Life With Toast


Sitting on a vent in the bike car of the Caltrain, the sun of a March afternoon settles in. Spring is waking up and I can feel it on my face and in the air, something just smells different. Maybe it’s evoking past waning afternoon sunsets and freshly minted grass stains. It can be hard to find the seasons in San Francisco, where good weather and great weather are blended together 10 months of the year. 2019 has been rain’ier in the Bay than in Portland or Seattle, so maybe this clear day reinforced the incoming diet of sun and temperate conditions. Regardless of it’s approach, the season - and particularly spring - is a strong reminder that we are living in circles. For example, take weather from a year and wrap the ends (Jan 1 & Dec 31) together and you’ll have a seasonal circle. Stacking the seasonal circle from 2017 and 2018 together and you’ll see the obvious fact that the major trends of colder weather in winter and warmer weather in summer are consistent across the circles. It’s also not surpising then, that changes in weather throughout the year is the definiton of a season. What may not be as intuitive is our lives have inherent “seasonality” trends that shape our experiences.


Peeling back the layers of our basic human habits, we unveil neat patterns of waking/sleeping, weekday/weekend, hungry/full, and so on. These repeating themes weave a mosaic of experience that we come to reflect on as ‘our lives’. They may change in frequency and intensity, but we are sure to find ‘history repeating itself’ at scale from society to our daily energy levels. How boring, you may note, human beings are destined to chase the tail of time around and around. Well, that is one way to interpret the rhythms that constitute our existence, but as the The Dude himself said “Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man”.

Reflect a moment on why we are drawn to nature, to instinctively call mountain peaks ‘beautiful’ or crashing waterfalls ‘breath taking’. It’s not because of some “result” nature has, there is none! Only patterns, only a process that continues to change and flow in a nearly cyclic pattern. So then, something doesn’t match up. Like the mountain, we are not built as a result but only unfolding processes. All of Earth’s inhabitants are drawn into this: nearly overlapping , but never the same, repeating experiences. Some happen in milliseconds (neurons firing) and some are geologic (the breaking and forming of continents). This is our groove, this is our beat, and we must dance with it; like the trees, like the seaons. Our concrete jungles give the impression of permanence - see “Static Illusions” below - but seeing through that reveals a space for us to find peace in. It can be damn hard (see the commuter suffer) but it is our responsibility to do so. For only in seeing the impermanence and unique quality of any given ‘circle’ can we lift the burden of “the daily trudge”. This burden only exists as a concept that we have learned. The stream is just about the same everyday, but we don’t look at it that way. So look at nature’s beauty, look for it’s result, and when you find none, turn that view inwards and find the beauty of the process that has been within us all along.