Closing up shop
- Wednesday, Aug. 02, 2006

It may be time for a change
- Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Entry in the air
- Friday, April 21, 2006

Still here
- Thursday, April 20, 2006

Music of the moment
- Wednesday, March 1, 2006



101 in 1001
American Road Trip, 1998


Dancing Brave
Fugging It Up
Kitty Sandwich
Mister Zero
Sideways Rain


My crew
Our host

2000-12-17 - 17:43:47

Western dusk

Driving into work tonight in the purple dusk, the low-lying clouds hanging on the horizon beyond the trees and buildings gave the impression of far-off purple mountains majesty. Their craggy tops not too high in the sky looked like distant peaks; their lower edges disappearing into the horizon, as if part of the landscape rather than the sky. The advancing dusk of a day that had seen heavy rain here cast the sky in a deep purple/blue hue that helped the clouds appear as land forms, particularly those behind the school on the hill, as seen through the bare trees of winter.

And as I pulled up to a stop sign a little further along my route, across the intersection stood a ski shop, designed as a mountain resort lodge. Set against the quasi-mountainous background, it was like driving through a western town at dusk.

It made for a calming ending to what had been three hectic, and at times lousy days.

Friday was miserable. Knowing a horrendous night at work looms come dark makes for a frustrating afternoon. I woke up at 9 a.m. -- always early for someone who works nights -- in order to wait for a new mattress to be delivered. After it arrived, I was unable to fall back asleep, making me tired for the night of work ahead.

On the way to work, I stopped to look for a Christmas CD that contained the version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan I'd heard on the radio recently. The first store I went to -- the cheap one -- didn't have it, so, in a greedy fit of having to have it NOW, I went to Sam Goody, and paid $18 for it.

Leaving my house, I'd noticed the late-afternoon winter light through the trees. I looked across at the neighbors' house at what would make a fine photograph: the large, white house on the lawn, bare trees of winter with the light silhouetting their branches ... and I almost returned to the house to get my camera.

I didn't, but I should have.

When I emerged from the mall, CD in hand, I looked across the parking lot at a bright orange sunset playing off the rolling clouds stretching into the distance. Back to the east, the sky had taken on the blue of nightfall, but in the west it shone clear and bright as a campfire. If I'd had my camera, it would've made a fine picture, even with the mall parking lot as the foreground. But I had just caught the end of the show: the light soon faded as I followed it a little out of my way on a westerly route to the office. I would've barely had time to set up the camera and take more than a few shots before the colors faded.

I don't feel like going into details about why I was dreading work, but I'll explain it like this: We were understaffed because of a couple of people on vacation. But one of those on vacation was the guy who covers high school boys basketball -- which opened its season Friday night. How can you allow your high school boys basketball writer to take time off when his season's beginning. As a result of that and some other scheduling quirks, we were understaffed for a busy night. This was something that could've been -- should've been -- noticed at least a week earlier, but wasn't mentioned until Thursday night. Not the way to run things, if you ask me. And I was tired, which didn't help.

But I got through it OK, and Saturday got a little better.

When I got in my car to return some movies Saturday morning, the "Service Engine Soon" light on the dash of my 2000 Grand Am did not come on, as it had for nearly two weeks. When I'd gotten gas recently, the attendant (New Jersey is one of two states -- Oregon's the other -- where self-serve gas stations are illegal) had failed to replace the cap properly. Because of that, my car's computer detected emissions problems, which is a good thing for the environment, but I'd been growing nervous that the light hadn't shut off yet. But by Saturday morning, it had been driven enough that everything was fine again.

But cancelling out that joy was that I had misplaced two rolls of film from a recent day of shooting along the Shore, and worried that I couldn't remember the last place I saw them. I've never lost a roll of film in the eight years I've had my camera, and didn't want to start now.

Saturday, though, was a happy, warm day in a house filled with family and friends. For 30 years, my mom and four of her college friends have gotten together to bake cookies during the holidays. It started their senior year in college, and has lasted all these years. The house smelled of freshly baked cookies, the tree glowed in the back room, and we laughed and talked all afternoon, though some of us nearly fell asleep in the house warmed by the heat coming from the kitchen.

Which made for another long, tiring night at work I didn't have enough rest for.

But today, after an afternoon of filling out Christmas cards (always makes me feel good) while watching the Jets game (a disappointing loss to the Lions), I saw sitting on the kitchen counter the two missing rolls of film, which my mom had moved back after cleaning up from the cookie bake.

It was the final lingering bad feeling I'd had, and made for a promising Monday.

But while in the midst of this "funk," I spent some down time at work last night reading the diary of a young girl -- an 18-year-old freshman out West who's been through more in her life than anyone at that age ought to. And from the tone of her entries, she's getting along just fine.

And it made me realize my last two days have been easy. Thankfully, I've never experienced anything she has, nor has anyone close to me, or anyone I've known for that matter. I've been very fortunate, I realize that.

Though I can see, too, how those hardships make people stronger, and this young woman is a testament to that. I admire her, though I don't know her.

And I thought of her again tonight as I drove into work, looking off at the mountainous clouds looming over the horizon, as they do in her western mountain town.

It was a pleasant drive into the office through the western dusk.

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