Gustav's claws

Gustav & Hanna

I talked to my friend Marsha yesterday. She grew up in Florida so has lived through many hurricane seasons. In five minutes I learned more about highs and lows from her than made sense in a lifetime. By Republican logic, living in Florida would qualify her to head FEMA but she has enough sense to reject such an offer. Anyway, given that major hurricanes are grinding their way through the Caribbean, I wanted to know how she lives with them. To me they are colossal electro-magnetic cyclop ant-eaters lumbering through ankle-deep oceans rummaging for prey. They have lightning veins, thunderbolt hearts and claws of hail and rain. They ransack everything they touch, sea and land, jamming their whirling razor-edged snouts into the fray, sucking up everything in sight. She seems them as weather.

Typical Marsha, she'd been out sailing the gulf in the morning and got back just as Gustav's rain set in. Her sense of timing is well honed but then she uses NOAA to monitor winds even as they are born moving across the deserts of Africa. She watches them cross the Atlantic and follows their arrival via local TV and radio when they finally approach landfall. As a kid, gulf water made it all the way into the kitchen of their little island home. That would be enough for me but, like she pointed out, everybody's got something. I'll take rattlesnakes.

Gustav will miss her area so she's got her eye on Hanna and a couple of others still far out at sea off the news radar. I suppose they'll be trouble just about the time we arrive in Guatemala. I am not a hurricane chaser. Don't want to be one and M. Lee assures me we will be far far away but crap! There is even a mean south wind raging here in Nevada this morning. I say Gustav's claws.


Playing to the choir

McCain's pick for second in command of the United States of America is mind-numbing which is undoubtedly what he's praying for. He must anesthetize the evangelicals so they will accept him as their leader, kind of like tranquilizing a mare before breeding her.

Sarah Palin has ZERO foreign policy experience. She is strongly anti-choice, even opposing abortion in the case of rape or incest. She thinks creationism should be taught in public schools and doesn't believe humans are the cause of climate change. So much for science. Naturally, she is solidly in line with McSame's "Big Oil first" energy policy and has pushed hard for more oil drilling. She even sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species, worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska. Oh, and she's currently under investigation for some shady dealings.

McCain has given us us a peak into how truly raw and impulsive his thinking is, how he reacts under pressure and what his priorities are based on ... celebrity and sensationalism. He is not the man I want fingering the Red Button any more than I want her, one heart attack away, picking up that 3 am call.

Alien seeking pie

is making pie today from just picked hand-picked sweet black plumb juicy August blackberries. YUM!

I, on the other hand, do not have such pie. But oddly, when I came across this photo of the Pie Town billboard in my files this morning I dragged it to my "post n dump" folder, anticipating that I'd have a reason to post it today. I took it when we passed though Pie Town, NM.

Was this because I have some kind of spooky psychic link to homemade blackberry pie? Didn't get any pie in Pie Town either. Mmmmm pie...

Hot August night

In just over two weeks we'll be leaving for Guatemala. It is no comfort to me that it is now hurricane season in the Caribbean and we are headed in that general direction. As always, I am the reluctant traveler but I am also excited. We have been getting ready for a couple of weeks already making lists, stacking and sorting piles of clothes and gear on the floor. This weekend I am going to pack my backpack and see how how heavy it is, how much room is left. All that. We are already running out of time. Our silk travel sheets arrived today. They come highly recommended. They're light, 6.3 oz, and are supposed to be an effective barrier against bed bugs and other nastiness associated with cheap rooms.

I have been cutting back on the seed in the Bird Park to prepare the birds for when we leave but the place has been hopping anyway. Pigeons cram the tubs bathing in flocks then doze in the sun. They are unique. Other birds come and go, with always an eye for death from above, but the pigeons relax and air their wings. Even sleep. I love them for it. And the quail are back, all ages. I have seen no sign of the hawk but there was some excitement this afternoon when a couple of young males had a real chest bumper. It went on for about ten minutes. That's long in quail time. All in all, the scene outside my window has been a rollicking bird circus but two days after we leave it will be empty, only an occasional bird dropping by on the chance that somehow the feeders are full again. And so it will be for months. I hate that part about going away.

