Posts tagged “hope

Eleven Miles from Somewhere…again….

“Yesterday morning, on my drive home from the store where I had just purchased the week’s food and other household supplies, I was looking at the neighborhoods I passed and at the smoke and steam coming from roof-top chimneys and vent pipes.  I also caught sight, through and beyond the clouds, of parts and pieces of the white and enormous mountains that line our eastern horizon.  It was and is still amazing and weird and wonderful to find myself in this place in the middle hours of this last day of the year, in a place so new and strange and removed from where I was last year.  As I drove those snow-lined streets back to our neighborhood proper, I happened to notice a mile-marker sign that was posted along the road.  It said “Mile 11.”  Now, I am familiar with state highways and roads that leave their freeway confines and become or pass along the same route as a city street, like US Highway 60 in Arizona that becomes or passes-along on Grand Avenue, bisecting the Valley of the Sun to take travelers on their way to Wickenburg or beyond, and I know of US Highway 89 that takes us from Flagstaff to Page, and to Kanab and Panguitch, and then marks a parallel course to I-15 as it leads north to Provo and Salt Lake, eventually becoming State Street that runs the central length of our city, but I was not familiar with any such state route or US highway that had turned into 700 East as it made its course through the city.

Seeing the sign made me wonder about the eleven miles that had passed on the other side of that mile marker and how many other miles existed in the opposite and other direction, whatever and whichever way that actually was.  It struck me as odd, too, and maybe allegorical even, in the processing of what yesterday was and what today is in the marking of time in a year and this present time or era or segment of my life and my family’s lives in this time of crazy and dramatic change.  We’ve come to this station and place in our lives, taken such drastic steps to find ourselves in a new state and locale, and work and living and natural environment and our heads and hearts and sometimes emotions are spinning and wondering and looking for something familiar to grasp and hold-on to as we attempt to regain our balance and direction.  And here we are then, eleven miles from somewhere, remembering and thinking about the past and wondering about the future, holding-on to each other, leaning against one another in our little relocated family, awaiting the arrival of others and missing those who won’t or cannot join us…and our friends, of course, we remember and miss them too, those precious ones who, even from outside the circle of our family and intimates, loved us and brought us joy and companionship for the past twenty years and more.

So it’s not only us, but you, too, who on this first day of a new year are eleven miles from somewhere.  Where are you going, what are you doing, how are you, and we, too, going to measure this year when it’s gone, like we’ve done to the one that is just passed and passing?”

***This is a Favorite Re-post from January 1, 2011.


Image

Eyes, too….


I saw Superman, again….

I saw Superman walk down my hallway today and he didn’t and doesn’t care what you think about him.  He was a white-boy with dread-locked hair that’s long enough to tuck behind his ears and he smelled like the stink and rot of unwashed bodies in tight and closed places.  I’ve smelled his kith and kin in hovels bare and small.  I’ve sat and listened to their stories of life and things passed-by and wondered at their truth and then found that it didn’t matter, those things and they, well…they became true in the telling.  And today, as he shuffled past me in his coke-bottle glasses with scratches and old and yellowed tint from age and sun and wear, the arms hooked over ears with huge and fearsome gauges stuck in the lobes causing holes that would be large as a ring on my thumb, he shuffled past in that mess and whatnot with torn jeans and ravaged converses as he huddled his face into the small baby of two months or less and whispered his whiskered and loving words into his tiny self.  He whispered kind nothings and stink and I didn’t smell his breath, but neither did the baby as he lay there cuddled and warm against that chest in the torn and fake-leather jacket and was loved by him in all that it meant to him.  That baby there was cherished in those moments where he existed in my life and Superman had him and rocked his world…and I hope he remembers that love when life comes on him hard and rough as it sometimes will…I hope he remembers that his Daddy loved him, then.

***This is a Favorite Re-post from October, 2010.


Two years and two days ago….

