Impermanence Overwhelms Today

“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.

4 thoughts on “Impermanence Overwhelms Today

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  1. This a beautifully written post. It exposes, at least to me, how we Americans are no longer caring for our most beloved treasures and literary legacies any more. When I visited the very same areas early in 1972, I saw a slight decline at that time, but your photos made me cry because it looks ghostly and barren 46 years later.
    Please let me know how my beloved Santa Rosa and Sebastopol withstood the fires as you drive past. The lush greenery of the land was breathtaking when I lived there. I hurt inside remembering the Sonoma of the early 70’s and how this city/suburban girl felt like I was finally roaming free in that part of California during my years after college. Your post and then the Eagles song gave me chills and tears. Ruth is right. A perfect ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It does get chilly, but I remember enjoying the weather.(Not the rainy season particularly), but it is indeed a lovely place to live. So happy to hear that hasn’t changed.


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