The most difficult thing to come to terms with…

…is that, while the universe is infinite, we are finite. To truly understand infinity is to acknowledge that a finite point within an infinite set limits to zero in significance. And thus being’s unbearable lightness. And thus the infinite market for something – anything! – which grants the illusion (I don’t intend the derogatory implications inherent in the word ‘illusion’) that our lives have transcendent meaning.

The most powerful organizations – from Apple to the Catholic Church – have gotten that way because they provide people with the sense that their lives are significant. Because, as Kundera points out, to live with the idea affixed in your mind that what you’re doing is permanent, is life affirming and extremely healthy.

Knowing what we know, while believing what we believe, wholly unconcerned with the many contradictions between the two, might be the most powerful of human facilities. If its development is even possible –

CA in Sept, brief

whole hog

Driving down from PDX, a September mountain storm keeps me from camping in the Modoc. A motel in Adin instead. Next day, Susanville is desolate “You’re not from around here, are you? You don’t have a hick hat”. El Dorado Sunday Brunch Buffet in rainy Reno. Sun’s out down the Sierras, a raspberry pie, the next morning we’re crossing the grey Bay Bridge into bright San Francisco. Right to the heart, check in at the Triton. Sandwiches in the alley cafe. Then to the ferry building and share oysters & wine as that evening fog, regular as packed happy hours, chokes San Francisco Bay.

Next day the best day, two cups of coffee, then standing on the corner of Leavenworth & Jackson reading the NYT with the sun on me and all that garlic smell drifting up from Chinatown I make eye contact with a woman on a passing cable car & we both smile knowing that we each KNOW… what a moment. Then it’s the circular tour of The City, down to the Mission which is like any busy street in Guadalajara, burrito belly, out to the park and down to Crissy Field where we watch the Airborne Ocean (fog bank) fling in and get cut down by the blazing California Sun. That night we drink sit at the little upstairs bar at Tyler Florence’s new place and guzzle pinot over a Hangtown Fry, too much. The next day we drive down the coast to Templeton.

Templeton CA. One of my favorite places, and this maybe the last time I’ll get to spend there for a while. Coffee at Joe’s, slow mornings, a bit of work. Wine tasting in the afternoon: L’Aventure, Booker. Slow dinners, we roast some turkey and roast some lamb and guzzle wine and tickle the baby and sing songs.

Then it’s on to Palo Alto, stopping in the Santa Lucia Hills to taste. You wish you could visit Napa the way it was 40 years ago? You can… SLH, south of Salinas, north of King City. Good pinot, good chard.

Purpose of Palo Alto trip being to see our friends and their kids and to help host a Pig Party. Roasted pig, rotissere, 50 pounds of pig turned over a spit. We spent the afternoon drinking wine and tossing cherry wood onto the fire.

Finally, the wedding. Botanical gardens in Berkeley. My boy Jesse who I hitchiked to Portland with in 1999 and his lovely girl Lori. A morning ceremony, a reception that goes all afternoon. We had to split before the afterparty – too tired from the Pig Party, too long to drive the next day.

And then that massive drive home, 700 miles, to Portland rain.