The Remove

I sat inside the steel and glass monstrosity and watched the people walking past.  Everyone was going somewhere.  They were returning or leaving and found themselves all there, as I did, waiting or having waited.  We were dressed in our fineries, or not; we were in a hurry, or not.  Our faces held an eagerness or impatience with too little time, or we were in a set and staid complacency, as we had surrendered ourselves to wait.  Patience was no longer needed.  We just were and our time would come as it had for the rest.

I looked out through the large windows and beyond the technology that was in the foreground, beyond and beyond the miles between here/there and the object of my gaze.

A few hours earlier, I was out and among the mountains and streams, walking down earthen pathways that were wet with life and rich and gray and sandy and mulched and fine, and trees of every and sundry sort shaded my walking and allowed, too, the sun to shine on my pathway, to illuminate the great undergrowth and broad leaves and needles, nettle-like weeds of slight and fine stalk and stem and little branches and huge, fallen and leaning and upright in their rotting and decay.

Life was full and birds drifted and alighted sometimes and not, and the stream/river crashed over rocks and boulders and ran into side pools in their clean-ness, the large mess of aquamarine and clear and green and blue and white in its rushing and crashing in tons and gallons and my heart and soul wanted to stand there and stay there forever, being fed as they were with a food or nourishment so strange and beautiful and foreign to my desert-living self.

The greens were rich and lush beyond the holding of our dreams and the air was fresh with some kind of natural perfume, a fragrance wrought in the heady blooms of wildflowers and shrubs that found their anchors or homes in shaded caves and coves beneath large and tall pines and firs and oaks and cottonwoods and aspens.

I don’t know if I had ever seen streams or rivers running down the sides of mountains before that day, but I had now, or then, on that day, twice even, in their similar crevices or ravines among the rocks and tree-lined and covered mountain, a green sheet or blanket of trees covering that rich and fertile whatever with those ribbons of white and clean ice-cold foaming and bubbling tide that crashed over hundreds of yards from their beginnings in the craggy heights above.

If this land were to be my home, would all of this cause me to be happy?  Would it continue to nourish my soul when I was pressed and oppressed by life and money and the nothingness of work?

Would all of this add meaning to my temporal existence and make-up for areas that I felt were lacking?  Would I be fulfilled, or would it make me want to escape that much more?  Would its nearness make me yearn to leave hearth and home to be among the boulders and trees and rivers and deer and snakes and squirrels?

Would I crave their company more than others’?  Would I be drawn inside and away from those in my surround, seeking the company of myself over them – seeking the company of myself and away over them?  Or would they seek this hideaway from the everyday and nourish their arid souls here, too?  Would they treasure this natural sanctuary as I would and want to be in its raging stillness as I would and be so comforted in their awe and treasure it beyond words, taking refuge, as I would, in its splendor and remove?

I hope they would….

This is a Favorite Re-post from July, 2010…written after a visit to Salt Lake for a job interview in preparation for our eventual move to the area.  The words are from exactly two years ago today…and the photographs are from two days ago….  Thank you for visiting and for sharing in the natural beauty of my “new” home….


View from that pedestrian bridge….

Several weeks ago, I shared a post about a pedestrian bridge that’s about a mile and a half from our house.  I suppose the essay focused more on despair and hope than it did on the bridge itself, but it also touched on the view from up on the bridge and how one might gain perspective or even peace in such an unlikely place.  Anyway, I returned to the bridge this evening to take pictures of the view so that I might share them and maybe offer something tangible to go along with the words in the writing.  If you’d like to read the essay, click on the words The Pedestrian Bridge and they will take you to it.  If not, I hope you’ll enjoy the pictures by themselves.

Not real pretty to look at, but it serves its purpose.

Mt. Olympus from the side…like a plate standing on its edge.

It looks like the freeway leads right into the canyon, but it actually heads to the left and skirts the Wasatch range…kind of a peacefully distracting view on the way home from work at the end of the day.

This is the view just to the right of the last picture…incredible mountains.

Looking through the fence, the thing that keeps us safe up there, provides a boundary somehow…but one that we can see through, obviously, so that we can still measure our lives and problems against something a bit more permanent, something of a grander scale that might offer perspective to whatever is happening in our day-to-day.

