Friday, July 4, 2008

happy independence day

i started the morning by reading a book on wabi-sabi, a japanese world view on art, philosophy, design and aesthetics. (more here.) i have read a few books about wabi-sabi over the years and there is a lot in there i like, especially the embrace of the imperfect over the perfect, nature over technology. basically i dig it because it gives me an excuse for my creative ideas of precision. (see above). i would not have made a good modernist, at least not as a design-builder.

i then picked up a book about sim van der ryn, a local point reyes architect, one of the pioneers of sustainable architecture in the bay area. sim was exploring everything, i mean everything that is in vogue now. "alternative" energy, growing his own food, experimental architecture, rural living, composting, etc etc etc. it was actually pretty hilarious to learn that we (this generation) is just retreading most of the same ground of the back-to-the-land movement, but now it is too expensive here to do it they way that they did it.

i'm somehow tempted to write something about the fact that is the fourth of july - maybe write something about growing your own food being a great way of being independent. but that seems kind of annoying, even to me, and besides, that's not even what i've been thinking about today. we have a long history of independent individuals in this country - whether it is writers like kerouac or thoreau or architect/engineers like sim van der ryn - and those people have made america great. not our political parties or companies, but our individuals have been the trailblazers for the rest of us.

so as i enjoy my homemade pickled beets (thanks mary o for the inspiration) and watch my squashes blossom and tomatoes ripen - i am thankful for the strong, independent individuals in our country who have inspired me to think about living a little differently, being a bit more selfish, breaking the rules when they seem arbitrary or outdated and taking the time to write and speak about it.

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