After I trimmed the overgrown rose bush last evening, I had planned to cut the grass this morning. I had already mowed the front yard, but still needed to do the much larger back yard…for the last time. The weather forecast said it was going to be partly cloudy today, so I was looking forward to completing the chores in a bit of a cooler morning.
Well…it is much cooler…and the lawn-mower is still in the garage…where it needs to be when the late-spring rains come visiting in northern Utah. I have been to the store already and completed my weekly shopping…everything is in the cupboards…the dogs’ food bowl is refilled and they have already consumed their snacks and are sleeping somewhere in the house…as is the rest of the family.
It’s been more than a couple of years since I’ve made pancakes in a pan on the stove…I am more in the habit of using an electric griddle…or of making waffles with a waffle-iron…but the griddle and waffle-iron are in boxes already, packed and prepared for the upcoming move to Phoenix…so it was the frying pan and pancake mix this morning…soft and sad music from Stephan Moccio playing on Pandora…the sound of falling rain coming in through the open windows and back door…and warm cinnamon and nutmeg wafting up from the stove-top….
During my pancake preparations, it dawned on me that this is my last Saturday in Utah…we will be packed and driving away next Friday morning and next Saturday will find us unpacking and living in Arizona again. The words “last Saturday” reminded me of a folder of photos I have in my files that is titled, “First Saturday,” the photographic journal that I created on my very first Saturday living here in Utah…September 11, 2010. Below is one of the images from that outing…looking up into Bells Canyon from the southern edge of the lower reservoir. You might remember some of my later photos from hiking in the area, as I found myself in that location probably close to two dozen times over the past almost four years. Well…I guess you could say this is where it all started….
Well, crap…I just hit the Publish button when I meant to hit the Preview button…so maybe you’re looking at this post in it’s incomplete stage…or maybe…I don’t know…anyway. I’ll continue like nothing happened….
So…some final images from my last Saturday here in Utah…the cloud covered mountains…fresh pancakes that turned-out ok after I burned the first set…snow-boots on the floor by the back-door that will likely never see snow again…and the paddle from an Arizona wind-chime, with a cloudy Twin Peaks in the background, that will soon be returning to Arizona….
Yes, sometimes…after a very long hike when I’m falling asleep and it feels like my boots are still on and the trail is still beneath my feet…when the sounds of the forest whisper quietly in my mind…chuckling streams and the breeze flowing through pine needles and leaves…sometimes then…sometimes in the middle of the day after a Yesterday’s hike, images come unbidden, scenes flash before my mind’s eye as I’m reaching for a pen or typing words into the screen…a flower-speckled meadow, silvery snail tracks across the trail and morning dew on a spider’s web, white broad-petaled flowers tucked into the shadows swaying…craggy skylines, and waterfalls drumming-up a mist before my eyes….yes…sometimes….
It rained again in that place where memories are stored, where the synapses fire and storm and lay things waste and then they are gone again or whole again and the images and sounds and scents live in the memories where we laid them those years ago, where they got tucked away somehow and have been waiting, if memories can wait, for us to rekindle them to their cogent prescience, for us to make them live again.
Those pictures lived, then, they were images and words wrought together with footsteps down hallways, belts rattling into their drawer at the end of the day, a rough hand on a cheek, the smell of gum and tobacco smoke, and the image of a big yellow car slowly easing itself into the driveway,Vitalis in his hair and the shuffle and hitch of the arm or hand into his waistband, keys and coins rattling and black-framed glasses surrounding the dark, sad eyes again…and the gift of a shiny red pocket knife…and after sand through the glass, a car in a time of need, a gesture, an attempt…what can I do? Moments and years and two or three lifetimes and the breath stops and the cheeks are tucked into place with clay or toothpicks or whatever the embalmer uses, and a little smile lives and holds that rictus shape until the crematory’s fires take it away. He was an old man early, and gone, limiting his life by wanting to live only so long, so that’s what he did, just for so long…testify, prophecy…. And I wonder what he really wanted, what he really desired and didn’t quite get. What dream remained unfulfilled, what heights weren’t reached? I don’t know. I have tainted memories and the taste of ocher, but that was my experience…what was he to someone else, what was he to his friends, what redeemed him when nobody else was around, or when he was in some others’ eyes, and not mine? What unconfessed sins tormented his soul, or what happiness lived there, even, beyond others’ eyes and mine? I don’t know what made him happy, or sad, or what left him feeling empty, what defined loss for him, or love…what stranger did he long for, what living or dead person didn’t fill a void that he needed filling, what or whom did he mourn, or caused him to smile when nobody was watching? Did he really believe in a god, did he really believe that he was going to live with a heavenly father when he died, that he would walk on streets of gold up there when his life was informed by asphalt and broken concrete…was that going to be his reward, really, did he actually believe that…did he have to turn off a part of his brain to do so, or did it just come naturally, did he like flowers or football, or what about weeds and wild grasses that grow along rushing mountain streams? Did he love his father, or even know him…or forgive him…or sin against him and not forgive himself after all those years? I don’t know…and at the end of it all, it’s for naught anyway, the deeds are done, the tears fallen, the regret swallowed and poisoned the body to the marrow, and maybe the only redeeming truth is that he didn’t know how to be what he was, didn’t know how to be what he wouldn’t have chosen to be, and he had no guide along the way to steer him out of the footsteps that had been laid before him….
And it rained again as the thoughts fired upon themselves as the fingers tapped the keys and as the neurons kicked themselves and rocked themselves and curled around their own shadows again and shot again into the void, into the primordial abyss of eternity that ranges in the wasted spaces between the fibers and strands of the cerebral mass.
Why are you crying, Daddy?
*neuron activity photo found via google at www.darkgovernment.com