“Awareness of impermanence and appreciation of our human potential will give us a sense of urgency that we must use every precious moment.” (Dalai Lama)
Ruth and I just finished an inspiring walk near Jack London Historic Ranch in picturesque Napa Valley California. This famous American writer in the early 20th century, lived a busy life here, farming his vast crop lands, entertaining guests and writing many of his famous novels/stories. Sadly, I felt a sense of loss for him, as he would tragically die in the “prime of his life”at age 40. Strolling through his Winery Cottage, I noted his treasured book collections, cluttered writing desk area and well used travel bags now sitting unused, functioning as mere showpieces for brief tourist visits today. In fact , much of the original ranch and nearby farmstead buildings would be destroyed in his lifetime by raging fire and devastating earthquake.
London’s self-sustaining methods to nourish his fields would become a great source of personal pride. Using terraced irrigation drainage from a man-made lake as well as recycled, manure fertilization methods, he successfully farmed his land. As commercial vineyards have now have replaced his agrarian dreamland, few relics remained of these “horse and plow” times. His beloved lake, once used as an idyllic respite for hikers, swimmers and horseback riders, had shrunk to one quarter of its size , becoming choked by invasive algae.
Our tour of Jack London’s estate today would end with a chilly walk through thick strands of nearby Redwood Tree forest. Surviving for thousands of years, these massive behemoths of nature appeared indestructible to the naked eye. Yet a closer look at ground level would reveal the death of many species as their rotting stumps and branches littered the surrounding landscape alongside the trail.
As a world traveler, I desire to amass direct experience of place while I can. As a blog writer, I wish to use my present mind to inspire new literary achievements without dreading the future. In Buddhistic terms, nothing lasts forever and you control very little about when and where your life contributions will end. Clearly, impermanence” as expressed by the following “Eagles” song seems quite useful to me as I review the vanishing Jack London imprint on his ranch today.