Picture(s) A Day – 30 May 2009
Today was not a day I sat idle in my apartment. I didn’t sequester myself while trying to hide or deal with the change of moving and of missing someone. I got out and took care of business
Rent & Utilities: Paid – all $750 of it
With business out of the way, I decided to see if I could get rained on and feel some cool air that didn’t come from an air conditioner. Air cooled by Nature. Air with humidity!
I should probably add the fact that for some unknown reason, I have fallen into an “artsy” mood tonight. This means my writing might just differ a wee bit from what most people have seen in the past Possible causal factors include the three hours of sleep last night, the overdose of Diet Rock Star, the stress from the last week at work, or the release of the stress and worry about my ability to pay my bills – especially my car’s registration! Of course, the music selections for blogging tonight could have something to do with it, too:
Hilary Duff – Fly
There’s probably more, but that’s a good start
With that out of the way, on to the pictures and stuff
I can’t fault the landscaping of the “patio” or whatever you want to call it. I find it classy and fitting for the location
I present you with the ticket which served as my place in line at the DMV. Note the number – G549. Note also the time at which this ticket was issued – 1:27 PM. A computerized voice announces your number when your time has come to finally do what you’ve come to do and your ticket number flashes on a board along with the desk number you’ve been assigned. As I entered the Hall of Eternal Waiting, I heard a number announced – G420. I might add that it took 20 minutes in line just to have G549 assigned.
Have you ever seen Beetlejuice? you know – the movie with Michael Keaton and the dead people? Remember that part where he has to wait in a small room with a witch doctor after the sand worm on Saturn ate him? Go here for the video and skip to 1:47 in the clip. That shows about how I felt right then. No, I didn’t steal someone else’s ticket, but the thought did cross my mind for a few milliseconds. Kind of like Data contemplating the Borg Queen’s offer in Star Trek First Contact. But I digress…
The computer finally summoned me to desk nine at about 1448 hours – an hour and twenty-one minutes later. Total time to this point: one hour and forty-one minutes. I exited the place of Demented Maniacal Villains (DMV) at about 1515 hours. Total time in that place: one hour and forty-eight minutes.
Sure, the agent who helped me demonstrated good cheer, a sense of humor, and real empathy, but after an hour and forty-eight minutes, I wouldn’t mind never having to return
Having left the Place of Suffering with my bank account holding considerably less money, I headed west on the 215 beltway. Looking into the distance, my plan of heading home suddenly changed – the storm on the mountain called to me, bade me to come up to the thin air and cool dampness.
Ninety-two degrees. I’ve somehow become accustomed to this. It has become normal. The memories of San Diego beach weather may have faded somewhat, but they still live on. I may have come to consider Las Vegas weather to be normal, but that still does not make it the greatest I’ve known.
I speed closer to the storm on the mountain. I worry that I might not make it in time to feel the rain.
I cannot see the mountain top, but that which obscures it holds the promise of salvation from the oppressive grip of the desert heat and desiccation.
Someone indeed painted the sky with clouds today. And what an artist! Puffy here, wispy there, never the same from place to place.
I can recall a time long ago, many years ago, when eighty six degrees marked the high temperature on a warm day in Poway, California. I find the fact that this now feels cool somewhat dispiriting. I continued on…
Indeed, the joshua trees and shrubs thirst for rain as do the arid soil and the animals. They guard their moisture well for they know not when to expect more.
Only the hearty survivors carve out a niche in this climate and few of those can thrive and grow like those joshua trees. Their size belies the difficulty of their existence and the time they take to become so large.
The flora and fauna of this region may have adapted to the desert climate, but I suspect they welcome the temporary cooling shade of the clouds as I do.
Climbing higher with the road, I feel my ears begin to pop as I pass five thousand feet elevation above sea level. Trevor continues to carry me on with not a hint of protest.
Nearing the mountain, I can clearly see the precipitation meeting the topology. I only hope I arrive in time to experience that myself.
Sixty-three degrees. A common temperature in San Diego, especially near the coast, I considered this normal and perfect for shorts and flip-flops. Amazing what four years in the desert can change.
I made it! The heavy rain has passed, but the sprinkles remain. I hold my hand outstretched through the open driver’s window to enjoy the feeling of water meeting skin.
