Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mystery & Redemption On The Road To Elko

Maybe it was the cloud of unknowing. My day long drive from Las Vegas to Wells was mostly uneventful -- skies variable, roads mostly clear. At Wells I turned west on I-80 shortly before sunset. The skies by then were partly cloudy, but mostly bright, enough blue to lift the spirits. Then I saw a cloud in front of me -- not in the sky but lying across the road -- a dark cloud mass come to earth.

I drove into the cloud, then saw an orange circle of light straight ahead -- the sun "as through a glass darkly" -- bright but not at all too bright to look at directly. The sun shown into the cloud, which had been grey on the outside, but on the inside, the cloud was like orange smoke shifting.

At first, it was not snowing in the cloud, but dry snow was blowing across the highway from south to north. This this was not a small cloud. I was in it for awhile. About halfway through, it began snowing, the flakes rushing toward my windshield as if they were flying parallel to the ground. It stopped. Then I drove out of the cloud and the day was bright again.

We had a good clergy conference today at St. Paul's. One of the good people there treated me to a ticket to tonight's opening of the National Cowboy Poets' Gathering. I arrived early and was browsing in the bookstore of the Western Folklife Center when I had my moment of redemption. I was redeemed not from my moral failings but from the regrettable hat blunder I committed in Fernley last year. See blog entry for 8-23-09 "The Social Risk Of Hats In The American West."

Dressed for Elko in jeans, a heavy long coat, and my Frontier Collection Renegade style cowboy had from J. M. Capriola's Western Wear, I was standing stock still, hands in coat pockets, focussed as I was on the covers of some chap books on a bottom shelf. That is when a nicely dressed lady mistook me for a manequin.

Feeling grateful for the gift of the tickets and somewhat pleased with myself for having "passed," I especially enjoyed the show which featured Virginia City troubador, Richard Elloyan, and perhaps Nevada's premier cowboy poet (he at the least has the premier mustache), Waddie Mitchell.

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