Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Darkest Evening of the Year

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though.

He will not see me stopping here,
to watch his woods fill up with snow.

(The only other sound's the sound's the sweep
of easy wind and downy flake.)

((with apologies to Messr. Frost))

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Summer Catch-Up

After a summer without regular internet access, what is there to report?  That I got more reading done than usual?  Watched fewer pointless videos?  Stared at my phone instead of my computer screen?  All of the above, I guess.  

Not that I was divorced entirely from internet connection.  My work required much computer time, much internet.  But home after the day's work, I was struck by how accustomed I'd grown to the sounds of netflix, youtube, even, occasionally, amazon prime.  

Even worse was checking the news--a slow, stilted scrolling through the overgrowth of 3G connection.   What's the point in a smartphone if it can't meet my attention span?  I want to know what's going on, and I want it now. 

Then, a low-tech solution: the radio.  Suddenly the house was filled with sound.  Even better, listening had me using my imagination.  Instead of watching a story, I pictured it.  Wow, how my brain was working.  I pictured it lighting up like fireworks.  I felt such a virtuous feeling.  

Then another thought:  wasn't radio once the hot new thing?  And then television?  And then color tv?  And next video games?  And now endless internet time.  

One hundred and fifty-odd years ago, rapt crowds would watch for three hours while Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debated their way across the nation.  Think of that.  Three hours of intense concentration on two figures belting out arguments half a football field away.  

Could we do it now?  Of course we could.  Just take away our internet, tv, radio, and, as long as you're at it, our electric lights.  But before you do, there's a a cat video I want to be sure I catch.    

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Some days you end up taking the skis for a walk.  Woke up to clouds, hiked in rain, and found mush where I'd hope for an overnight re-freeze.  So it goes.

Was shooting for something new, not pictured here, but I like the photo, so it's going up.  

After making it to the lake I spooked a cow elk.  Tracks led me to believe she had been hanging out along the water's edge, and maybe this was why--a drowned calf, suspended as if in mid jump, in only a couple feet of water.  

The calf looked calm, and I had trouble coming up with a good story for how she got there.  Fell through the ice?  But the lake was ice free.  Jumped in and couldn't get out?  But the edge is shallow, an easy walk.  Just unlucky? 

More things in heaven and earth, Horatio...     

A few minutes later I stumbled upon a bear.  He ran off, and I hung around clacking my ski poles and hollering before continuing on my way.  Then there he was again.  Same story.  After a few minutes I started hiking once more, only to run into him a third time.  Now, instead of moving off, he began shambling my way, just a bit faster than I could trot.

I haven't heard much about black bear encounters, but I wasn't interested in becoming anybody's unusual cocktail story.  The snow was rotten, the omens seemed poor.  Better to head down and drink a beer in the sun.  Enough strange was in the air.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Spring is the time to be creative.

Linking snow patches is an unheralded art.  Look for grass.  If no grass, look for stumps.  If no stumps, aim for the round rocks.  If only sharp rocks, grin and bear it.  Keep a file and a stick of p-tex handy.

Some insist on always removing their skis to cross dry patches.  I remember clearly the day I learned better:   

We post-holed toward a ridgeline as an early June thunderstorm rolled in.  Our camp was on the other side--dry tents, cold beer.  The air tasted metal.  At the top, we threw on our skis in a controlled panic and made tracks for the basin below, only to find our way blocked by boulders and talus.  As we hemmed and hawed at the first transition, a bolt sizzled out of a dark cloud and smote with biblical fury the ridge where we'd just been standing.  Suddenly we found we could ski those rocks after all.  

Thus can pure fear inspire sudden ability.  But I try to keep in practice, just in case.     

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Over the edge into Finley Creek.

 I spent an intriguing afternoon poking along this ridgeline, digging through some cornices, watching the clouds blow in and out.  Thought a lot about this day.  

Then I turned around.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,

And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,

I will be brief:

Your noble son is mad.