Monday, August 13, 2012

TETON TIME TRAVEL

Morning in the Snake River canyon.
I don’t know when exactly it happened, but at some point I realized my life was following patterns; places I was living, things I’d do, people I’d meet, opportunities I followed.
And so it went. Jackson Hole, Colorado, Southern California. Not everything went according to plan. There were heartbreaks, big ones, little ones, inconsequential ones and ones I made up to prevent myself from changing and compromising. More about that? No. Not now. In my mind I’d string together great thoughts about the reasons certain things were happening. My first radio job, getting into cable television, why I had to go to Colorado and the disasters that broke my spirit for a while.
Getting down into Southern California thrust me into a culture of entertainment. Many of the cable networks had major offices there, and I did some work on live television producing and hosting shows featuring actors, athletes, politicians, and went on to co-host a show for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. My writing chops evolved slowly, mostly from scripting interviews and lead-ins to feature segments for television clips and cultural events. Then I had an idea about a story and began to write, not knowing how to structure long-form fiction. Hell, I’d never even wrote much fiction. One or two short stories was all. UCLA extension provided solid coaching and I went on from there. 
Thermal run off, Yellowstone.

My friend (right) and his son.
Enough with the personal history. I traveled back to Jackson a few times to visit friends, ski, even took an ill-fated trip there with a woman I knew in Denver, but that relationship was doomed from the start, for reasons that shall remain private.
A friend I’ve known almost my entire life (we met in the third grade and the teacher sat him down next to me and instructed me to ‘be his friend’, and now we joke that neither of us realized it would be an assignment we would dutifully honor for the rest of our lives) and I have shared a lot over the years. We were in Boy Scouts and shared a love of the outdoors, of gear, of knives. We hiked, camped, backpacked, attended college football games and track meets. I was a member of his wedding party.
We lost touch a few times, for a few years, but always kept some kind of connection. Our first Boy Scout knives were treasured possessions, and we recently re-connected with our love of fine knives and blades.
So, when he showed me some photos of a recent custom knife he’d purchased from a maker in Wyoming, I suggested that someday we’d make a road trip to the Rocky Mountains, to Wyoming, and visit the custom knife maker. This year, we did it.
Snake River Overlook, Jackson Hole Wyoming.

Rusted ridge north of Rock Springs, Wyoming.
Long miles in Nevada finally paid off in Wyoming when after a short nap in the Suburban we traveled in, I awoke to a wonderful vista that finally looked something like the Wyoming I remembered. Wide swales and ridges covered in sparse sage and scrub and later, after a few more miles, a slanted outcropping of red rock that seemed to float all the way to the  horizon.
I have some photos in his son’s camera that are due any day, and in those photos I shot the knife maker and his wife in their shop. He’s making me two custom folding knives which should be finished in a couple of weeks. I’ll post photos of the knives and hopefully some of the shop shots of the two fine custom bladesmiths.
Fire in the hole, Yellowstone in black and white.

On up to Jackson, Yellowstone, the Snake River Canyon, we rolled on and into some of the west’s finest territory. When I was in Yellowstone, standing in front of Old Faithful, I spoke to a woman about what we were looking at. I mentioned that it must have been with a sense of awe that the first white men looked upon Old Faithful, the thermals and geysers, not yet scientifically explained and what thoughts they must have had seeing hot water spew and spit through tiny holes in the earth. The Tetons, the winding Snake River and the canyon it cuts down south of Jackson, some unforgettable sunsets and tinted ranges in the early morning dawn.
Thermals in Yellowstone
I’m home now struggling to get going with my writing again. It’s hot here, so hot when I got home my air conditioning went continuously for hours until midnight when I shut it off. The next day the A/C blew more and more, until finally the house seemed cool and the air shut off. It’s still hot, and with the Olympics finished, I looked at the last few pages of my draft manuscript last night, picking up where I’d left off. It’s time to get to work. But it’s hard now.
Those days on the road, the Wind River range, Togwottee Pass, the Tetons, Snake River, Yellowstone, Idaho, and the endless miles and miles of northern Nevada struck my soul, lodged there in permanence and in a few half-decent photos.
More later.

2 comments:

Timecheck said...

It's late and I'm tired, but I would definitely click the LIKE button if there was one.

Kurt Taylor said...

Timecheck; noted! Thanks.