Days Come and Days Go : A weblog of reflections and thoughts, as Days Come and Days Go
Updated: 9/4/2003; 8:49:57 PM.



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Thursday, September 04, 2003


Firey_DahliasThis summer has been one hot time in the city. Even moreso than summers of the past. Watching the news, I am surprised daily to hear the threat of a "thunderstorm" or "flash-floods". What are those things? They are not in my usual vocabulary any more than "tornado", which also crossed the lips of the local weatherman when describing what briefly touched down today to the east of my garden. Fortunately, these things have not materialized here, only the heat and brilliant sunshine which my garden seems to drink in on a daily basis. My roses are in full bloom, the cannas simply shout color and even the hybrid yellow pear tomatos that a friend gave me as seedlings are ushering forth a bountiful crop. But the most striking feature of the garden just now are my dahlias. Bright,vibrant colors and shapes adorn mostly six foot plus stalks, many thicker in diameter than several of my own fingers held together. Apparently, for them, it cannot be TOO hot as I almost watch them bud and bloom before my own eyes. And since this year has been rather unusual for weather, I would hear people complain about the heat. Hmmmm...aren't these the very people who complained about the cold only eight months ago? I suppose some find it a bit intolerable but as for myself, I find that any garden requires a good amount of "blood, sweat and tears", perhaps less on the blood and tears, but usually, heavy on the sweat!

Today's Quote:

What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.-Jane Austen

8:30:39 PM    your thoughts? []

Thursday, August 28, 2003

The Road Home 

The_Big_AppleLeaving my Utah sanctuary, I once again found myself on the road and in the desert, but this time I was heading back west from whince I came. The day was hot and the view desolate except for the occassional mountain or dry riverbed. My first stop was just across the Arizona border back into Nevada where the largest structure, was of course, a casino. I stopped in, not so much for the gambling but rather, because the sign outside touted a Starbucks within. Purchasing a frosty, ice blended concoction, I wandered around the casio for awhile and amused myself by dropping a few coins in several slot machines. No big winnings here, just killing time before I found myself back on the road. Next stop...Las Vegas. I know, we've been here before, but let's face it...there's not many other cities out there in the desert, especially off the interstate. So pulling into Sin City once again, this time I chose the New York, New York hotel and Casino for my diversion. Checking in and finding my room, I also noted that I had a great view of the MGM across the street. The bed was comfortable, and the furnishing tailored to, what else, New York.Slots_In_The_Village

That evening, I dressed for dinner and made my way down to the casino...again, not for the gambling but this time, for a magnificent dinner at Il Fornaio which was located just opposite the gaming area. What a wonderful place. The atmosphere, that of a quiet Italian bistro, I ate al fresco just near the stream, which runs around the restaurant. My waitress was hospitable and charming. She was very accomodating when I asked for her preference concerning my selection and accompaning wine choice. A most exquisite meal of hand made pastas and warm fresh baked breads. She suggested, and I accepted, the choice for dessert, carmel apple crepes lightly dusted with powdered sugar. My meal now over, I relaxed a bit and watched the people as they passed, occassionally stopping to plunck a dollar or two into the slots, most of which were forever parted from one anothers company.


Journeying outside, the night was still very warm and the people on the sidewalks as thick as my carmeled dessert. I ventured down the strip to once again view the sights and take in the hustle and bustle. Stopping to enter the Monte Carlo, I was at first astounded to find so many more machines than any other casino I had been in so far. But as I paused to survey the sight, I was perhaps in the wrong place at the wrong time, for a show was just finishing and I found myself in the midst of a stream of humanity, evidently all looking for the casinos restroom facilities. Eventually, the flow of the "tide" swept me to one side wherein, I made my exit towards the doors and back outside. Crossing the street, I set my course for the giant golden lion, the MGM. Inside, amongst the whirling of the slots, the calls of the craps and spins of the roulette tables, was an act performing live on the stage. The "Tower Of Power" group, once quite famous in the 1970's, was singing and dancing just below the "jumbotron" on which they also appeared. The music was good, lively and familiar but by the looks of most gamers, not as interesting as it was to me. Now back on the strip, I headed towards my hotel and thoughts of that comfortable bed played in my head.All_Points_Lead_Home

