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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Little to Do with Homelessness

At the same time that homelessness is exaggeratedly real, it is just as often sublime. There is a sense that anything can happen, from an unexpected show of police shining their bright-white spot lamps into your vehicle at 2 a.m. --- for who knows what reason --- to full-color dreams of being overtaken by a slowly-rising ocean, gently swallowed up in my truck and carried off by waves. So comfortable and no way to fight it, even assuming I would.

The sound of the ocean grows to one continuous roar as the night deepens. It is the cumulative sound of waves falling up and down the coastline for miles and miles. One cannot hear it by day, for all the competing noises, so the roar is startling at first. It often awakens me, and I drift easily back to sleep, listening, following the water along the dark coast.

We do not often think about the intelligence of the ocean itself, though we like to study the underwater societies within it: whales, sharks, dolphins, porpoises. I imagine these creatures once to have been human beings who grew tired of the captivities of land, who yearned for freedom of movement and freedom from structure. And, adaptation to water would be a way for sensitives to remove themselves from the planet's most dangerous predator.

Life of the highest order gets simpler, not more complex.

My friend Jeff Hedin, an anthropogist, believes water is an angel. He believes the basic elements of life are the angels of the directions (we think of four, but there may be twelve) and that life is timeless and holographic because it takes place in many dimensions. These ideas are vaporized by thought, so just listen and see.

Recently, I have begun a walking meditation in which I take notice of all the water in my body, to the fact that I am a walking body of water, that it is not my bones or muscles that give me form, but the density of so much water inside, and my skin, a mere membrane formed by gravity's pressure. It is a novel way of seeing the world, and it connects me with other people and the nearby ocean in unique ways.

What this has to do with homelessness and other issues of the day is nothing. Nothing at all. That is the point of it.

We are too much immersed in the tiny, joyless, troublesome world someone else passed on to us. There are more problems than we can bear, and none of it is our fault. We can get neurotic over it and do destructive things to ourselves, or we can go unconscious and do destructive things to others, all the usual state of everyday life here on earth. There is no other recourse than to elevate the discourse, find levity, and make fun of everything.

It's not all funny yet, but the odd thing about tragedy is how a certain angle of light can make it comedic. I have to admit that Steve, who lives next to the Yacht Club, is a curious case in point. He is the most carefree of the homeless I have met. He is not disturbed or distracted by what anyone else may think or do. In fact, he makes most people look ridiculous for all their needless thought and worry. He is a fish on dry land.

Steve takes care of himself, too. He has a serious hobby. He zipped by on his bicycle last night, on his way home to the bushes, with another golf bag slung over his shoulder.

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