Monday, June 30, 2008

The Dual Reality Shuffle

It's kind of scary-looking over the Boulder this morning. There's a fire over by Salt Creek, and it may have been playing with creating its own weather system (weird, I know). Or it could just been monsoon season, threatening to begin early, as funky and wild as the weather patterns all over the world this year.

I am flipping back and forth today, feeling discombobulated and restless. And tired, natch. Sigh!

I went to southern California all last week to visit family, whom I hadn't seen since last fall. It was odd to be there at first—hot, icky, trafficky, smoggy, really hot, crowded, intense, alive, and did I mention hot? While a good visit overall (my apologies to those I did not see while I was there!—too much going on), it made my life here in Utah seem so distant, so removed from reality. Did I dream this place? Does it really matter? Do all the petty incidents and little life dramas of those here in this one spot matter?

(Okay, must insert that I am slightly steamed at the moment—from precisely one of those petty life incidents around here. Grrr....)

And then when I am here, in this place, I consider southern California, Durango, and other places I have spent time, and I wonder if those were dreams...because they seem so, to me.

The answer of course is that our current reality is always the most present, the most real, the most pressing. The green grass outside my door (yep, water-waster, but that's my landlords, not me), the cliffs and mountains in the distance, the Henrys behind their smoky haze off to the east, the quiet sounds of rural life, the wide open door and unlocked everything...this is my present reality, and it is as damn real as anything else.

As real as the wild green parrots of the San Gabriel Valley, the traffic on Colorado Boulevard, the nattering newscasters, the cement that paves so much of the land of the Angelenos.

Wow. My head is kind of tripping with the duality of it all. Do I really want to lead this sort of dual life? Combining city/civilization pleasures with rural/wild adventure?

Yep. Sure do.

(Last note: I have now discovered the wonders of the wireless aircard, and I LOVE IT! A most helpful thing to have out here in the boonies. I am connected at home—everywhere I go that I have cell service, in fact. Whoo-hoo!)


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Darwin Rules; or, The Demise of the Terminally Out-to-Lunch

In my varied lines of work throughout my lifetime (outdoor guide, editor, camp counselor, restaurant server, temp worker, program director, horse groom, among many others—the usual laundry list of a writer!), I've had the opportunity to encounter an equally varied sampling of humans. Many of those brief interactions have been quite interesting, even fascinating. Recently, I was able to spend the better part of a day ferrying around a client for a hiking trip who hails from Jerusalem. His grandson's bar mitzvah is coming up, and he and his wife had inquired as to the soon-to-be-a-young-man's interests so they could provide an appropriate gift. He likes animals. I imagined they might plan to get him a dog. Nah. Way too simple. Instead, they are taking him on safari to Africa later this year. Lots of animals out on the savanna.

At any rate, this particular man impressed me with his world view and life acumen—that is, his eat-or-be-eaten outlook (though I put that a little more savagely than this man seems to actually be). This guy is a survivor. If the climate tries to do us in or the world order as we know it implodes, he'll make it.

Then consider the sweet family I took riding yesterday evening. We went later in the day so as to avoid the blasting summer heat (90s all week). It was a gorgeous ride, with the slowly sinking sun painting the rocks even redder than they truly are, a snake gracing us by hurriedly crossing our path, and the cool air a relief. The couple was older, and their young son was alternately interested by his surroundings and apparently quite superior to his parents' inane utterings. (Oh, to be 13 again. No thanks!) But I did have to agree that the folks, who seemed kind and well-intentioned, are the sort who just Will. Not. Make It. if the world suddenly tilts on its axis, startling the hell out of the population living upon its whirlingness. They were kind—and they were just not alert, if that makes sense.

Is this the sort of complacency, the cluelessness, born of a people who have little to fear or worry about in the greater scheme of things? Of course there are many who struggle in this country. But there are many who don't—at least not on the basic survival level. To keep it all in perspective, I often marvel at the comforts of my own life. Clean running water whenever I want it. Electricity that works 99% of the time, give or take the occasional power outage, which is then quickly corrected. Good food, easily accessible and affordable. A roof over my head, and spacious living quarters that I share with no one (except a very cute little dog named Pippin and, soon, two cats). And, I must say, some of the most scenery in the world literally just outside my door—really. (See photo!)

It takes some effort, I think, and perhaps a dose of reality to realize what we have. Those who don't are the ones I fear for, in a sort of detached way, if the crap really hits the fan someday.

This all seems a bit maudlin and Chicken Little-ish. But every possibility must be considered when contemplating this world. We live in a bizarre place, we have a bizarre history, and never say never. You just don't know. Anything can happen. Wah-hoo!

I'm not sure why my thoughts turned to this today. It's lovely out, already quite warm (ah, I am also blessed by my very cool apartment, which since it is surrounded by the earth stays beautifully temperate!), and I am well-rested, despite running around the house like mad with my active little pup at about 6:15 this morning before collapsing into bed again to beg another hour or so of sleep. (Pippin did not approve of that at all. My purpose in life right now, it seems, is to play with him. All the time.)

Off I go to seize the day. I wonder what sort of people I will encounter on today's journey...


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

little blessings

Today it is windy. Very windy. My eyes are hurting at this moment. It has also been sunny and quite warm. Ah, the weather here. It informs one's personality at times, I think.

I have a new dog, as yet unnamed (formerly Jasper, but I had a cat named Jasper, so I think this dog has a new moniker awaiting). He is darling, and daring when in a protective mood, and calm, and gentle, and excited to have such a lavish of attention upon him. He came from the same place my horse lives and is your typical little Wayne County cowdog mutt. Perfect! I think I may love him already. Of course, I am a softie. And he seems to get on well with cats, if one encounter can be judged, which is course necessary, considering the cats in my life.

Writing is going well for me, in some ways. My deadlines threaten to overwhelm me, on top of this job I have taken for the summer. Drama and chaos surround me in my jobplace, and I steadfastly refuse to allow it to engulf me completely.

If only we could remember all the time how petty it is to be petty! How short and sweet life is, and how we should honor it and cherish it and love it.

But no. Not all think that way! Phooey on them, I say. And yes, I do get petty and short and childish and mean myself at times still. But I like to think it is fewer times than before, and will be even fewer times in the future.

My new dog is quietly curled by my feet, guarding his newfound human companion as we sit in the wind. What a blessing a dog is. And a horse. And cats.

And, of course, hummingbirds! (That's for my mom.)

Anyway. I feel blessed, for sure. And I'm just fine with that.