Monday, December 30, 2013

My Zion: A poem

The reasons are many and personal, but Zion National Park is my favorite of the many parks I have visited. Its beauty is well known and though I have walked many of its trails, there seems to always be something new to discover. It is there that I find a particular peace even when my heart races while gazing upon the ancient and ever-changing canyon walls.

I shall never tire of touching, smelling and taking in this place. Even when rubbing shoulders with other hikers while riding the shuttle up canyon, I feel that particular sense of peace and, forgive me, connection with the canyon.

Zion has inspired artists and writers for years in an attempt to convey the specialness of this place. In that spirit, I will share one or more of a handful of poems that I’ve composed about Zion and what it means to me. If you've visited the park and hiked it trails, you'll recognize the references. If not, then get yourself there ASAP and report back.

As with most of my poetry, it isn’t very good, so please forgive my indulgence. If nothing else, it was written in earnest. And it rhymes.

My Zion
Stains across an aerie altar, white streaked red
suspended above my reach, but not my sight.

Perhaps ancient titans sacrificed, honored, bled
now revealed in golden strains of morning light.

My Zion, my refuge
from all it is not.

Oh Zion, my haven
where solace was sought.

Did angels take wing from that lofty perch?
Does the stone truly weep for ages past?

When bygone men for food here did search
in the giant’s throne shadow cast.

This Zion, my friend
please show me how

Oh Zion, my Zion
if only time would allow.

Steps upon crimson sand and stone
as wind, water, eons carve and hew,

I realize my soul was still unknown.
for what was old is now new.

~Terry Tyson

Friday, February 15, 2013

30 things at 60

As I enter my 60th short year on this planet I began to think about what I’ve learned. It’s what old men do, this memento mori, thing.  The list is short which certainly indicates I have much more to learn, for which I am glad.  The list also contains things I’ve said before which likely indicates that I haven’t learned all that much.

Not recording this as guidance for anyone. It’s written for me and I imagine that I’ll remember a few things after it’s all down that I should’ve mentioned. Thank goodness there’s an edit function to this thing.

1.    There is nothing sexier than feeling the skin in the small of a woman’s back as you hold her.

2.    An unexpected kiss on the back of the neck is magic, to give and to receive.

3.    Make-up-sex is great, but preemptive-sex is better. Afterwards, you’re likely to forget what pissed you off or was about to piss you off in the first place.

4.    Family matters. Especially family with whom you grew up. For better or not, these people helped to create who you are even if you’ve learned things and created your own set of values different from those originally presented to you.

5.    Learn about your family and how it came to be. Not all of it is going  to be glorious or interesting, but it might explain the path you are currently traveling.

6.    Expand your family to include others with whom you do not share blood lines. There’s a small number of special people in my life who have become family and I am the richer for bringing them into my heart.

7.    Not everyone is going to like or love you. Accept that and move on to surround yourself with those who do.

8.    Support artists, writers, musicians and makers before supporting anything else. They contribute to your life and to the world much more than we will ever imagine.  A society is remembered in higher regard about what it created than what it conquered.

9.    Good books are a gift from an author that you cannot repay, except to buy more of their books. And tell them that you liked their work, it’s one of the reasons they do it. The same is true of artists, musicians and makers.

10.  Don’t hesitate to put down crappy books. Time is too short to waste on them.

11.  Listen to all kinds of music. Give new music a chance to work on you. Not all pop music is crap. Most of it, but not all.

12.  Walking is underrated.

13.  Walking in nature is underrated. It’s probably the best thing you can do for yourself and your spirit.

14.  Don’t try to convince others to believe as you do in matters of religion and politics. Even if they are completely wrong in every conceivable way, your argument is a waste of precious time.

15.  Try to understand why others believe the way they do in matters of religion and politics. You may learn something, even if they are wrong in every conceivable way.

16.  Learn to tolerate many things except ignorance, hate and intolerance.

17.  Cooking and preparing food for yourself or others is a noble endeavor. Remember where the food came from. It should instill great respect of how this world helped sustain your life.

18.  Finding the perfect glazed donut is an ongoing quest and likely never to be found. The search continues.

19.  Laugh often and make others laugh, especially at yourself. I mean, really…we’re pretty foolish creatures, after all.

20.  Pain and discomfort signifies that you are alive.

21.  I’m learning to think more critically. Hard to do at times, but it’s why I don’t believe in ghosts but believe in ghost stories.

22.  If you’re going to be helpful to others, do not put qualifications on your generosity. If you’re going to give a few bucks to a homeless fellow, don’t tell him that he can’t use it for booze. Otherwise, just keep your pocket change for something else.

23.  America may or may not be the greatest country in the world. It really doesn’t matter.  But continually trying to make it the greatest country in the world is worthwhile as long as we’re using worthy and objective criteria.

24.  I understand that professional sports is a commercial enterprise.

25.  Admit you’re wrong and do so the instant you realize it.

26.  I like dogs better than cats. I won’t go into why. See item 14.

27.  I am not my car. I am my character.

28.  Babies are magic. They make you talk funny and create the desire to smell them. But they also become teenagers, so there’s that.

29.  The universe is bigger than we can ever comprehend but we should leave this place better than we found it, or at least try a little regardless of our minor footprint.

30.  It appears that the universe is governed by incredibly complex mathematical concepts that will remain elusive for generations to come. I’m lousy at math which is why I try to understand it as best I can with my limited resources. Still, it’s a great thing to ponder and remain in wondrous awe.
The other thing I've learned is that I tend to go on too much. Forgive my lenghty didactic. I am really happy to be celebrating another birthday. The alternative really sucks.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Valentine

"I love you," he said.
He thought those words were inadequate to tell all he had to say. He wanted to say more, tell her how deeply he cared.

But it was enough, she thought. In many ways, it was everything.

Thinking abou it, she'd recall that he recited his poetry to her and picked up his socks. Mostly. Some of the socks went missing for weeks and she hated it when he did his own laundry because he did such small loads.

That was enough, she thought. But there were other things.

He made dinner most nights. He'd make extra so that when he traveled, she'd have some home cooked meals. He snored, but he made good chicken marsala.

He made her laugh. A lot. He listened to his gawd-awful music much too loud and couldn't carry a tune in a large pail, but he made her laugh everyday.

He liked to feed birds and grow flowers, both of which he did for himself. He tracked dog poo into the house, but his "garden of birds" was a place of solace, peace and beauty and she understood that.

He kissed her for no particular reason. And rubbed her back without being asked. Both of those were nice, real nice.

He had brought her times of sadness and days of abundant joy. The joy outweighed the sadness, so the scale was leaning correctly, she thought.

He was away much too often it seemed. Times apart were the hardest. At times, the conversations were filled with news, sweet words and plans for the days when they'd share the same air and sky again.  Other times the talk was clipped as the events of the previous day took their toll on his spirit and will. The conversations that mattered would have to wait. The waiting worked as they reconnected with their words while looking into each other's eyes.

He had given her the love of the outdoors. This surprised her the most. A city girl, through and through, she never imagined she would actually long to see red cliffs, flowing wild rivers and trees older than anything else alive.

He thought her to be beautiful. He marveled at her grace when she failed to recognize it. She believed his words, but thought him blind most days.

He said that she was bright, smart and insightful. "The smartest woman I know," he'd tell his friends. She thought otherwise as she listed her mental shortcomings, forgetfulness and inability to call up a word that worked best in a sentence.

He was a dreamer who shared his dreams with her. She liked that. Even when those dreams were clearly out of any reach, she appreciated the sharing.

And among those things she liked, he lowered the lid on the toilet.

Yeah, that was it. He lowered the lid after he peed. She got hot just thinkin' about it.