Monday, May 23, 2011

Shine On

Light is fading quickly and the late-spring bright green leaves pop against this evening’s stormy slate gray skies. Scanning the Salt Lake City skyline, my eyes first find the brightly lit Trolley Tower, a beacon showing me the star that I helped to build. But I’m not looking for the Trolley Tower. Instead, my eyes rest on the historic Walker Tower, a tall Eiffel-esque structure atop the Walker building, shining over the city. Seeing it is like rediscovering a constellation, a familiar formation in the middle of the sky.

The Walker Tower shines a different color depending on the weather. Blue means clear skies, flashing blue means cloudy skies, flashing red, snow. Tonight is solid red, meaning rain. The Walker Tower is a monolith of meteorology, a dinosaur outsmarted by my wee phone, which displays satellite-accurate information of the weather, including the high/low temperature and weekly forecast, all in a cute graphic format, I suppose to accommodate for those who, through the simplicity of technology, have lost the skill to read numbers.

The Walker Tower is the lighthouse of Salt Lake, silently sounding the weather to those who might pause and notice. As I stand on the front porch in my bare feet on the cold, wet concrete, I wonder if I’m the only one looking at the Walker Tower tonight. Most of the time I’m like everybody else, too busy to notice. I’m living a life that needs constant attention, like gardenias, a life busied by tasks, like tapping broken, uneven rhythms on my laptop, changing laundry, cooking food, taking and giving love—all necessary things. But right now, living means simply standing here watching the old Walker Tower shine solid red into the night, almost hidden, almost a postscript, between the taller, more modern buildings.

Standing there so solidly and immovable against the turbulent skies, it speaks to what is real and now, and at the same time says that despite the current climate of our lives, the weather changes. Storms pass. They may come again, but so does the sun. Maybe tomorrow night it will be shining solid blue: clear skies. Despite its history (turns 100 next year), the tower stands as something constant and now. The Walker Tower reminds me that there are some things, regardless of new inventions, which stand through the storms and keep shining the way brightly, even when the other lights go out. Celeste is a shining tower for me. My family, and Chris, especially, my twin brother, are towers for me. All these, so important, yet I know that unless I choose to pause every once in a while, especially in those rainy nights of the soul, unless I stop and look inside to what is constant, to that silent, shining light, I’m truly lost to the night.

I could choose to look at my smartphone in my pocket to learn about the weather. Instead, I choose to find the Walker Tower. Shine on, Walker Tower. Even if it’s for just one lonely person living across town, shivering on the porch.

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