Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Travel Agency

I am recovering my mood.

This morning my friend and I drove out of Springdale, Utah and Zion National Park to come to the Grand Canyon. I had originally planned my entire vacation to be in the canyon, but Chris had suggested Zion and he's pretty reliable about such things, so I went along with it. Thank goodness. Zion is a treat. Go there. Now. Just drop everything and go. It's that good and Springdale is a spectacularly wonderful little town.

Now, about the Grand Canyon. I knew that it would be busier than Zion and it is. I thought it would be best to stay inside the park, but it's not. We are staying in Xanterra's Yavapai Lodge which, I am now obligated (through a pact with Chris) to say is a dump. It's old but not retro. It is quaint without being cute. It is like being in Disney World without the hotel being nice and the service being fantastic.

Are you getting the idea that I'm not in love with the place?

This afternoon has been a series of frustrations. The room wasn't ready until four in the afternoon. There is no wifi (other than at this cafe where I'm now sitting). The place where we ate lunch was a dump that hasn't seen refurbishing since 1959. And so on.

By late afternoon, to tell the truth, I was beside myself. My credit card is already charged so there's no way out. I was feeling as though, to quote Aaron Sorkin, I had done a big thing badly.

Then we got out of Grand Canyon Village.

We went into the nearest town (whose name escapes me at the moment) where we had dinner and beer (which explains much of why the town's name escapes me). I had phone service and was able to talk to my dearest love in the world. Stephanie's voice has a way of making anything and everything better. I found just the right gift to bring home for my elder daughter. And we figured out which hike to do in the morning to get away from the crowds and see the canyon. By the time dinner was over, I had a plan to come write here in the cafe while Chris took pictures of the sunset and I knew that not all was lost. In fact, things were found.

Moods, it turns out, are transient. As with so many things I write here, this may be obvious to you, but I am just learning. The idea that all could seem dark and lost in the early afternoon only to feel much better a scant two hours later is something I've never had much faith in. It's a lesson I have to keep learning again and again.

Today was another lesson. I don't expect that I won't forget it again. I just need to keep in mind the vague memory of having overcome it. That way I might be able to pull out of the dark place soon, just as I did today.

Since yesterday's poem proved popular, here's another. I make no guarantees that turkeys will appear in it.

Travel Agency

After the third denial at the checkout desk, our hero stood at the rim of the Grand Canyon wondering why, oh why hast thou forsaken me. A geriatric couple stood nearby. The man coughed into his closed fist. A wet cough that brought something up. He spat over the edge of the canyon. The woman slapped him on the shoulder. Our hero watched the spit travel down into the canyon. It made it twenty feet, then landed on a Gatorade bottle discarded by a teenage boy who was dreaming of a girl he would never catch. A condor soared on thermals in the canyon. Or maybe it was a crow. Our hero doesn't know birds. The old man pointed at it. He said, bird. The old woman slapped him on the shoulder again. Our hero looked up into the sky. The old man said, take it easy, son. The old woman nodded. Our hero began to protest but stopped. The bird dove down so deep no one could see it. He smiled at the old couple. What do you think, he asked, pointing his thumb at the bird, a turkey? The old man squinted and frowned. You're a turkey, he said. The old woman patted his shoulder. Our hero nodded at them. You're right, he said. He saw the boy kissing the girl, marrying her, taking her to the Grand Canyon, and standing next to some fool thinking the world was coming down on him. He could feel her slap on his arm and knew it as pure love.

When the mood strikes, write on.