Here and There

“It’s a squirrel sanctuary; they think this woods is their home; and as long as I’m here; I’ll make sure people leave us all alone” – Ridgetop – Jesse Colin Young

In Oakland drinking water came from a pipe laid under the streets that snaked its way to my glass from miles away after being treated with fluoride and god knows what else so bottled water that cost more than milk or gasoline was considered wise. Here the water I drink comes from a groundwater aquifer in a well dug ages ago not 25-0 from my sink; it is naturally nourishing, pure and immaculate life enhancing soul food.

Oakland’s air is poisoned with pollution from oil refineries, buses, heavy industry and exhaust from about a million cars and airplanes. This toxic mixture of cancer precursor carcinogens fell in micro-sized particles of dust and clung to my clothes and shoes and lungs and traveled with me like an unwanted guest, going everywhere I went. Here a million air cleansing trees, few cars, no buses and no industry make the air I breath a meditation. The clean land, air and water mix with the wholesome sweetness of Midwestern people fueling an ambiance so gooey that if I didn’t already have diabetes this place would give it to me.

In Oakland the poor wretches with shadows on their faces, packed in like sardines in a can, who, especially during the holidays, thinking as everything they see tells them, that they should be happier, are shooting each other down by the bushel baskets. Here the only murder victims are Bambi the Walleye and the Musky.

In Oakland I couldn’t move 10-0 feet without encountering a gaggle of other folk that caused my every minute to be either filled with accounting for them or the action of ignoring them and both threw off my natural rhythms. They were, to make matter worse, if not a part of my personal tribe, as distant and armored as adversaries; creating a state of psychic awareness of my surroundings I prefer to ignore. Here it’s considered the normal thing to wave at most everyone or greet them cordially but etiquette demands no one’s space be unduly invaded.

In Oakland I grew used to the din of constant noise from the space age subway and the cars and the sirens and the masses of humanity that characterize high density residential living, especially making allowances for those who lived above and below me while everything and everyone is going at 2001 a Space Odyssey warp speed; so interaction, though compulsory, often felt empty and meaningless. There I was going slower than the ambient movements of most which is my wont; but here I still haven’t gotten out of reverse and I don’t meet a soul who doesn’t know instinctually that I’m not far removed from the city.

There I left my new 40 dollar NIKE swimming trunks on the bench in front of my locker at U.C.Berkeley gym for 10 minutes to take a shower and when I returned they were gone. Here I left my 80 dollar Under Armor work-out clothes in the shower at the gym and when I returned days later, not only where they waiting for me; they had been washed and folded. In Oakland I wouldn’t dream of not locking my car; here not only don’t I have to lock it; I can leave the keys in it. At Berkeley campus it was necessary to lock my valuables and protect the thousand bucks I enjoy carrying around. Here; no locker, no lock, yet I trust it’s as safe as the gold bullion at Fort Knox.

Just now snow begins to cling heavy to Evergreen trees that stand straight as armies and stretch to infinity between the single lane asphalt roads that cut between them. Take a drive here and you see more stunningly elaborate Christmas light decorations than people and the sheer beauty of the place, augmented by the open spaces, gives a man the sense that he can breathe and commune with his thoughts.

The city spawns a culture of tolerance, diversity and acceptance that always captivates, inspires and fascinated me. But an imperceptible blanket of angst and sadness, which visits everyone’s life to some degree, coupled with the loose attachment to ones feelings in the land of “listen to the magic misery that is me” reaching out for solace, also reigns with most everyone met. Here a genuine inbred stoicism handed down from pioneers still exists and perhaps no one let’s on if they are gloomy. That said; I’ve yet to meet one person so far who doesn’t seem genuinely happy.

I subscribe to the notion that environment is everything so I ascribe this joyous phenomenon to the environs. When you venture out each day on god’s own green, white and blue paradise it’s just damn difficult to feel misery for very long no matter how bad your life may seem. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to write anything new since I’ve been here. As Charles Bukowski said “no one comfortable ever wrote anything worth a damn” and I am nothing now in this temple if not comfortable. The magical mystical fairy-tale movie screen scenery fosters a perfect symmetry in my cadence; an ideal 60 beats of the heart per minute peace that 80% nature and 20% people fosters.

In the city there are plenty of people who know the words but few that know the music; here no one seems conflicted in trying to solve the ancient puzzle that is life. It’s a silent orchestral symphony of tranquility, serenity and brotherhood that speaks: “we are here to help each other thorough this thing; whatever it is”.



About circusinpurgatory
Nick Masesso Jr’s fictionalized short stories, poetry and prose have been published in the Starry Night Review, Elegant Thorn Review, Language and and Vagabond Press; the Battered Suitcase. His latest book “Armor of Innocence” and first book “Walking the Midway in Purgatory, a Journal” are available on-line and through bookstores.

3 Responses to Here and There

  1. Pauliebub says:

    Amen to all that.

  2. James Mcfarland says:

    9.6 rating, Plato the Magnificent returns from etheric peak, Thor brings down the hammer from Olympus. The falcon is back!

  3. Reblogged this on Nick Masesso, Jr..

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