Thursday, April 28, 2005

talk and ride

Last night I found an internet cafe around the corner from my hotel. Actually, it was a restaurant with a couple of computers for internet access. Today, I am at the Salt Lake City public library. Hats off to the civic leaders who provide internet for the masses.

I am in town with Partner, who is attending the Episcopal Communicator's conference. Still little reference to blogging. Maybe they are afraid of them. We attended Eucharist service at the Cathedral of St. Mark that was celebrated by our Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold.

Now I am free for a couple of days for this first visit to Salt Lake City.

This morning I took the light rail up to the University of Utah and then walked to the Red Butte botanical gardens. Not many formal gardens, but a wonderful site along side a rapid creek (river?) and the openings of a long protected canyon.

I took a few pictures, the sort of thing that excited me -- patches of brilliantly yellow daffodils, a new plant, large green leaves and a stalk with pink flowers (berginia?), and a fern like, whispy plant with pink rose flowers. I ventured out on the hiking trails. A cold dark storm moved in -- it was predicted to rain this afternoon and so I was hitting the garden in the morning -- and just as I was getting higher and higher in elevation, overlooking the campus, the downtown, the large white capped mountain ranges on either side of the valley, and the opening out to the salt flats and the Great Salt Lake -- I decided it might be best to not be up on a hillside on a small path. So I came back down, wandered through the campus, and then ate lunch.

This afternoon I visited the Utah Museum of Fine Art, also located on the campus. And next is a large bookstore downtown, both new and used books.

I am not sure why, but wandering a new city is very relaxing to me. I am almost invisible, and while more time would be made by using an automobile, walking and public transportation gives one the opportunity to see particulars up close, to feel a place rather than just drive past it.

Of course, I've lived in Indy for over five years and I am unsure that I know it in the ways that I did DC or Austin or even Waco. But this is the illusion I hold to as my feet are tired.

It has not rained. But one of the great visuals of a place like this -- and New Mexico reminds me of this particular characteristic -- is that with the different elevations there are numerous climatic states occuring: sunlight bouncing off snow covered mountains on one side while menacing, harsh, multi-hues of gray clouds hover and move on the other. If only I could capture on canvas such drama and diversity.

The air is cool -- that's why the daffodils looked exceptionally beautiful -- and most folk I see look quite lean and healthy, running and riding bikes. I have a theory that obesity is more prevalent in humid and warm climates. If the air is cool, people have more energy to move around.

An ex-patriot Texan in DC once told me that Texans are talkers, telling all one's business to total strangers at the drop of a hat. When I got the train this morning, a college kid got on with a couple of duffel bags. He was going to play basketball. With five minutes he had told me major parts of his story, of his interests, of experiences. I was amazed. He wasn't needy or pathetic, just a talker in a charming way. When I got back on the train this afternoon, I saw he was on it after I had already sat down. I didn't go back to resume the conversation. Some things are best left unsaid.

But frankly, I am a nosy fellow, nosy enough to listen and watch people as they talk, as much interested in the patterns of their voice as in any actual words of a conversation. This solo day has been full of moments hearing people talk amongst themselves.

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