"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in a magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time" - Jack London
We have had a strange day from start to finish. The passing of local icon, Steve Jobs, will surely be the most significant for the most people. I did not know him personally, but I know that he has touched all of our lives as we go forward. I did admire his taste and style in the house he renovated and lived in in Palo Alto. I was impressed that he tore down the house next door to create an apricot orchard, in keeping with the historic roots of the community.
I am re-using the above quote from Jack London which I first heard at the memorial service to another Palo Altan, as significant A Superb Meteor in her own way. If you have time, she's worth knowing too.
This morning began with sirens cutting through the darkness of sleep. We live near enough to the intersection of two main freeways that we can hear emergency services vehicles hurrying to an accident in the predawn quiet. The helicopter rotor noise that followed was closer than usual and seemed to hover nearby.
I got up to make coffee and heat up our croissants a little before 6 am and resisted the urge to check the news before Abbey's morning walk. The patchy clouds remained from our overnight rain storm and I slipped a flash light into my pocket in the in-habitual darkness. The pavement was freshly rinsed and sparkled under the street lights; our footsteps drowned out by the four choppers stationed overhead.
It was still fully dark and the helicopters were un-moving, only recognizable by the beating of their engines and their lights that were almost lost amongst the few visible stars.
Stranger still was the main thoroughfare; usually a challenge to traverse between the large trucks heading up and down, loaded and un-loaded, from the local quarry. There was not a truck in sight and not another pedestrian nor dog crossed our path, which finally got my antennae twitching.
The local TV station had the answers when I got back home and switched them on. An employee of the quarry had started shooting at the attendees of an early shift, 4 am, meeting. Three dead, a half dozen hospitalized. Large caliber hand gun and something resembling a military automatic rifle. They were searching for a suspect truck driver, described as six foot two and muscular.
For once I was glad that foster dog Abbey has embraced the guard dog tendencies of the German Shepherd part of her gene pool, with a little too much enthusiasm. "He won't be coming in here" was my first thought.
When we drove out on the way to work there were Sheriffs' vehicles, cordoning off the road to the quarry and TV trucks setting up kitty-corner at the gas station, getting ready to film their live news reports. As I followed the updates all day, the SWAT teams and FBI became involved. The suspect had driven as far as the Cupertino/Sunnyvale border failed in an attempt to car-jack a woman and disappeared into the neighborhood. Schools were locked down for safety and a door to door search was on.
This evening, it's getting late. There is no sign of the suspect but he is considered armed and dangerous and the search has not been called off. As the news of Steve Jobs' passing rolled through the media this afternoon, those who were covering the shooting story found themselves already at the spot where the new Apple Campus is to be built and close to the neighborhood where Steve Jobs grew up.
There were many double rainbows today.