From The Life of a Simple Man, by Emile Guillaumin: "A great weariness, physical and mental, overcame me. At every age there are periods of vexation when everyday miseries seem more intense, when everything conspires to sadden you, when you're weary of the life you lead. But in our declining years these impressions are more bitter and more painful. I was approaching my fifty-fifth year and my face was losing its last color; the white hairs multiplied in my beard and it had snowed heavily on my temples. I could no longer work so hard. ...It's not good to think too much about your fate: it doesn't change anything and it makes you more unhappy."
That's right, we had a recent ORGEE in Southwest Utah, and we're going to have another one…uh…somewhere, sometime (alas and be damned hernia:((). No, I'm not talking about senior sexcapades, silly goofs. I'm talking about the "Outdoor RV Gang for Exercise and Exploration."
Today's thoughts come from Lovely Ouray, Colorado. It is home…a seasonally appropriate and quiet place to land for the holidays and shake off the dust of travel. There is a befitting fall of snow beyond window panes, now framed with Christmas lights of blue, green, red and gold. I had to out muscle the Grinch in me to get them up this year; more about that in a minute...
Saturday, post Black Friday in NYC and early, and by "early" I mean way dark wee hours. It seemed as though I had just closed my eyes when an obnoxious alarm clock invaded peaceful slumber. Time to get back behind the wheel of our "Budget" Ford Focus rent-a-wreck, blurry eyed and mushy tailed, and head for Philly International. There are two reasonable explanations for this insanity. First, Son Caleb had a "Breakfast" flight to catch home. Second, we needed to catch up to Bobbie's clan in Richmond, Virginny, for a post-Thanksgiving reunion. Six hours, four freeways, three coffees, two Diet Cokes, and a pee stop later, we rolled into nephew/niece Matt and Shauna's driveway. We were greeted with warm hugs in an aromatic kitchen, where pots of soup were always on the simmer, and meals cascaded like Dominos, one to another. Upon our arrival, Shauna's mom, Lonnie, was just departing the revolving door; "Hello/Goodbye." I see where Shauna get's her good looks :))
In retrospect, I laughed at the naivety of my last post—attempting to convey New York City's soul, spirit, and substance after a one day surface scratch. It was like trying to convey the Grand Canyon after a drive-by look through the window of a tour bus. The Big Apple doesn't lend itself to encapsulation any more than the Bible or War and Peace lends itself to Cliffs Notes. Even my far view photos are inadequate, for they overshoot the lives of men, women, and children. The story of any city, region, or country, is told on the streets in the faces of its people. The photographer in me knew that, but it takes a little pluck to invade dignity and personal space with a lens. My eyes framed the faces of a thousand New Yorkers that day—so unlike me on the surface. But if one scratches deep enough, we're really not so different after all.
Where there are mountains, there are canyons—enchanting, seductive landscapes that both beguile and unnerve. New York City is mountainous—dazzling man made monoliths topped with radio steeples that cast long winter shadows across deep canyons, canyons every bit as deep as those found in Colorado. I was born a curious child and remain a curious man—a prerequisite for being a wanderer—and while I'm not drawn to the clamor and glitter of over-peopled cities, there is that one that begs exception. I am intrigued by oppositional landscapes and lifestyles, and who better to play the role of antagonist than the city of all cities, New York, with her determined, and oft misunderstood inhabitants.
Ok, I'm uncomfortably wedged into a child sized seat on a big ol' jet airliner—a full waist size larger and ten pounds heavier—zipping along at 35,000 feet, 450 mph, and inhaling the collective exhale of three hundred strangers. This is not a metaphor, we are sardines...elbow to elbow; shoulder to shoulder; fin to fin; nuts to butts. Not if, but when, the next plague purges our planetary petri dish of humankind's overpopulation to something more realistic and sustainable, it's mechanism will most assuredly be airplanes (cough).