Sunday, July 03, 2016

Earned Oxygen

Welcome. You are now passing into a HighO2 zone. Please pay the toll at the booth, or use your app to send $25 to the municipality.

The sign did not bother to tell you that if you did not pay, you would be hunted down by a drone and you would be forced to pay or leave.

 But, who would want to leave?  The HighO2 zones were lush zones of green trees and vertical gardens (vines and ivy crawling up all the walls), and they were places where you could breathe deeply and feel oxygen fill your lungs, and your mind achieve a strange, hitherto unknown clarity. They were parks and much, much more.

“Michelle. Do you remember when all people cared about was environmental quality?  Water quality? Air quality?”

Michelle turned to Mark. It was hard to tear her eyes away from the unusual scene of lush green oxygenating foliage.

“Yes. But then, the government decided to eliminate its national debt by nationalizing air. Well, to be precise, oxygen.  Oxygen and water are controlled. They have become big business. Buy water. By high-oxygen air, or at least access to it,” said Michelle.

“Do you think things will ever change?” asked Mark.

Frog Prince at the University of Oklahoma. Keeping the "earned oxygen" levels high! :)
Michelle sighed.

“Yes. Things always change.  We have to be architects of that change if we can. If we can’t control it, we can at least envision it and think of how we might respond to it,” said Michelle.

Mark took out his card that showed how much oxygen he had consumed. It looked like the data plan he had for his phone.

“Wow. I have used up a lot of O2 this month. I need to buy a couple of plants and some hydrogen peroxide and manganese (IV) oxide. I’ll produce enough to sell into the system and keep myself off the CO2 lists.”

“Good idea, Mark. Keep your “earned oxygen” levels high.”

They got out of the car and walked down a green trail canopied by the branches of trees and draping vines. The air was cool and fresh.

“I wonder if Eden was like this,” mused Mark. 

A Reflective Moment
Contemplate Michelle's observation: Things always change.  We have to be architects of that change if we can. If we can’t control it, we can at least envision it and think of how we might respond to it.

How would it be possible to respond to a situation in a world where oxygen is owned and your access to it is controlled?  

Comments? contact susan smith nash here

Friday, January 08, 2016

A Perfect Walk on the Beach

We sat on towels on the warm sand.  It was a small beach next to a traditional Mexican cemetery, hence the name "Playa de los Muertos."

We read passages from José Ingenieros and asked each other questions: What does it mean to live your life in pursuit of the "ideal"? And, halfway into your quest, what if your concept of "ideal" changes because what sounded good on paper did not really align with expectations? In Ingenieros's world, the "ideal person" is not particularly flexible.

How strange it is that we can agree conceptually, but then things fall apart when they meet the physical constraints of the body and of nature.

For example, take something as simple as walking barefoot on a beautiful, sandy beach. The sand is natural, and has not, as in the case of so many other beaches, been trucked in from somewhere else. The vegetation is natural, not landscaped as in the case of beach resorts. We are on an actual ocean and not a replica or simulacrum such as Disney World or Las Vegas.

So, it's not perfect, and yet it is perfect.

Walking on the sand barefoot puts me on edge, like the sound of brakes when the brake pads have worn through. For others, walking barefoot in the sand feels like a nice foot massage.

We argue about it. It's not a serious argument, though.

He wins. So we walk along the surf's edge, his face relaxed.

I try to convince myself I actually enjoyed the sensation of a thousand tiny needles. Massage? Sand acupuncture? Pick your poison.

I love sharing moments in nature, so I'm willing to endure the discomfort, and then reflect later that the discomfort was what rendered the moment potentially transcendent.

It's a matter of living in the moment. I embrace the colors of the sun, the sky, the surf, and the scent of the ocean air filling my lungs.  I am alive to the prickling needles in my feet. I'm alive to the flow of words, impressions, shared ideas. I love it all.

The magic that makes this beach truly bewitching is the power of the mind and the untouched natural beauty that triggers human warmth.