Posts filed under 'Les Poesies Quotidienne'

Deer that Just Don’t Care

The 405 is one of the most – if not the most – heavily traveled highways in Southern California. And yet, over the last two weeks, I’ve seen deer foraging for breakfast amongst the woods and shrubs alongside the road.

I have three explanations:

First, these might be Aquarian deer. Aquarians, as any of us will tell you, will do whatever it takes to be different. We don’t necessarily dye our hair pink and cultivate social maladaptivity, but if we discover that most people do things a certain way, we will be filled with an instant, and thoroughgoing desire to do them some other way. Preferably the opposite way. Most deer would choose to stay away from a sixteen-lane highway; Aquarian deer would insist on living right beside it, and looking just as unperturbed as their more sylvan counterparts.

Second, as Sam always reminds me, the evolutionary winners will not be those who eat the most organic food – they will be the ones that mutate the most gracefully to adapt to our changing planet. Sam generally reminds me of this theory after he’s been to Smart & Final and returned with a block of orange-colored cheddar cheese so big it could double as a piece of furniture. Perhaps these deer are evidence of Sam’s theory – for a dedicated So-Cal deer, running away from the ever-encroaching traffic is a losing game. The winners are the urban deer who mutate. They eschew downy woodland nests in favor of postmodern lofts, and they put up with the traffic in exchange for better food and nightlife.

Third, maybe Southern Californian deer are on the same spiritual path as Southern Californian people – they go to yoga, meditate, drink lots of tea, say Om, and strive to Respond to the world rather than React. As you might learn in any yoga class, Reacting is bad – it means that you’re letting the world buffet you about. Responding is good – it means that in every given situation you consider your options and make the decision that brings you closer to the light. Running away from the traffic would be a fear-motivated decision, a Reaction. Making peace with the Now, and creating one’s own pocket of calm right next to the highway – that’s a Response. And the sign of a spiritually-evolved deer.

Of course they could be all three – mutant Aquarian deer who are Living in the Moment. In which case, I must ask one if it would like to come live in my yard and be my spiritual mentor.

Add comment October 14th, 2007

Poesie Quotidienne – SoCal Parenting Techniques

One the one hand, there are all of the ingenious parents who teach their kids to ride a “big kids bike” while roller-blading behind them down the ocean-side bike path. A parent on roller-blades can steady the bike when necessary, let go when appropriate, yet skate along in hover mode, ready at a the first sign of a twitch to grab onto the handle bars again. And, with twenty-two miles of bike path, there’s no oncoming traffic to worry about.

On the other hand, there was this dad, kicked back in the sand, propped up on his elbows, grinning away like life just couldn’t get any better. Next to him was a five-year-old, buried up to her neck in sand. Mercifully, she was planted so that her face wasn’t in the sun. I think the dad must have dug a pit for her first, because it looked like a blinking sighing head had just rolled across the sand to park itself next to him. She watched me run past with a look of long-suffering patience tinged with mild boredom.

Add comment May 9th, 2007

Poesie Quotidienne - Characters III

Santa Monica – Spotted: one fat, sleek, totally unperturbed bunny hopping lazily down the bike path that parallels the Pacific Ocean. Looking for all the world like the rest of us who were perambulating as an excuse to wallow in the late afternoon sunshine – except that we’re human and he’s a rabbit. Nothing but sand, sand, and the very busy Pacific Coast Highway for miles. Alarmed, I approached the bunny, wondering if I should stage an intervention, wondering how I was going to carry a bunny in my arms while running back to my car, three miles away. How did a bunny get out here in the first place? And how is he going to survive with nothing but sand and the occasional abandoned Frisbee to nibble on?

I was quite relieved when a smiling young man wandered over and told me that his pet was enjoying all the attention. Assured that he was neither starving, scared, nor rabid, I gave the bunny a scratch between the ears and continued on my way.

Santa Monica – Random, ephemeral, sand art etched into the beach. sandsun.JPG Lost amongst millions of footprints and hundreds of miles of coastline, soon to be erased by the wind, the tides, or the crazy beach trucks that come by every night to “groom” the sand. But we saw it.

Add comment May 1st, 2007

Poesie Quotidienne – Characters II

West Hollywood – an extremely well-muscled girl in a French maid’s outfit stepping out at sunset, sporting airbrushed make-up and airbrushed calf-muscles.

Venice I – a robust gentleman with three heavy gold chains nestled in his chest hair, wearing a nothing but a black leather Speedo, white trainers, and a great deal of body oil, leaving his Muscle Beach workout.

Add comment April 25th, 2007

Poesie Quotidienne - Characters I

Venice I – Mad Maxx crossed with the Professor from Back to the Future, playing a mermaid-muraled piano on the beach with wild energy and considerable talent.

Venice II – a young man wearing a knee length tunic, turban, and knee pads, rolling gently down the Venice Boardwalk with a beatific smile while playing a cordless electric guitar.

Beverly Hills I – a painter right out of the 19th century, complete with smock, palette and easel, set up on the side of Santa Monica Boulevard at rush hour, doing a sketch of the outside of a shopping mall.

Beverly Hills II – a bicyclist, clearly down with his Zen, riding the wrong way down a major thoroughfare at rush hour, arms crossed across his chest, eyes closed.

Beverly Hills III – random driver stopped next to me at a traffic signal, urging me to roll down my window with great urgency and enthusiasm. Turns out, he’d spotted my Montana license plates and wanted to talk about Big Sky Country.

Add comment April 19th, 2007

Poesie Quotidienne – Cats and Mice

Sam and I were talking about cats the other day, wondering how to characterize their apparent delight in torturing creatures smaller than themselves. We agreed that to human sensibilities, it looks diabolic. Imagine a cat wavering between rapt attention and boredom as it bats a mouse back and forth between its paws. Chasing the mouse into various places from which it cannot escape, just to watch it run. Alternately preventing and enabling the mouse’s escape; all in the interest of an afternoon’s diversion. Occasionally nibbling slightly on the mouse to make it run differently, more interestingly.

Torture, right?

But I’m always suspicious of the inclination to project very human emotions and perceptions onto animals, in an attempt to universalize the normalcy of the human experience.

In his pithy way, Sam cut my philosophizing short when he wondered aloud… “Maybe cats want pets too?”

Add comment April 17th, 2007

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