So we are on the road again in 38 hours. This will be an adventure based trip. Kate and I will visit my family in Pittsburgh for a few days, then go on to Charlottesville, Va. We will visit the Appalachians, and will look at life there from a lot of perspectives, and will consider if it can be a home for us one day.
The thing is, this will not just be a fun trip. Life in Oakland, Ca. is getting very difficult. Rents are erupting. We have a fairly reasonably priced apt., but when we do have to move for one reason or another, our rent will probably triple. Also, the culture here is really changing. I used to think of the Bay Area as a reasonably relaxed urban area. Now, you take your life in your hands when you cross the street in a crosswalk or try to drive onto a freeway from an onramp. People don’t want to stop for anything. When I encounter these situations, I always think of the more unhealthy kids I work with… “Teacher, he cut me! She pushed me! He walked where I wanted to run!” And yes – smartphones.
There are so many wonderful things here, places we love. Today we joined a group walk by Oakland’s Lake Merritt to observe nesting cormorants.
We met a friend afterwards and ate at an Israeli/Middle Eastern café. There are science enthusiasts, writers, musicians, travelers, etc. etc. etc. in the area. How can I describe our love for Pt. Reyes National Seashore, the Sierras, the redwood forests… need I go on?
Much environmental thought is based on the idea that people lack a sense of place. Many have seen love and connection with a place as an antidote to this angst and alienation. A deep relationship with a region connects people with humans and wildness around them, and helps us look beyond ourselves. I firmly believe in this perspective, but what happens when economic realities drive people from places they love?
Our situation, of course, is relatively mild. We do not begin to experience the horrors that refugees from Honduras or Syria encounter on a day to day basis. Still, this feeling of unsettlement, of undesired upheaval is a very real thing in the U.S.
Of course, this is happening in the midst of an electoral campaign that has pole vaulted over the boundary of rationality into the wonderful world of surrealism. I would never see Trump as someone who can stabilize our culture and society and bring us to a peaceful and stable condition, but many people do. What will this desperation lead to?
I am ranting; the thing is, I have neglected this blog because the reality of these issues has made it hard to concentrate on other important ideas. I will try to sort a lot of this out as we begin a process of figuring our what is next. There are many possibilities; stay tuned, and wish us luck. Lots of observations and thoughts will come during the next few weeks and beyond.