Archives for September 2003

From Summer to Autumn

The Sunshine was cold this morning, and the grass was frosted. The sky was deep blue! The leaves are changing quickly. Yet, it is still September? I am not used to this early transition. It seems as though summer disappeared. The crickets are singing, but those evenings are numbered.

In recent years we’ve had very warm autumns and winters. The cold spell is hopefully short. When it passes, it will warm up. Not like summer though. This is the ON/OFF season when Thunderstorms seem to strengthen, especially at lower elevations. Its prime time for the Monsoon rains, but the last week we’ve had only blue sky and frosted mornings. It’s feels normal, which feels abnormal. I guess that’s Southern Utah in a five year drought.

Last October, 2003, Southern Utah witnessed some HUGE lightning storms. My cousin and I were photographing a petroglyph site near a small town called Ivins, near the Arizonan and Nevada borders. We watched the largest thunder and lightning display that I could remember in recent years. It came crashing down on us in a magnificent display. Every second a bolt was clapping. Although, I have a great fear of Lightning, I’ve always enjoyed the tension. I love the strength and power of gigantic thunderheads beating the landscape! The sky swelters in a dark blue haze. If you’re lucky, such a variety of clouds and sky can create gorgeous sunsets! In the Abstract sense, I feel that the colder air adds to the Beauty. During these mystical moments, Its always the last part of summer trying to hold on, but alas, the seasons are changing.

It will be time to pick Pine Nuts soon. The Pinion Trees of the Great Basin will be giving fruit. I’ll take the cousins to a place called Hamblin Valley which is about 80 miles west of Cedar City, UT. We’ll go fill the trunk of my Honda Civic with Pine Nuts!

This time of year is also great camping weather. The Rattle Snakes disappear. It’s no longer dangerous to hike into tight shady areas. You don’t have to worry about where you go, and you don’t have to think twice about where your going to set your foot. The snakes aren’t going to bother, because they’re sleeping.

Its autumn and time to put that good old summer behind. It’s time to welcome the new season with open arms. If it snows early, and winter comes in October, then so-be-it! If it warms back up again, let’s hope that the heat stays till January. It’s been known to happen. It sometimes rains in January, and snows in June. The weather is always strange on the West Desert. Not even the weatherman can predict the flash floods or the isolated storms, And Utah has been known to get a few RARE tornadoes!

This weekend, I’ll take my brother Joe, and my cousins camping and freeze beneath the desert stars. We will be surrounded by the safety of Juniper trees and a small camp fire. And my thoughts dwell on Mother Earth, she is always very beautiful, all the time!

9/11 and the War on Terror

My Perspective – On September 11, 2001, I was in the Madeleine Cathedral in Salt Lake City. I was there touring the church and wondered why so many people were mourning that day. A Journalist had been taking candid shots of people who were there, and he stopped me on my way out of the church and asked me about my feelings on the disaster that had taken place. He told me the entire story, and everything related. It sounded like nonsense at first, until I was able to go over to my dad’s work just a few blocks away.

My parents have been divorced ever since I was little. My Father lives up in Salt Lake, and I was visiting my mother while she was working temporarily as a school teacher. My brother and her moved up there until January, before moving back to Southern Utah.

Up until the week after September 11, my head was screaming for a quiet place far away from the city. After going to my dad’s office and watching a replay of the 9/11 tragedy, I became withdrawn for a few weeks after. My Dad is Catholic, and I went to Mass with him back at the cathedral in honor of the victims that had passed away. Two days later, I attended a memorial that was hosted by the Mormon Church in Downtown Salt Lake about five blocks from the Cathedral.

While I was up there, the only person who really understood me was my Dad. My brother, him, and I went and spent some time at a place called Antelope Island out west of the city. It’s a landmass that extends out into the Great Salt Lake. The three of us hiked to the highest point of the island; Antelope Peak. The sky was blue, and the desert was hot. When we reached the summit, we paid our own personal tributes to the victims of Ground Zero. And all was quiet up there, with only the wind, rocks, and bushes.

So if you think I have forgotten September 11, I haven’t! I remember sitting in front of the TV screen for days watching the news. I watched those towers crumbling over and over. I remember seeing the big plume; or the relentless pot belly of smoke smoldering from the concrete ashes, the remains of the World Trade Center. The whole event was like a ghost, or like a manifestation eating me inside. Hearing about the number of people dying on that horrible day is something that I will never forget.

