Apocalypse, Now!The other night I was on the subway, on the way to meet with filmmaker Peter Olsen, who is directing a jaw-droppingly beautiful documentary The Singing Wilderness about nature writer Sigurd Olson, when a man of about thirty-five sat next to me. He put his earbuds in, took out his portable Playstation, and began playing some first person, military shoot ‘em up game. (I’m not a gamer at all.) I looked at the tiny monitor as his digital self found cover behind walls and blasted away at his digital nemesis.
The more kills, the more a veil of red dripped down from the top the screen. Then he’d get shot, the screen would go black, and he'd start again. It was compelling, but as I watched I could feel my pulse begin to race. I turned away and stared at the ads above the seats.
Ozu, Again!I was reminded of something I heard Roger Ebert say about the films of Yasujiro Ozu. It went something like this: when Roger comes out of a Hollywood action film he feels wired and adrenalized and maybe even a little uneasy. (Okay, the uneasy bit is me.) But when he’s finished watching an Ozu film he feels like he’s been meditating. He feels refreshed. Calmed.
Earlier in the day, I received a comment and two emails regarding the How to Hug a Tree post. All were about the video.
The commenter wrote:
Perfect clip to illustrate how much we can get from nature just because it's beautiful.One emailer, who shall remain nameless, wrote:
It's lovely. My pulse slowed a little. A little beauty in a drab cubicle. Thanks for that.And the other emailer, guest blogger Jessica Roth, wrote:
I enjoyed that clip of you hugging that tree. My first thought when I watched it was: David, you dirty hippy. And my next thought was: I really need to step outside and feel that tree that grows on the far side of my fence.
These two emails made my day because these are very much the responses I hope A Life’s Work provokes. And sitting on the subway next to the guy who was slaying the enemy, I wondered, would he respond that way to A Life’s Work? Would he even see it? Would it even be on his radar? So, am I preaching to the converted (and a small number of converts at that, but that's something else altogether)? And isn’t the person who might benefit the most from this film the guy who sat next to me on the subway? Here now, for you guy who sat next to me on the subway, a meditative moment we shot at Arcosanti. I hope it lowers your pulse and inspires you to put down the console, maybe do something like take a pottery class, or just feel the bark of a tree. That’s a lot to ask, I know, but a man can dream.