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8:24 a.m. - March 11, 2004
Leitmotifs run amuck
Over the past two weeks the salt fields have been flooded though not an epochal flood like the one that formed the Black Sea when what we now call the Bosporus was breached Ė can you imagine, millions upon millions of gallons rushing through a tiny aperture, imagine the sound, the swirling black horror! Ė but slowly, via a network of pumps and pipes submerged beneath the Bay. It is a slow flood and if one doesnít pay attention you may think it happened over night. Iíve always enjoyed the salt fields Ė not ponds mind you, but fields - even when itís harvest time and the waterís drained leaving behind a pinkish-gray smelly mess of salt and miscellaneous bicycle parts, enjoy that shiver knowing this mess ends up as Leslie's Salt. Seeing the salt slowly disappear as itís harvested, then be gone, stray piles like old snow pushed up against the road, and then the flooding begins again. I think about the salt fields when I drive to school and therapy sessions and I think Iím seeing the last of this process that began during the gold rush. Last year, the state of California spent 700 million to buy much of the salt fields for conversion back to wetlands. It strikes me that history is so easily undone to reveal an older history hiding in the unknown parts, perhaps biding its time and waiting for a new opportunity, or perhaps not there at all and must be reconstituted from scratch following old maps like those leading to Spanish galleons at the bottom of the sea. Or like the Egyptian pharaohs who destroyed older hieroglyphics in favor of a revised account of succession and now we look back and exclaim about 5,000 year old writing and mostly curious about the story that was once said but is now unknown, yet known though it isnít.

And to tie this all to therapy Ė no surprise, there, eh? Ė Iím looking back at my own older history, piecing it together. There are things Ė not many Ė that I remember occurring prior to the modern history so to speak, things like splashing in puddles and a blue playhouse atop of which I climbed but couldnít (wouldnít) climb down because it was too high off the ground. And that part of me thatís yielded and given up and morose and self-hating and pitying is nothing more than the current history, the salt fields, and isnít the end-all. Retrieving what was is possible, reconstituting even more so.

I have a homework assignment from my therapist: I am to play for an hour. I laughed, incredulous, to cover up the excitement I felt. Specifically something I havenít done since I was a child. I have no idea what to do.


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