Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE On The Road Again — Winter Solstice - 2007

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

Greetings Virtual Travellers:

Our Business is Going in the Hole

Today my first task as roustabout: I will go shopping for pipe and fittings for the new well at Eldo. Now I'm working for a water well company; we are contributing to the worsening conditions by helping people put in more and bigger/deeper wells. After years of working towards solutions, finally I get to be part of the problem.

The BellStone in The OutBackBell Rock Band with Nude Dancer

Last week a nice hike to the top of one of the Palo Verde Hills out back. Cinder cones of black volcanic vomit, weathering for some ei8ht million years, still have a lot of sharp edges. Near the summit of one hill is a rock that sings. A "bell rock" that goes bonggg when you strike it with anything hard. Here is some text resulting from a search of keywords: "Bellstone is a form of basalt which rings like metal when it is struck. Bellstone formed as flat sheets when dykes were forced through the surrounding volcanic basalt or tuff, and it is much more resistant to weathering than tuff. Because it was forced into gaps in cold rock, the basalt cooled very fast, producing a stone which rings like a bell when struck with a large pebble. When the surrounding stone weathers away, the bellstone is left sticking out of the ground." []

2007december1, RAIN! Happy Earmuff Day too.

Winter Quarters BayThe big words this morning: Rain and Wet and Puddle. Soggy too. The tide has come and gone at The...Inn; you can see the high tide line on the carpets of my work space patio. In the rain gauge: 1.20 inches this morning plus 0.52 from last night. Total more than has accumulated all year. More expected during today.

Geocache News: I've released Akita Mani Yo Travel Bug -- Another turtle? You betchya.... I’m a see turtle on a quest. Akita Mani Yo means "Observe Everything as You Walk" and of course return with a storey about what you see. My motto is: If you want to get anywhere you have to stick your neck out. My mission is to visit all the turtle caches between here and Day Pond Cache (GC14KNH) in New Hampshire. I'm hoping to meet with Tunkasila Machkeu Tulpe [TBjj56] before he outgrows his shell.

Steven writes:

> /Still lost in anamnesis, cannot forget my way out. Everything has not
> happened for a whole year again and it has been the longest year yet.

For me I think this has been one of the shortest years tho all the days are yet to be counted complete; this has been a year of mixed feelings. Have I done and have I dared every thing to cross my path? Mostly I think. Perhaps. However there are some notable exceptions where I have either pulled in my horns, bit my tongue, or not pushed the envelope quite as hard as I might. It is those places I rue more than I remember the joy of having gone over the edge or around the bend just to see what is there and where is next.

> The Road goes ever on and on
> Down from the door where it began.
> Now far ahead the Road has gone,
> And I must follow, if I can,
> Pursuing it with eager feet,
> Until it joins some larger way
> Where many paths and errands meet.
> And whither then?
> I cannot say.
> Home is behind, the world ahead,
> And there are many paths to tread,
> Through shadows to the edge of night,
> Until the stars are all alight.
> Then world behind and home ahead,
> We'll wander back to home and bed.
> Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
> Away shall fade! Away shall fade!
            --Bilbo Baggins

Akita Mani Yo Travel Bug
I'm not done yet. Not done in. The Way is clear. The means are the hardest part to find.

> Intelligence was ever the comical paradox, it does impart a hefty burden to
> any traveler, that much is true. But in the end, no matter the hurdle, so
> long as one is not merely intelligent but learning-anew, one can always find a
> (novel, creative) way around it.

Yes! Well spoken. Thank you. That is the part I need to work on and prepare my Self for.

> It is memory that is the real curse. From clarity in reminiscence,
> persistence of recall and a sound retention of experience over many
> decades, there will be no escape, and not even a bit of rest in the mean
> while.

And the while is most mean and seemingly getting worse.

> With memory that is deep, quick and well-tempered... one's sanity is
> assured, to the most. Yet from this self-same mechanism... comfort in
> any given earthly moment, prospect for a peaceful and contented life, to the
> least.

