Stirrings of Glory As the Sierras Rise

     Bridal Falls came suddenly around a bend. Looks like one of those big, cascading waterfalls in Hawaii or Yosemite. I had to stop. Took a few pics of it. But I want to tell a human story on this trip, too. When 2 couples got out of their car and started taking the falls in, I asked if I could shoot their picture. I have no idea of their names. When I asked, "Want me to e-mail you the photos?" they said, "Nah!" Maybe the gals will soon be the brides of the gentlemen, now that they've been to Bridal Falls. (Note: There's a more famous Bridal Falls in British Columbia, Google tells me. This one was very cool, though, I thought.)

4 strangers (2 couples) posing for me at Bridal Falls
bridal falls, route 50 in the california sierras
big, moss-covered boulders, bridal falls
Left: the Four Strangers;  Center:  the falls;  Right:  wild looking scenery, and right by the highway!
marlborough box & t.p. roll, "in the wild"
I guess it's not really all that wild, after all!

sierra hills and trees

Beyond Placerville

The hills and trees
await these eyes

to tell them tales
that can't be read
and don't show up
in photographs.

sierras west of  Tahoe



poetry CD cover
mark twain tape cover

    Now, you may as well get used to it: I'm not just gonna describe pretty scenery. A lot of things go on when we're driving — when we're doing anything, for that matter. We have 5 senses and a rolldeck of thoughts, memories, and desires, goin' 'round all the time. Through at least 2,000 of the 2,400 miles I drove, I was playing a Book on Tape or CD or, maybe 10% of the time, listening to National Public Radio. No matter how carefully we drive, "the mind needs a bone to chew on", as the sage Ramakrishna so pithily put it. I went to libraries several times, the week before leaving, feeling I was doing important work, programming the mental environment of my trip..

     I wound up with 6 or seven books on cassette or CD in my front seat satchel: "Fresh Air Laughs" (comics interviewed by Teri Gross); "Stories" by Garison Kielor; "Travels With Charlie", John Steinbeck's journey across the US; "Roughing It", Mark Twain's account of his trip west by stagecoach; "Dark Star Safari", Paul Theroux's saga of his African journey overland from Cairo to Capetown; a George Carlin CD; Poetry On Record: 98 Poets Read Their Own Work; and "Bob Dylan: a Tribute".

rustic gas station
the "last chance" gas station: the  last  chance
for what, they didn't say. Gas in California, I guess.

      I was disappointed, because I'd ordered the book I'd really wanted to listen to, Bob Dylan's memoir, CHRONICLES, Volume 1, from Amazon, and the CD that came turned out to be one with the same title, that contained 6 obscure Dylan songs and nothing else — very thin fare. "Roughing It", too, turned out to be a dud, 2 of Twain's books excerpted into a single, regular-sized cassette. So I started with Steinbeck, whose GRAPES OF WRATH and other books I've loved.
     Fifteen minutes into it, though, I felt bored, and turned on the radio instead. Eventually, in something of a fit of desperation, I pulled out the obscure Bob Dylan tribute and put on its first CD. It began with a slight, commercial-sounding biographical narrative about Bob. It's funny how the whole tenor of my mood is as dependant on what's playing as how the car's running and how interesting the terrain is. I still felt restless.
     Before long, though, the narrator, whoever he was, segued into introducing a series of interviews with Dylan, beginning early in his career. Climbing the Sierras, I was hearing a slew of phillistine reporters ask wooden question after wooden question. Dylan tried to humor them, thinking on his creative feet. I was in awe of his patience and humor. Asked "Are you going to play yourself, or someone else?" in a movie Bob said he was contemplating, he replied, "I'm going to play my mother!"
     "What's the movie called?" asked another reporter.
     "Mother re-visited," said Bob dryly without missing a beat.
     As I drove along a lovely stream, thirty or forty miles from Lake Tahoe, Bob was telling a reporter why he could never do the kind of thing they did as a career. He was articulate for the ages, about truth and its various prostitutions.
     At some point, the highway left the forested stream, and the cliffs and rocky escarpments started getting more rugged, the road very windy.
     And then, around a bend, with Dylan, mind you, still talking at his most articulate, I saw this:

Next Page: Crescendo — Approaching Tahoe

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