Travels With Oso con Migo
Odyssey In America
OAE On The Road Again — Wind Horse Hill Summer Camp — The Rest of
First in the Order of Winding Down
...is to go for a walk. And what better way to walk than a Cache &
Trash hike. Stands By Herself is over the hill and around the bend from
Wind Horse; a perfect place to get away from The Cat Drag'd Inn for a
few hours and see if I still remember how to use the stick shift of the
toad. The cache description leads one to believe that the cache might
be up in the air but do they really mean /way up there/? Good thing all
the trash I found was on the way down.
2007July17, A Tuesday Drive
Had a nice drive around the block. Bill drove, Camilla and I took turns
aggravating... er, navigating. Yes, that's what we're doing—telling
Bill where to go. We lunched at the top of Davenport Lookout, a bump on
the shoulder near the summit of Madre Mountain, and site of the local
MegaLink repeater among other services. The 4wd road to the site was
two miles of 10-15% grade. Ei8hty miles +/- for the day included a lot
of backing and forthing and driving forest roads through washes still
wet from the last thunderstorm.
World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts
The long awaited replacement for Lee Baxandall's World Guide to Nude
Beaches... has arrived. No longer has his name on the cover; the
is now the world's best nude beaches
and resorts. I'm disappointed in
the contents. For all the hand wringing and crying about the state of
affairs in the nudist "industry" this publication is a perfect example.
A while back I recall The Naturist
Society responded in their magazine
"N" to a letter complaining about the preponderance of fat and/or
old people pictured in the magazine by writing that the images used
reflected the makeup of the nudist population. One could well complain
that this new book is the antithesis of the same problem. I've not
counted all the pictures nor all the bodies on display but I'm sure I
can say that of all the hundreds there are barely two each non
Caucasian, fat, old, under 18, or any combination thereof. Even those
pictures from Scandinavia and Europe leave one wondering. Far and away
most of the people pictured are comely, curvy, young, adults and
obviously posing for the purpose. Where have all the children gone...
Where have all the elders of the tribe gone?
Thursday Rain and Trash
Actually the other way round. First there was the trash. Is there no
end to people just leaving their refuse on the ground? I went for a
little walk and here in the middle of these nice woods is an old
campsite left from the days of Larry d'Logger. Must have been here all
the way from French Canadia by the looks of the beer labels. Even a
rusty old chainsaw blade. I'll go back this morning, once the day warms
a little, and bring a trash bag.
After my little walkabout yesterday the afternoon rain came. This rain
is almost a daily occurrence now. Mornings are sunny, late afternoons
are fraught with thunderstorms. We had small hail and moderate rain
with this one. 0.24" of rain with drifting and blowing hail in wind to
38 mph. Then, after a respite for long enough that I could get out for
a shower, the next wave came that lasted well past bedtime. 0.16" that
Sara(h) La Gata hid under the bed the whole time but after one
particularly loud crash she bolted for the door. Somehow she must think
that outside is a safer place to be. Maybe she knows something I am
overlooking. I caught her by the tail and hauled her back inside. No
way cat; we are in this together. So we both hid under the bed.
The Dawn Chorus
Commencing at the first crack of twilight the twittering of early
risers filters through the bug screen on my bedroom window. The Dawn
Chorus builds in rhythm and intensity until the Coyote Quartet joins
the throng and then Sara(h) La Gata adds a basso counterpoint rumble
and purr to the coda.
And then there are the hummingbirds. A veritable flock of them flocking
around two feeders. The air is electric with the hum of their dance and
gyrations. At times the sound of their beating wings is like the
dueling of Star Wars light sabers and indeed two or three of them will
be fencing with their beaks. I should post the area in front of the bus
a hard hat zone.
Had a nice walkabout with C yesterday except she insisted on my wearing
a shirt. There is at play the usual mild paranoia that someone might
see us without clothing. From the air perhaps? Will the ravens tell?
The nearest person is a mile away. Nobody understands that I am
invisible to the clothes-minded when dressed only in my skysuit. But my
unhappiness was ameliorated by the finding of another midden of Anasazi
pottery shards. Almost enough pieces to build a pot. Indeed several
pieces found inches apart fit together. So the afternoon was spent
washing and fitting and sorting.
Writing of Ravens: Hereabouts the ravens have been gathering in
medicine circles to chant and confabulate late into the evening. Given
the glare of their stare, the looks over shoulder, the occasional nod
of the head, I'd say without doubt they are discussing the naked apes
newly decorating with smoke the pristine air through which they fly.
Perhaps they are doing a rain-medicine dance to make us go back inside
our steel eggs. Nevermore.
What Is The Name of this Full Moon?
Small children come in all sizes but mostly they don't come at all, nor
do cats, when you call them. Sometimes they get really excited and
keeping up with them is hard for me.
