View Point Ahead

Today’s guest post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale.

One of the reasons I like to travel – especially when it’s “over the surface” of the country by car or train, is that I always come home with a slightly different perspective on my life.

Being in touch with all that space just gives one pause, and last month’s road trip to Utah is no exception. The highway (I-70) that we drove through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains was lined with aspens that look like yellow flames in the dark evergreen forests.

In southern Utah, one canyon made you think you’re in a cathedral, and the second must have been dropped there from another planet.

We noticed all kinds of little differences between there and home – names like Grizzly Creek and Hanging Lake; towns called Eagle, Leadville, Rifle, Yellowcat. Road signs warned of “Falling Rocks” or “Avalanche Area”.

And sure enough, several times along Utah’s scenic Highway 12, we slowed for small groups of cattle grazing in the ditch.

My favorite road sign, “View Point Ahead”, echoed my mood.

I am prepared to come home from any journey with a change in point of view – I look forward to it. This time I’ve arrived with shifted priorities, ready to explore what I can and cannot do with my life.

When have you known a change was coming?

54 thoughts on “View Point Ahead”

  1. We talked about mountains the other day and how on my first visit to the Canadian Rockies I was wowed by the majesty of the surroundings. Every time I turned a corner I was presented with the most beautiful mountain I ever saw. I was primed for the next scene by the appreciation of the last scene. Life is kind of working out like that… I am so impressed with the magic every day offers that I am wowed by the next thing that pops u from around the corner. Every now AMA again I enjoy sitting down and soaking up the surroundings but mostly I am turning corners getting wowed.
    Utah… Colorado…wow . What a change of perspective not only out the windshield but in your sensory intake.
    Thanks BiR for putting me back on the road in my imagination this morning while I’m up in the wee hours tweaking a few things on my latest project and waiting for the lunar eclipse. If you want to avoid change I’m not the guy to talk to. If you want to talk about rolling with the punches and putting one foot in front of the other I’m with ya.

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  2. Morning all. Just a wedge of moon left…boy is it dark without moonlight!

    I still remember the first time I traveled through the Black Hills. It’s like looking down at a huge piece of velvet that’s been scrunched up and then flung out.

    I know that wasn’t the question, but it’s what BiR and tim have made me think about!

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  3. Good morning. The moon is almost not there any more. It isn’t showing much red color. Over the last hour I watched it go from a nearly round glowing moon to a point where there was only a thin edge of brightly glowing moon with the rest of the moon barely visible.

    We have been living in Minneapolis for only about 6 months. As we explore the Twin Cities we are entering into a new period in our life. In the past we traveled to the Twin Cities many times. However, living here gives us a much greater prospective on the area than we gained from just visiting. It ‘s taking longer than I thought it would to make this place our home. I’m sure many changes are coming for us as we reach the point where we feel more completely at home in our new location.

    Now the moon is hard to find because it has dropped lower into the sky and there aren’t very many places near our house where it isn’t hiding behind trees. It is still visible as a faintly lit sphere where the trees don’t block my view.

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    1. Yes, we could see the first part when we got up at 5, but later on it disappeared beyond the trees.

      It does take longer, I think, to make a new big city feel like “home” – if for nothing else than learning your way around to everything!

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  4. I got to the top of the driveway and was very impressed with the real live moon versus the one on TV I don’t know what it look like an hour ago but it sure is cool at 6:30

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  5. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    WordPress is messin’ with me. A week ago it stopped plunking posts in my email. Yesterday, CApn Billy did not show up on-line for me either. And I LOVE Capn Billy–My Big Man On Blog.

    Well, in our lives, we were pretty sure a big change was coming this summer when we got the call that Lou’s dad had collapsed at home. Then this weekend we were notified that he lapsed into a coma. Monday he died. (no psychic ability required on that one!)

    This is a plug for an advanced Health Care Directive–the poor guy would not do one nor even talk about his prospective death. So at the end of his life at age 94 they gave him a pacemaker that extended his life 3 months, and added a lot of misery during that 3 months.

    We have family coming in tomorrow, then the Memorial Service in Decorah, IA on Sat. morning. A whirlwind!