Obama was fantastic in Denver. They all were. I love Biden. Clinton and Clinton were heros. Michelle Obama outstanding. Wonderful. So we shall see...

It's a hot August night here in Nevada. Crickets trilling away in the dark.


Back it up

Still reeling from losing so many files yesterday. After a night's sleep, I remember more clearly just what got sucked into the Big Black Hole in the middle of cyberspace. Every time this happens I die a little inside. And whatwhatwhat have I learned this time?


BACK IT UP, asshole. On a regular basis. Oh and... check the back up, honey.

My big mistake rescuing files from the crashed hard drive? Didn't check to make sure files transferred properly. Lovely. I can blame microsoft. Their crappy "copy" feature, after all. But that's useless. So. Have I learned this time? Back_it_up.

Now will I do what I tell other people to do? Who's sorry now? Oh goodie. I get to practice detachment and renewal. Pruning is good for the soul.


Thanks Hillary

"No way! No how! No McCain!"


M. Lee rebuilt my computer today while I was in Reno. It crashed several weeks ago. I thought I had backed up all my files... but no. I missed an entire directory. Lovely. Makes me crazy. Okay, it's a lesson in detachment. Crazy. That's how I feel tonight. I'm in a reverse spin. And I lost another batch of files that didn't copy properly, including the one with my Firefox settings. Poof. So now I will have to spend x time tweaking and customizing my browser. My fault for not checking. I have learned nothing if I haven't learned to check and double check everything. So. That's it. I hope your day went better.


Laddu and the crow

Yesterday was Janmashtami, Krsna's birthday, and we attended the festivities which were held at a Buddhist temple in Reno. Great food. Interesting mix of people, mostly Indians. Seems the majority were there for the Rishi, a tiny, handsome, songbird of a fellow in town for the week raising money for his charity in India. We were there because some ISKCON devotees, in town for Burning Man, were sharing the evening and the microphone. Couldn't resist.

There was kirtan (chanting). I played my kartals (brass hand cymbals). That was a treat even though it all stayed pretty tame. And we endured a couple of canned lectures, the most egregious being the devotee from ISKCON. I know the phony Indian accent and hand-me-down metaphors are considered parampara but really... the less talking, the more chanting the better. Anyway, the feast was delicious.

Then, just as we were leaving, M. Lee got into a conversation with a young guy from Krishna Camp, the group attending Burning Man. He was born in ISKCON. His parents are still there. Nice fellow. Clear-eyed. Friendly. Curious. Turns out I know, knew, his guru, before he became a sannyas. Radanath. Krishna Camp is his creation. M. Lee did a little online research this morning. Seems I, as one of the Brijbasi Players theatre troupe, was part of Radanatha's first road tour. That was at the Rainbow Festival, precursor to Burning Man et cetera. 1980. Ironically the following year, when eight of us, the press, were preparing to leave the movement Radanath, who later became known as the Rainbow Swami, was sent by the temple to dissuade us, knowing we trusted him. We left anyway. Long story. Dangerous times. Then the temple authorities sent him to New York to track us down. Last night, for me, was 27 years later.

Janmashtami kirtan, Reno


I brought home a laddu from the feast for the birds. Prasadam. Holy food. If the story is true, one bite guarantees a human birth in the next incarnation. That would explain Bush, Cheney, McCain, Gonzo and the rest of those bastards. In their last time around they were probably a pack of alley rats with a dumpster behind a Krishna temple on their rounds and nibbled a crumb or two of prasadam along the way. Anyway, the crows were wild about the laddu. Charlie clucked and cajoled all morning demanding more. He finally gave up on sweet talking me and just sat in the poplar tree squawking at my window. Clown. I had to go out and tell him to cool it. Neighbors, ya know. Gets us both in trouble.


River dog's life

River dog riding the bus for a day on the river.

Jeff Heathcock really gets it right. If I ran the world, this is exactly how things would be.

Red River Canoe Rental


Spiders and bees

I felt like this all day.

Why did the bee die in the flower? Photo from my garden. No. I do not use pesticides.


