Daytona Beach, January 28, 1904
Oldfield drove a American-built Winton "Bullet No. 2"
Vanderbilt drove a Mercedes
Oldfield won the mile long race and set a competition record speed of 83.7 mph.
it is recorded that Vanderbilt set a new land record that day of 92.3 mph.
As I've tried to explain before, 1904 is not a theme but an organizing principle; a point in time, a reference, an intersection, a convergence. A way to sort and arrange; an excuse to include and exclude. This is important, that is not. I am these things, but none of those. You are chosen, they are demonized. This is the beginning, that is the explanation and the end.
Arbitrary perhaps but everyone has them; they're called Ideas. Most of them are Old Ideas; you've had some of yours forever. You use them to make sense of the day, of the world, of yourself and everybody else. She meant well, he's a cad, you're a brute - these are conclusions based on ideas you decided once upon a time were true and indicative of what's important and interesting and worth remembering. Otherwise, what are you doing here? What does it matter? Who cares?
I'll tell you a secret: last year I worked on telling a story that had nothing to do with 1904. Or practically nothing; still, I thought the story was worth the effort and it had the added value of being true, except that depending on the form you use to present the truth, of course, you can find yourself having to make things up. The way you organize the facts, I mean, you're bound to come up with holes in the argument, days where nothing really important happened, points in time for which there exist contradictory accounts, competing records or, god forbid, a lack of conflict altogether. So you add and subtract, and fix and change endlessly, and if you're not very careful you can come up with a screenplay, for instance, with all the earth-shattering impact of an episode of Dharma and Greg. And it took you a year. And you sit back and you think, but how can that be? That was the most important moment of my life. That was the Time When Everything Important Happened. When Everything Mattered, and I have never again felt such joy and pain and hope and loss and heartache and...
Old Ideas, my friend. It's how you organize, how you arrange the data, how you tell your story. Not because you are important or unimportant, or old or young or beautiful or clever or smart or right or wrong. Not because you are none of the above either.
So here is the secret: every once in a while sit still. Take away all the ideas, all the markers, all the ways of sorting and fixing and placing the pieces. Forget about this vs that, them vs us, you vs me. Stop racing to catch up or get ahead. Let go of ought and should and what you thought you were doing or meant. It's not up to you anyway. Let go of the comparing, the competition, the duality of it all, and hold on while the raw unprocessed chaos of the universe, that overwhelming jumbled torrent of everything at once, no way to make sense of any of it anyway, washes over you.
And then wait a little more. Try not to panic as you sit there and lean into it, let the noise die off, let the pieces fall and settle. Breathe and listen for the stillness beneath. That deep quiet beyond the discriminating and the judging, the rejecting and the disappointment and the fear. I don't get there often but I have once or twice so I know it really exists, that still calm vastness of the present, of infinite moment and being, where there's nothing to fix or forgive or explain or change. It's there. I promise.