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  6. Roommate and I got out to see the mid-eclipse around 5:50. It would have been truly spectacular were we not right in the city with all the light pollution, but it was still Pretty Darn Cool (even if we did have to walk down the block to find a spot between streetlamps). The cats were horrified that we left the house before feeding them, of course. An hour later I was at the bus stop and able to see the “bitten cookie” moon, now silver again, very low on the horizon. Thank you, universe, for finally having an astronomical event late enough in the morning for me to see!

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    1. CG – if I had left my bedroom to see the eclipse, all my animals would have reacted like yours… “Where’s our breakfast?” As it was, they were very confused because for the first hour or so, I was playing solitaire and listening to a book on tape with the lights off and every few minutes I’d get up to look out the window.

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  7. I managed to sleep through the eclipse. Ah well. The dreams were good.

    Answering the question: I know I am ready for a change or a new challenge when, for lack of a better way to describe it, my brain gets itchy. It’s not that I get bored, but somehow my brain just knows it needs something new to chew on – sometimes that means new stuff at work, sometimes it means finding some new thing to do with my not-so-copious free time. Sometimes it’s a new book that really makes me think. Ultimately, if the intellect ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks, BiR, for the nice blog article and great photos. For me the question of accepting change has such an obvious answer that I’m unable to find words to express it.

    I’ve led a fairly dull life that was rocked to its core twice, once by divorce (unwanted and mostly a negative event) and now my recent move out of the Midwest to Oregon (a move I mostly sought, although I’ve been highly aware of positive and negative consequences of this change).

    Having lived my whole life in the Midwest I am nearly overwhelmed by all the changes, large and small, I’m discovering. Until you experience something like this, you would not believe how many things you take for granted are actually regional, so that a move to a new region keeps serving up crazy surprises. Change, instead of being a novelty, becomes the norm . . . only you end up confused about what is “normal” now.

    In the end, what becomes most important is the attitude taken in response to so much change. It is a cliche that huge changes can be “problems” or “opportunities” depending on one’s attitude about them. And while this might be a cliche, it can become the dominant reality of life.

    I have fond, wistful memories of what life was like before the two huge changes. I was as fond of continuity and predictability as anyone could be, but that is not what my life turns out to be about. A dull and predictable guy is now obliged to respond to cataclysmic changes. Well, fine. My new conviction is that enormous change events can be spooky and uncomfortable, but I feel I have been propelled by them to see life with totally new eyes . . . something like being jolted out of seeing things in two dimensions and being allowed to (or even forced to) see in three dimensions.

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    1. I’m mystified. What on earth is so different in Oregon to rise to the level of cataclysmic change, Steve? Mississippi, Alabama, or Texas I can understand, but Oregon, not so much.

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      1. I wasn’t careful in that description, PJ. The divorce was cataclysmic change. Fifteen years later, I’m still adjusting. The geographical move was more in the line of comprehensive change. That includes the taste of the water, the layout of streets, the absence of bugs and the fact that the TV and radio shows run at weird times.

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        1. Well, that’s a relief. I have been to Portland a couple of times, and I was wondering what the heck I had missed that could possibly be so different.

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  9. Wow, Steve, well done – what an insight! I agree that moving to a new region is a huge shift – because this country is so huge, you end up changing cultures to a point, and certainly terrain, when you go as far as you have.