Old Guy Hills

I suspect that the quail the hawk made off with the other morning was the mother of one of the families in the Bird Park. Yesterday, after the hawk grabbed someone, the quail laid low all day but today one of the families made an appearance in the afternoon lured, I imagine, by the tasty thistle seed the sparrows drop on the ground. But there was no mother in the covey. The father kept watch alone and when the family was done eating and perched on the fence, he climbed back up into Old Guy Hills and walked its ridges, back and forth, looking, listening, waiting. Quail mate for life so, if she is dead, it is his great loss and I am sad for him.

His mood reminded me of an elderly gentleman I met in a park when I was a young girl, just married. He had recently buried his wife. We talked briefly. I wanted to comfort him but he was inconsolable. He was so polite. Thanked me. I sputtered a few trite things like, "I'm sorry" and went on my way.

Why should calamity be full of words? - Shakespeare


Dirty business

A friend emailed me this little fable the other day which seems worthy of passing along.

Young Chuck, moved to Texas and bought a donkey from a farmer for $100.00. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day. The next day he drove up and said, 'Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died.'

Chuck replied, 'Well, then just give me my money back.'

The farmer said, 'Can't do that. I went and spent it already.'

Chuck said, 'Ok, then, just bring me the dead donkey.'

The farmer asked, 'What ya gonna do with him?

Chuck said, 'I'm going to raffle him off.'

The farmer said, 'You can't raffle off a dead donkey!'

Chuck said, 'Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead.'

A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, 'What happened with that dead donkey?'

Chuck said, 'I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $898.00.'

The farmer said, 'Didn't anyone complain?'

Chuck said, 'Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.'

Chuck grew up and became a corporate lawyer.


I changed the ending. Originally it went, "Chuck grew up and now works for the government." I think the new ending is more reflective of the times. After all, corporations now run America through their lobbyists and lawyers are siphoning off everything, nailed down or not.

It's been trying to rain all day but the desert never does get much of a break. The wind came up. It grew dark. Temperatures dropped. A few drops fell then it passed. Even that was some relief. Not many birds came by today. No quail. Now at sunset the Pine Nut range to the west and the clouds sweeping overhead are both orange against a blue sky and the wind is up again but still no rain. The neighbor across the street comes out like the coo-coo from a clock to hand water his lawn. His face is red as raw meat. He doesn't notice me sitting in the grass. He looks like he somehow managed to swallow a large fitness ball then re-inflated it. His stomach and ass are one perfectly round protuberance. And so he stands, hose in hand, swaying in the grass. Still no rain.


Life and death in the Bird Park

Lots of commotion in the Bird Park this morning after a hawk burst out of a tree. By the keen lament that followed, I'd say she managed to grab one of the quail. Currently, a couple of large families spend a lot of time here. These guys scurry after one another in a constant effort to stay together. They define the tight-knit family. The youngsters even nap cuddled in row touching, as their parents keep watch. So this morning the family huddled beneath the lilac bush and mourned and we mourned with them, coffee cups in hand, watching through the window, knowing somewhere the hawk was feeding her children, and that was good, but taking no pleasure in any of it.

Quail dust bath party, 2006


Thornburg Canyon

I'm beat. We did an eight hour hike in the Sierra today, eleven miles over a 2500 ft. elevation gain. That's slow but I don't care. It's not like I punch a time clock in the forest. Today's destination was a saddleback at 8400 ft located at the top of Thornburg Canyon. Great views of valleys and mountains beyond mountains. Even a cobalt blue lake nestled in a far away forest. I found some petrified wood along the ridge, a generally unfriendly place for trees given the beating of wind and weather, but who knows what conditions were like there a million years ago? I picked up four chunks but on our way down gave one to a mammoth tree under which we stopped to rest. This tree must have been at least thousand years old itself and still robust. It is an honor to take shelter of a being who has witnessed the passing of so many centuries. I felt very safe and extremely small, like a firefly. Photos to follow but at the moment I am lying on the bed with my laptop ... winding down ... listening to crickets .... looking forward to sleep.


After five

Tonight, having written nothing new, all I have for today is a fragment from a notebook sitting nearby.
Photo source: Trevor's Blog

half in
half out
turning around
to better see
I am becoming
or is that you
coming after
consuming me
as I go?