UPDATE: Whoa, just skimmed this and it reads like a chapter in a book!
UPDATE: November 12, 2010. Rode by John and Yoko’s old house here on the Harley Davidson the other day. (Name of the Harley is, LUCKY!) There is new construction going on there now that is covering over the old driveway entrance. The construction is right next to A1A. So if you go there expecting a gentle contact from John Lennon, just know that that particular access point is closed right now.
Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.
Today is John Lennon’s Birthday. The island of Palm Beach forms part of the background of the stories in Touch the Ocean: The Power of Our Collective Emotions, but I don’t think that John and Yoko are mentioned, although the Kennedy’s are. The Kennedys’ were up on the North End of Palm Beach, but John and Yoko were on the South End. Anyway, as an artist and a visionary prismatic person, I was driving by John and Yoko’s old house on South Ocean Boulevard today after finding out that I didn’t need to replace the battery on my Hybrid. I’d been to the Old Key Lime house in Lantana and was feeling pretty good after a few beers and local caught fish. I was headed up toward the Breakers Hotel beach for a dip in the ocean. I waved to the house and it seemed to vibrate for a second and then glow. I thought, “Cool, the place is blessed.”
It was only later that I turned on Garrison Keillor who said that it was John Lennon’s Birthday today. I feel that Keillor’s gift is that he can impart comfort to people. And people need comfort during these interesting times. Keillor also sang one of William Blake’s poems, one of my favorite poems of all time. In his elder years, Blake, the great pre-romantic poet, had a long white beard and shaggy white hair. He would dress in a robe like one of the Prophets. The poem ends with these few lines, “Man was made for joy and woe. When this ye rightly know. Safely through this world ye go.”
(Think about that for a while … )
I went for a dip in the ocean. Then I went back to the cottage and took a nap on the couch in the Bahama Room. The couch is from the blue room in the house on the ocean described in Touch the Ocean. It’s a great couch for a nap and still smells like salt air and sunlight.
I don’t know why but after I woke up, I began to get excited about today’s being John Lennon’s birthday. Keillor said that if Lennon would have lived, he would be 70 years old today. No one on my FaceBook was saying anything about it, having been preempted by “10-10-10,” so I searched some sites and just got into the swing of it. And I felt kind of bad because when I’d passed by his old house here, I’d just waved. I didn’t place a flower for peace or get out of the car or anything. I went out to the Publix and did some food gathering, and since I didn’t have any plans for after dinner, I thought I’d drive by John and Yoko’s house again, just for the fun of it.
I’d found Lennon Legend and loaded into the hybrid’s CD player. I drove south over the South End bridge toward Donald Trump’s MarALago. The South End or “Southern Boulevard” bridge is one of the oldest but finest bridges here and was built by the Cleary Brothers back in the day. I noticed that the light wasn’t on the tower of MarALago. MarALago, which means, the Ocean to Lake, was originally the home of Majorie Merriweather Post, of Post Cereal. She was like about, the, Social Matron of Palm Beach in her day and whenever she was in town, she would have the light lit on her tower. The place was deserted when we were kids, and we’d sneak in there and scare each other. Huge baroque objects were covered in dusty sheets and the place was in tatters. It smelled of whoever was in there last and of dank mold. It was quite ghostly but not in a super bad way — just eerie and no place that anybody wanted to really live, especially not us kids. It was strangely appropriate that the Trump would be attracted to that odd place.
Lennon Honors Google
Anyway, tonight was about John and Yoko. So around the curve I went past MarALago heading south on South Ocean Boulevard. I turned the music up. I’d never had the music so loud in my car. “Power to the People” came on and was just blasting. The speed limit is 25 miles per hour on that road in some places and there was only one car far behind me. I thought it might be a cop and slowed down. Cops are everywhere in Palm Beach and they can be super mean to anyone who is not a resident of Palm Beach. On the other hand, if you are resident here, they will do about anything for you, but that’s another story. I thought about the ceremony they’d had today in Central Park at Strawberry Fields. I’d read about it online. And I thought about how Yoko had gone to Iceland and dedicated a statue or something that had a blue light pointed into the sky.
And I thought about the color blue.
So I’m headed north on South Ocean Boulevard with “Power to the People” blasting away, and it was as if I could see the glow of John and Yoko’s place from this distance, beyond the row of same-same mansions facing the ocean. It felt so nice that there was some authentic light shining somewhere in this town tonight.
My plan was just to drive by the house and maybe give a wave. Then I’d drive on and walk down Clematis in West Palm Beach or something, because the only other “John Lennon” type place I know here is Legacy Art Gallery on Clematis which is owned by my friend, Larry Schwartz. Larry has worked with Yoko and carries a lot of John Lennon’s artwork, also artwork by Miles Davis and Grace Slick. So that would sort of be my pilgrimage for the day.
There was a sign that said Men at Work and a sign that said, Detour. This was odd. I passed through there that afternoon, no problem. Signs like that can make even the stout hearted fail if no a resident of Palm Beach. I wondered if the town had placed those signs in case anyone from out of town wanted to place flowers, like at Princess Di’s funeral or something. I slowed even more, but then, feeling some mischief, cranked the volume louder.