> Merry Christmas if you can, it is around that time and the Music has begun.

I'm skipping over that part. Ignoring its over bearing presence. The radio will remain off for the duration except perhaps if I can find a presentation of the Hallelujah Chorus. Notwithstanding the context, the music moves me still and if the presentation is live and I can sing along still a tear will come to my eye.

Another MilestoneBig Horn Sheep at Saddle Mountain

With propane now at 3$50 a gallon life is getting so I cannot survive on my own. Last week I applied for food stamps and other Aid to the Indigent & Elderly. I suppose I should be thankful such aid is available. I've always maintained I don't want to live if living means being tied to life support and it seems to me that food stamps are the first step in the direction of that dependence. At the rate the cost of fuel is going it is likely my next peregrination will be a peregroanation. There is a mentality of self destruction afoot in these disUnited States. I have visions of a Riding Along on The Crest of A Wave segue into Wipe-Out any day now.

After all these years of running around in the hills out back I finally get to see a Big Horn Sheep! During a hike with the Friends of Saddle Mountain on saturday the leader pointed out a teeny tiny T-shaped cactus-looking object at the top of a ridge waaaay up there. Thanks to my steady hand and the super-pornagraphic lens of this dandy camera, not to mention the kind of digital chicanery they are capable of, I got the best picture.

Winter Solstice--ajo to Ajo

Having a good time out here in the desert south of Ajo. Yesterday Betty took me to town to help with the Needy Kids Present Wrapping Party. Some days wishes do come true. Besides the name: Marcel, age: 8, and other facts of size and gender, the Angel Tag from the Wishing Tree had one word: Bike. A bike for Marcel and six more for other kids had been donated by one man in town. They stood upside down, wrapped in black plastic, amidst piles of presents and bags of boxes, all wrapped and tagged for delivery.

Looking like an elf, togged up in tunic and jesters hat, we delivered this boy's wish. He stood to one side as these things were carried in to the clutter of run down abode where he lived in the off-side of this once prosperous copper mining town, the bike still upside down so it might not look like his wish come true. On my way out the door he asked: Aren't elves supposed to be small?

Mostly yes, I answered; I'm a basketball elf.

The look on his face was of wonder and astonishment.

The Sagacious Saga Continues

38f here in the desert south of Ajo this morning. Mostly clear at dawn. Perhaps the day will warm sufficiently for a nice walk to a geocache. A Smithsonian Museum travelling exhibit is in residence at The Curley School. Between Fences "tells American storeys through diverse fence types, and in doing so, examines human relationships on an expanding scale..." Depicting the idea that good fences make good neighbors the displays tell the storey of the invasion this once unfenced land by Europeans who were used to the security of pickets and cubicals. Through 20th January and well worth the drive to Ajo.

"As long as our civilisation is essentially one of property, of fences, of exclusiveness, it will be mocked by delusions." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Christmas Eve in AjoRoger's picture from his Flying Kite over Ajo

The copper mine built this town. The name, borrowed from the Ajo Lilly which grows in the desert, means garlic in Spanish. The town common is laid out like a hacienda. Three sides bordered by a wall of arches leading into various shops while the west quarter opens onto a view of churches in the Spanish style and a backdrop of Ajo Mountain. On the common the trees stand quiet and dark, the expectant crowd murmurs in hushed tones, kids wrestle in the grass and run about. Waiting. Suddenly a great BOOM! and the single Firework arcs up from behind the Curley School. Lights come on in the school's bell tower illuminating the Santa Claus waving his arms. In the old days, Greatbeeper tells me, The Santa used to ride an aerial cable slide from the bell tower to the base of a large tree on the common but one day he started early with the Christmas Spirit. His fall from the slide resulted in a broken head so now he is delivered to the common by the single float with four tiny reindeer.

