Illusions of Holiday Magic
Please use the start arrow in the lower left corner rather that the one in the center of the screen. Enjoy 'Der Bingle' and then read my little ode to Christmas...
From the first pink and golden wink of dawn to shimmering days end the inexhaustible desert winter sun of Southern California shines as sure as a sky tearing arc light beaming upwards from a Hollywood film premier. And then comes the resplendent sunset, a blazing sky shifting into luminous opal hues of orange, mauve, and fuchsia.
As twilight drags its indigo cloak over the eastward mountains the winds switch direction and descend from pine clad peaks to blow from the highlands towards the sea, zooming through sage fragrant canyons to finally smooth the ocean surface into a gem like fractured mirror.
A handful of adventurous stars pop their heads out, and Venus in her shimmering diamond like light dangles above the dramatic tableau, a slowly descending specter set in the hot tangerine afterglow now boldly defined by an ever darkening horizon. The silhouette of Catalina Island looks like a colored paper cutout balanced perfectly on the border between night and day. Could nature be any more enthralling than this?
Winter skies in LA are so much clearer, and after dark the temperature quickly drops to the point where I can make frosty clouds with my breath (a somewhat odd thing to accomplishment while standing on palm tree lined streets). While running around at midday in cotton shorts and tee shirts one mustn’t forget that come sundown you’ll want those sweaters, hats, and jackets close at hand.
Even with such resplendent natural light and color illuminating our theater of hours there's a omnipresent sadness that somehow hangs over the lives of most people in SoCal. Such sad hunger seems rather strange given the fact that our universe creates such magnificent structures as these sunsets, and the eyes with which to see them, and the consciousness with which to be awed.
Spewing out tigers, flamingos, blue whales, and dragonflies as it does one must wonder how anything so beautifully complex can also be so utterly chaotic, violent, lonely, and completely incomprehensible. Scaled as it is into something so cosmically vast and terrifingly unrelenting our knowledge of modern life has reached the point of reducing personal existence to something bordering on meaningless, or at least chonologically insignificant.
And so, ergo, arises both the wonder & the sadness.Everything truly wonderful in our lives seems to have happened quite by some sort of synchronistic accident. Try as we may our constantly contrived edifices never quite ring the bell with that clear pure tone (that is unless we are Mozart, and he died penniless and misunderstood).
It is only when a strange confluence of diverse elements, events, forces and people (and almost always by serendipitous fortune) fall into place that the truly inspirational and beautiful in life is revealed, and even then it is often only apprehended in retrospect.Who knows whether there will be a beautiful sunset or not? And more than half the time the answer is…not.
But then there are those nights were it all just fuses together; the temperature, the winds, the precise angle of the sun, the length of day, the season, the instability of the air mass, and the reflection off the ocean… and wham – up pops a multidimensional rainbow colored layer cake woven of every imaginable radiance. Pleasant, deeply inspirational even, but for…what… 20 or 40 minutes? And the ephemeral sky possesses no mind to know what it is doing.
It's a fascinating mystic concept to imagine that there are invisible legions of celestial harmony workers tweaking the tonal patterns of the ring of sunrises and sunsets that at all times encircle the globe, but it's probably just not true. And yet there it is, in all of its day to night colorful glory.
As you stand and stare out into the dusk one can't help but wonder how is it that anything of this world carry such a signature of perfection, a yet the effect is so asymmetrical, fragile, and mirage-like…little more actual substance than a spectral phantom dancing.
If this ‘sand castle’ status is the basic state of all of Nature’s affairs how could we possibly imagine that our heartfelt dreams of holding on to true happiness could ever come to pass? Being completely happy in this life is a little bit like winning the lottery. Some people actually do win, but the odds against it are so astronomical that you’ll probably be hit by lightning first. And yet we persist, knowing that if we don’t put our name in the hat there is no chance to win. I'll just give up on happiness, buy the darn ticket, and have some mint flavored hot chocolate, which for me runs a close second, and is a reasonable stand in for bliss consciousness. Maybe hang up some colored lights?
It's probably for the better to live in what passes for ignorance, at least if we want to accomplish anything great in our lifetime. Being naïve, or even outright stupid, is a firm basis for actually succeeding, primarily because you don't know any better and you're willing to try things that rational minds consider impossible (‘cause if you don't actually try first there's no possible way you can succeed!).
So there goes the argument for doing things well, or at least with a conscious intention.
I guess the perfect combination for making the magic happen is a smart idea and a naive mind, two concepts someone with a Mensa card would naturally consider being mutually exclusive. And so we’ve concocted the winter holidays, our culture’s collective mythmaking day dream that are the legal drugs of those who’d rather not think too hard or who gladly choose the comforts of nostalgia over the heavy lifting of logic.
Call it a willing suspension of disbelief, or blissful stupidity, but how happy was I when it snowed in LA for ten minutes, under a 140 foot high Christmas tree next to a dancing fountain choreographed to the piped in beats of ”'Let it snow, Let it snow” & der Bingle singing 'White Christmas'? Completely, my friend, completely.
Yeah, it was totally phony (tiny, damp, fan blown starch flakes?), but I loved it, and loved the little kids crazy antics trying to catch the drifting white puffs, their smiles like swinging lanterns in the dark, eyes ablaze. We even came back an hour later to see it again. Add that to the opal opera of sunset, and I’d fallen hard for the Illusion of Holiday Magic in LA, my ad hoc winter wonderland. Joyous Noel!...warm sun, palm trees, and all.
"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Let Nothing You Dismay..."
-Richard Arthur Love