Teri Orr: (Un)natural disasters
The shaking, then something like a thunder clap, a roar and finally the rushing sound made me freeze first and then move toward the noise. Something had happened inside my house. I left the car running in the garage as I timidly re-entered the laundry room in the early morning hour. I had seen a story in this paper about a house in Thaynes Canyon where the roof had fallen in from the weight of the snow. I feared my old ’70s home had just suffered a similar fate. I had no directional sense where the noise was coming from — except it wasn’t the garage.
Once inside the laundry room I could see the roof there was still intact and I opened the door to the dining room. No sign of any damage. My gas stove had all the dials turned off — so no gas explosion either. The living room looked the same. I turned around in the dining room and noticed the sliding glass doors to the tiny little outside porch had little light coming through. There was snow almost the full height of the doors. The small piece of steep roof just over the laundry room — between the main part of the house and the garage — had spontaneously released its snow load all on the side porch.
I walked upstairs to make certain there wasn’t something else I might be missing and then I got back in my car and headed to my breakfast meeting. It was scheduled in a private club room of a high-end hotel. When I entered I was surprised to find the large screen television on and the man I was meeting — an old friend — was sitting there in his Armani suit glued to the screen. Others in the room were equally engaged. There was a bit of a feel of a sporting event with folks talking back to the screen.
I had temporarily forgotten that Micheal Cohen, the former personal attorney for President Donald Trump (including long before he was president) was testifying before Congress. Again. Only this time to admit to the lies he had told them months before and answer tough questions.
There were no pleasantries about “How’s the family?” … My friend just said, “Can you believe we’re meeting this morning and all this is going on? Sit down. Watch.”
I asked who the man was speaking on screen. My friend quickly said, “Here’s how the scorecard works so far. Every white man speaking is a Republican. Every man or woman of color speaking is a Democrat.” And then I grabbed a cup of tea and started my dumbfounded watching.
The slow rolling sound of thunder was shaking the room in Washington. Republicans were attacking the witness but not about his former client. The Democrats were trying to learn more about those deeds he had done in service of the president and for Donald Trump before he was president. Our planned meeting took place mostly during the commercial breaks in staccato sentences — a kind of shorthand we have developed. We hit the high points and then returned to the listening and talking back to the screen.
Later in the day when I returned to my office I saw a note posted from a friend of mine in D.C. He has produced some political documentaries and is a well-respected media guy. He is not a rabid reactionary person. His posting to his friends was this:
Cohen presents like a deprogrammed cult member.
All the R’s on the committee can think to do is question his credibility, which is what you would expect cult members to do to a former cult member. This is revealing; we are dealing with a death cult. Proceed accordingly.
It was chilling to read. Probably because of all the truthiness in it. I have learned to trust and respect David’s opinions.
After work I headed home to change and head back out to join a friend visiting on a ski break here. We have, for the past decade, learned together at different TED conferences in different countries. We both try to see the world with fresh eyes. I was looking forward to his opinion on the news of the day. But before I rushed back out the door the phone rang. I started a conversation about work-related stuff and switched gears again. I was deep in discussion when there was movement outside my peripheral vision on my front porch. A shadow — movement. I froze. And then I walked to the front door to peak out.
And I saw her.
She was beautiful and eating the birdseed I was currently using as ice melt in my yard. Upon more careful observation I saw the doe was not alone. There were three, no four, no five more young deer eating the seed. Out of nowhere he leapt out of my side yard and rushed the front porch. The big buck. And I ended my call and just watched the deer feed on the seed in the light falling snow.
Eventually they wandered down the street and I left my home and headed uptown where I had kept Michael waiting. This New Yorker now California guy had had an Epic day snowboarding with his lifelong best friend. Two good Jesuit prep school boys from Rockaway Beach in New York. They came from two coasts and met up here to celebrate significant birthdays. It took no time to start laughing, then sharing stories. Then sharing concerns about our government. We sat there for hours. And that part was comforting.
I don’t know where the next release will come from, that results in blocking out the light or when the next visitation happens as a reminder sharing the town can mean one thing in my front yard and altogether another at a fine restaurant. I just know that this winter of discontent can also have some balancing moments when we can be observant. Which is enough for this Sunday in the Park…
Teri Orr is a former editor of The Park Record. She is the director of the Park City Institute, which provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.
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If you moved here in the last 25 years or so, her work was part of your decision.