The rain has also released the scent from the pine and fir tree forest. A hint of vanilla from the ponderosas mingles with the fresh scent from the fir trees which remind me of the smell a Christmas tree brings into a home. Somewhere someone has started a fire in their home’s fireplace – I smell the telltale smoke lingering on the breeze.
And just look at what I see up on the higher elevations – new snow! May has nearly passed and June arrives on Monday, but on this Saturday I’m treated to the sight of new snow so near to Las Vegas!
These are just three of my favorite things – Mountain air, rain, and Trevor.
What a difference fifty-three minutes can make! Only fifty-three minutes elapsed between the time the photograph above showing ninety-two degrees was captured and when this picture was made. Fifty-three minutes to drop forty-seven degrees. And that included stopping for soda and snacks! Such an incredible change. I sweat on the desert floor to keep cool whereas I shiver up here to keep warm. The dusty calefaction below sucks the moisture from my body without delay, but the saturated chill up here causes my breath to condense.
Such a rare sight where I live now and where I have lived before, the rain water on the ground reflects an image of what lies above it.
I do my best to appreciate the sensations around me at any given moment, especially when they reach extremes. I can savor the seething, melting heat of summer and truly enjoy it at times. We all only get one shot at life and while we will encounter extremes, I feel few ever take the chance to soak them up. I kept my hand outside the driver’s window up on top of the mountain to feel the numbing bite of the cold soaking into my skin.
Moderation still rules when partaking of extremes. Heat exhaustion, heat stroke, hypothermia, and in extreme cases frostbite can result from ignoring moderation. You don’t always get the benefit of moderation around here when it comes to outside temperature, so you must use some common sense. Consider it similar to alcohol – a glass of wine won’t hurt anything, but drinking a whole bottle of whiskey will likely land you in the emergency room.
The Mojave has no thermostat accessible to we mere mortals, thus we broil for months on end. Yes, we have air conditioning to cool our homes and businesses, but it just doesn’t feel the same. It feels artificial. Manufactured. Harsh. Forced. It smells of nothing. It looks no different.
By contrast, the chilled air of the high mountains in the shade of storm clouds feels organic. Natural. Soft if still somewhat biting. Free. It carries wonderful scents which stimulate the mind and memories. It looks completely different from the rocky wasteland of the desert.
I revel in the embrace of the wintry breeze, the aroma of sodden forest, the delectable sting of small rain drops meeting my face, the sight of the rock faces as they stand freshly dusted with a light blanket of snow.
Puddles and saturated ground stretch out in every direction. Frowned upon by concerned citizens in the desert when caused by carelessness due to the scarcity of this essential resource, Nature has distributed water liberally today on the mountain.
The weather vane and anemometer atop this weather station gather sterile scientific data about the dynamic environment in Kyle Canyon.
From its perch on the mountain, this automated, solar powered weather station transmits its collected observations to the National Weather Service. Fools such as myself can find this data on their web page. We use this information to tell ourselves what the weather up on Mt. Charleston does at any given time. We usually compare this information with our local observations and express envy during the warm season for anyone who might have the luck or intelligence to escape our situation and head up there instead of staying here.
At first glance, the raindrops on Trevor’s hood almost appear to resemble beads of sweat. Of course Trevor doesn’t sweat, but I still laughed to myself.
I just have to show her off in this picture. Cardinal Red Metallic paint contrasts so well against the green of the foliage and the brown of the earth, yet it still seems to fit in. And of course, she just looks darn good. Classic even.
Back down on the desert floor, we can see another island of rain on a distant mountain. Sights such as this still stir something in me as they look so unnatural and yet so natural at the same time. Random blessings of life sustaining water deposited in small spots and trails across vast expanses, bringing relief. Yet at the same time most of the area goes without.
Finally back home, I set the parking brake and prepare to leave Trevor under the cover of the awning. I take one last look at the outside temperature. Ninety-five degrees. Only one hour and twenty-two minutes since the picture of Trevor and the trees. Only eighty-two minutes since I felt the caress of a cool mountain breeze, I step out of my car and back into the embrace of the summer warmth.
You might recognize this picture from above – the picture with the caption about the shadow on the joshua trees. I adjusted a few things to make a somewhat mundane and very terrestrial scene appear alien. I think it expresses the contrasts so commonly found in this region. A short trip can seem to take you to a different world
I hope you have enjoyed this post and the slightly different feel I sought to bring to it.
Have a wonderful day
I’m off to bed, finally
4 comments to Picture(s) A Day – 30 May 2009
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