After a wonderful nights sleep I awoke to a marvelous breakfast and strong coffee that would insure my total vigilant state for the rest of my travels that day. Wandering around just a bit and playing a few more games, I found myself playing near a young couple. As the woman dropped yet another quarter, the bells and whistles went off. The man turned to me in delight saying that "this was their honeymoon and that she had only put about $10.00 in the machine when it won" And it did. Over $1000.00 eventually tallied on the lighted dials and they were on their cell phone calling family and friends with squeals of delight. I was quite happy for them and wished them congratulations as I moved to leave. What a wonderful story they would have to tell in later years, of their good fortune on this, the beginning of a life together. Checking out I asked the valet to bring the car around and as I stepped outside, the intense heat was stiffling. At 115F, it was nearly unbearable and this was only the late morning hours. Quickly I climbed into my vehicle where the valet was smart enough to have started the air conditioning for me. My appreciation did not go unnoticed as I gladly tipped him and bid him farewell. On the road and ever westbound, I aimed my galloping horsepower towards my home. A long drive, I had ample time to reflect upon my adventures this year. Places I had seen, people I had met and things I had learned. How very interesting and diverse was this journey over the past several weeks. My mind was greatly satisfied with every delightful aspect I encountered. And now, with every minute that ticked by, I was that much closer to...home. My home. My garden. When I arrived, I walked my garden at sunset and I knew that no matter where I travelled and no matter how much fun I had, that all points eventually lead home. The place I love to always end each and every day.

Today's Quote:

Type of the wise who soar but never roam, True to the kindred points of heaven and home.-William Wordsworth

7:00:48 PM    your thoughts? []

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Flowers, Food and Farewell 

Desert_FlowerThe next couple of days I spent hiking about the canyon and learning as much as I could about its history and evolution. Certainly, life has been here for many years, coming and going, changing and adapting...but the canyon remains very much as it has been for milleniums. So I wondered just how the current "life" has adapted and how it finds a place in which to dwell. Here I found a brilliantly colored flower alongside one of the many trails, down which, I had the privilege to journey. As if to say, "I am here amongst the beauty of this canyon but for a short time, so enjoy me while you can".I_Like_Lichen

The desert is a most harsh place for most living things and it takes an extraordinary type of life to actually prosper. So when I took a closer look at the sandstone and rocks, I was surprised to see colonies of lichen here and there. Far less ostentatious than the flowers or even the wild turkeys, this humble little plant clings tenaciously to stone, especially in the shaded moist areas. No two are exactly alike and they often form tiny designs or patterns. Squeezing the tiniest amounts of moisture out of the air, these living creatures have adapted very well to the climate into which they find themselves.They, like the rocks, are steadfast witnesses to time and change.


Back at my inn and near the end of my adventure here, I sat back and enjoyed a wonderful catered meal by the staff of the facility. Who would have believed that I would have to travel 500 miles, into the desert, to experience the best seared ahi I have yet eaten? The fresh, steamed sidedish vegetables and creamy, allspiced yams were "manna" here on earth. All accompanied by a delightful white wine, it was perhaps one of the finest meals I have ever had. My compliments to the chef as well as the serving staff did not go unsaid. And although I am not a very big "sweets" eater, I did take this opportunity to indulge in the triple, chocolate fudge cake which was offered. Would you refuse? The perfect ending to the perfect meal.Moonrise_Over_Zion

It was with great saddness that I had to leave this place for I had seen and experienced a true wonderland here during my short stay. I took away with me many memories, thoughts and beautiful photos with which I could always remember this tranquil sanctuary. That last night, I stared up at the deep and black sky, shrouded with a million diamonds twinkling all about and watched the moon rise over Zion. How wonderful is this place and how lucky I was to experience its peace and serenity. So the next time I am feeling a bit hagared or stressed, when I feel as if my world is not going quite the way I wish it to, I will remember this "sanctuary", this place of beauty, this...Zion.

