24 November 2009

Obvious Beauty

I am again convinced that thoughts are universal; they are energy and Jung's collective unconscious theory is alive well.

In 2000, Rick Riordan said it in his book Last King of Texas. He said the same thing that I said in 2001 while living in Gila Hot Springs, New Mexico while standing at the top of a mesa overlooking the twisted scrubby junipers of the desert. In 2001, I didn't know Riordan or that he has written two award winning books in two years. I felt, at the time, that I was having a completely original thought; one that I have held close to my heart since that day on the mesa.

Two months ago, I discovered the mastermind of Riordan last month at a book fair in the children's fantasy genre at Blue's school. Riordan's book The Lightning Thief (and several others) didn't seem to interest my son, but their captive covers and adventure based themes drew me right in. I went home, befriended google and awoke to the world of Rick Riordan a mere ten years after the publication of his first book, Big Red Tequila, which is an adult mystery novel along the lines of Carl Hiaasen, Tony Hillerman and Elmore Leonard.

I immediately took the plunge. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't usually read one book at a time. I may have two, three or even four books going at any given time, but I plugged through Riordan's first two novels ignoring everything else on my nightstand. Riordan is a crafty writer and highly entertaining with a PhD in literature, and as a former middle school teacher, knows how to capture his audience and get his point across.

I came up for air on his third Book, The Last King of Texas, because the long awaited Born to Run by Christopher McDougall about the Tarahumara of Mexico finally made its way down the waiting list at the public library to my name. Today, I grabbed the top book on my nightstand thinking that I was grabbing Born to Run, but instead picked up the Riordan book that I had put to rest a few days ago. Instead of the bookmark doing its job at the beginning of a chapter, I had stuck it in the middle of the chapter telling me that I must have fallen asleep while reading...not because the new book bores me, but probably because the codeine cough suppressant I was taking kicked in.

Not remembering where I was at in the story, I began at the top on the page and came across these words in regards to comparing San Francisco to the character's home town of San Antonio:

"My California friends would not have called this a particularly beautiful place. Those brave enough to visit me in Texas complained of...the harsh flat prairie ugliness. I try telling them that it's a matter of perspective, that San Francisco is like a Monet- any idiot can appreciate it. San Antonio, on the other hand, takes time, patience...But it's beautiful, too. You just have to be more perspective."

I said something very similar just a year or so later with absolutely no concept of the man Riordan or his thoughts. I can remember exactly where I was and the view. Chad stood with me. Sally the dog chomped on some disgusting year old deer jerky hide that she found under a scrub tree and snarled at me every time I came within ten feet of her to grab the nasty thing away. Standing on the mesa, the view was pretty but not astounding, especially for all the work it took to get to the top. I reflected back to Arizona and the year we spent in Flagstaff where the winter was bone chilling for my southeastern bones. During those frigid months, we often trekked down to Sedona's desert for the warmth.

You don't have to be a genius to notice the beauty of Sedona. Thousand foot vermilion rock walls surround the town with gorgeous fine grained red-orange dirt covering every inch of the ground. The sharp clear blue sky and green junipers contrast the overwhelming red to create a delicacy for the eyes which feeds the brain from an astounding sensory buffet. The beauty is so in your face, so obvious, that the mind doesn't have to work, the mouth falls open and drool dribbles down your chin.

From the top of the mesa in New Mexico, not so much. Not to say that it wasn't beautiful, because it was, but it was more cerebral. A quick drive through it may leave one saying, "Oh this is pretty, but where is the OUTSTANDING?" A quick visit wouldn't feed the senses like a Calabash buffet, because the beauty was subtle. Through time and patience its outstanding beauty relaxes the senses like a fine meal served over the course of three hours.

I said something like this to Chad, and I have been looking in my journals all morning for the thought. Surely I would have put something this profound to paper, but out of about a hundred hand written journals over the course of thirty years, I haven't the patience to scour them. I have several New Mexico journals which branch from the Peace Corps year, and it's just a lot of information. Though I'm finding unbelievable fantastic memories like, "was having a nice morning casually walking the dog until she rolled in horse shit...". I could get lost in that stuff all morning, but they are also filled with an insane amount of self loathing that I can't bring myself to relive at the moment.

But talk about synchronicity! What the (fill in your favorite expletive). ***WARNING*** DIGRESSION... When I had this Riordan moment, I immediately went to my journals, none of which are labeled. I looked through one journal that I knew had my New Mexico writings, but found nothing. I picked up another journal that I suspected had New Mexico reflections in it and randomly opened it. My eyes cast down to the story of Sally rolling in horse manure, and I told you about it just moments before. Immediately after writing the above words, I let my eyes wander to the entry above the horse poop entry. ***DIGRESSION OVER***

Written on 30 April 2001 12:22 mountain time, it reads: "Chad was joking saying, "I wonder if this area is a big vortex..." As I sit way up here and look out- it's pretty red out there- it's just not as red as Sedona. That's good because then those fake freaks will stay away-they only look for the obvious as most people do. It's easy to find beauty in an obvious area like Sedona, but it takes true patience and wisdom to find beauty in the not so obvious."

Pretty similar stuff, Riordan and I. Must be a pretty profound thought for it to travel through the collective unconscious to eventually reach a woman on a mesa in New Mexico two years or so later...a women with no concept of Riordan or, at the time, Jung's collective unconscious.

No comments:

Post a Comment