Tag Archives: Pandora

Confessions of a Dragon Slayer


Confessions of a Dragon Slayer


The Yacht Club meeting was full of surprises for me.

Leaving lance and saber in my car, I decided to battle the dragon with my grandmother’s mantra “… Oh Lord help me keep my big mouth shut…” and repeated it frequently through out the well-run community meeting. Not a peep in that meeting.


The mantra first spoke in response to the 8,000′ rendering. Yikes! There was a moment of artistic appreciation for the design. I liked it; heresy…(I glanced around to see if anyone could tell), and held my tongue. Then there was the County’s mouthpiece (I’m so often cynical about ‘the County’), who turned out to be so much more, and illuminate quite well, the way things work ‘over there’ during the application process. Well-done Heidi!  I watched Heidi note taking through the meeting and left believing she actually values our input in her decision making process.


Another moment of tongue biting… on hearing about more acting out by some of us still believing vandalism is part of the dialogue. Why polarize by tearing down the story poles? old story; wrong story, bad press.


And finally, 8,000′ for a family gathering a few times a year…whoa…many of us have raised good sized families and convened extended family gatherings of 25 -50 people, in less than a quarter the size. In fact my family has had 4 sit down dinners for 50 in a less than 1000.’

Water waste, overwhelming size, the trees, light pollution… and distrust. And a cultural divide underpinning the whole mishegas.

Learning to live in a resource-depleting world has become a mantra to many of us…use less, buy less, be more, be here now (lightly), and leave no or little trace. We’ve migrated to or matured in West Marin with a sense of scale and consumption that is a touchstone for living our lives. We’re wealthy beyond belief when we look at the rest of the world, or even most of the country we live in.


Yet many of us who live here richly could not sell our homes and stay here, as our homes paid for our kids education, or our medical expenses, or our grand kids education and healthcare, and more. And our kids and the middle class whom we worked with in our careers, can’t afford to buy or find something to rent here. Nor can the young folks who work in and serve the community from baristas, to doctors.


The notion of a compound out of scale for the community is a metaphor for thinking out of tune with the community. While 8,000′ may seem small in a peer group of dragons, it dwarfs the shelters of our neighborhood, and community, and reflects an absence of local awareness.


I don’t really want to slay the dragon any more; just cut it down to a size where we’ll know he knows ‘…who the people are in his neighborhood.’

Rich Clarke,