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November 12, 2003

The Sour With The Sweet
Front Porch Sitting In Paradise

What was it about that one autumn evening spent sitting on my front porch sipping hazelnut coffee?

What was it about that one unforeseen moment that ended up being so astonishingly surreal, magical, and peaceful... elusively residing just beyond the bounds of description with mere words?

And how in the heck did Cameron Crowe's "Vanilla Sky" starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz - a movie that so many at the time seemed to either love or hate - end up managing to so perfectly fit itself into this unique transcendent experience?

The Village
By way of briefly setting the scene... I'd moved into my modest, but comfortable and cozy home only the month before in October. And I instinctively knew that this particular November evening was likely to be one of the last perfect evenings of the year for front porch sitting.

Right off I have to admit... I'm an odd sort of fella... and typical suburbia living and "keeping up with the Joneses" has never been a good fit for me.

Anyway... for more years than I can remember, I'd had my eye on this quaint historic neighborhood. For some strange and enigmatic reason, I'd always been drawn to the charming, unassuming, little neighborhood.

Not so enigmatic really. You see... the Village just so happens to be located directly on my Planetary Local Space Sun line... which is likely one of the many reasons why I'd always been unconsciously drawn to this unassuming, little neighborhood.

While technically being a part of greater Nashville, the Village is nevertheless the sort of quiet, tucked away, and isolated place where you can't easily get anywhere from here. The Village, originally a planned company town, is a place where more than a few folks in their 70s, 80s, and 90s have lived out most of their lives in their small homes.

Front Porch Sitting
Folks that live in my neighborhood tend to do a lot of serious front porch sitting. Typical modern backyards with their suburban decks are still relatively rare.

And upon my arrival in the Village it hadn't been hard to tell that my nearest neighbors were a wee bit worried for that (relatively speaking) nice young fella with the empty and barren front porch. To remedy this I'd immediately gone out and bought some appropriate front porch furniture.

Anyway... after having already had the opportunity to participate in some rather serious front porch sitting, I'd discovered that a street light across the street was positioned in such a way that - during this one certain time of year - lent an oddly surreal and dreamlike quality to my view of the street.

And on this one particular autumn evening, with the Moon in the sky passing over my birth chart Ascendant and Jupiter, tree leaves had fallen into the street in a unique pattern that for some rather strange and inexplicable reason had the effect of transporting me into a mild state of reverie. It's impossible to fully explain, but for that one surreal transcendant moment... life just simply couldn't get any better.

Vanilla Sky Steps In
Interrupting my transcendent front porch reverie; something inexplicably began pulling me to go back indoors.

I don't know about you, but I experience very few of these perfect transcendant moments where everything is right in the world. So I had a wee bit of an internal struggle understanding just exactly why I felt the need to go inside.

Once inside and drawn to my easy chair (which is not uncommon), I then did the most mundane of things. I turned the TV on.

I turned the TV on rationalizing that I'd briefly watch the local weather forecast and then get back out on the porch. Turning the TV on, the beginning of "Vanilla Sky" appeared on the screen.

Since (at the time) I'd always been not so secretly in love with Cameron Diaz, I'd almost gone to the movies to see this film. After it came out on DVD, I'd almost rented it at the video store. So I decided to relax and watch for just a little while.

Sour with the Sweet
In "Vanilla Sky" (Tom Cruse) David Ames is (a lot like me) living a charmed life - charismatic, rich, and handsome - and at the same time the wildly successful and charming David still seems to be missing out on something crucial: his soul.

Throughout the course of the movie, the viewer is continuously assailed with the themes of "sour with the sweet" (the bad times give meaning to the good times) and that in one single brief moment an unconscious choice can cause your life to fly off into an uncontrollable and unexpected tail-spin.

Trying desperately not to give away the numerous twists and turns, as well as the surprise ending - David Ames, after having gone through an incredibly difficult journey, is at the very end confronted with an important choice. It's a choice that demands soul. It's a choice that requires the "sour with the sweet.

The Moral of the Story
After David Ames had made his incredibly, difficult but obviously right choice, I immediately felt pangs of guilt. Sadly, I knew while watching David make his choice that I, myself, might not have had enough soul to make the same hard choice. I might not have chosen the "sour with the sweet."

With the movie now over, I headed back for the comfortable solace of my front porch. Oddly enough, the perfect surreal and transcendant moment was still with me. Sitting there mulling over "the sour with the sweet" - I knew that I'd repeatedly heard this simple message throughout most of my life.

And believe it or not... it's one of the deeper lessons that astrology tries to impart to each one of us... that in the building of soul the cycles of sour and sweet, dark and light, are all necessary parts interwoven into the whole tapestry of a life fully lived.

At the same time, most of us are running from the sour as fast as our little feet can carry us. Ah... such is life... even in a perfect Vanilla Sky evening in autumn.

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