Monday, August 17, 2009


At the dog park in Louisville, which has the most incredible view of the Front Range I have ever seen to be honest, I met a woman from Rhodes Island madly snapping photos. Standing on the concrete parking log she seemed to want some way to consume the horizon. I can understand. Living in Portland, Oregon, I remember feeling so relieved when I visited the Rose Garden and could finally get up above the canopy of endless trees and see as far as Mt. St. Helens. When you grow up in the west, as I did, the horizon is a given just as trees are a given in other places.

I didn't really appreciate the horizon until I couldn't see it every day, and since I returned to comfortable horizons I've given a lot of thought to what they mean to me. For me the sky and the jutting edge of the Rocky Mountains is not only about being pretty. For me, being able to see out beyond the immediate gives me a sense of the grandness of life, and of untold possibilities. The bigness of the West has to do a lot with horizons, and is often misunderstood by outsiders. The sense of distance between towns and all of the things that can happen to one on the way between here and there is just an everyday occurrence.

Where in New England one can cross several state lines in just a few hours, it can take days and days to cross the Western states. Sure it is getting more dense than it was even when I was growing up. There is more homogeneity from town-to-town than there used to be. Still a place in Wyoming is different from a place in Utah, is different from Nevada, is different from New Mexico, is different from Montana. The relationship places share out here is the sky and water concerns. Honest to pete, it is the sky that links all of the West together and otherwise we're all worried there isn't enough water.

Personally, I've always striven to keep my eyes out on the horizon in order to keep my dreams big. Sometimes this has been to the detriment of the immediate details of my life. Today I am trying to strike a balance, to attend to the necessary whilst also reaching beyond to something not quite in focus.

Every hero starts with big desires that are out of focus, like a traveler sees the horizon. There's no way to know exactly what lays between here and there until I get closer. Still in the West, as you get closer, the horizon retreats farther away sometimes, and sometimes the horizon looms over you a mountain of destiny that cannot be driven through, but rather must be mounted and ridden until it becomes the horizon behind you and before you a new expanse has opened. Just as the cycle of a story, the cycle of my life seeks that new horizon, the challenge of the mountain, the more specific details and desires to be dealt with in sequential experiences until I know that the horizon I looked at so long ago has become a newly familiar landscape that is already dropping behind me as I look forward to something out there that needs my feet on it.

The woman from Rhodes Island has a day left before she hits the airport. I wonder what horizon will draw her nearer? I wonder if she'll sense the pull of the West's horizons as something she wants, or if she'll retreat back to the trees and buildings and low gray skies of New England?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

dead ends, patience and armegeddon

Today I had three dreams. In the first dream I lived on a hill overlooking a valley town, and the world was on fire. Finding safety was the primary concern of the dream. The fire was literally racing through the streets, and somehow I'd made it up the hill to some kind of concrete building with a window looking down over the black smoke and blazes. In the building there were few people, but all who were there were wandering around sort of dazed and disoriented. There was an older Oriental woman carrying her pocket book and looking out of the window matter-of-factly. She was going on about buying shoes, and whether the sale would continue.

I set out today to write something. I don't really know what I was thinking in allowing myself such an open-ended approach. Of course, that's not going to work. Duh. The thing is I've started several outlines for screenplays this summer but have found they're not moving my soul. I'm waiting for that illusive "inspiration." So, I puttered. I made marinade for my chicken breasts for dinner tonight...olive oil, lime, salt, garlic, chile powder. I decided to cut up a jicama and marinate it as well. I did a load of laundry. I took a shower. I waited for something to pop into my mind...a blank. I finally took a nap.

So, then I dreamt that I was driving a new car and falling asleep at the wheel. I decided that I should probably park the car before I had a wreck. I pulled into what I thought was a bank parking garage ramp, but it turned out to be a pedestrian ramp leading from the garage, and as I drove up the ramp not realizing what it was, I saw the same older Oriental woman standing at the elevator, tsk-tsking me. At that point I ended the dream, woke for a moment, and then fell back asleep.

Then I was a frantic mother in a dream looking for her lost son in a darkened building. There was an industrial feel about the place. Pools of water here and there, and a giant freezer in the middle of the floor. The man I was with (the father?) insisted that we had to look in the freezer, but I said, "No! No! NO!" I refused to look into the freezer though the dream itself was compelling me to do so. In my resistance I managed to come up with many different possibilities of where my son could be and when I was sure that he was not in the freezer but just around the corner I allowed the man to open the freezer. My son was not in the freezer, and there were even blankets in the freezer to keep him warm if he had been in there! My relief was enormous, and I knew that I would find him soon.

I am at a dead end to some extent professionally. I know it has to do with the economy and not the merit of my work. However, it is disheartening and I wonder about it greatly. My thought about the three of these dreams is that I have to find out what the older Oriental woman represents. Secondly, I am consumed with fear and exhaustion. Thirdly, I can dream my way out of it.