Posts Tagged ‘rich’

Wealth of Ways

10 August 2010

Dear J-

So yesterday I get back to the hotel and it suddenly occurs to me that the last thing I want to do is hang out with those guys: there’s nothing wrong with them, and they’re great fun to be around during an audit (the very word that strikes fear into the hearts of millions), but I’d been together with them for the last ten hours and I was done. After my obligatory underwear time (pants off, alone — there’s so much to recommend) I went to explore Anniston a bit. It’s Calhoun County, but the Oxford-Anniston Metro Area and, having seen what Oxford is like from my window, wanted to see what lay off the path in Anniston instead.

There was a sign that piqued my interest on the way home last night: “Historical Zinn Park” pointing west, so I dutifully followed and parked in the street bisecting the park. Did you ever hear the phrase “there’s no there THERE?” I tried to find some kind of historical marker, but the whole thing remains vaguely unremarkable for now — lawn, stairs, and disrepair in the ring of abandoned buildings forming its borders. It did suit my taste at the time, but only for a little bit: the wretched sense of decay made me think that I was the last person left in the world. So I end up wandering about a little more and hoping that I don’t get mugged (tourist, camera) instead.

We may be in for a couple of long, slogging days starting tomorrow. Whether or not the hours are shorter, or the scenery is different, work is still work. It has been, like the last audit trip I took, a fresh way of looking at the things I do — there are so many people who have to team up to get the parts you need. It makes me a little more humble as to what I can actually accomplish and more willing to speak up asking for help. Kublai Khan couldn’t be richer than me, you know?



Rich Time

18 November 2009

Dear J-

Perhaps the sun seems brighter here in Southern California because of the lack of shade trees — sure, you see the palm trees all over the place, but they provide precious little shelter and are prone to  dropping large, tough fronds at the slightest provocation.  Whereas you look out at the side of the roads here to see the occasional tree, for the most part there is no significant native growth here aside from low scrub — no forested canopy stretching away into the distance.

Whenever we would visit Canada we would remark on how it seemed just like home — only greener and politer; part of that was hopping the border over to Vancouver, on the rainy coast, but everywhere we would go west of the Cascades seemed to have thick stands of forests lining the roads — it’s the difference here between, say, Crescent City amidst the sea of redwoods, and Redding, a dusty station along Interstate 5.  No trees means little shade here, and it also means no shuffling your feet through leaves (no whispering crunch) as you walk along the sidewalks.

There are compensations; raking is an occasional chore, rather than a once-weekly morning lost.  I find that the older I get real luxury comes from being able to spend time the way I want, rather than as I need — there are days I’m convinced that the endless ennui I had those summers before college was the real reason folks like to say that youth is wasted on the young.  With no trees in the way of the sun, though, summer here seems to stretch into an eight-month season, and we’re all the richer for it.