The general thesis of this book involves taking a walk along the paths I have followed in this life and getting to meet a number of the people I have encountered along the way. We shall learn a bit about their accomplishments – ones that include what they are best known for, as well as some things above, beyond, and often afield of their main claim to fame. We shall visit some of the places I have lived, and dwell a bit on some of the extraordinary experiences I have had.
These people and these experiences all have made a variety of contributions to the world as it is today and perhaps how it will unfold on the morrow. There is the theory that even the flutter of a butterfly’s wing affects the rest of the planet. I believe you will agree that the flutters created by these people you will meet (or perhaps already “know,” in so many different ways have made their contributions count – some positive and some negative if you’d like to play the judging game.
There have been many ripples in the pool of my life: ripples caused by the pebbles cast by the people I have known and by the pebbles I have dropped into that mysterious pool myself. This book unfolds as a series of stories about the interesting people, special places, and important life events that constitute more than 79 years of my robust life. There is a certain element of “Forrest Gump” in the narratives -- I was involved with many of the cultural, social, and political events and people of our time. Forrest apparently agrees as he says in the Preface.
The ripples involve:
Looking down and back at my life from a perspective of one orbiting the planet (might be fun to do), I got that there is a unifying theme in the many involvements I have had. Picture a path through a changing forest (let’s make it one that includes great redwoods, original growth trees of all kinds, groves of bamboo, conifers with soft, spongy, low-growth leading to pristine meadows with crystal clear streams cutting through, and patches of wildflowers with wild strawberries and blueberries abounding). There are many windings and forks in the path, and every once in a while one comes across some side-paths that involve a diversionary stroll yet lead back to the main path. Along this path, one that I started on from the time I could walk, land -- “the land” -- had a very strong attraction and connected with me in a physical, creative, economic, psychological, and spiritual way.
I am most “at home” on this planet when my fingers and hands are in the dirt. I thrive on the whole process of gardening – in whatever manner and wherever it may be. The process of selecting a site, preparing it, getting the right seeds, planting, cultivating and nurturing, harvesting, preparing the crop, and marketing it seems to me to be the reason I (and perhaps all humanity) am “here” – this time around (and perhaps many times around). This process can be literal, it can be figurative. My experiences, my attractions, my psyche, all partake of this connection and process.
The land is a great and wonderful canvas to create upon, to preserve, to show to others so that they may –in their own way(s) – understand, grow, prosper, contribute and give back to others and to the ultimate Source. Given that, looking back (and looking forward), pretty much each step I have taken in life, each choice made, has had some relationship to the land and/or what is developed on it and from it.
I’d like to share here my favorite passage from one of Carlos Castaneda’s books, Tales of Power. As I have altered it, there is described, for me, how each of us lives their lives, particularly when those “moments of truth” come upon us – when a big decision needs to be made either to stay in place or move on to something else.