1. IN THE BEGINNING... (early childhood)

INTRODUCTION

Suppose there were a world that only could be described by verbs...not nouns: a world of continual flux with no static, permanent things...or permanent 'persons'; a world of ‘tabling', but no ‘tables'; a world of ‘Donalding,’ but no ‘Donalds'.

I perceive that world, and it is that world physicists, along with great spiritual teachers, describe.

We are blinded by our ability to name, to insist on seeing things as nouns.  We attempt to 'freeze' a liquid world.   We conceive as motionless what, in fact, is constantly in motionOur ability to perceive reality is extremely limited.  

The convention of language distorts our perception.  We and the world go through countless manifestations without our noticing it.

We are verbs...not nouns.  I speak from experience...

BEING A KID


ME (1948)
I was born and grew up in Whittier...then a relatively small southern California town with a lively and viable downtown of family-owned businesses.  This middle-class community was surrounded by open fields and orange and avocado groves.  

In many ways, it was a paradise for growing up.

As a kid, I could keep happy riding my tricycle up and down, and up and down, our short uninteresting driveway...for hours...looking at the smallest things and dreaming.

It took me an hour to make what otherwise would have been a five-minute walk through the neighborhood.  Everything caught my attention and interest: butterflies in the bushes, people washing their cars, utility men climbing poles…you name it.
MOM AND DAD (1940)

I was really fortunate.  My older brother Dick and I had great parents.  And I adored my grandparents who lived just a block away---I saw them all the time.  We lived modestly but fully on my dad's junior high school teaching salary.  He supplemented that income by doing various odd carpentry jobs and remodeling in the summer.  

My dad had no carpentry training; he learned it all as he went along.

Our parents encouraged us to find out what we loved to do...and do it, not simply make money.  For good or bad, I followed their advice.  They always said I 'marched to a different drummer.'  They were OK with that...but that didn't keep them from worrying about what I was up to or how I would support myself.


BEING IN NATURE

In the summer of 1949...I was four and Dick was seven...our parents took us to Yosemite to camp and hike.  We had never had such an experience before and it was paradise.  We all were hooked immediately and camping became a family tradition until Dick and I left home.


OUR 1949 FORD LOADED WITH GEAR (left) and DAD AND DICK IN OUR CAMP (right)


ME AND DICK, YOSEMITE 1949

That trip, and our tradition of camping regularly and appreciating...almost worshiping ...nature, was a life-changing experience.  It has stayed with me all these years.

It certainly changed the way I looked at nature...and life.  And it was the basis for the landscape being my continual painting subject.

MAKING STUFF

I was a builder and loved to work with my hands.

Dad was a great carpenter and craftsman, and he was patient with me using his stuff. We had a garage full of tools and lots of scraps of wood.

If I saw something I loved, I mimicked it (my dad joked he was afraid of me seeing a house mover and attempting to move our house)...but most often I would build it…


MINIATURE TRAIN 'THE DAYLIGHT', BALBOA PARK, SAN DIEGO (left) and MY VERSION (right)

out of anything I could find...



I made all sorts of things---trucks, ships...



bridges, hot rods...




BUSINESS ENTERPRISES

As a result of my many interests, I initiated innumerable business ventures and start-ups.  One enterprise was my combination firefighting and gardening business...



I also had green waste disposal and flower businesses.  With the flowerless plants in Dad's garden, he quickly caught on where my inventory was coming from.  He was a good sport...



MY GRANDPA IN HIS SHOP
By the time I was ten, I was in the newspaper business---founding The Lockheed (our street) Weekly Gazette.  I was the reporter, editor, and typesetter (typist) and Dad handled the printing side on his school's mimeograph machine.  I distributed the paper throughout our neighborhood.  The newspaper's income was mostly from advertising.  I had one good client...my grandpa.  He faithfully ran a weekly ad for his sharpening shop just a block away...

EDITOR, REPORTER, CIRCULATOR

Like the green waste disposal venture and the flower business, the newspaper enterprise didn't last long.  I was excited to start it but the day to day grind was a drag.  I wasn't a newspaperman.



Copyright (c) Donald Archer 2020  All rights reserved.

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