Sunday, June 19, 2011



Most of the trees around here are juniper and most of the animals are people.  We share some common traits, one of which, unlike most trees, is that sexes are separate with individuals.  Female junipers grow berrylike cones that bear seeds.  Male cones look similar, but they make pollen, not seeds.  The juniper pictured above is female.  A large husky male is pictured below.  Actually, either sex can grow old, rustic, and shaggy.


I walked to the Golden Steak Restaurant this Sunday morning under a gray and boiling sky.  Winds shifted around me, moody and undecided.  I had dressed in one of the three street dresses I’d brought and stood regarding myself in the mirror.  Something had been lost out of those quiet eyes and into their vision some deeper color come.  Something had been gained forever—something lost.

I sat at the counter, a third of it already occupied with local men.  A few tourists sat at the tables.  Two counters face each other across a walkway where a waitress moves between.  She’s like a train between boarding platforms, serving eggs and smiles as she passes by.  

Across the walkway from me sits a man in a brown leather vest and white beard with gray roots.  His face is furrowed like the plowed field of my Tennessee garden.  His big hands, like my father’s are rough and cracked.  I look in his face, perhaps to read at second hand the shapes of the roads that had led him to this place.  I cast a smile in his direction. 

I am not unaware of the image portrayed by a woman alone in a local bar or cafe.  It’s usually easy to see skepticism rise up in his conversation.  “Visiting from California,” she says.  Yeah, sure.  Such assumptions are part of the risk I take.  They give rise to strategies for avoidance.

We talk across the gap.  He asks about the long black feather sticking up from the book I’m reading.  “Hawk, I think.  Found it on the walk here.”

“Mind if I come around,” he says.  I restrain a puppy instinct to get all excited, and give just a small smile.  I move my purse from the space at my right.

He smells of leather and linseed oil.  Outside, the wind turns, undecided, marking its path with uplifted white seeds from cottonwood trees, puffy and reminiscent of snow in the winds of Frostbite Falls.

There is always this thin, wordless idea that maybe this might work.  I was fairly successful in keeping my mind from racing around him.  I was almost peaceful, and felt like saying, “I’ve been destroyed two or three times already.  You wouldn’t want to destroy me again, would you?” 

“I’m goin’ up to the community church later,” he says, as if he doubts the Southern California woman could possibly understand.  I hadn’t preached Possibilism to him yet.  I’ll keep you posted.  Maybe.


  1. Gail RadiceJune 19, 2011

    This sounds like an entirely new adventure! I am almost blushing, but not quite! (giggling) Leather and linseed may just become your new favorite. ; )

  2. Steven RadiceJune 19, 2011

    I hope he asks you to look at more than just his sewer system.

  3. Oh Gail and Steven, do you think I should ask? hehe

  4. Steven RadiceJune 19, 2011

    (Slaps forehead.) Only if he wants to be your bodyguard. :o)

  5. Ha ha Steve, that was funny!

    Oh and oh those winds shifted around you, moody and undecided hmmm this scent of linseed and leather. And oh, what's this? the smell of new growth. Now since you know the difference between a Lady juniper and Lord Juniper well...i suggest you get crackin...(with your usual understated enthusiasm :-)

  6. Charming and sweet, this interlude, and so beautifully described, Sharon, I hope it turns into a full chapter... I can see you arching your eyebrows at the same time as you step up to your possibilist podium. Whatever happens it is fun and interesting, and inspiring for you, and thank you for sharing the details! Hi Steven Gail and Lois, it is sweet to meet you here, at the Utah rendezvous Golden Steakhouse sharing the scent of linseed and leather...

  7. Hehe Lois, that was funny: “The smell of new growth.” I love your responses; you get to the heart of it—in matters of the heart or of rocks.

    Kathabela, I could write a whole chapter just on musings from imagination. But I s’pose you want the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me Juniper. Feel free to cross examine, but remember I said, “maybe.”

  8. susanrogers49@yahoo.comJune 20, 2011

    all I can say is "ooooh la la" The desert blooms in the steakhouse. Or perhaps it is dessert that blooms... any which way you say it, the cactus they are a flowering....