Backward Rain

  February 16, 2004

 

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Monday, February 16, 2004

I spent another weekend with my brother and sister working at my Dadís house.  Weíll be putting it on the market in a few weeks so itís our last chance to gather up mementos and memorabilia. Amazing how long this is taking us.

Studying Buddhism and reminiscing about my father has been a Zen-like experience.  Iíve been learning an exercise that helps illustrate how the ego intrudes into our thoughts and how it influences our external behavior.  The exercise helps a person intercept egocentric thoughts that might eventually precipitate depression and anxiety. Jealousy, anger, hate, fear, vanity and hostility are thought by the Buddhist to root from an over-abundant  ego.  I'm oversimplifying a complex subject that I can only begin to understand.

My father had a huge ego and he was also extremely unhappy. Through out his life he was overwhelmed by a self-centered need to boast and brag. He manipulated conversations so that they were always about him and in his later years he embellished and exaggerated his exploits.  His house was full of customized memorabilia designed to focus attention on his military career. He even went so far as to take up ceramics so he could insure a healthy collection of mugs with his name and rank emblazoned on the sides.  He had a heightened sense of self that became obsessive and eventually detracted from his legitimate successes. He was a very smart person who lost his way. That fact makes me insecure about my  own potential for success as I blindly feel my way through life.

____________


Smokey Relaxing

 

THEN

August 12, 1967 - Saturday

I decided to take my own advise so tonight after dinner I went out driving.  After I got some gas I went by the construction site for the new Coronado Bridge.  It consists of a huge strip of earth that, at the moment, is the highest point in Coronado.  For a long time I have wanted to climb to the top of this mound but the presence of a "no trespassing" sign has always scared me away.  When I drove by today however, I noticed that the sign had fallen over and that gave me the perfect excuse to go exploring.  I parked the car and started for the top of the hill which was about a half a mile away.  I had a feeling of great curiosity as I walked because I had no idea what I would find at the top.  Its been a long time since I felt that feeling, after all, Coronado isn't exactly full of places I haven't seen.

As I reached the top I found what must be the best view in San Diego County. On the other hand, the thing that made it unique was the setting rather than the spectacular view.  There I was at the top of a tremendous piece of earth and I could see for miles and miles in all directions. The thing I like about this spot is the fact that I found it myself.  When most people find views like this they usually have vendors trying to sell them picture post cards.

As I sat there I was filled with many emotions however one stood out.  It was the feeling of loneliness.  I had the greatest urge to tell someone my feelings but of course I was completely alone.  Usually during my walks I'm content to keep my observations to myself but this time I longed to share my thoughts with someone.

As usual, I know I can never describe the view satisfactorily.  I sat on the very edge of the hill overlooking San Diego harbor.  To my back, the hill sloped down for about a half a mile to the road where I had parked the car.  Directly in front of me it was cut in a sharp cliff-like form going right up to the edge of the water.  To my extreme left was the navy housing.  Although it was a mile away I could hear children playing as if they were by my side.  The harbor lay immediately in front of me and about a mile over the water is the city of San Diego.  It was really impressive to see the sky scrapers and the new buildings being built. I guess I could see for twenty or thirty miles and the clarity was amazing.

In what seemed like seconds, the sun set and the children's shouts began to fade away.  Finally all that was left were the lights of the city and the sounds of cars, ships and planes.  There was a surprising amount of noise coming from all directions but somehow it was silent and peaceful at the same time.  The lights and sounds all combined into a hum of action but still, where I sat, it was as silent and peaceful as a church.

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