I have been back in America for a week and have had a nagging cold. I am told, as usual, the tedious information that colds have been going around and this person and that have had one. Nonetheless, I have managed to see a few relatives and friends and, when asked about my adventure, I have been hard-pressed to talk about my trip at all. Like before, when I returned from my global trip of a year and a half ago, I find it so difficult to talk about my feelings or thoughts or mention much about what I had seen. As expected, most people are primarily interested in hearing lurid details of my scrape with revolutionaries, exactly the kind of information which taints and distorts the positive message I had wanted to convey.
A number of folks have asked me what I have planned next. Although I have toyed with idea of going next year to Argentina and then cruise to Antarctica, my most immediate plans are to drive next week and visit a sick friend in the SF Bay Area and then travel to LA to clean the smog-soiled gravestones of my parents. Somehow though, the thought of racing along I-5 for hundreds of miles depresses me. Perhaps I can find alternative routes, but still, the thought of touring this part of the country at all leaves me hardly exhilirated. If I could magically turn back the clock and drive the highways of my childhood, when the landscape was rich with localism, then that would be stimulating and enlightening. Unfortunately that time is over. Now there is a hideous hodgepodge of strip malls and repetitious placement of oleander cheapening the vista. Sure I might find unusual highway signs like the ones above that might have redeeming value as photos worthy of comment, yet such messages, although amusing, fall short for me the stimulation I derive from experiencing a new, refreshing turf.
Oh well. My journey will take me down a well-beaten, degraded path, one which might ellicit both sad and cynical comments. For sure, I can start off feeling upbeat and seek the positive in being alive. Yet, is there way to protect myself from being beaten down by the overcrowded, unaesthetic, totally tense, toxic environment I am entering? I am open to suggestions or will I hear from you, what was called in debate, "a significant silence" because you are in as much of a quandry about this aspect of modern society as I am.