Last year, I visited a small National Monument called Pipe Springs in Utah, the site of the Piute, Native American reservation. It wasn’t the museum of native artifacts dating back thousands of years, amazing in its own right, that struck with me awe. Nights crisp cold, the sky blazed with an unencumbered view of the Milky Way against a backdrop of pure onyx. It had been long time since I seen such cosmic majesty with my own eyes and not from Hubble satellite pictures. A recent weekend newspaper suggested exotic places to visit with National Geographic views of the heavens. I’m usually looking for light in the darkness, but it saddened me that we must now travel off the beaten track to experience a sky uncluttered by luminous pollution.
We live in a time when everyday tools have a short life expectancy. The list includes appliances, HVAC systems, mechanical yard implements, and of course, the computer, to name the more popular. When appliances or the AC goes down, it is inconvenient, often expensive, but we move on to replacement mode with a modicum of swearing, then acceptance. For writers, when the desktop or laptop goes to its heavenly motherboard, all hell breaks loose.
Such was the case when my trusty, Vista speaking, Dell desktop died from the cyber equivalent of advanced age and MRSA. I give the old bean credit for surviving this long. Once the darling of House Gates, eyesight failure hampered its ability to translate internet banner ads that have become the web’s version of LED highway billboards. Its shuffling gait between screens should have warned me the end is near. I was in denial, like any loving family whose geriatric parent started forgetting things.
A few weeks ago I posted an article about Going Off the Grid. My first international trip since 2008, it wasn’t so much not wanting to travel after living in Asia for a decade, it was more a desire to enjoy home and family after being away for so long.
Once the owner of three airline platinum cards and a passport the thickness of a small bible, I’d forgotten how to travel. Still had the passport, but I was relegated to boarding zone 8 and seats designed for hobbits. Add insult to injury, I neglected to properly fill out the required landing papers (I was a little out of practice). The immigration officer in Managua thumbed through my thick passport, looked at me and said, “Have you not gotten used to this by now?” Apparently not.
Have you ever wondered why most of us are afraid of the dark? Were you one of those kids who never looked under the bed at night? Maybe needed a light on until you were older? As children, we are naturally fearful of dark places, where unseen things go bump. Dark is everywhere, and there is so much of it.
Have you ever been accused by someone that you’re such a Neanderthal? You know, those brutish, grunting giants with lots of hair, that never got past spear wielding before homo-sapiens arrived on the scene, all smart-alecky with their developed frontal lobes. Now, a scientist wants to knock us back to the caveman days by cloning a Neanderthal with extracted DNA, and he’s actively on the hunt for a surrogate to help him out.
Books are an important part of my life. Fiction in all its multicolored genres, are my preference. Non-fiction is fine, if there is something uniquely scientific or historical I can learn. Self help books? Worse than eating liver. I will admit to being someone who probably needs a self-help book or two, but at my age, I’ve made peace with my flaws. God made me this way, which is why I’m convinced he has a great sense of humor.
Now that the holidays have ended, and I ponder events of the past year, instead of traditional New Year’s promises I never intend to keep, I thought I’d stop and be thankful for the light. So, what does this have to do with a photo of the Orion Nebula? No, it is not a delayed fuse on the Mayan calendar. As mentioned in my previous post (December 21), we are not going anywhere, anytime soon.
I tweeted a recent magazine article by Joel Stein, Time Magazine’s humor columnist, who had an interesting take on some High Schools pushing nonfiction over fiction literature (How I Replaced Shakespeare ti.me/QOonQ4 via @TIME). It had me revisiting a blog I wrote last year at the muse, http://blameitonthemuse.com/non-fiction-and-other-necessary-evils/, which in my own unique brand of humor, agreed.
A little over a month ago, I experienced the incredible dream of handing my oldest daughter to the man she loves. With Zion National Park as her chapel, she took a step into a new life with promises and her husband’s name. It gave a father much to muse on when the excitement and emotion dissipated. As tradition dictates, I was the last to speak at the reception. For muse Monday, I’d like to share those words with you.