There was something about those red legged lubber grasshoppers that leaped across our paths as we hiked across the desert in those days last week. Contrast it with this week, when I braved the freeway in the early mornings to make a meeting or a doctor’s appointment.
As I stared out a window in one of those meetings this week, looking at the sky, the hint of a cloud, knowing behind all the noise, the dust, the light there were galaxies of light in greater battles than any I could manufacture in my little life.
I felt doomed. Everything was going well. But the bigger picture invaded my mind, not letting me go back to civilization. “Stay here a little while longer,” the childhood voice from the desert repeated in a mantra-like drone, all through the days back from West Texas and the Big Bend.
What to do? What to do? Life back in the city demands and cries out for an answer.
Back on the trail, the lubber grasshoppers, they were so welcoming in their hyper-kinetic chatter as they clipped by us, happy in our return to nature. Not so, on the freeway, where so many times this week I was nearly run off the road. One driver, a young woman, blond and taut, in her snow blind white Hummer, cut me off and then turned back to flip me off and show me her fangs. She was a devil with 400 horses. I cannot fight that amount of hate. Will not.
Nothing whatsoever to do with uncovering another great Italian wine or telling the tale of a legend or a fable about my beloved Italy and her wines. There are those stories out there saying it so well anyway, why should I imitate those? Will not.
But West Texas has woven me into the fabric of their lore; I am becoming a Westerner more and more as I go out there. I want to give away everything; the ancient chest of drawers, the vintage furniture, the endless pots and pans, the mementoes, the collection of ephemera, everything that will turn to dust anyway.
And wine? What of it? Do I want to gather any more in my dusty closet, only to wait another 20-30 years? I cannot imagine how either the wine or I will be any better then. Don’t want to imagine it.
Sitting with an old friend, he is 6 years shy of 100. An active man. A man’s man. He is slowing down. He is saying more and more, “It was a hell of a run.” His life splayed before him as the great adventure.
How many of us will be able to look back and say that their life has been the adventure of a lifetime? Can you? Will I? Do any of us have the guts to distill it down to the essence and live with it? Like the bugs in the desert?