Looking to the west, we find the Oquirrh Mountains, not as majestic or awe-inspiring as the Wasatch range, but still beautiful in the right light.  It’s not in the picture, but off to the right of this mountain chain, viewed from the proper height, one can see the Great Salt Lake.

Can you imagine looking out your back window at all of that?  Amazing….

Utahns really like their flags…they’re everywhere, it seems.

Bells Canyon’s Peaks…there’s a beautiful waterfall up in this canyon, you can see photos of it in some of my other posts.

Classic view of the Wasatch range…there was still snow on the peaks and in those veins when I visited Salt Lake last July.


The Pedestrian Bridge

I wandered out of my neighborhood proper this evening for my regular walk, out of the familiar realm and into another, past the new-ish houses that line and dot the area and into the older parts, the more ancient, if that is not too exaggerated of a word for the homes and hearths that rest and belong in this other area.  I walked past houses with fireplaces lit and burning and the myriad smells of different woods burned and smoking and was cast back into my childhood with the smoky meat and sausages of German towns and cobbled streets and gutters, wood-burning stoves lit and burning and casting their familiar aromas into those long-ago icy nights, snowflakes falling past slated roofs and through the beams of yellowed street lights.  I was there in moments and out again as I beheld the gorgeous and modern houses that lined other streets, an elementary school with the shining SUVs and minivans leaving the parking lot with raised and lifted and monstrously-tired trucks as they left the evening conferences or whatever, pulled out of the parking lot and made their way and ways to their various houses…anyway, down those dimly lit roads that went to those other neighborhoods, not mine, but away. 

I walked those miles and then, and came to the cemented ribbons of commerce and travel, that freeway beltway that circles the town and valley.  On this side is the neighborhood, on the other are the stores and restaurants filled with people spending their time and money doing whatever it is they’re doing, shopping and eating and being and not wondering at what I was doing out there on the middle of the pedestrian-bridge those twenty-some and thirty feet above the freeway looking down at the passing cars and trucks and minivans, some of which might have just left the evening’s activities at a local elementary school, some of which might be passing homeward, so late, from their working days, or heading back, or to work as I stood there and looked at them passing so.  My gloved hands slid their fingers through the chain link arched fence that covered the bridge and hung loosely there as those semi trucks and full and midsized pickup trucks and whatnot sped along. 

I wondered at peace and how it could be found there, wondered if it was there, not just there to be found, but could it be there, suspended so high above those cemented passageways, four and six lanes heading their separate ways, four and six lanes times east and west, so eight and twelve lanes in their coming and going.  Would it be possible to sit there above the traffic, suspended there above those passing vehicles and people, and have the hum of tires and motors become a relaxing and whitened noise that might calm a troubled soul?  Standing there in that odd place, that suspended place that caused my steady soul to wonder at the fastness of the cement pillars and pilings, the metal rods that must be deep inside those cemented somethings, and the architectural skills and engineering genius that must have been utilized to allow for sway and movement and the natural jostling of wind and the shifting of potential liquefaction of the substrate and the contracting and expanding of freezing and warming concrete in their seasons and other things…it did wonder, my steady soul. 

It wondered, too, at the darkness that must reside, I would say live, but that would seem to involve an effort to do so, to live, that is, but to reside could be equated to existing and that, it would seem, might not take too much effort…but I wondered, anyway, at the darkness that must reside in the hearts of other people, in their souls maybe, such seemingly impenetrable blackness that would cause them to join me on this midair walkway and look for ways to violate and pass-through the chain-link and then hurl themselves onto those concrete ribbons and under all of those passing vehicles that I mentioned and didn’t, just above in those earlier lines. 