Sara(h) the Slut was gallivanting about all night. She came home at
dawn for breky and now will sleep most all day. Must be on the night
shift. I used to work that way: Night Shift. Always paid more and there
were fewer if any bosses around and one was always commuting on the
open lanes. Now I work only days if I work at all and find my Self
concerned that a coyote might take Sara(h) out for midrats. I've tried
to explain to her that if she eats mice—and I'm thankful for that cos
she keeps them out of the cookie jar—then she perforce becomes part of
the food chain and she is nowhere near the top of that. But as with
small children, the lesson is the same, in one ear and out the other;
you have to keep them on a short leash. Or I have to admit that I am
not worrying for Sara(h), only for my Self.
The house batteries are getting low as a result of this prolonged
cloudy weather and perhaps too much writing on the computer.
Had a nice walkabout yesterday:
Found some more pottery shards and one more beer can. An old inner tube
too but I left that for another time. One of the shards is about
two/thirds of a pot handle starting at the top rim. Another shard is
nearly four square inches of typical Anasazi design. Some shards have
design on the outside of the curve, others on the inside. So far I've
found none with design on both sides. Most of the beer cans have been
laying on the ground long enough for their painted-on designs to fade
away, perhaps a few years. The Anasazi shards have been laying about
for a few centuries, twelve at least, and their designs are still crisp
and clear. How do we comprehend the one to be artifacts of an ancient
civilisation, to be revered and museumed, whilst the other to be
rubbish of our own times, to be despised and disposed?
Here is a challenge: Write without
using the pronoun "it".
I see a sign that says "Caution, Small Children Playing." I slow down,
and then it occurs to me: I'm not afraid of small children.
Here is another challenge: What characteristic(s) do all the items
pictured to the right have in common? (By way of a hint: The items of
interest include: Three rocks—each with holes worn or formed in them,
two beer cans, a pair of pottery shards, and one juniper branch warped
into a circle.) There is another hint hidden behind the picture.
Heavy rain here last night. The sky was heavily overcast after supper,
the Sawtooth Mountains to the south were obscured by virga; I was just
settling into the tub, with lightning at a distance—six and seven
seconds—when one bolt much closer, four seconds perhaps, decided me
that I really didn't want to be there any longer. Got my self back to The Cat Drag'd Inn just in time to
put away a few tools before the deluge hit and my workspace was awash.
Windy driving rain for a while. For just a few minutes one could not
see across the yard. The gauge collected 0.28" in about 20 minutes and
in a lull after dark one had to hopscotch from tussock to rock to
tussock and back to read the numbers.
Bill went out at some point in the 4WD to check the road. One culvert
had proved to be not large enough to handle the flow of runoff so the
cover soil had been washed away but the surface is still drivable.
The rain continued lightly for some hours into the night for another
0.05". This morning is partly cloudy so perhaps we will dry out and get
some sun for a few hours at least. The battery is hungry for a charge.
OAE Jeff arrived from Beijing. We worked together at McMurdo and I in
my travels have visited Ann and him at their home in San Diego (see
2005nov11); this weekend is my turn to play the host. We went on
another round of walkabouts and shard hunts, observed the nearby
petroglyphs and discovered Eagle Rock. After our hot and dusty
peregrinations we used up lots of solar heated water in the big tub,
and devoured more than sufficient delectible comestibles. A few days
later, at the end of Jeff's visit, as he was driving to ABQ to find his
plane, we stopped off up the road a piece to visit Liz and Lew. Liz is
another McMurdo OAE; dispite that she and Jeff had never met on the Ice
we had a very fine OAE Reunion.
Sunday — Another Day, Another Week
The big new tub consumes water at a rate in excess of that which the
pump produces on a cloudy day and we have had too many cloudy days of
late. Conservation measures in effect are hampered by several leaks and
we have run out of water a few times this past week. Insufficient
shutoff valves and too many cheap plastic fittings.
This morning is foggy again and I have the propane heater on to drive
out the dampness. Little consolation is derived to dizen my self with
calico loden or taffeta haik, espadrilles & sari. (Can you find the
secret word hidden in there?)
Another Foggy Morning
An inch of rain here in the past week. Only getting half-days of sun to
charge the battery. This morning we were out searching a canyon for
pictographs. Such writings on sandstone may have survived a thousand
years but with the land sales and new housing all about they will
likely not last much longer. Nearby this collection of pictographs the
cliff swallows’ condos evince the doom awaiting.
Window in the Mail
I am beginning to get an appreciation of the high cost of art. Beyond
the you-see-what-you-want-to-see and the no-accounting-for-taste
aspects of contemplative—but otherwise useless—objects there is
without a doubt some truth to the Starving Artist syndrome. Starvation
brings out creativity. Whether for food or for companionship, I have
observed within my Self that I am most creative when hungry. (Perhaps
that is part of why shopping on an empty stomach is not a good idea.)