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  10. Utah: years ago I worked in northern Alaska with educators from eight schools spread across the top of the state. Principals at workshops for their faculty are notorious for being disengaged, as were all eight of these. In the end it did not go very well. I still cringe thinking about some key errors I made there.
    Two years later one of those principals, the one who seemed the least interested in what I had to say, called me and asked me to come work on a reservation school in east central Utah. We set it up for a Monday, but he asked if I was willing to fly out Friday to reduce travel costs, something I often did, often volunteering. It also gave me the chance to do a little exploring; sometimes I brought Sandra. But to also reduce costs he was picking me up at the airport in Lewiston. Then he called right back: could I fly in on Thursday evening because he had to drive in Lewiston anyway. Oh, and I would be staying in his house with him and his wife. I agreed, thinking he was just fulfilling some staff training requirement and my name probably just popped into his head. I thought, This is going to be three awkward days.
    He was a big rough, tough looking man. I noticed his wife in Alaska: several years younger, quite attractive, big bleached blond hair woman. She looked a bit jaded herself. Like makeup.
    They met me at the airport and I sat in the back seat while they made several stops. Then we drove the fifty miles to their home. They said little to me along the way, talked about an adult son and an issue he was having. Near the town, she asked me if I liked all the travel I did. I said I loved seeing the varied landscapes and cultures of the US. She was surprised and said so, did not think I looked the type. Huh?
    She told me that was why they moved a lot. She listed all the places they had worked, all across the country, usually on reservations. He like operations like this one, where he was supt. and principal. they had four adult children, two in college, one at the Coast Guard Academy, one working on ocean transports for a few years as a way to see more of the world. She told me they were HS sweethearts. Now that I looked, he was younger than I thought and she was older.
    I asked what she did in all the the travels. She was school secretary sometimes, as she had been in Atqasuk. (look that one up.) Mostly she put herself in a situation where she could find and help trouble teen girls, mostly abused girls. He told me that she had 100 now-adult women whom she kept track of whom she had helped, putting many of them on their feet. Many they had taken into their homes, always against the rules.
    Wow, I thought. Did I misjudge by looks.
    I asked how their kids had felt about all that moving around. One daughter would have preferred to be more sedentary but the other three loved it, still traveled.
    Do you like remote back country? he asked me. I told him I did and that I grew up in back country.
    He asked her if she was ready for Monday (turned out she was catering Mondays workshop, at their treat). She said she was and turned to ask me if I wanted an adventure. They were just starting to explore more of the area.
    Friday, this time of the year, we drove back up a beautiful long canyon that dead-ended at a little town with a reservation school. We all loved the Alaska feel to the town and the store. We stopped several times to look at the river and some kayakers. She packed a wonderful picnic, which we ate in a high overlook.
    Saturday we went up a different canyon, more touristy at first, but then it was private, quiet, serene, entrancing, up to another overlook with another catered picnic, catered by her.
    Sunday she worked on prepping the meal with three teen girls from the school. She taught and listened as much as directed.
    He asked me if I like smoked fish. I explained about the North Shore. He took me to where the Nez Perce were smoking a large catch from the river. (When I got home and opened my bag, it reeked of fish and smoke). We turned fish, ate fish, talked, and napped on a wonderful day for weather.
    Monday he introduced me telling them how I had impacted his staff (I had, really?). It went very well.
    At the end of the day he told me he had arranged for me to be driven back to Lewiston by a young member of the tribe who taught English. The man was an amazing man to talk with. He told me of his rather traditional childhood with wonderful parents and how he felt about cultural collision (liked both worlds). He grilled me about teaching writing. He dropped me off at a luxury-like hotel above the river. Where the tribe had connections and I could stay for free. He told me he was so fired up about what I said about teaching writing he was going to completely change how he taught. I mailed him copies of textbooks I written for my own use.
    None of this did I see coming.
    How that couple had lived their lives.
    I was humbled by it all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow – what a great experience and a nice reward when you thought it was going to be a rough 3 days. Thanks for the story!!!

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    2. Wonderful story, Clyde, and what an incredible experience. It is so great to be validated, and a good reminder that appearances can fool you.

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      1. No better, but I have learned something odd. If I type for length, I make fewer errors and have less pain. It is something short like this where I cannot control my fingers. Probably because in longer stretches I am thinking about words and not fingers. Still lots of errors. Some I can see is not fingers but my mind screwing up words before my fingers get the message I did make many corrections above. Not going to read it as published to see what I missed.
        Re the question for the day (nice barbara, indeed nice): knowing all many changes were going to happen and waiting for them to work through has been hard. We as a larger family have lived through the hardest month of our lives, which I will not explain. Not done yet. Could get much worse.
        To escape I have been writing a sequel to my non-novel. Which has also been a way to face some things. I may post part of it on my dormant blog.
        I will probably be here more.
        Wisdom for the day: woe to he who forgets to take his wallet out of his pants before washing them.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. For about one year now, Hans has been counting down the days to his retirement. That has been a little unsettling for me. Partly because he tends to be a control freak, and I envision him trying to “fix” my less than perfect use of my time. This coming Monday is his last day at work. It coincides with his 65th birthday. Don’t know which is more traumatic for him, but he has all kinds of trepidation, now that the day is so close. I fully expect that we’ll settle into a new, pleasant routine, that doesn’t involve getting up at the crack of dawn, and I actually look forward to the flexibility we’ll have to do more spontaneous stuff. All kinds of possibilities that we’ve never had the luxury of exploring before.

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    1. A warning learned as a pastor and a retired spouse: spouses trying to fix each other and getting each other’s space is a common issue.

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      1. You’d think that after 35 years of marriage he would have given up on fixing me. But I’m not dead yet, so I’ll give him ample opportunity to perfect his technique. Good luck with that, Hans.

        He really is a sweet guy, just can’t help himself. We’ll be fine once he realizes I’m a hopeless case.

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  12. Clyde’s story reminded me of the way some people learn to love change so much that continuity is stifling. My erstwife had a co-worker friend named Jim. He fell in love with a gorgeous tall woman named Nancy. We attended their wedding. They were a delightful, witty couple.

    Several years into the marriage, Jim reflected on Nancy’s life. He told me about this once. “I thought about the fact she had never lived in one house for more than three years. She had never stayed in the same job for four years. Her dad had been married to four different women. And when I thought about all that, I realized there wasn’t a chance in hell she would stay married to me for long. Nothing in her life was constant.”

    About a year after he had that revelation, Nancy divorced Jim.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Could have been a self-fullfilling prophesy that, Steve. Long term relationships are difficult, they require work. I would never have dreamt that after 35 years of marriage we still need to be vigilant, but we do. You just can’t take each other for granted. Just this morning, I realized how vulnerable Hans feels at the moment. My job is to reassure him that he’ll be OK, that we’ll be OK. I know we will be, but at the moment he’s so full of anxiety about the loss of the identity he has had for so long that he’s second-guessing himself. I’m hoping our shared sense of the absurd and a good sense of humor will see us through this sea change.

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    1. Welcome, Sally. I, too, hope you can take a wonderful trip that leaves you feeling like a better person. I grew up with a dread about family car vacations. I’m not sure why. Maybe I’d seen too many family car trips on TV or in movies, and it can be hell if there is a conflict when you can’t get more than three feet from each other. When my first wife got a car with air conditioning she declared we would take a family car trip through the Dakotas, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California and back by way of Yellowstone Park.

      I braced myself for three weeks of hell. Instead we had a fabulous trip and collected a storehouse of cherished memories. We kept seeing one animal so often in state after state that it became the mascot of the trip. Along roads in almost every state we saw these groups of Hoary Marmots. Whenever the family gets together now we bring out fond memories of the road trip of the Horny Mormons.

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  13. Sad, sad day today. As you all know, from time to time I chicken sit for my friend, Helen, down the street. About a month ago, she lost a hen to some critter that got into the chicken coop. A stray hen, Carmen, meandered into her yard and was incorporated into her coop. Two weeks ago Helen and Sarah went on vacation, and I was left in charge of the hens. Carmen, the latest addition, was an absolute delight. I loved holding and petting her before tucking her into her roost for the night. Helen and Sarah returned from their vacation on Monday morning. Today Helen called to tell me that she “forgot” to close the coop last night, and that some critter had killed Carmen. I feel so sad, and angry. How the heck could she not have remembered the last hen killed, about one month ago? How many hens need to be killed on your watch before you pay attention?

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  14. A change that l didn’t see coming was that my younger son’s wife had an affair and is now divorcing him with two babies and a dream home he designed around her wishes. lt utterly blindsided him because she never made it known that she was at all unhappy. She’s a famous actress in the state and never stopped yearning to resume her career.
    He had no idea his llttle family would ever break apart.

    He’s now moved through the despair and shock, but cries every step of the way. lt now appears that she was playing the roles of wife and dolls and has admitted as much. He’s gotten much stronger by journaling, reading and researching prolifically, getting therapy, expressing what he’s feeling, turning to good friends and family. He’s resilient and an extraordinarily conscious man now. l find this pretty rare in a man.

    Whomever finds him next will have won the lottery, but for now, whatever hurts our children hurts us. l am heart broken for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Husband started his contract worth with the Tribe. He likes it. He is happy with the reduction in paperwork and his opportunity to do real community work. When we were home for my Dad’s funeral I encouraged him to get a pipe from the Pipestone monument to put in his office. He showed it to our friend who had the grieving ceremony back in September, and he told husband we will have the guy down in Pine Ridge do a ceremony over the pipe. That should be interesting.

    I am enjoying my play therapy convention and I am planning changes in my play room back at work and starting new interventions and therapy techniques. These changes will be exciting.

    There have been so many other changes in our lives the last 6 months I hope we have some sameness for a while.

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