Go West (Not So Young Man)

I’ve taken a week off to ride and write in Grand Junction and I’m feeling a bit scattered since I’m filled with endorphins, Gatorade, and caffeine. My legs and brain are tired but I want to fit in as much as I can before I have to drive back east, to Denvah. That’s how it often goes, when you get a chance to step out of the rushing river of your life and contemplate, and you have only so much time.

So, I give to you several random thoughts. (Yeats said a poem is often a quarrel with oneself; these aren’t arguments–or poems–so much as observations that are rudely bumping into one another in the small space which is my brain.)

Four seasons in one day.

A great song, of course. But it’s what I experienced while driving I-70 over and past the Continental Divide. Take a look:


I love dinosaurs. For an art class project once, I made one out of paper mache. (He was so cool, in my 9th grade yearbook, the AV club used him as a prop for their group photo. This is the kind of music they listened to.)

He looked a lot like this. But a lot smaller.

That fence sure ain’t gonna hold him in.


I don’t like cows as much as I like dinosaurs, but there’s something peaceful (stupid?) about them.

I’d like to call this lady Oreo. She was hanging out by a trail called Chutes and Ladders, in Fruita.

More Dinosaurs! Riding Bikes!

I was told that they dug this one up, this was exactly how they found the bones (and bike).

No wonder why they went extinct–not wearing a helmet! (Foolish, so foolish.)

The Colorado River is a mighty thing.

Lines from Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “At the Fishhouses” come to mind:

If you should dip your hand in,
your wrist would ache immediately,
your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn
as if the water were a transmutation of fire
that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame.
If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter,
then briny, then surely burn your tongue.
It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:
dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free,
drawn from the cold hard mouth
of the world, derived from the rocky breasts
forever, flowing and drawn, and since
our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.

I have one more day here, and then I’m back in the arms of the ones I love.

One thought on “Go West (Not So Young Man)

  1. This is a great one, Henry! I feel like I went on this trip, dinosaurs (or “dragons,” as I often misstate to our already confused children), seasons, and all. For contrast, the girls and I have been talking about the birds and bees all week. I’ve only had to write one apology letter to another parent. Betcha can’t wait to come home! We miss you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: