Rarely do I remember dreams but I can still see last night’s clearly. I was standing at an open door at La Corrida (the bullfight) when I came face to face with a bear-sized wolf that had dark evil looking rings around its eyes. We made eye contact and he sensed my fear but never attacked me. As if he knew that I was protected by a greater power. Then I went into an upstairs penthouse condo to attend a celebrity party. Everyone was having a grand time but when I looked out the oversized windows the creature was still in the ring downstairs chasing people. Maybe it was the spicy tofu with vegetables and fried rice I ate late last night or maybe the dream has some meaning.
I had some really low points in my life this week because of love (or the lack thereof). On the flipside, the high point of my week was establishing contact with jazz guitarist Steve Oliver. I just saw him at the San Diego Jazz Festival. We have exchanged about four e-mails this week. I’m surprised that he would take the time to write.
From Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem 'In Memoriam:27', 1850: "I hold it true, whate'er befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; 'Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all."
At 8 o’clock it was already 88 degrees but I was nonetheless determined to hike the daunting 4-mile trail to the 8000-foot pinnacle of Sabino Mountain. I’m used to the lush greenery and abundant water in the Smoky Mountains, so I had to learn to appreciate the beauty of the Catalinas. There hasn’t been any significant rainfall since I moved here in October (guess that’s why it’s called the desert)! Locals tell me that we’re inundated with monsoons every summer, but I’ll believe it when I see it. The desert has its own distinctive beauty. Today I observed darting deer, scampering squirrels, leaping lizards, beautiful birds (even hummingbirds) and sinuous snakes.
Just a few weeks ago it was spring, and the bright yellow flowers graced the saguaro cactii, but on this fourth day of summer I noticed that the flowers had dried up and given way to over-ripened bright red saguaro cactus fruit… burst at the seams so the fowl of the air could pick its seeds. The scene reminded me of a bleeding broken heart…that’s been picked at so many times, its gaping wounds are evident to life’s passersby.
"Take it! take another little piece of my heart now, baby, Oh, oh, break it! Break another little bit of my heart, now darling, Oh, oh, have a Have another little piece of my heart now, baby, hey, You know you got it, child, if it makes you feel good." Janis Joplin
Like hiking in the mountains, life has its peaks and valleys. Unfortunately you have to go through the valley before you get to the mountaintop. There’s something about fresh mountain air that just clears the cobwebs and enables you to think clearly. When you’re on top of the mountain you can see clearly. You can look back at where you’ve been, see where you going and while you’re there you can bask in the light of God’s presence.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Psalm 23:4
After breaking up with my first love at the tender young age of 21, I remember writing “It’s so nice to wake up in the morning all alone, and not have to tell someone you love them when you don’t love them anymore.” However after 30 years I painfully realize the converse is also true. “What an awful thing to wake up in the morning feeling alone and tell someone you love them and realize that your love is unrequited.”
Sometimes we want love so badly that we overlook the thorns just to see the rose. You know you gonna get caught in bramble but you experience the thorn anyway. Only to walk away pierced and bleeding.
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when longing is fulfilled, it is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12
Coming down the mountain the temperature had already soared to 105 degrees. Skyrocketing temperatures only exacerbate the situation. The only relief is a smattering of scattered stratus clouds and some occasional tree shade. Analogous to life, when it feels like you can’t go on, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other and no matter the size of the step you keep getting closer to the goal. And the funny thing is when the goal is in sight, no matter how tired you are, your load seems lighter, your pace quickens and your perspective changes. You take baby steps …and move forward.
"Sometimes the lights all shinin on me; Other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip its been." Grateful Dead