It was after 11:30 PM when I drove by. I didn’t have a flower to place, and besides I was worried if that car way behind me was an official. And so I just drove by with “Power to the People” blasting and I was singing and saying, “right on, right on.” But as a I passed the driveway to their old home on the northernmost end of the property, I wondered if this was the former estate of heiress Brownie McLean, and I barely remembered to make a peace sign. So I made a couple of peace signs in a rush, and that kind of bothered me.
How could I have a song like “Power to the People” on at full blast and be thinking of the the super rich and what’s more, oddly afraid of an imagined official? I didn’t even know if it was a copy … I mean, a copy copy copy copy copy cop. It was as if thought forms and crystalized-leylines of invisible fear had been placed along the road. These lines were not exclusive to this area, but seemed to stretch everywhere. They are however fragile now and will shatter into pieces since this is now the way that Nature is going. The Planet Earth simply cannot tolerate another Empire. Perhaps our next journeys will be into the the populating of our star system, for the children are showing that they are rather restless. When will there be another venture to the Moon, at least, to help blow off the collective emotional steam?
As I drove on for several blocks, I remembered that the Big Song of the day that they had sung at Strawberry Fields was “Give Peace a Chance.” Man! Maybe I needed to drive by John and Yoko’s house again with that song playing ..! Maybe I’d done it all wrong. I turned left into a quiet Palm Beach neighborhood, the mansions silent, dark, without physical light, and I’m pushing the scan button over and over to get to “Give Peace a Chance,” and my scan is sticking sometimes and I don’t I get there to that song. I just make a U-turn and head back up to the ocean road. I head South on South Ocean Boulevard.
So this is going to be my third pass of the day, including the casual pass of their home I’d made that afternoon – when I’d noticed the glow, recall — and the really good loudspeakers are blaring and I don’t know what song is playing but it’s not “Give Peace a Chance.” And nobody is opening their windows and there is virtually nobody on the road and I’m thinking, whoah, doesn’t anybody else know it’s John Lennon’s birthday around here? I mean, some of the man’s artwork was even on the Google logos today. So I just sort of give a peace sign and call the pilgrimage off for the evening.
So I’m driving along the ocean and I know that the third time is the charm and all that, but something was missing. I’d needed to stop the car. There was no one else on the road. I had to go up against the imagined authorities and officials. If not me, who? I’d rushed it again. The poet Rumi says, Don’t move the way fear makes you move.
I swing the small hybrid into another U Turn at the Lake road turn-off, right where the Detour signs are, and head back onto South Ocean Boulevard, I’m going north again, and relieved that I caught the Uturn just right so I would pass John and Yoko’s former residence again. This would be the fourth pass, perhaps a balance of events.
So this time, I slowed and slowed. And I had, “Give Peace a Chance” on full.
I passed their house and I actually slowed to a stop. With that stop, I turned up “Give Peace a Chance” even louder and I sang it out loud! Then I realized it wasn’t a cop or an official that I was worried about or that had prevented me from concentrating enough to stop before, but the fact that a car could come rushing around that curve at any moment and clobber the back of my car! It was only for a moment, but sometimes a moment is all that chance requires. For me, it was an opening for the chance of peace in the midst of hazard.
In that space, less than a minute, I could see the blue glow above their former home, radiant. And I blessed the witnessing of this event. Remembering common sense, I pressed on the accelerator, unlocking the battery charge of the hybrid and moved forward. As i moved past the driveway, someone was there, waving. Two people were there. It was John and Yoko, waving with smiling, welcoming faces. John was dressed in white, the Abbey Road cover, with hair and beard long, and Yoko was dressed somewhat in dark clothes, but there they were. I turned to look again as I made the curve, going North. They were still there.
Then. I continued to drive past the metered parking spaces at the public beach. I didn’t notice when “Give Peace a Chance” stopped playing. I pulled over to a place we once called, “Flagpole.” It was a favorite surfing hang out when we were kids and we’d always get hassled by the copys there … I mean, the copy oppy cops. It was one of those forbidden places from my teens that once mystified me and that I’d long since dis-identified with and discharged any negative associations. There was silence. Then Frank Sinatra came on full blast. I heard a couple laugh. There was a couple seated on a bench. I turned the Frank Sinatra off, and set the CD back to Lennon Legend.
“Imagine” began to play. I turned it down some, just to downplay it a bit in case the couple didn’t like Lennon, and got out of the car. I walked down the sidewalk, past the Flagpole, and turned to the seawall and the ocean. I could still hear “Imagine” playing faintly from my car. I lifted my arms and let my hands move over the waters.
Before I got back into the car, I checked my watch and saw that it was now midnight. I pressed the accelerator, turned, and drove silently toward the West. I pushed up the last words of “Imagine” ever so slightly in case the couple had been listening intently, as I had. It was just that sliver of chance that they might have been listening. And chance is very real.
And the world will be as one ….
Happy Birthday John Lennon. Love, Love, Love and I Love.
Thank you Yoko. Thanks to all who remember and Legacy Productions too!
Peace and Be Well,