Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


Return To The Creek

Cowboy Cottage and Cayetano Creek, Coombsville Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

September 25, 2013



This essay, Return To The Creek, is the seventh in an octology about my son Joshua:
  1. Joshua Is Doing Nothing
  2. Two Human Beings One Heart
  3. You Can't Hold On To A Wriggling Puppy
  4. Joshua Nelson Mongezi  Platt
  5. Source Of Action
  6. The Magical Breakfast Burrito Assembly Line
  7. Return To The Creek
  8. The Magical Breakfast Burrito Assembly Line II
in that order.

It is also the sequel to Joshua Is Doing Nothing.

I am indebted to my son Joshua Nelson Platt who inspired this conversation, and to Kenneth Cline "KC" Denham who contributed material.




Photograph courtesy Google Earth - Collage by Laurence Platt
Cowboy Cottage and Cayetano Creek - satellite view
When my son Joshua was very young, one of our favorite things we did together was walking from the Cowboy Cottage across the cattle pasture down to Cayetano creek. His curiosity was so fresh, never‑ending and contagious. Whatever he saw (anything  he saw, in fact) elicited an "Ooh" or an "Aah" - be it a cow, a squirrel, a hawk, a deer, a fox, a coyote, a frog or a newt or a tadpole, or even a rock or a downed branch. I, too, "Ooh"ed and "Aah"ed at whatever he was captivated by, but especially at his childlike innocent enjoyment. For me as his father, it was a double  thrill.

It's not that my job as his father is over (a father's job is never  over). It's that he's now at the stage of his life in which, arguably for the first time, he has his own future in his hands. Actually he, like each of us, always had and always will have his own future in his hands. This is merely the first time he's realizing it. It's the first time he's realizing he must inexorably  confront it - for better or for worse, wherever it leads, wherever he may go with it, from now on for the rest of his life.

We're walking to the creek again, something we haven't done together in a while. We're talking in the quiet, trusting, comfortable, familiar way in which a son and his father talk. There are still some "Ooh"s and "Aah"s, to be sure. But there are far more of his "What if?"  questions now, far more baseline confronting the world as it is - which is to say, far more baseline confronting the world as it occurs  for him which he now has to deal with in order to kickstart his own life independent of me. And my role now is less of feeding him, less of clothing him, less of sheltering him, less of educating him, and more of listening  him as he inquires into what's possible  for his future.

In this regard, Joshua's got two big things going for him. The first is Joshua likes being Joshua. When you already like the person you are at an early age, it bodes well for a future of being and fully expressing who you really are. And it's not simply that when you like the person you are at an early age, the seeds of enlightenment are strewn on fertile soil - which is a decisive advantage, to be sure. No, it's more than that. It's much, much  more. It's when you like the person you are, others are more likely to also like the person you are, making your passage through Life easier (and by easier  I only mean more workable). The second is he's brutally honest  with himself. He's not afraid to tell himself the truth about his life, about what works about his life, about what doesn't work about his life. It's a quality he's not reticent to share with me. When he does, it makes a really profound level of communication between us possible.

Return to the creek:  it's a metaphor for our lives, it's a metaphor for our relationship, it's a metaphor for our friendship. Much water flows / has flowed past its shady banks each time we visit. Yet each time we return, it's the same sublime place, the same sanctuary, the same oasis and source of transformation.



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