaning up things, stacking discarded building materials etc……really interesting things like that; I so loved my job!
I had to laugh at one of my co-workers. He spent most days hiding, being bored. I decided better to just do the work, get it done, and time moved faster. I did try one day to slack off, and it was one of the longest days of my life, and actually found out it is harder work, doing nothing.
I was able to meet some interesting people during this brief period of time. I remember meeting one carpenter, who was a follower of Ayn Rand, an objectivist philosopher, who still has quite a following. Being in my 20’s I read most of her stuff, liked some of it, learned quite a lot from her on the importance of rational thought, but also learned of its limitations if taken to extremes, which I felt she had. Well I had a lot of interesting conversations with this man, who was very intelligent and insightful in many ways. He was intrigued that I was a reader of Ayn, yet also a Christian, since most of her admirers seem to be atheist. Well I let him know that I thought she was a little too left brain for me, even if I did like quite a bit of what she had to say…… but he seemed to accept me anyway.
The carpenter was a great lover of her novels, I was not, I liked her other works better, for instance “The Virtue of Selfishness” is probably my favorite, though her handling of belief in God, which was written by Nathaniel Brandon, was very hard to read, since it seemed very childish it how it portrayed believers.
Her novels were really nothing but philosophical tracts on her world view. Novels are great, a whole universe can be created by the author, be it a Godless one, or one like the left behind series, easy to do, even if it has nothing really to do with reality. We went back and forth on the place the novel has in forming people beliefs, and how harmful, or helpful, they can be for those who read them. For instance the carpenter believed that our culture was dying, that the irrational collectivist mind set was taking over, and in few years we would be savages fighting each other in the streets, because we were not becoming the objectivist ideal that Ayn Rand seemed to be writing about. Just like in “Atlas Shrugged”. I thought this funny, and related to him that he sounded like one of those people who carry signs around that has “the end is near” written on them. He did give me a time line, he thought by the mid 90’s everything would fall apart; I wonder if he was disappointed when it did not happen; he probably was. We all hate to be wrong.
During that time, on my days off I would often go to the beach and walk. During the winter it is really nice, very few people around, and I would walk for miles I guess along the beach, enjoying the cold air coming in from the ocean, relishing in the sound of the ocean, not really thinking about any thing. The ocean does that, sort of quiets the mind letting it rest, a very refreshing experience, one of the reasons I guess that I love the ocean so much. Time seem to disappear when I would walk by myself, hours seemed to condense into minutes, and when I got back, I was always amazed that so much time had passed without me noticing it. It was almost like I became something else when participating in this kind of endeavor. Either my mind shut down or expanded, don’t know, but I did enjoy it. Perhaps it is the same experience that happens when reading a book or watching a long movie; just being focused in the moment, changes our experience of time.
Funny, no matter how much I love the ocean, I hate swimming in it. I suppose the reason being , I love to swim under water so much. Something difficult to do in salt water; also can’t open your eyes without goggles, salt water too painful….. and is there anyone in the whole world who likes swallowing it? I think it can be compared with the unique experience taking a heaping dose of Castro oil. One of my favorite childhood memories; lining up, holding my nose, and quickly taking my medicine, just because of having a few harmless worms in my system, or at least that is what my mom thought.
So I am an observer of the ocean, one who loves it from afar, not wanting to just jump in. It takes an inland lake to draw that out of me. I just love it underwater, the silent floating and sinking, and then the rush to the surface is a true delight for me. I love to go to the bottom, crouch down, wait, and then push up with all my might and explode from the depths……almost like a birth, gasping for the life giving air. Perhaps it is a birth memory, my love of being under water, and just floating, a cellular memory of some kind. I have done some reading on “Holotropic breath work” which seems to point to that possibility.
I like living near the ocean, the air is so invigorating, and something I miss living in a land locked area, with only small ponds to walk by. No pounding waves or the wonderful smell of salt air, which I can never seem to get enough of, when near the ocean. It is like my soul is thirsty for the experience of just being there, doing nothing at all, nothing needing to done.
One day I am going to rent a motel room right on the beach and spend a week of doing nothing but walk the water line, drink wine, eat hotdogs, read, and watch movies. Now that is a thought. I really like the eating of hotdogs part, probably one of my favorite foods accompanied by a side order of mashed potatoes.