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


The Magical Breakfast Burrito Assembly Line II

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

New Year's Day, January 1, 2014

"Responsibilty starts with the willingness to be cause in the matter."  ... 
This essay, The Magical Breakfast Burrito Assembly Line II, is the eighth 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 fourth in a group of six written on New Year's Day:
  1. Orion
  2. Clean, Well Lit Quarters
  3. External Tank
  4. The Magical Breakfast Burrito Assembly Line II
  5. As Your Natural Self-Expression
  6. Werner's Work In Academia
in that order.

It was written at the same time as I am indebted to my son Joshua Nelson Platt who inspired this conversation and contributed material.



Photography by Joshua Nelson Platt - Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA - 2:36pm Wednesday January 1, 2014
Cowboy Cottage
and the Cattle Pasture


The onset of responsibility is a miraculous thing. It's awesome, wondrous to behold. You could also say it's one of Life's great mysteries. First we don't exist at all. Then we're born, after which for many years we depend on others for everything  ... until one day we're responsible for our own lives. It's not as if we qualify for being responsible like being awarded a certificate when we graduate from a local community college course after diligently studying for it. I'm talking about the inexorable possibility of being responsible  coming on, like the inevitable dawning of a new era in the life of every human being.

From nothing, to being, to being responsible - the genesis  of human being. That's what's miraculous, awesome, wondrous to witness as it mysteriously unfolds. What begets  responsibility? The answer is it's nothing  which begets responsibility. This is the same nothing which could beget anything at all (that's what possibility is). Look: one of the infinite possibilities nothing actually does  beget, given it could  beget anything at all, is responsibility.

Is it just me? or is that really awesome?  To be around it, to witness it happening in my youngest son's life is nothing less than a privilege. We're walking along, strolling  along, (actually ambling  along is the best word for this), ambling along together through the vast cattle pasture the Cowboy Cottage abuts. Conversation is effortless and easy. There are plenty of pregnant pauses between sentences There's time to look down at rock formations. There's time to look up at moss adorning tree limbs - so perfect, it's as if it's been deliberately placed there that exact way, just so.

As we approach the creek he tells me (for the first time) he's planning to travel across the United States on his motorcycle. Although I'm not a 'biker  myself, I'm thrilled to hear it. I am, after all, of the Easy Rider  and the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance  generation. I admit the thought "Hey! Let's do this together!?"  does pop into my head. I admit I do entertain it like a possibility - but only for a second or two. The thought then morphs  into "No, it's his  big break-out experience, Laurence. He doesn't need you interfering.".

The journey described by Robert Pirsig in his Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance set the stage for Robert and his son Chris to bond. Joshua and I are already bonded, so I can't use that as an excuse to justify coming along and getting in his way. Instead I tell him I'll be his number one supporter, fan, and backer from home base - but not his co-rider. He gets it - that is to say, he already  got it. It's actually the best I can be for him. When he tells me he appreciates it, I can tell he means it.

Down by the creek we come across a flock of hundreds  of migrating water fowl floating on the barely moving water, bobbing for food, preening their feathers. It's a marvelous sight. We try to keep ourselves from startling them, but inevitably one of us steps on a twig, and the resulting snap  echoes around the tiny canyon, instantly violating the quiet. The entire flock takes off, almost all at once, the whooosh  and whirr  of their flapping wings drowns out my audible gasp of "Oh no!  I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to disturb you. Please don't go ..." ... but it's too late. They're all gone, leaving nothing but slowly fading ripples. "The good thing is they'll all be back soon after we leave" says Joshua as we head back to the Cowboy Cottage.

What we've set up in the kitchen area is the second magical breakfast burrito assembly line. We've got eggs, soft flour tortillas, sausage, brussel sprouts, chives, tomatoes, cheese, butter for the pans, waxed paper to wrap the burritos individually, and plastic ziplock bags in which to refrigerate them. We have three pans, a bowl, a cutting board with two sharp knives, and four small plates.

We're cutting and slicing and dicing and sautéing and talking about responsibility and the Cowboy Cottage and the cattle pasture and crossing the United States on a motorcycle and Easy Rider and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and the creek and migrating water fowl ... and suddenly like magic  there are two dozen or so burritos (the real  breakfast of champions) stuffed with eggs, sausage, brussel sprouts, chives, tomatoes, and cheese, each individually wrapped in waxed paper, sealed four at a time in ziplock bags in the freezer. Equally magically, all pans, knives, plates, the bowl and cutting board are all washed and dried and put away, and the kitchen area looks like nothing's happened.

Joshua and I look at each other, smile, fist bump, slap palms, and high five. The era of responsibility has dawned - mysteriously. Preparing breakfast burritos together to feed each other, is a good analogy for the calling of this new era.



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