|Strider removal operation at Scottsdale Waterfront|
There is no solace on earth for us--for such as we--
Who search for a hidden city that we shall never see.
Only the road and the dawn, the sun, the wind, and the rain,
And the watch-fire under stars, and sleep, and the road again.
--from The Seekers by John Masefield (thanks to Ironwood Bike Bags Blog for this quote!)
|Water Striders, on land momentarily, headed to another destination|
The bicycle pace, the bicycle openness, the bicycle simplicity, enable this quest, as I've written about previously.
|Twelve foot long fiberglass bugs parked on the Soleri Bridge, in blazing morning sunshine|
|Striders below the pylons, in what Soleri called the comfort zone created by the architecture|
Twelve foot green fiberglass bugs which light up at night floating in the canal. I've tracked the cycle of their green floating surreal accent to our hidden city in this blog over the last few months. I've seen them, paused to ponder them in different light and at night, even programmed their lights to flash in sequence and also at random.
Separately lit and iPad-controllable water strider antenna balls: those things actually existed in my city for a while this spring. So again I diverge from John Masefield: you can see such things in this earthly city, but only if you look for them.
The road and the dawn, the sun, the wind, and the rain, and here in this desert canal-watered valley, the wind, dust, and monsoon rains, these factors feed and sustain my continued search for the hidden side of our cities. I suppose if I am totally honest, part of me does continue to seek that City of God, De Civitate Dei, that appears to be the heart of Masefield's poem. But also seek, with all my heart and mind, that Hidden City of Man that does offer solace, and truth, and beauty, to those who seek it here/now, in this life, in this world.
I've recently been disheartened, disillusioned even (which is rather amazing at my age, and may actually be a good sign!) with the irrationality and cruelty of humans both singly and in groups, both in my personal experience as well as in the news. We have these immense powers of both reason and creativity, enormous potential for both logic and love, yet it seems that nearly constantly I am bombarded with news and examples of the senseless exhibition of the exact opposite of these noble characteristics.
If I'm too idealistic then I guess I should expect disillusionment, right? It may even be impossible or pointless for me to wish that everyone would remember and learn from (consider carefully if not believe in) what Augustine wrote in the fifth century, as we're increasingly becoming programmed to view and forget in ten minutes viral videos and tweets on platforms engineered purely to influence our buying decisions of the moment. But there is no solace there for me. Or rather, recognizing the ironic self-contradiction of that statement in a blog post (no ads here, though!), I should write, my solace continues to be in seeking for some hidden city in the real world.
Sometimes the best parts of that hidden city reveal themselves, and then pass away. Float downstream. Get washed away by rains and canal water. But the impressions of them remain, whether on year-old satellite photos that still show colorful triangles floating in this canal as of this post, or in minds which are supported and sustained by differences made by artists and thinkers who also desire for more than what we normally see. You have to keep looking. You have to be open to it while staying strong in the face of not-it. The search for some hidden city, the ride to it and through it, goes on.
The video that Jeff Zischke posted about his work "Water Striders" is like a map to finding that amazing, welcoming, artful quarter of some better hidden city. Watch the video. It reminds me of what I keep looking for out there, down here on earth.