My mind wandered back, too, to an earlier life and an earlier occupation that was occupied, was occupied, indeed, so to speak, with concerns, with others’ concerns and our own concerns, mine and my co-workers, with those troubled souls and darkened hearts that found themselves up on those suspended places over the rushing traffic.  I wondered how they could have come to that place in their lives, and so near their deaths, that they sought the heights so they could soar up and out from their own inner depths and fly and fall into a light that meant release from so many torments.  I wondered what happened to that last loved one or friend, the last one of either, whose patience ran out, whose loving words finally failed that other one on the pedestrian-bridge.  Were they scorned by lover or friend, by their oldest child or youngest child or their mate of one or two years, of two or three decades, or was it failing health or lost dreams or used-to-be’s?  What did they lose…to find themselves there?  It could be anything, I suppose…or everything, too.  Their equilibrium, purpose, drive, meaning, orientation, world-view, or whatever…they might suddenly be in a place where nothing makes sense, where things aren’t where they used to be, where even the light is different than it’s supposed to be in their world, or in the place in their world that they used to occupy, maybe.   Maybe if their shoes were on my feet, maybe, I might understand more than I do or can, maybe I would understand what it’s like to be them, if I could understand such a thing, but I don’t know.  I didn’t walk in their steps, didn’t share their heartbeats, didn’t lay my head on a pillow next to theirs at night, maybe, or didn’t lose what they lost, or suffer the abuses from monsters’ hands like they did, or might have…I didn’t feel those things, maybe I didn’t, so I can only try to understand, as I might. 

So, I wondered about all of that and some, and more, as I stood there and listened to those tires and motors speed away from beyond and beneath me as I looked eastward in the darkened night and beheld the lighted forms of the mountains sitting there and understood and knew that they offered perspective to some people’s lives, but not others, that some problems are bigger even than mountains, or seem to be, and therefore are, and that comfort and peace might only come to some at the end of a brief flight from a pedestrian-bridge.  Not my personal choice, mind you, and nothing that I condone…but I do understand…in as much as I am able.


Temple Quarry Saturday

The Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City was built from blocks of white granite that were “mined” from a “quarry” near the entrance to Little Cottonwood Canyon, just south and east of the city.  When I imagined what a quarry might be, I pictured a huge hole in the ground, or at least a huge scar on the rocky side of a mountain.  The blocks for the temple were actually carved out of boulders that fell from the mountainside in the canyon.  I’m not advertising for the Mormons or the beautiful architectural feat of their showcase temple, I am, however, sharing the natural beauty of the place where this people gently obtained what they needed to build it.

 The site of the Temple Quarry Nature Trail is also the lower trailhead for the Little Cottonwood Canyon Trail.

You can see a boulder in the very bottom and center of the picture that came from the mountain above.

It’s probably easier to see the size of the boulders that were used from this picture than the last one.

Frozen waterfall from the snowmelt on the side of the mountain.  There’s not normally a stream there, so I imagine it’s just from the melting snow on a few warmer days.

This is the snowy canyon at the base of the mountains.  The creekbed/streambed is in there somewhere…not running now, but frozen and diverted further up the canyon.

It’s crazy what the fog does when it freezes on the branches and poles…beautiful crazy….

Took this at the end of the hike…heading toward early afternoon and the winter sun was just creeping over this part of the Wasatch range…beautiful.

Go Sun Devils!


Eleven Miles from Somewhere

Yesterday morning, on my drive home from the store where I had just purchased the week’s food and other household supplies, I was looking at the neighborhoods I passed and at the smoke and steam coming from roof-top chimneys and vent pipes.  I also caught sight, through and beyond the clouds, of parts and pieces of the white and enormous mountains that line our eastern horizon.  It was and is still amazing and weird and wonderful to find myself in this place in the middle hours of this last day of the year, in a place so new and strange and removed from where I was last year.  As I drove those snow-lined streets back to our neighborhood proper, I happened to notice a mile-marker sign that was posted along the road.  It said “Mile 11.”  Now, I am familiar with state highways and roads that leave their freeway confines and become or pass along the same route as a city street, like US Highway 60 in Arizona that becomes or passes-along on Grand Avenue, bisecting the Valley of the Sun to take travelers on their way to Wickenburg or beyond, and I know of US Highway 89 that takes us from Flagstaff to Page, and to Kanab and Panguitch, and then marks a parallel course to I-15 as it leads north to Provo and Salt Lake, eventually becoming State Street that runs the central length of our city, but I was not familiar with any such state route or US highway that had turned into 700 East as it made its course through the city.

