Archive for November, 2012

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Balcony Seating….


Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Fall

This photo is from roughly two months ago, looking toward the east from the south side of Mount Raymond….  This peak is on the ridge between Millcreek Canyon to the north and Big Cottonwood Canyon to the south.  On this particular Sunday, I climbed the trail  in Porter Fork, rounded the back/south side of Mount Raymond, and then went through Baker’s Pass and down into Bowman Fork…which took me to about 1/4 of a mile from my starting point at the Porter Fork trail-head in Millcreek Canyon.  This route around the mountain, up one fork, around the mountain, and down the other fork, is somewhere between eight and nine miles in length and has an elevation change of approximately 2,400 feet.  I had been up Porter Fork a couple of times in the past, and in Bowman Fork only once, but had never taken the trail all the way around Mount Raymond…so this view was entirely new to me…and a wonderful surprise.


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Decorative Door….


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sleeping baby girl….


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question everything….


fall on a rock….


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Would everything really be so different…?


Thanksgiving Morn…again….

The following is from three years ago today, give or take, as the calendar changes with its dates and days, but the sentiment here is the same, maybe even a little richer, though.  So much has changed in these three years…snow-covered mountains provide the backdrop instead of palm trees and bougainvillea…and all of my children will not be here…nor will other significant people from my life…but I still cherish them in their absence and think fondly of those memories from Thanksgivings gone-by…while hoping that today is full of its own wonderfulness again.  So much to be thankful for…including you, my blogging-friends….  Wishing you well today….

“It is Thanksgiving morning and I alone am awake in the house…well, me and the two cats, the one whining for her can of food and the other sitting there politely waiting for her few teaspoons of milk.  The smell is still in the house from the pecan pies that I baked last night and there are a couple pans still that have dried overnight on a towel on the counter by the coffee maker.  I’ve managed to make it down the creaking stairs without waking the little one and his eight years.  He told his mom the other day that now that he’s eight, he’s a man.  His sudden adultness hasn’t gone any further than that conversation, but it was strange or cute that it went there anyway.  The coffee-maker did its thing and the brown brew is sitting there waiting for me.  My fingers are slow as I work-out their night-time stiffness on these keys and slowly-forming words.

I haven’t stepped outside yet, but I will do so here in a few minutes, as I want to feel some sort of crispness in the air on a Thanksgiving Day that will reach temperatures in the high seventies to eighties.  Yes, we love the warmer temperatures in our Arizona winters and springs, but the holidays need to be laced with even a minimal amount of chilliness in order to have and bring the full emotional weight that they should or can possess.  I mentioned to my wife the other day that the media shouldn’t show holiday or Christmas commercials on TV that have snow-covered content or whatevers in our desert land…it just isn’t right.  They’re a tease to those of us who miss it and completely out of context for our holiday lives here with the sand and cacti and palm trees and shimmering pools in our backyards.

This is my quiet for the day and I won’t have it again until late in the night after everyone has gone home and the little one is put to bed.  All of our grown children will be coming over today, some several hours before the festivities begin and others as the day proceeds and when they get off of work.  The little ones will be and are here.  Mom and Dad are also coming up from Tucson, but they will likely arrive later in the afternoon for the four pm dinner.  Grandchildren and my children and the quiet will be vanquished to the extreme times.  Hopefully there won’t be any meltdowns or breakdowns or tantrums or overwhelming situations that raise the roof…hopefully.

And the kitchen will be my haven, my working and hiding place from whatever else goes on during the day.  Turkey and stuffing and ham and potatoes and corn and cranberries and yams and biscuits and beans and gravy and pies and and then….

