Sunday, June 03, 2007

Life In Paradise

Paradise is a slippery concept. One person's paradise is another's torment. I love snow and skiing. Martha hates cold and hurt ner knee skiing. My vacation in the snow would be her purgatory. Martha loves fabrics and textiles. I don't get fabircs and textiles. When we see a fabric store, I grab for a book or my laptop while Martha hits the aisles. Paradise is relative to the beholder.
For many Santa Barbara is nearly paradisical. This afternoon Isaac and I are heading down to the ocean to walk the beach now that the fog has burned off. We will stop by for a cup of coffee at an outdoor cafe and then grill in the backyard for dinner. That's pretty good living! We will pass some folks on the beach who live there, under layers of sleeping bags and blankets, fueled internally by alchohol, drugs and their own mental demons. Their situation is not quiet so idyllic.
One of the gifts of my marriage is that my spouse is an artist who sees too much. She observes what I skim. She sees things deeply, too deeply at times. Often her spirit is restless and troubled by what she intuits that I have ignored. But 9 times out of 10, what she sees is painfully true. The series of work she is developing for her show in Oslo, Norway this summer is on the theme of paradise and its back sides, the sides of paradise that are there but we choose to not see: the institutional racism still erroding our society, misogyny, class strife, xenophobia, addiction and abuse, overconsumption and overwork. Well, it's time to hit the beach!


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