Saturday, April 09, 2011
Well, we scraped by the federal budget debacle, and we're still here.
But along the way the glow of confidence that was acquired at Humboldt State University proved far more fragile than one might have hoped, and panic began to set in over the past few days. I've been inexplicably close to tears much of time; even spilling over upon discovering in an email yesterday that yet another honor (this time from the Historic Preservation Commission of the city) has been bestowed, and that I'll need to justify to myself over the days ahead(!). The result was that the packet of information needed by California College of the Arts for commencement sits on my desk demanding attention but providing only guilt at being paralyzed by Lord knows what ... ?
I've not yet turned in my invitation list, though I did manage to get a few addresses before collapsing into this lethargic state that has produced a darkish veil of whatever this is. It's uncharacteristic of me. I'm not normally a procrastinator nor a depressive, but how else do I explain this?
The commencement address is writing itself in the sleep state -- I've composed it countless times -- only to have it disappear into the ether come sun-up. The title, though, remains and is unchanging. It's called, "Thumb print, gate posts, and bookends." I believe that I know what it means, and I believe that it will be there when I need it. The problem seems to be that -- though I've written speeches for others, I've never really written one that I was expected to deliver. I'm not even certain that I can. But maybe all that will be required of me will be to stand at that lectern and allow the words to express themselves. Maybe they're building up in the REM state, forming into shape for delivery. I recognize the process. It's the way I wrote music and lyrics long ago, songs that never changed, once written, and always appeared to be something I was remembering ... strange.
Maybe all I need is to trust that this is something that simply is.
For some reason, the vision of myself rising one day last spring (as if it were just another Tuesday), mechanically showering and getting into formal summer dress uniform (white shirt and tie, 4-button coat, highly polished oxblood shoes, badges, and ID bars, topped off with flat hat), then getting into my car for the drive to the office where I'm greeted by Tom, our deputy superintendent, also dressed formally, who excitedly told me that I was to accompany him to Buchanan Field in Concord to meet Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's plane whose staff person had called late last night. It was announced -- without warning -- that the Secretary's plane would touch down for a 90-minute surprise visit to the newly-named 392nd unit of the National Park System, Port Chicago Weapons Station. I would later learn that -- en route from the airport to the Port Chicago site -- that I would give the Secretary the story of the new park, and that a delegation of dignitaries; including Superintendent Martha Lee, the mayor of the City of Concord, the base commander, the president of Friends of Port Chicago, a rep from Rep. George Miller's office, plus local press who had been alerted to the big news, etc., would be waiting to greet him and his party.
I could not possibly have known of his impending visit since the call came long after I'd left for home on the evening before. The occasions when I am called upon to be so dressed are rare (only a few times a year), and how on earth would I have known that this would be such an occasion? And -- it didn't occur to me until just before sleep that night that, again, the sequencing was off ... .
It is this little understood state of an unnamed and unnameable ability -- this sixth sense from one of my unnamed and unnameable dimensions -- that I need to trust now.
But can one go through life depending upon something so nebulous? Yet, is this not the way I've always lived -- intuitively sensing out directions -- often acting before the fact? Always alive -- in the moment? And -- always aware of context? Doesn't everybody? (Does anybody else ... ?)
Will this be the source of my commencement speech-in-progress; this speech that has such an intriguing title but quite literally, no content?
One can only hope ... .
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