Writing is typically the first casualty of disruptions in my routine. Rather than waiting for the fickle muse of inspiration to return, however, I’ve decided to keep churning out posts until I chase the bastard down. While the blog concerns itself with urban design and our fair city, I suspect that I will venture afield for the next few weeks- or at least until I’m back in my happy place. This week, I’m getting back on the horse to offer thoughts sour and sweet.
On Failure – The Sour
On The Masters – The Sweet
In the broad variety of human endeavor there exists a “world-class” level of excellence. Some achieve standards that are unequaled anywhere around the globe. The world is a big place, and most common people don’t get the opportunity to experience the world class very often. As a very common person, this is especially true for me. Last year, however, I hit the lottery. Not the one that awards millions of dollars, but the one that grants admittance to a world-class event. I was drawn for tickets to The Masters. If you enjoy sports, this is arguably the greatest fan experience in the world. The venue is breathtaking, comfortable and generous, the crowd is well-behaved and knowledgeable, everyone working there is focused on serving the patrons, food and drink are good and reasonably priced, and even the restroom experience is a lesson in efficiency.
The grounds are amazing. The areas devoted to the galleries have grass that would put the greens of any golf course to shame. I would not be surprised to learn that each square foot of the course has it’s own groundskeeper who cuts each blade individually with tiny little shears. There are no gaps, no brown spots, and no weeds, just a tightly cropped, uniformly saturated emerald blanket. I could go on at length about the place- about how each of the tall pine trees has its own lightning rod, about how no blade of grass would dare grow out of place, and about how the pine needles even seem to know their place. Perfection may be not obtainable, but Augusta National is pretty damned close.
|Who the hell allowed that stray leaf on the fairway? Shocking.|
This was my second visit to what are arguably the most hallowed grounds in the South. As Michelangelo freed Moses from his marble cocoon, Jones and McKenzie coaxed a masterpiece from the east Georgia forest. Southerners recognize the pine forest, it occupies a place in our collective memory. The monument of the course testifies to the undeniable quality of the place, but also tantalizes us with the idea that there exist innumerable other special places slumbering in their own cocoons in Mississippi, in Georgia, in South Carolina, in Alabama. Augusta National belongs to Georgia, but the promise of the place belongs to us all.
|Yes, selfies at The Masters are bush league, but I couldn't resist.|
I am conflicted about whether or not the return to “real life” from a world-class experience is good or bad. Would one not want to constantly experience excellence in all of life’s endeavors? Yet if one experienced nothing but life’s finest, would the joy of exceptionalism lose its spark? Must we endure the mundane to appreciate the sublime? Is despair necessary for joy? What is the thrill of victory without the agony of defeat?
What is the sweet without the sour? Is feeling failure necessary to appreciate success?