Right around the time I get a good perspective, suddenly it’s time to go
Computers ordinarily provide my medium for slacking off, but tonight (Tuesday, before deadline) there was an additional distraction demanding my attention.
Hidden in closets, in bound volumes and tacked to the walls are numerous publications reminding me exactly where I am.
The office of the Sierra Sun, with its drop ceilings, fluorescent lights, inoffensive grey/blue carpet, paper-thin stucco walls and numerous modern accoutrements, houses – what I realized for the first time only moments ago – a significant documentation of Truckee’s history. It’s neat.
Having wandered to the other side of the office where my desk isn’t – an area infrequently visited by me – I suddenly found myself looking through a special commemorative publication about the flood of 1997.
Before I continue too much further, let me explain that I experience good sensations when I see images in publications or on TV of places where I’ve been.
I can’t really explain the feeling, but it’s a cross between pride and nostalgia that’s absent when I look at my own personal photo album filled with pictures that I’ve taken. When I see a picture of a familiar landmark in an unfamiliar context (one with which I have no involvement) it’s apparent that the place has and is continuing to function without me … but a part of me still exists there. The place and me are simultaneously sharing a history. (Does this make any sense? Anyway …)
One of the photos (spread across two pages in the publication) showed a house being ravaged by the flood waters. The house, by coincidence, was one that I’d visited for the first time this weekend.
I went to the house on Easter Sunday to work on a painting with a new-found friend. As I was being toured around the renovated and now beautiful home, the owner explained that the flood of 1997 occurred just as she had separated from her husband and while she was visiting her daughter in another state. She returned from the visit to find her home in shambles. The flood was a distinct punctuation mark to a very pivotal point in her life.
Seeing the photo gave a context to her story.
After dwelling on the moment of synchronicity, I continued to look through the magazine. The Truckee River was shown in aerial shots overwhelming the newly established town. Rescue workers were pictured doing what they had to do, accompanied by cutlines that expressed a sincere gratitude. The post office, the Shell station, numerous houses and automobiles were shown heaped in mud and water.
It, for me, was a spanking new perspective on Truckee.
While I recognize the tremendous effects of the flood, and I understand its profound effects on people’s lives and livelyhoods, the perspective is not about the tragedy (as far as I’m concerned, in Truckee history there is nothing more tragic then the ice palace being burned down by a cigarette … that just left me disappointed). It’s about an historical perspective.
Each person and place has a distinct story. I don’t profess this to be some epic revelation … it’s obvious.
I’ve known it for years, I just occasionally forget about it. I get busy lumping people into categories and harnessing the cynicism that has become synonymous with “generation X.”
As is my tendency, however, I have the revelation from time to time and end up with a rejuvenated like for humanity along with a polished appreciation for where I am.
Quite honestly, it could not have happened at a worse time.
A little less than a month ago, I turned in my notice to the Sun. As of May 3, it’s over, done, kaput. I’m packing up my little blue Subaru (a fond reminder of Truckee) and driving across the country to be closer to my family.
Giving ample notice of my resignation has proven to be a tedious exercise in closure.
Before now, my enthusiasm for Truckee living was substantially tempered by the fact that I’m … well … done. I’ve got no more goodbyes to say.
All my day-to-day living items (records, books and stuff) are packed up and practically inaccessible in neat little piles in my bare room.
My car is cleaned and primed for the journey.
I’ve said “I’m sure we’ll keep in touch” to a multitude of people and “if I don’t see you again, it was nice to have met you,” to even more. I’ve fielded the question of “when are you leaving?” most of all.
Now, as the time approaches, I’m starting to feel a little sad that I didn’t give myself more time to explore the stories that are available.
I am, however, very grateful for the stories of which I’ve been a part.
I must say that none of this really warrants the space taken up on the page.
People leave all the time, only to return the following winter season (much to the chagrin of year-round locals), but I’m in a position where I get to bleed my sentiments onto a newspaper page. This is, after all, Bay’s Area. You don’t have to mess with it again.
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Olympic House was empty but for some maintenance workers and all those ghosts.