Seeing the sign made me wonder about the eleven miles that had passed on the other side of that mile marker and how many other miles existed in the opposite and other direction, whatever and whichever way that actually was.  It struck me as odd, too, and maybe allegorical even, in the processing of what yesterday was and what today is in the marking of time in a year and this present time or era or segment of my life and my family’s lives in this time of crazy and dramatic change.  We’ve come to this station and place in our lives, taken such drastic steps to find ourselves in a new state and locale, and work and living and natural environment and our heads and hearts and sometimes emotions are spinning and wondering and looking for something familiar to grasp and hold-on to as we attempt to regain our balance and direction.  And here we are then, eleven miles from somewhere, remembering and thinking about the past and wondering about the future, holding-on to each other, leaning against one another in our little relocated family, awaiting the arrival of others and missing those who won’t or cannot join us…and our friends, of course, we remember and miss them too, those precious ones who, even from outside the circle of our family and intimates, loved us and brought us joy and companionship for the past twenty years and more.

So it’s not only us, but you, too, and then, who on this first day of a new year are eleven miles from somewhere.  Where are you going, what are you doing, how are you, and we, too, going to measure this year when it’s gone, like we’ve done to the one that is just passed and passing?


The Present

The notes dropped softly into the quiet air of the darkened room, falling easily like thick snowflakes on a wintry and wood-smokey night.  They slid sometimes in icy wonder up the scales and tinkled down again and pattered along the floor like a baby’s footsteps as he’s learning to walk, all wobbly-legged and unsure, patting his bare toes in sprinkled notes and laughs of fancy and then.  They remind the man of a music box that used to sit on the shelf in other babies’ rooms in days and nights of a past that is thin and fleeting.  Cars and cars pass and the furnace clicks on and a smell of warm dust and human dander swirls against the cold walls as another tune steps from the stereo and moves him further along and into the night.  The muted lights from something moving on the quiet television that glow through his closed eyelids make him wonder for a second why it’s on, but then it doesn’t matter…as the notes keep rising and falling like a tiny heartbeat.  A tiny heartbeat that is just below the other notes and endures with its tender strength and doesn’t go away even when the music ends, that one little note that lay underneath and within and kept on with its steady, un-fading ping ping ping ping, and then, that heartbeat.  There is an Indian running swiftly in tinkling notes of raindrops and teardrops of gentle cadence, a rushing of golden tango-notes like freckles falling on a fair and tender face, and a person dining alone in a happy sadness that isn’t sad, with a movement and sway that comforts and soothes in its quietude. They are notes in their touching caress and the passing of the minutes and hours of a night that lure the man into a wakeful sleep where his heart beats slow and calm and there is nothing else, just the song.


And we touch a life….

It’s amazing sometimes, how we can be affected by the people who come into our lives, and vice versa.  Whether they or we are there for years or months, days, or even moments, the interactions and actions can leave a permanent mark that is felt and known, sometimes only by the bearer, for the rest of our/their lives.  People have studied the human attachment and socialization processes for years, and in an objective sense, we can all understand and relate to the academic ponderings and writings that filled lectures and library shelves over the span of curious and inquiring time.  We can perceive that we begin to learn to be a human and a social person within the boundaries of our homes.  We understand, too, that we continue that learning when we step outside of our homes and have those first interactions with other kids or adults out on the front porch step…and down the sidewalk that leads to the park or the neighbor’s house…and then further down the sidewalk and street toward our first school experience…and it goes from there.  The people in our surround begin to touch our lives, sometimes good, hopefully most-times good, and sometimes not-so-good…and many times not necessarily either, just touched.  Just enough of an imprint or lesson was left behind, or maybe just an impression, a feeling, or even a suspicion, is left in our memories, and that represents the “touch” that was theirs, or ours, on us or them, me or you.

