Sunday, January 01, 2006

Get Thee Behind Me

Buh-bye, 2005. (You may need to register, but it's totally worth it. I was very afraid we were going to have to do without it this year, because Dave has been on hiatus since last January, but as usual, he came through.)

I can't say I'm sorry to see 2005 go, but the symbolism of New Year's Eve just didn't provide the usual solace and hope this year. I am too weary to conjure up the clean slate imagery, too raw and grieving to be sentimental over "Auld Lang Syne," not even D.J. Irene's inflamed remix.

Somehow, I am still eager. I sense great things are coming, and I have never been wrong about that feeling.

Midnight at the Vortex meant a crushing throng and mind-numbing noise, a throbbing felt in the bones rather than heard, the floor sagging with every stomping beat. The crowd was packed so tight that the stamp on the back of my hand was rubbed off, and the strobe lights and smoke and heat made me ferocious, made me want to bite and kick and scratch. By the time we shoved our way through the two-story crowd and out into the street, the icy rain felt so good that we jogged through it with upturned faces, splashing in gritty puddles, passing people in scarves and down parkas who looked alarmed. I had five pounds of flashing beads around my neck, a small bag of gold plastic coins in my pocket for Cordale's treasure chest, and my jaw was wound so tight that all I had to do to make the left side snap like an incinerated log was pronounce the word "good."

The Vortex is a club encased in one of those glorious old mansions on State Street in Salt Lake City, and I spent the beginning of the evening trying to envision the original splendor of the parlor, the hall, the staircase, the long drawing room with its faceted columns and stone fireplace. The recent wave of strange weather continued, and tall windows framed the city glow and arcing sheets of rain.

After we left the city at 1:00 a.m., we climbed Parleys Summit in what were the worst road conditions I have ever seen on I-80, thick, swirling snowflakes from seeded clouds clogging the lanes, even worse than that legendary night on Donner Pass in December of 2002. (I have never felt so haunted.) Parleys has been worse, don't ge me wrong. But it was the worst I've ever seen it. People die on Parleys, and this was true even before there was I-80. I absorbed the compelling imagery of Utah's flashing snowplows pressing regally down the hill in the opposing lanes, four abreast but slightly staggered left to right, so each took the piled line of snow and passed it to the next like a chain of cupped hands moving water.

I hope January 1st doesn't set the tone for the rest of the year, because I slept until after noon and I intend to do very little that could be considered constructive.


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