Musings of Mad Max | SierraSun.com

Musings of Mad Max

Ben Bellizzi
special to the action

California has long been the destination for dreamers and idealists, for people whose imaginations lead the way in search of greener pastures. The state is the embodiment of the American Dream.

There is an immigrant working in the governor’s office for lavish wages and there are immigrants working the land for minuscule wages. There are mountainous regions of stoic beauty as well as valleys blanketed by suffocating smog. There are rich and poor, advantaged and oppressed, and as has been the story of America thus far, there is the occasional triumph sprinkled among vast fields of frustration.

California has it all, and for those of us who haven’t had the fortune to ride a wave of fame, movie quotes, and a fleet of Hummers into the state’s top political position, we must contend with limitations that threaten to keep us from the dreams we work so hard to realize.

Paulo Coelho wrote “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

And for many of us, the chance of an interesting life has brought us to Lake Tahoe. This place is nothing if not a haven for dream chasers: They come to rip through fresh snow; they come to find employment and support a family; they come to discover themselves.

However, despite its fantastic appeal, Tahoe is still rooted in reality, and reality is often reluctant to cooperate with the visions that fill our heads. Some of us may have tasted the frustration that accompanies fractured dreams ” unfulfilling employment, relationships devoid of passion, mounting debt. Yet, as with anything, there always seems to be people who are worse off, and their frustrations can feel like prison sentences.

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These are people for whom an active life outdoors is necessary, yet due to catastrophic accidents are confined to bodies that can barely climb a flight of stairs. These are foreigners intent on working hard to make a living but are restricted to menial jobs because of a language they have yet to learn. These are people with broken hearts, broken families, broken pasts and broken spirits, and from their perspective nothing looks fixable.

Tahoe is like this. California is like this. America is like this.

The thing about dreams is that they don’t just appear from nowhere, they are created by people who are often so passionate about them that they refuse to let them wither. For these people there are no limits, just obstacles that make their paths more difficult. They are the skiers who can no longer use their legs but learn how to rip on mono-skis; they are the foreigners who spend hours normally allocated for sleep to learn a language that will open doors for them and their children; they are the people trapped under an avalanche of depression that claw their way to the surface to start climbing their respective mountains regardless of how long a trek it might be.

Like the rest of the state and country, Lake Tahoe has its problems and inequities, but as this is a dreamer’s land, people find the strength to take control of their own lives, to refuse to be defeated, and in some manner to make their dreams reality.