Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another Life and a Good Place

There are wondrous moments, on the edge of nightfall, after the day has been busy being loud and ominous, when the sky has clouded over and cleared then clouded again, after the sound of the rain has sprinkled in the grass like chimes, when the sky calms just enough to offer its apologies by painting fire across the horizon, burning the silhouette of the mountains. They are precious times, when dreams materialize, transcending circumstance and become clearer than the stars that tease on the edge of night. Walking summer sunsets is magic and nights like these are too precious not to be out with Duncan ambling along beside me, his leash dragging behind him. We move without direction and stop for long periods to lay in the cool grass. Duncan will find a stick and chew contentedly while I lay on my back, my arms behind my head and imagine we are somewhere else, doing things that only happen in novels and movies, for surely they are too magnificent to happen in real life. Nights like these make me dream of packing a few essentials and walking away from everything except my dog, if only until September cools the world. I envision us, dusty and tired, clad in denim and a bandanna around Dunc's neck, hiking down back country roads or up tight, green mountain canyons, getting out of the way of the big trucks which rumble like thunder down the narrow roads. I imagine spending a week or two washing dishes in some greasy spoon in the Midwest, spending just enough time to make money for our next adventure, and sleeping in a field, Duncan curled up against me as the stars slide silently across the sky. It's a romantic vision and one that certainly will never happen, but when the sky is on fire and I dream of watching eagles fly, it seems close enough to reach out and touch, like something I could make happen tomorrow if only I could summon the courage or somehow forget the comfort and smell of my pillows. The people who know me best would be surprised to discover I have dreams like this––Curt, who likes lotion and doesn't know how to build a fire, who can't go two days without a shower and spends far too much time on the phone––but dreams like these are things we keep close because they can seem so absurd. Perhaps that's why they only come out on special occasions, when I'm weary and feel like there's more to be done, when the night is dark but painted in brilliant colors. But, it's one thing to imagine myself wearing cowboy boots and thumbing a ride with Duncan in the back of someone's pick-up truck, and quite another to do it. I am not that person––at least not today––but watching the night take a hold of my side of the world it feels like something that should be done, like a part of my life will always be incomplete if I don't, as though there are lessons I'm meant to learn that will lead me into my next life, whatever that might be.
Since there are no highways to step onto tonight, no haylofts to slip into, no streams to wash in, I will take this park for what it is, a place my dog and I have explored and claimed, enjoyed and made our own in our own way. It's a good place, for what it offers as well as the dreams it nourishes, and I won't turn my back on it. After all, there are people out there on the road dreaming of this very spot in the world, searching for it and they move and move and move, their dog following along like the best friend it is.And yet:
When he first came to the mountains his life was far away
On the road and hangin' by a song
But the string's already broken and he doesn't really care
It keeps changin' fast and it don't last for long

But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullaby
Rocky mountain high
(Rocky Mountain High John Denver)


Greg said...

Beautiful photos--love that mountain sunset--and some lovely words to go along with them. Early summer nights like these are made for dreaming, for reimagining the world, or time-traveling back to simpler days, when a man could more easily make his way across the country with his trusted companion by his side.

Sue said...

Curt, out of all of your blogs, I love this one the best so far. Such eloquent writing, spectacular pictures, and one of my all-time favorite songs ever. This one couldn't have been better.

Curt Rogers said...

Thanks, Sue. That means a lot!