Moments that matter

I just took a very pleasant journey to the east, driving over to places like Moab and Telluride to test drive the guest quarters of friends in each of those dandy little towns. While enjoying a happy hour in the extremely scenic backyard of an ex-Renoid who landed safely in southeast Utah, she said that she had been working up a questionnaire for some website, and one of the questions was along the lines of “When you shed this here mortal coil, what one natural moment will you miss the most?” Something like that. On the long drive back here, it was easy to ponder the question and think of a few.

Right off, I’d miss the thoroughly rich blueness of our desert sky on a clear day. That was one of the first things I noticed when I moved here from hazy central California in ’77, one of the things that informed me that I might have some natural affinity for the stinkin’ desert. That the sky over here on the back side of the Sierra was different. As in, it was so freakin’ blue, it could almost burn out your eyeball’s blue receptors if you were careless.

There was that one dusk on the great Green River, in Desolation Canyon, a blazing hot afternoon turning to twilight, with me sitting in the river, cold beer in hand, being utterly dazzled by the flights of dozens of bats as they emerged for their nightly rounds, flying about in their dizzying way, often snatching their buggy victims while only a couple of feet in front of my face. A remarkable and totally Western summer evening.

You generally can’t go wrong with a rainbow that doubles up as you watch. Or being on a beach at Pyramid Lake on a night when a big ragin’ sunset is quickly followed by a full moonrise. Simple stuff, yes, but timelessly good and always cool.

I would have to include the wondrous experience of taking a kayak ride at midnight upon a thin stretch of the Pacific Ocean between British Columbia and Vancouver Island (a powerful place called Johnstone Strait) and being blown away by the green bioluminescence that flared in the water with each stroke of my paddle, while off in the distance, I’d hear the occasional sudden breath of an orca. In fact, in writing about it, I now wonder … why the hell haven’t I gone back there?

Yes, all of those things could rate as an answer for my friend’s questionnaire, I reckon. But I would be remiss if I failed to give mention to the fabulously bewitching natural beauty I’ve had the thrilling pleasure to behold when that girl … yes, THAT one … stood in front of me, smiling into my face, and then slowly wriggled and wriggled and wriggled right … out … of … those … jeans.