In the Rockies

In the Rockies
Butler Gulch

Thursday, July 29, 2010


One of my skill sets is seeing the entire picture and understanding the pieces that it takes to make it. Recently I experienced, in two completely different ways, the opposite--seeing the pieces and then the whole picture.

First last Friday's hike. The photo of alpine flowers is from above the 4th of July mine on a rocky hillside beside the trail to Arapaho Pass and Lake Dorothy. The trail requires looking down at ones feet. At least that's my experience so I won't trip and fall. Tundra flowers, more profuse than I remember from prior years, caught my eyes as they peeked from the rocks next to the trail. I noticed small lavender/pink flowers (moss campion) and marveled at the perfection of each tiny blossom. Then I noticed a cluster of white alpine phlox. As my eyes roamed over and up, I realized that the hillside was a blooming rock garden, with the rocks' colorings adding to the landscape's perfection. My vision had been attracted to this natural flower garden by one small bouquet.

Next, a different experience. If you are reading this post, you know that I have been writing and re-writing a childhood memoir for years. You probably know that I have had many insights about my parents and the activities, good and bad, in which they were involved. There are many scenes with Mother in this unpublished book. They cover my childhood through the fall of my senior year in high school. There are Dad scenes too. Both were involved in the dreadful meetings, and both had leadership roles.

While reading a novel about a cult and the description of its leader (a man), I realized that Mother, rather than Dad, had the power in that multi-generational group. She was the charismatic one, and it was her lineage. That's in the story I wrote. It's in more than one scene. Still I said (maybe to you) that Dad should have gotten us out. But he was in it for Mother--and she was the one who was revered by the members. I have credited him, though I knew I didn't really know, with getting me out. Now I realize that Mother had to want me out for that to happen. The pieces were there. I needed to put them together and see the big picture.

Here's to the power of fiction. Maybe that's what I should try writing.

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