Cill and I grabbed a few precious rays of sun in Park City yesterday at the Sundance Film Festival. Of course we took in a pre-matinee. Hell, I’m a tiresome old timer. All I could do was think about the festival’s early, intimate days when a handful of us sat around with the guests, maybe Cicely Tyson or Molly Haskell or the poet Henry Taylor, talking for hours in little thrown-together corners. There were no 500-seat venues, and you didn’t hear anyone on a shuttle (which hadn’t been thought of) saying half of New York is here. I looked down the aisle of the bus yesterday. Yes, and the other side was Los Angeles and you could tell just when it crossed into Hollywood.
Fairly good film. What is it about the hand of the amateur that announces itself so early? But that’s the fun of it. Next year, the director might have the timing, the story-line figured out and his new film will take its place beside the memorables: “Napoleon Dynamite” or a “Trip to Bountiful,” “sex, lies and videotape,” “The Blair Witch Project.”
Learning—all of us.
Standing here in the Navajo Sandstone canyons formed of tiny grains of quartzite 180 million years ago, you get a little perspective. Anasazi stood here. And Paiute. And Brigham Young’s pioneers, looking for lost sheep.
The daily things fall away in this grandeur. It won’t matter if the walks get shoveled at home; if the door to the chicken coop is loose; if the letters don’t get written. Maybe not even if the books don’t get finished.
These red formations spread for hundreds of miles–elegant and commanding. I feel like a bird. I put my head back and expect I’ll be able to trill. In the way that I can, I’m celebrating a life that enriched mine and has now returned to the red dust, the grains of sand, to time. Jennifer was as exuberant as these red canyons and what she represented is as lasting. One of her close friends said to me, “I have this idea about life. There are angels among us and they don’t stay long. They come to teach us things and then they’re gone.” I’m not much on angels, but that was Jennifer for me.
The immensity of the earth, of life. Ken went on to say, “Jennifer could only see the good in people.” It’s what I’ll most remember of her, and of this warm day, standing in these ancient formations extending time out of mind.