In the morning before breky I do my best writing. When alone, but not
depressed, thoughts directed inwards, then things grow. Windows seem to
be the expression these days; during the dark Antarctic Night my outlet
was storeys and poems.
Betty's window went into the hands of the Postal Service. Fragile, This
End UP. Insured up the wahzoo! Enough perhaps to elicit careful
transport and considerate handling. Signature required; I hope that
does not cause too much hardship trying to find her in the back-country
of Glacier Park.
Perseids — Vasenews
I'm setting on the side of the Continental Divide at Wind Horse, near
Lehew, north of Pie Town New Mexico. "It's All Downhill From Here"
Summer Camp. Just about the most perfect weather I have experienced
except for at the start, back in June, when the bugs were at their
nastiest. Now the grass and trees are just beginning to catch up to
Spring with the rain coming on every afternoon. The only real problem
here is that the waterfront is about fifty miles away so I am not
getting much playing with the kayak but we have a solar heated hottub
close by. The temperature is mostly just right; some days I even want
to dizen a shirt against the chill. Lots of ancient Indian stuff to
look for in the hills. Anasazi pottery shards, petroglyphs,
pictographs, all date from 1200 years ago.
On walkabout this afternoon I found an arrowhead—first one!—near "The
Big Rock". An ineffable find! For some reason one arrowhead means more
than a handful of shards. Not sure why. Looks to be chert or quartz;
white, pink, and black stripes/splotches, either unfinished or perhaps
a childs point. Small and not very sharp. But clearly of the right
shape and worked so one can say this is no accidental piece of rock.
Not to mention that this kind of mineral is not of this place.
Perseids were a bust.
After all that hype one would thing there would be something to write
Betty's window was delivered intact. Only 48 hours from Pie Town to
East Glacier. Can you believe it? That's a thousand miles by air, not
counting road trips at each end from airport to post office. Her joy is
ineffable. Mine too.
Already sufficient time has passed since the end of Denali's tour for
me to miss being On The Road Again...
The northwest beckons. Hot springs in WYoming and IDaho... If you know
of any mature sevens to youngish 12's, of a naturist bent—boys or girls
looking for a unique adventure—tell them about Denali's Summer Camp
on the Road. I'm beginning to plan for the Summer of 2008: A Summer
Camp on the Road Trip to look for Dinosaur foot prints and hot springs
in the Western States between hither and yon.
are two new stained glass windows in process at this time. The mostly
blue one is from a design in tile by Mike Tedder whose work I have
emulated in two previous windows. The green and red design is from an
artist known to me only as “TS”. Building a window requires first a
line drawing—a cartoon of the finished size and colour—of the design
which serves as a pattern for cutting the glass. When all the pieces
have been cut and cleaned the edges are taped with a copper foil. Fine
adjustments to a piece’s shape may be accomplished with a diamond
grinding wheel to get everything to fit just so and then solder is
applied to the copper foil to bind all the glass together. Through all
the days of this process one anxiously awaits the first moment the
window is held up to the light.
Opposing Neptune —
On saturday I was working on my new window when
a hissing-rasping noise intruded upon my concentration. For a moment I
paused to think if my fridge was grinding to a halt or perhaps the
furnace had come on to add to the heat of the day. Then the sound
filtered through and /rattlesnake/ came to mind.
I was reminded of a few days before that, when Jeff was visiting from
Beijing; we nearly stepped on Grandfather Rattler up on the hill near
to the water tank and that was the first one I'd seen since last
Winter/Spring at Tonopah. Bill had come up and taken pictures of the
snake coiled in repose atop a rat nest under a rock and we discussed
whether to capture and relocate the viper.
By now, this time, I was moving towards this insistent sound only to
find Sara(h) La Gata Snake Charmer faced off with a large Crotalus viridis coiled in attack
mode. The snake's rattle was a blur of sound and silly Ms.Snake Charmer
La Gata was sitting within range calmly offering her paw of friendship.
Bill responded to my call for Mutual Aid with his camera and after
taking a few pictures we were able to capture the critter into our
relocation programme transport bucket. Sara(h) sulked away to look for
other playmates to charm. Later examination of the photos convinced us
that this snake was the same one seen a days earlier a few hundred
yards up the hill at the water tank. Eleven segments on the rattle and
identical markings around the snake's eye made for our decision.
The Last Saturday of August
How am I today? Too early too tell. The time is Oh-dark-thirty here at
the moment. But yesterday I felt fine and dandy. Strange how from day
to day I waken at the same time, when the alarum cat goes off, but that
each day I am awake the hour seems a bit earlier, a bit longer before
the sun rises and the day warms. One would think that a proper alarum
cat would be self adjusting for that seasonal regression.
Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.
I do not know what I may
appear to the world; but
myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and
diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a
shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all
before me. —Sir Isaac Newton
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Copyright © 2007, A.J.Oxton, The
Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.