Today's Quote:

The lichen on the rocks is a rude and simple shield which beginning and imperfect Nature suspended there. Still hangs her wrinkled trophy.-Henry David Thoreau

8:34:57 PM    your thoughts? []

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Oasis In The Desert 

Cascading_CenturiesYou would think that a place such as this, far out into the desert and under a scorching hot summer sun, would be devoid of all but the sparsest of water. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, nearly everywhere I went, I found some of the liquid gold. All you need do was search the rocks for a glint of green, and there, in between the crags and cracks where some plant took a foothold, water was also. My next stop in the canyon was Weeping Rock, a short hike from the canyon road up a winding path to an overhang dripping with water. So much so that moss and other vegatation hung everywhere like a hanging garden. I had been told by the driver that this water was actually seeping through the pourous sandstone from high above on the mesa and that it took an amazing 2000 years to once again appear as it wept from this precipice. So intrigued with this revelation that, for a short time, I followed its meandering to this tiny cascade which appeared and ferns grew. Under_The_Falls

My next stop was a daunting trek to The Emerald Pools.This hike was probably the most strenuous thus far, but moreso because it began about noon when the sun was on high and the temperture even higher. On this journey, one encounters many degrees of elevation change as well as vegatation and animal life. The end reward for just such an expedition is the sight of the three emerald pools, neatly tucked away from those who do not wish to venture into the near "backcountry". Pool number one, was not so spectacular for its size or color, but rather the fact that it was fed by a several hundred foot waterfall. It fell not like a driving force, but more like a gentle sprinkling from overhead. Here I stood under it arc and wondered at this amazing sight taking this photo. Onward I climbed the ever steep path, through rock and hand-hewn steps made from 4 inch sandstone blocks. Around hairpin twists and turns, through scrub and sage, and darting between shade and sun.


Soon I found myself at pool number two. Once again not as overwelmed by its beauty as I was for the fact that it slowly flowed towards the slope of the cliff I was now standing on, and over its rocky edge. For it was this pool which was, infact, the maternal entity which fed the waterfall that shortly before, I was standing beneath. Once again, I trekked on and now the path narrowed considerably, gave way to a much more strongly inclined trail and was in full sun. Heat of this nature can drain even the best natural reserves, so I stopped often to partake of copious amounts of water which I had brought along. At one of these stopping points I found a large boulder directly in my path and atop it, many cairns placed there by previous passerbys. I too added my declaration to this landmark memorial and pressed on.Tadpole_Territory

Ultimately, I attained my lofty goal, the third and final emerald pool. Situated under towering cliffs and dotted with huge boulders, there before me was a very large, dark limped green pool. Its surface as calm as glass, I could not help but move toward and eventually enter its cooling waters. There below the surface was a very fine grained, sandy bottom and my eye caught a slight motion under the water. Upon closer inspection, I found that this alpine pond contained a thriving population of medium sized tadpoles. Oblivious to my presence, they wiggled and squirmed in the warm shallows near the edges of this pristine pool. For perhaps an hour, I sat there in the shade of a nearby live-oak and contemplated this place. High above the canyon floor and seemingly far from all society, I listened intently to the sounds of the wind and a faint hawks cry from high up the rock wall face. This was indeed, a mountain oasis!

Today's Quote:

Are you not the oasis where I dream, and the gourd from which I drink in long draughts the wine of memory?-Charles Baudelaire

7:09:38 PM    your thoughts? []

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Place Of Sanctuary 

Entering_ZionLeaving Las Vegas and heading ever eastward, it is amazing that this place of glitz and glamour is so relatively small when compared to the vastness of the desert in which it resides. Once again I note the sparse surroundings of sand and rock and as I drive on, my eyes strain to find some sort of sanctuary.The ancient Hebrew word for "refuge" or "sanctuary" is known as "Zion". So what more fitting a name than this could possibly be given to the next stop on my summer journey. My vehicle rolls across the ribbon of highway finally exiting the state of Nevada and for a very brief time, I find myself in Arizona. So brief in fact, that I barely blink and focus my eyes upon the colorful sign welcoming me to Utah. St George is the first "big" town you come to, but it is not here I wish to stop. Onward through Hurricane and Rockville until I reach Springdale. A tiny hamlet which is the entrance to my destination, Zion National Park. As I draw closer, the sands of the desert seem to rise before me, into hills then to mountains. Mountains of red and yellow, dotted it emerald green spots and my eye follows layers of sandstone that bend and fold in unique patterns. I can only marvel at this natural beauty before me and wonder what lies ahead.Balcony_View