Yes, the victims of Sept. 11, 2001, were innocent. They didn’t deserve the peril that they faced. You hear about how people were jumping off the towers trying to escape, and falling to their deaths. When it comes to the perpetrators, I cannot even begin to comprehend what was going through the minds of the terrorists that caused 9/11. They thought that they were going to be martyrs; they thought they were going to heaven.

The hate that caused September 11 runs very deep. The hate that caused 9/11 is so strong; no human can comprehend the viciousness that caused this casualty. At least, that Is how I feel! What drives an Islamic Fundamentalist crazy enough to blow himself up, murdering dozens in the process? What has created this hate? What are its origins? What’s the root cause of the restless tension?

Despite the 9/11 tragedy, America is going through some strong awareness. We have all suffered from the major events of 9/11, each in our own private way. We know where to seek solace and peace. We each have our own Core, and our own Expression to deal with the tragedies facing this world.

Hearing the stories of September 11 from other people; especially those who were personally involved, is to relive the Event all over again. It sparks those same memories and feelings of despair that every person on Earth must have suffered in one way or another.

How can the hate in the world be defined? Does it carry a meaning? Every time I try to put my own definitions on world problems, those definitions fall apart. I try to gain my own understanding of world problems, but I don’t understand anything! Everything I try to define becomes, the idea becomes false. Then I am left with my own illusion of peace. I?m blindly seeking some kind of solitude within the wreckage of modern life. Why were we born into it? Where’s the truth?

An event that truly shocked me as much as 9/11, was the war against Iraq, and the continued occupation of Iraq by Americans. Those who watched/read Al Jazeera news or know the Arab side of the story can realize and maybe understand the tragedies taking place on both sides of the conflict. During the American invasion into Iraq, Al Jazeera published photos of the chaos and destruction; Children in hospitals covered in blood, wounded, dismembered, and alot of them dying. For a very important reason, I think Al Jazeera paid close attention to them. It created an anger inside. Another disheartening awareness was seeing the disturbing images of dead woman and children laying in the streets and cities in Iraq, and all the other graphic things that any person can barely look upon. America was busy (maybe in vengeance), dropping bombs on Baghdad, and everywhere in between.

What is the goal of bombs? They are used to KILL, and DESTROY! What’s the purpose of tanks rolling across the deserts of a sovereign nation? What was the purpose for US soldiers to crawl right into the heart of Ancient Babylon? Were they liberating, or were they invading? The last person who wants war is the Soldier, correct? No war is just, unless your truly defending your family. What is the true motives of America? Especially if the IRAQI WAR in not linked to the WAR ON TERROR? Or should I say rich, and wealthy Amerikkka? Is the American occupation any better than Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party? Where’s the Weapons of Mass Destruction? Did President Bush abuse his power and cheapen the events of September 11? (Check out this article by Ted Rall) Hell, what is the War on Terror all about? Any opinion can be proven wrong, but maybe the WAR ON TERROR is to scare Americans into submission. Especially with the Star Trek styled Terror Alert System! Simply pick the color, and you have Americans bending over at will!

Where’s the root of hate? Where’s the heart of the problem? Could it be now in 2003, the US Government abuses the memory of 9/11 to fulfill its greedy goals and desires? Maybe it’s the Oil? Or, are the Americans capable of being desensitized? Why was the Arab television station; Al jazeera showing all those horrible images? – I think they were trying to give to truth! Why did Al Jazeera create an “English” version of their website? If it was for people like me to know THEIR SIDE of the story, then they haven’t done it in vein.

I have come to the Awareness, that there are FAR MORE similarities than differences on both sides of the conflict. We are all human beings capable of fear, happiness, love, hate, destruction, beauty, despair, sadness, hope, and harmony, ect. Eventually we all die! The hate might never disappear. But violence, war, and destruction will always multiply the hatred. You can’t put a stop to Destruction using Destruction. It seems like a contradiction! Where’s the future?

This whole view is fluctuating, and what I say is based on what I know at this moment. It’s nothing more and nothing less. I can’t claim to know anything, because I’m a sheltered guy living in Southern Utah.