Springtime in the foothills
I walk, therefore I am. So, conversely, when, for extended periods of time, like, say, winter, when time spent afoot diminishes, so do I — mostly in the life of the mind. But, now, with spring doing its level best to reinsert itself into the dynamic, my tramping is once again on the upswing. Welcome to the season of rebirth.
Although there are dogs and horses aplenty hereabouts to tap for company, I have found that my muse, with whom I do not have an open relationship, defaults to the ol’ "silent treatment" whenever other entities become part of the foot-powered entourage. She "clams up," as it were.
So, there you have it. To the casual observer, hares and mule deer mostly, I walk alone. The Mexican Doves, however, are harder to hoodwink. Somehow, I believe, they sense her presence. Quite possibly, it’s my constant mumbling. I’m sure they don’t think the Portly Gray Dude talks to himself.
Although, to the untrained eye, the sagebrush littered slope down to the alluvial plain that is the Heber Valley floor appears gentle and rolling and quite smooth, to even the casual observer, my interior landscape is obviously filled with potholes.
My Muse has been totally up in arms, of late. The theological trappings of those who disagree with her on a whole range of issues, she finds troubling. As she was not so patiently explaining to me the other day on one of our outings, it’s now plain as the ethereal dimple on her face why Tim DeChristopher followed up his federal prison sentence with another stretch at the Harvard Divinity School.
He needed an entry point into a conversation with climate deniers who base their governmental conspiracy theories on a belief in a God they have designed and nurtured in their own image, rather than the other way around. She had finally come around to that notion. And all this time I thought a Muse would be ahead of me on the epiphany curve.
Maybe I’m spending too much time interpreting upon the surface of what she spouts rather than getting down and dirty with a "wisdom" that simmers just below the surface of her actual words. Maybe she’s the one rolling her eyes, waiting for me to finally hook on to the train of thought she more than likely perceives as the more profound of the two non-merging insights.
I mean, what actually is it she wants me to do? Sidle up to my friends at the local watering hole — those who, in the main, consider President Obama the anti-Christ — and pose the question that, with an estimated 400 billion stars in our galaxy and a vast probability of over 170 billion galaxies, what exactly is their God’s job description? For the time being, I would let the quantum-world slide.
It almost seems like His main function (the God of the Right just has to be a white male) is to keep greenhouse gasses from the fossil fuel industries (and range cattle) pouring into the atmosphere while clear-cutting rain forests in the name of jobs — not to mention the profits of worldwide conglomerates.
Now, if we had been trading shots of, say, Joe Crow, as I proceeded to detail the reasons Exxon is much more of an enemy to the planet’s future than the climate activists attempting to keep those aforementioned fuels in the ground, the hour of my public parking lot lynching would probably be approaching at the speed of light. You’ll have that!
Of course, such threats pale in the face of not having a honky-tonk component as part of my lifestyle. I can’t even begin to imagine how I got by in a cultural sense back when I was a card-carrying "country-music denier." Now that I can’t live without hardwood dance floors and the collective gospels of Merle Haggard and Willie & Waylon and such, I don’t believe there is any going back.
This is not to say, however, that I have supplanted the Folk and Rock and R&B and Blues and Jazz that has for so long been the soundtrack of my life with the plaintive strains of a steel-guitar and cheating songs. I just discovered there was room in my relative-musical-snobbery for another equally cool mother-genre.
But I digress! Where was I? Oh yeah, I was on a walkabout with my Muse when the conversation, as it almost always does, turned to the highly improbable prolonging of my specie’s endgame. Oh, what the hell, it’s springtime in the foothills! Bring me and my invisible-yet-inspirational sidekick here another round of Joe Crow!
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social scenes for more than 40 years.
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