Down from the school comes the float, led by a Follow Me car and followed by the Cheer-Leader section of the Ajo Primary School. The marching band is elsewhere. At the end of the second circuit of the common the float stops to let The Santa off; he wades through a throng of kids to a throne and is immediately set upon by the little'uns who've been standing on queue since sunset. I and the Greatbeeper make a circuit of the proceedings and end up at a Carolling Sing-Along Candle-Lighting Service where we warm up before driving back into the desert.

Boxing Day in the Desert

Since the Writers Guild is on strike this part will be a rerun from a previous letter.

This Christmas I am in Christchurch reading how Holiday Rationing in McMurdo prompted some folks to propose moving the "day off" to Saturday (the usual work-week there is six nine-hour days) so the community could have a two-day weekend.

Christmas especially has been so commercialised that it is hardly worth bothering with in many respects. At least Easter has withstood the machinations of the Calendar Corruptors and still happens when it will. I prefer to my Christmas gifting on Twelfth Night--very much more traditional and usually the shopping is better. I expect in a few years, as established mainstream churches loose more control to the splinter groups and secular majority, we are going to see a movement afoot to change Christmas to a Monday and New Years to the following Friday then business will force everyone to take that week as one of their vacation weeks and most everyone in America will think--What a blessing to get it all over with at once.
Political Cartoon from FLorida
At McMurdo it was eventually agreed that Christmas should happen on Christmas but New Years for sure would be moved.

But what is really interesting as far as the celebration of Christmas is concerned is that there are almost no lights anywhere in any of the communities here. A few do up some street lamp-poles but since the sky is not dark enough to show them off to good effect until 10pm they are seen by only a few people. I don't spend all that much time in residential neighborhoods but when I have there are no lights in evidence. Christmas here is a two and a half day holiday for many folks, they get a half day on the Eve and then the day after Christmas is Boxing Day. (That's where all the kids fight over the presents.) And of course this happens during the six-week summer break for all the schools: Kids in shorts and way overdressed Santas sweating behind their beards.

Sunday last I went to the Catholic Cathedral for a performance of Handle's Messiah. The Cathedral of The Blessed Sacrament was blessed and opened in February 1905 and sits somewhat in the southeast corner of downtown Christchurch, several blocks from the Anglican Cathedral which was opened in 1881 and now dominates Cathedral Square in the centre. The organ of the Catholic Cathedral was made by Halmshaw's of Bermingham and dates from 1879. The last time I attended a performance of the Messiah was maybe ten years ago and I am powerless before the emotional onslaught of Unto Us A Child Is Born and the Hallelujah Chorus, especially when the audience is encouraged to participate. Getting all teary makes it difficult to sing and I have it hard enough to carry a tune. As a diversion I studied the cobwebs at the tops of the thirteen columns supporting my side of the gallery above the nave and the pattern of the embossed zinc ceilings. I also noted how the chair in the apse, the Bishop's Chair I later learnt, seemed out of place. The cobwebs were black--it look'd like there'd been a fire. Next morning in the newspaper was a story of the damage done by an arsonist who had torch'd the Bishop's Chair early that Sunday morning.

Last night was a Midnight Mass with more choral presentations and the Great Organ Mass by Haydn. Not as emotionally draining as the Messiah but a good homily to think on. In the meantime the rest of the city has been one great commercial war-zone, a morass of car-parks and busy busses as local shoppers compete with tourists for the attention of those whose business it is to make a living selling. This is peak tourist season.

To my Christian friends: Merry Christmas; to my Jewish friends: Happy Hanukkah; to my Atheist friends: Good Luck; and to my Agnostic Compatriots: credo quia absurdum.

Have a happy Winter, or an early Spring. Or both if you wish.

Twelfth Night is soon upon us. Please see my Wish List at

Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.

Love, ajo

front page trailerI do not know what I may appear to the world; but to 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 prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Sir Isaac Newton

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Copyright © 2007, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.