Come Monday, Feb. 17, I will be a 40-year transplant into Moab and Grand County.
The snow was piled 6 feet high on Moab’s Main Street center turn lane. I lived within Moab, two city blocks from Center & Main, until 1991. The only traffic on Main was uranium ore trucks coming and going from Atlas Mill. The mill’s billowing exhaust chimneys created an inversion, lasting three-plus winter months; if you wanted to see the sun, you had to drive up and out of Moab, into the Island, Arches, Pack Creek.
The Navajo Nation wouldn’t allow commercial semi traffic to drive through the reservation; the only traffic into offbeat Moab was people coming to Moab. There are 3.34 billion more people today; they have to be somewhere.
The list of extended family and friends who have passed on easily numbers into the four digits — some would be 120 to 130 years old, several of those lived to be centenarians. A week prior, it was Kobe Bryant, last week Kirk Douglas; tomorrow it can be any one of us. The point is, in the scheme of infinite time-space continuum (93+ billion light-years across our observable universe), no matter our age, whatever our life we have lived, it is just a whiff of vanishing smoke.
I’m sure Kirk Douglas thought his 103 years, having been afforded the luxury of longevity — was a full and rewarding life. Certainly, Kobe’s life was too short. I believe my mother’s 84 years was short-lived. These individuals espoused and believed in profound love.
We all come into this world alone, crying and screaming, butt-naked — to be laid in our mother’s loving arms. We exit this life into the pantheon of this same aloneness, even if our loved ones surround us. The one thing I am sure of: We each get to take all the feelings and emotions we have learned and gathered in this short life, our specific abstract-concrete emotions.
People and things can cause our emotions, but what we feel is ours alone; no one can take our learned emotions from us. No one else owns our emotions; other people have to prioritize their own emotional ownership. Individually, what we take or bring into the ‘Great Unknown Ether’ is on us. Let it be love.
Surround yourself with Love. Be love, love love!
Happy St. Valentine’s Day!
— Gary Hazen