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:

Dinosaurs!

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.

Cows!

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.

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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.

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