Wednesday, September 29, 2010


OFTEN I SPEND A WHOLE DAY WITHOUT AGENDA. Like this one--the day after I left the coast. Slept here, just off hwy 99 on the Outskirts of Eugene, Oregon. Nothing on my plate---will go stir up some meaning.
Start with a morning walk. In a neighborhood strip Mall church I met this formidable guy--associate Pastor of a Four-Square Gospel Church. Could you guess that he once played for the NY Jets? He explained the church's name and history and gave me a booklet. (Church is the legacy of Amy Semple McPherson--a famous lady evangelist unsympathetically portrayed in the movie Elmer Gantry)

Continuing my walk, I was struck by this perfect Christmas tree.
Then seduced by this offer.
Engaged the lady--she let me pet the dogs---were super gentle. Racing Greyhounds she said whose career is over--- rescued from death by a group focused on just that cause.
Walked one of Eugene's many trails---This one along a restored swamp--they are big on ponds here. Wildlife teems in them...Stood still and watched the action. Saw a displaced Louisiana denizen--a nutria (world's largest rodent?)
Wondered at this! Why put massive concrete blocks along the trail--one ever hundred yards or so? Resolved to find out. Took an hour and the answer is surprising: Defense against thieves. Seems the crooks were accessing electrical wire ports, pulling the wire out for its copper. Blocks cover the access points. (this is an excellent time to make one of my favorite points--the distinction between MORAL and TECHNICAL solutions to problems. A "moralist" might recommend a sign saying DONT STEAL THE WIRE----It's expensive to replace. You are looking at the technical solution----simply reconfiguring the situation so that it's (almost) impossible to do wrong. I once founded a community based solely on technical solutions to the 5 major areas of personal conflict: Property, Power, Performance(tasks--chores),Privacy and Peacemaking. May do a blog detailing how that was done.
Birdwatchers--chatted with them awhile---asked about the latest on the Ivory bill woodecker suposedly spotted in the swamps of Arkansas. They were not believers--said the elusive bird was the Bigfoot of the avian world. What interested me was the shy guy looking down--hands behind back---a hanger-on? Desperate for human companionship? Tolerated but not appreciated? Felt sad for him.
Signs along the trail say no camping---but there's a guy doing it anyway---primo spot along Oregon's loveliest river, the Willamette.
Dinner at a mexican taco stand. The real thing--$1
Late in the day, I took this photo of myself and sent it to a lady--yeah, I know its weird---but you should see the one I got in exchange. What? Doesn't everybody do this sort of thing?
I've been impressed at the cybersatisfaction possible with the internet and phone. Discovered that I'm a babe in the woods compared to cutting edge practices. Anyway---part of my day--so I report it.
And I end up the day parked behind Valley River Mall.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: Commitments are one way to fill up time. Creative engagement is another---wandering around noticing and interacting----I think we need both----think the second is badly neglected---because we trap ourselves with excessive commitments---crowding out free days--like this one.


Glenn said...

Brilliant stuff, Randy.

Barney (The Old Fat Man) said...

A wonderful report on the concept of "just be".

Rustedgranny said...

Breathe in. Breathe out. You've got it down to a science!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, Randy!


Anonymous said...

Back in the 70s, I lived in MIddle East and was told about Pakistanis who stole copper wire from telephone poles and manhole covers from streets, only to have people disappear into the sewers during monsoon season. Felt morally superiors then that WE Americans would never do that. Sorry to hear about the missing copper wiring on the pathways someplace as nice and mellow as Eugene. What's to become of us as a nation?

Anonymous said...

Nice pic of you...curious to see what pic you got back from your lady???? Is there a romance brewing?

Anonymous said...

I would actually quite like to hear about your community founded on those principles. How long was it together? Why did it break up?