Driving down the quaint two lane country road, I finally arrive at the Inn where I previously made reservations. It's HOT outside and securing the key to my private cabin, I am instantly refreshed to find the coolness of the air inside. A beautiful place in which to rest my road weary body, I open the door onto my balcony and actually stand...motionless...for a moment as I take in the awe inspiring view of palatial mountains close enough to touch. As the day is still early, I decide to traverse the miniscule half mile to the park entrance in hopes of determining how I should pace my visit. Incredibly, I learn at the entrance, that this park supplies the vistors with free, ranger driven, articulated and propane fueled buses that travel up and down the canyon all day long. There are approximately ten stops that each bus makes and during the gentle ride, the friendly driver voices history of the canyon, points out places of interest, and alerts the passengers of the next stop. You are free to enter and exit the bus at any or all stops since another bus arrives every 6-10 mintues. As the bus progresses further the walls of the canyon narrow slightly and rise tremendously until they are well over 1000 feet in altitude.Tiny green spots which are spied at their rocky tops are no less than 100 foot trees which watch the cayon floor below. I cannot put into words, the colors and textures found within these walls and one has a sense of traveling back into time and seemingly glimpsing a native american indian upon some ledge high above. For indeed, there were native peoples who called this their home, long before any white settlers arrived. They gathered, farmed and fished these wild places most likely without fear or worry.


After a brief stop at the Zion Lodge, I re-enter another bus and decide to travel the length of the canyon, all the way to The Temple Of Sinawava. The furthest one can go with the use of a bus, visitors can exit and continue on foot, up the canyon trail which follows the Virgin River. Well maintained, the dirt trail is mostly bounded by a small rock kneewall to define the trail and is quite easy to walk. Passing through this winding canyon of banded rock, sycamores and following river, I hestitate now and then to admire the sights and snap a few photos. As the canyon continues to narrow, I am unsure of just how far this will take me, but I pass a family of wild turkeys in a clearing drinking from the river. Two miles further I have my answer as the trail ends at the river itself. A pile of walking sticks are neatly stacked and a sign requests you return them after their use. But where do you go? The trail has ended. There is nowhere else TO GO...except...IN THE RIVER!Virgin_River_Narrows

Luckily, I was quite prepared for this wearing shorts good socks and shoes. Although I thought a moment about taking my shoes off, I noted that most people were simply walking into the water fully shod. Good thing that I did, because the river was full of various size gravel and boulders, some quite slippery with algae and moss. The cooling waters were appreciated as well as the shade that the now VERY narrow canyon provided. I noted the sign with its strong warning regarding "possible flash floods and entering at your own risk". Truth be told, if a flash flood did occur, one would have very little chance of surviving due to the steepness of the canyon walls. There was no way you could climb these well worn and river scoured slopes due to their near 90 degree incline. Further I pushed on with water sometimes reaching near waist level and other times closer to my knees. This was summer and the water level was indeed low in comparison to winter and spring.After I had trekked approximately four miles I determined that I should reverse course and head back as the sunlight was beginning to fade and I did not want to feel my way back in the dark. But what a breathtaking adventure. The rock and water, the clean air and gentle sounds of the breeze...this was indeed, a "sanctuary"!

Today's Quote:

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept: when we remembered Zion.-Bible: Hebrew Psalms, 137:1

7:40:34 PM    your thoughts? []

Monday, August 04, 2003

I Love The Night Life 

Caesars_PalaceThere is just something about Vegas at night that is almost impossible to explain to another person who has never experienced it. It's more than just the light, although they do shine ever so bright. It's more than the audacious way they display their architecture, although one must admit it is amazing. And it's more than shameless way they attempt to draw one into their facilities with promises of free "this" and extra "that". No, to understand you must look into the faces of those you pass on the street. They seem to have a certain single determination to get somewhere, find something or locate someone. Here at Caesars, when you are finished trying your luck at the tables, you can mill around the hundreds of exclusive stores located in a special wing where roman statues "come alive" every hour on the hour and the cloud filled sky of purple and blue hues dance above on the ceiling over the thousands of gallons of water in the multiple aquariums filled with sharks and other salt water creatures.Eiffel_Tower

There is but one Eiffel Tower in the world, but the one in France has serious competition with Vegas for the next best thing. Towering overhead, this building houses a restaurant and is located in front of The Parisean. Inside, you will find quaint French-like cobblestone alleys and walkways. Games and entertainment abound as well as food and of course gambling. The waitresses here are lovely in their skintight french maid outfits and information can be had at any of the French Police walking the beat. Evidently I was so fascinated with the many rural country streets inside, that I became lost and found myself in the banquet halls where a "Hooters Girls" countrywide competition was being held. Each of the buxom beauties wore a sash from her locale and of course smiled anyone coming near, perhaps hoping to find a lost judge. I wondered whether MY vote would have counted?


