Gone West

looking down into the canyon
AMBER WAVES OF GRAIN

 

I am sitting in the Las Vegas airport in an airy, glass and steel alcove overlooking the tarmac. The sun is several degrees above the mountain range, and jets rocket down the runway. I watch as their sleek bodies realize their weightlessness, and the landing gear suspension pops out as if surprised at such a sudden, newfound capacity, and then they’re off.

We’ve been in the southwest for a long weekend vacation, and I’ve been trying to play it slow, to soak it all in: the glass wall, the aluminum struts that support it, the cabling design that connects down to the terrazzo floor, the small brass plaque dedicating this sunlit area to someone named Maria. The plaque is hidden down at the bottom of the windows, square with the floor. There’s a little brown bird trapped in here with us. She’s found some popcorn spilled over in a corner.

Perhaps it was the time change, or the constant movement of our itinerary, but this has been the kind of weekend that’s stretched out in time. Breakfast this morning seems like a long time ago, but it was barely two hours ago. Still, the setting seems otherworldly. We ate in a one of the many hotel restaurants in front of a different bank of windows, this time overlooking the pool deck, where men busied themselves with staging the area for another day in Las Vegas. Continue reading “Gone West”

What if we treated guns like cars?

John Locher / AP
OP-ED

Another mass shooting, another missed opportunity to talk about common-sense gun control. But humor me if you will.

The argument about guns in America has continually devolved into two diametrically opposed camps: those armed to the teeth and those attempting to destroy liberty.

What a tragedy in itself.

It’s important for both sides to be honest. Every time our country experiences a mass-casualty shooting, it doesn’t take long for talking heads on either side to begin spinning off statistics–and fear. Someone inevitably will decide that “now” is “not the time” to talk about regulation, gun ownership, etc. in the wake of the tragedy.

We always seem to forget when the “right” time to talk about it is. Continue reading “What if we treated guns like cars?”

The Longest Journey

From the time she was tall enough to reach the keys, we’ve watched Julia (and, later, Thomas and now Annie) reach up to pluck out a few notes on our piano. We keep the lid up–and, to be honest, we keep a piano–for that very purpose.

So it wasn’t as surprising as it was gratifying when Julia asked to take piano lessons. We’re both wary parents when it comes to burdening our kids with our own ideas of hobbies or interests–we learned that lesson, to an extent, with t-ball, which Julia soldiered through in spite of her easy to spot boredom.

She’s a natural on the piano, though, and she sits down daily to practice without us even reminding her. She raced through her first and second and third piano books, and by the end of the summer was picking out the melody of “Ode to Joy.” When I saw the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra was presenting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, I knew we had to go. Continue reading “The Longest Journey”