I went outside to test my senses and feel the breaking day as I might and found it cool but not cold and quiet but not silent…there were a few lone drivers on the road whose tires spoke to the day and at least one dog who also had something to say…not telling any news but sharing that he too was awake…and someone’s heater kicked-in and the ringing was in my ears and shattering whatever might have been quieter…and someone was doing their laundry already at six-thirty, for the smell of fabric softener was in the air…and I spied someone’s newspaper lying in their driveway, so the paper-guy has already been through the neighborhood…maybe he got a later start today, or not…usually he zooms into and out of the cul-de-sac around four-forty or so…and he’s been here and gone…the leaves/fronds on the palm trees were still and the bougainvillea sat silently, not moving in the slightest…and the street light still shone as the sky was still too gray to turn it off.

And I am thankful today for my wife and children and their wives and children and my other family and friends and the good life that I have.  It seems that things and life are sometimes or often too tight or too busy or too mundane or too trying or too whatever and again…and today, my life is good…today is carefree with only the dinner schedule to maintain…let happiness reign.”

***This is a Favorite Re-post from November, 2009.


My Mountains….

There is much that we simply cannot see when we are down in the valleys and canyons of the mountains that surround us…however…when we find ourselves perched atop a ridge-line or peak, it is almost as if the world has been opened for us and we can see…and see.  I found myself atop the ridge-line between Days Fork and Cardiff Fork a couple of weekends ago…and almost could not believe the view.  These are some of the various peaks that comprise our Wasatch Mountains…the eastern border for the greater Salt Lake Valley.


it’s just pumpkin bread….

The memories from that long-ago linger in a cloudy form, without even the substance to suggest that they are wraith-like in their residue, they are probably more like a knowing, the recollection of a notion, a processing of things talked about over the years, an echoing of words like “remember when,” as they existed in their primary forms before those words became what they are today in the contexts in which they still live in conversations among those who use them like that…they are memories, maybe without a sensory connection, as ideas often are, but memories still, and they cast about in my mind as things that exist as a coming-after in the defined sense.  I can imagine forms for them, aromas or flavors, maybe even textures…maybe even with accompanying sounds; I can imagine those things and assign them meaning with the words that populate what I describe as memories….

There is a different body walking about the given room, reaching up and down into cabinets whose doors were opened with knobs or handles or none at all…spices and tins or trays, oil and powders…eggs from the fridge, but no butter.  She brought the old spaghetti bowl out from its place, emptied pumpkin from a can, sifted flour and shook out the salt…cloves cinnamon nutmeg sugar water and soda from a yellow box…dates from a palm tree and nuts from another, a sharp knife and a cutting-board now, they hold my reflection as I move about, a silver mixing bowl with a rubberized exterior that makes it hold still on the counter top…other memories and another face, the bowls were a holiday present, the knives, too, slicing dates and sifting the flour and dry ingredients with a whisk in that bowl…cracked eggs dropping and the oven is getting warm…degree marks rising in number form and I can see his face, a smile as I rinse my hands and dry them…and later words echoing that said, no, not yet…not after what happened last month…it’s still too soon…and the whisk rides the inside of the bowl in a circle oblique, the dry and wet ingredients lose themselves becoming one…the knife scrapes the dates off the board…and my mom walks into the other room…she wore an apron then, a time from another time with powdered sugar on a plate, the decades draw into their pasts and remember themselves and bring us along…we see distance and separation of events and people and know that things exist as they do because of how they ticked in the clock of that time past and they echo so in the chambers of our hearts because of the tears we’ve cried into them…like unfired clay returning to its form, malleable when broken again, mixed with those flowing memories and made whole again…to be broken and broken again to be made whole and whole again…and again…until we purpose to fire them against such happening…and then they are hard and resistant to such effects…and more durable still…and flowing memories just run off, they pass without touching…gone and away.

The timer above the stove beeped in its way after 90 minutes, and hope and expectation were fulfilled after a few more, those more passing to cool and hold, to firm-up against the removal from the pans that held them in their transformation from a flavored soupiness to a rich and thickened bread, a consummation of effort and memory and ghosted images that found their substance as their sensory forms were released from their lodgings in my brain and lived again through opened doors once hidden and closed against time and emotion, against a time and loneliness that caused their own transformations….

It’s just pumpkin bread…but it’s not.