Further down the strip I found an elevated height which was conducive to taking this photo. The skyline of the eastern "lookalike" may have been somewhat smaller and more crowded together than the real thing, but I am sure that the people riding the rollercoaster which encircles the building had their minds on many other details that night. As I gazed up and down the strip in the heat of the night, I had to stop and smile wondering whether anyone else was as intrigued by what men had envisioned way back in the 1940's when this piece of sand was nothing more than a place for rattlesnakes and tumbleweeds. I said, most had that far off look and most of those looks had dollar signs in them.Slots_Alot

After my short excursion down the strip, I decided to head inside to the New York, New York Casino to see what life was like on the inside. A two level entryway allowed one to either head straight for the casino or, to the shops skirting the slots. There I found, Starbucks and hotel shops. But the most interesting was the Coyote Ugly Bar upstairs. The place was packed and some wild times were to be had in there. Although my curiosity was piqued, I decided to forge on but lingering, just a bit, at the Coyote Ugly shop and salesgirls just outside its doors. They were selling the tanktops,T-shirts and yes, thongs, all ingraved with the Coyote Ugly logo. I can affirm that sales were...brisk!

Today's Quote:

How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down On The Farm After They've Seen Paree? (1918 WWI Song) -Sam M. Lewis & Joe Young

8:59:23 PM    your thoughts? []

Friday, August 01, 2003

Sin City In Summer 

Mojave_DesertUpon my arrival back home, I rested the next day, unpacked, read my mail, tended to my garden and readied my vehicle for the next leg of my journey. The day was bright and sunny but very unlike the tropics where, only a day before, I found myself on a coral beach. Now, my luggage repacked I climbed aboard my SUV and hit the open road for points due east. Several hours later I found myself in the midst of the Mojave Desert with very little but a ribbon of highway, sagebrush, sand and baking rock before me. My airconditioner kept me comfortable while outside the air temperture was well over 100. I noted vast flatlands and dry salt lake beds, a few cacti and increasing signage touting the "riches" that could be had if only you could perserve a few more desolate miles to that shining city of sin in the sun...Las Vegas!Egyptian_Edifice

Finally I arrived in "Sin City" and spied my awaiting accomodations through the wavering heat rays that lifted from the sands, The Luxor. Perhaps you know it better as "The Pyramid Hotel". Constructed in the typical pyramid shape, its black glass outershell sits behind the staute of a huge sphinx. I pulled up, the valet whisking my car off, and the bellman who had secured my luggage, escorted me to the front desk where my reservations awaited and I checked-in. Passing through the casino, I noted the fervor and intentness on each of the players faces as they faced off against the dealers and machines, obviously oblivious to my arrival...but then again, I had no intention of challenging their determination to win!


As I entered one of the four perfectly polished golden elevators, I noted the intensely detailed carpeted floors and carved stone walls. Egyptian symbols and artifacts decorated even the smallest of corners and the theme never ended. In fact, entering my room, one could imagine entering some long sealed off mid-east pharaohs personal quarters, as the furniture and room decor displayed just such adorations. The air on and the room cool, I unpacked and freshened, finally finding a most comfortable place in which to sit and gaze out of the extremely large picture window. Across the way I saw The Excalibur Hotel with its medieval theme and of course, the rest of "The Strip" with its cars and humanity walking the sidewalks in the midday sun.The_Excalibur

After a short rest, I decided to go downstairs to get my bearings and tour the facility. Having been away for a length of time, this city is constantly changing. Hotels spring up and are pulled down in a blink of the eye. New attractions are always finding their way to this "sinful" city in the baking desert, but the crowds just keep coming. But the bells, shows, bright lights and beautiful showgirls seem to have an entrancing effect on most much so, that they cannot wait to wager their hard earned monies in that slim but ever so powerful dream of becoming rich. Although it was still hot as night approached, I could feel this "fever" from those that wandered the strip. Who amongst them would be a changed person by morning?

Today's Quote:

To sin offers repentance and forgiveness; not to sin offers only punishment.-José Bergamín

5:40:32 PM    your thoughts? []

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