When was the last time you just stretched out on a patch of grass and watched the clouds go by for a decent while? I don’t mean the 45 seconds to 2 minutes that one might typically lie on your back and ponder the world for a while. Rather to properly appreciate a beautiful blue sky with clouds passing overhead, one needs nominally 15 minutes. This time I got a full 30 minutes under the sky even after my parents cat decided to pay me a visit. The image above is looking straight up into that sky…
This image is what I saw when I looked down… When this cat, “Tiger” drops by to say hello to me, he likes to drape himself over a leg, arm or torso and get as close as possible. This is Tiger draping himself over my chest where he stayed for the entire time while we breathed slowly together and took in a cool morning in the desert, me looking up at the sky and Tiger just being content to sleep on my chest. I suspect that Tiger misses Jack, the catahoula that used to keep him company, as Jack had passed on a couple of months prior due to extreme old age. I’m grateful that Jack and I had a chance to say goodbye on the last visit while we sat together on the same patch of grass along with Tiger, somehow knowing that it was the last time that Jack and I would see one another in this world at least. There is a shot of Jack here from a visit a few years ago. Jack was a good dog, no doubt and more loyal and friendly than he had reason to be. I’ll miss him.
The desert has a capacity to induce reflectivity. Its hard to put ones finger precisely on it. It might be the expanse or solitude, but the effect is quieting and creates a sense of calm and internal silence where one starts to ask questions of ones self without the noise of the every day. This quiet intimacy is at once satisfying, terrifying and mysterious. But it is precisely these times, especially where you are alone that are the most telling of who you are, good and bad. Find those quiet moments, embrace them and learn. They are a gift.
This visit was a chance to spend some time with family, reconnect on some level and reflect on what has gone before and what is to come. The takeaway lesson from this weekend is trite, but all that cheesy advice on living every moment as if it were your last is solid. Burn that into your brain. Take advantage of opportunities to build, create and help when they come your way. Be assertive, yet help people succeed and find peace. Be honorable and take care of others when and where you can and work *hard* at whatever it is you do.