Is All Of This A Dream

On Interstate 70 Somewhere in Utah

Six Sonnets: Crossing the West

by Janice Gould

Desert heat, high clouds, and sky
the color of lapis. On this journey,
anything seems possible,
so we stop by an ancient cottonwood
to kiss. The beauty trembles,
doesn’t say a word, just watches
me, so open. Small birds fly by, flock
in the shady tree above us. What
settles in her heart? What congeals?
Hope? Despair? Far off, the river churns
in its sandy banks, swallows veer, turn
in fiery air. Will these kisses seal
her to me? I her lover, she my wife?
Is all of this a dream, my whole life?


For the wanderers among us, the self restraint of not traveling during the past year has been difficult. Two years ago I embarked on a mad journey with my partner, packing enough activities for 3 vacations into 11 days, driving more miles than is therapeutic, hiking, skiing, rock hounding while car camping across Colorado and Utah the first week of April.  As slightly crazy as it was, I would do it again in a heartbeat with only one change; add another week onto the trip to slow the pace down of the miles covered.  The incredible beauty of Utah and the diverse nature of its National Parks and public lands make it truly one of the great wonders and wanders of the United States.

I am fearful that post pandemic vacations will become even more difficult, not less.  I had not taken a full week off prior to 2018 in over 10 years.   The reason:  I return to a mountain of work that it makes it a worry while away.  The pre-pandemic work pace was bad enough that long weekends – leave on a Friday return on Tuesday – felt doable, because I was never gone for an entire week.  But that was before Teams or Zoom calls filled up every minute of every day.  This idea that we have created a mobile work force that can work from anywhere is a fallacy.   We have given permission to now think everyone is available on-demand at anytime and it is ruining workplace quality of life and undermining human interactions.   It is exhausting to be on remote calls hour after hour, day after day. It sucks the life right out of me.  I find that things we used to solve over lunch or an impromptu 5 minute discussion in someone’s office now turn into 30 or 60 minute calls.  We have become less efficient to the god of technology, not more efficient. The problem is I seem to be in the minority of hating the state of this virtual insanity.   So the slow decent into digital existence continues unabated.   I fear, it is Dante’s new rings of hell.   It’s why we need to clear our lungs once in a while and get out and see the world.  Gould’s sonnets are a splash of Utah sunshine on the high desert vista.   Sacred. Sacred. Sacred.  Beautiful words to fit the beauty of the West.

IMG_4948

Zion National Park April 2018. 

Six Sonnets: Crossing the West

by Janice Gould

4
Sacred. Sacred. Sacred. Sacred. (Speak
in a whisper.) We slip into this
space half cognizant. The land is very
large indeed: bones of the earth
worn down, though she is a living thing.
See how she exposes her grace? Antelopes
graze on the far plain—their high,
white tails—the red soil throbs
its slow heartbeat, and the blue sky
clears so smartly, perfectly, like
radiance. Are the ancestors near?
What can we know? We decide
to wander around this prairie, mistaken
for Utes, buy commodities in little towns.

Published by

A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations. I am pleased to offer Fourteenlines as an ad and cookie free poetry resource, to allow the poetry to be presented on its own without distractions. Fourteenlines is a testament to the power of the written word, for anyone wanting a little more poetry in their life.

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