When we continue to read those journal articles, psychology books, sociology books, or whatever, and then compare their essential content to our lives, the subjective part of our studies, we notice that there are, indeed, similarities between the texts and “real” life.  We comprehend the depth of impression and effect when we look at the patterns of family and work-life that repeat themselves from generation to generation.  Our experiences are full of knowing people whose fathers and grandfathers were physicians or mechanics or plumbers or academics or military men or police officers…just as they are, those people we know – or their mothers and grandmothers were physicians or nurses or teachers or professors or seamstresses or military women, just as they are, those people we know.  We notice the same movements or gestures or uses of words and phrases, or even similar postures or habits of a family member, or ourselves, returning home from their or our workday as they stand there in the kitchen eating from a bag of chips just like their father did.  We know, too, that some of our friends or co-workers, or clients, or family members, or other people with whom we are familiar, also have substance abuse or violence problems just like their parents did, their father or their mother and alone or together, those pairings of influence that leave a permanent mark, a dent, a troubled soul, a perpetuating something that wasn’t good when it started and hasn’t been good since it’s been passed along and along.  People never learned to listen or care or nurture, or they were suffocating and rigid and unbending and unforgiving…or they weren’t…and they weren’t.  Sometimes people learn the most and best how to love from their families, their moms and dads, their brothers and sisters, grandparents, and then.  And sometimes they learn to love from other people who come in and touch their lives, other people who come in and accept them for who they are, love them for and with their faults…and encourage them to grow and look inside and outside, to see how their own actions are affecting others and others, and eyes open and open over time and see and learn, and still err, but learn and learn and strive and try and hope and work and love and watch and enjoy and cherish and endure and love…and get tired and fed-up and say “screw it” and so…and they still love and cherish and endure and hope….  And sometimes love comes late, or it becomes known late, but it is still love, and can still touch us the right way, so that we can still pass it along, and along.

Sometimes those touches that come to us are not good, but they turn to good when we recognize them and remold them and twist them and apply them as lessons in what not to do, or what not to allow, or tolerate, or what not to be; they become things that we specifically do not want to repeat from one generation unto another, from home to workplace to home and mine and yours and another.

And then sometimes, sometimes, regardless of the lesson, regardless of the example, regardless of the impression, or whatever, we do things or other people do things that go so strikingly against the examples and lessons and intentional impressions, that we and you and the other observers are left scratching our and your heads, thinking “What the…?”  And then what of the examples, what of the lessons, what of the conversations and explanations and illustrations and demonstrated failures and successes, and hopes and yearnings, and shared strivings and conquerings of indefatigable foes and odds…what happens to all of that when a person or that person or some people or those people choose to go and do or be something so different or choose or pursue something so unlikely, or whatever…what then?  What then?  Where is that touch?  What happened to that touch to sour it so, to corrupt it unto repugnance and scorn?  “Who freaking touched your life after I did or we did, to turn you so?” we wonder to ourselves and then.  Or the righteous mother looks at her unrepentant and atheistic child and wonders where her touch went, wonders at the child’s soul and eternity, as the child doesn’t wonder at hers.  Or the touch is horrible and malevolent and wrong and that touched-one becomes or remains pure and upright and motivated and enduring and patient and tolerant and the most empathetic and understanding and…how did that happen, from a wrong touch and impression and example and…?  In the end, after all the analyzing and hypothesizing and considering the bad and what must have been there, somewhere, as good, it just did.

How did your life become as it is?  How did you or I, you and I, become as we did?  Those people in our lives touched us in little ways and big and their touch and impressions are still with us.  Someone touched a second-grader’s heart and caused that little one to want to grow-up and help others, someone else touched another second-grader’s heart and caused that little one to seek solitude in the hills and the woods, someone else touched another second-grader’s heart and caused that child to want to fly planes or study bacteria or write music or stories or make jewelry or build cathedrals or shape metal into cars or design hospitals or cure cancers or find new stars or…to shampoo dogs or plow fields or sail ships or paint pictures or…because they were touched so.

How did we affect someone’s life today or yesterday or last year or then…how did you and I?