Saturday, June 09, 2007
Ten Years in Reno
Ten years ago today, I arrived in Reno to begin my job at UNR. For the first few weeks, until our apartment was ready and Gary could join me -- he'd stayed behind to finish up his job in New York, and to oversee the movers -- I stayed in Wildflower Village, a hotel on Fourth Street with a gorgeous view of the mountains, but without a phone. My first night in Reno, as I watched lightning dancing in the Sierras, I called Gary from a pay phone and said, "This place is beautiful. What were we doing in New Jersey all those years?"
Gary arrived on June 21st, the summer solstice, and immediately became enchanted with the easy access to hiking.
We love it here. We love the climate, the geography, the proximity to San Francisco. I love my job. We love the house we bought a year after we arrived here. And our lives have changed immensely in the last decade. I've learned to drive; Gary's learned to cook. I went through a religious conversion, as Gary watched in bemusement and some alarm. I'm now doing things -- preaching, volunteering as a hospital chaplain, beginning to do work at the medical school -- that I couldn't have imagined ten years ago.
Three years ago, my sister and I drove across central Nevada, a research trip for the book I'm working on now (and on which I'll resume work in earnest in the next few days, I hope). The photo at the top of this post was taken on that trip, a few miles from the tiny town of Ione, famous for the bar with the buffalo out back. Wallace Stegner once famously commented that to find the West beautiful, one has to "get over the color green," but I think this photograph shows that Nevada really is beautiful.
Here's another photo from that same trip. This one was taken at Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area on Highway 50, about twenty miles east of Austin. Liz and I spent several hours there, scrambling around the rocks.
I find this picture, in its stark drama, very powerful, a testament to the triumph of life and growth in hard places. Gary commented last night that it would make a great logo for Carnival of Hope. Maybe I should use this one, instead of the flower growing through the sidewalk. What do you think?