Thursday, July 04, 2019

ok i protest. i protest the tanks. i protest the kids in cages. i protest the pretense of glory for our country. i protest the undermining of democracy and civility.

many years, we go out and watch public fireworks displays. people who supposedly know what they're doing set off firecrackers and hopefully nobody gets hurt. some years they make mistakes. often people go on their own, and make all kinds of mistakes. animals get spooked. people lose fingers.

this year, i'm way out on the edge of the country, where the civilized world turns into the dry canyons of south central new mexico, not far from the apache mescalero reservation. i want no part of fireworks. i am not into celebrating.

it is the end of the driest season here - from february to july fourth, sometimes no rain at all, and a hot dry wind evaporates any water you even apply to your ground. on the fourth it turns, to what they call the "monsoon," and this season, july and august, provide us with most of the few inches we get every year - an average of twelve, actually - by raining regularly. this year the rains came just a couple days early, as it's a kind of wet year, thank god. it may not be as treacherous as it usually is.

but generally, people are out there blowing these crackers off, and the locals are getting angry. everything is so dry. the forests are dry, the yards are dry, the grasslands are dry. it's like seeing someone drive up the hill with a lit cigarette in his mouth. you feel like cutting him off, getting out of your car screaming. what the living f--- do you think you're doing, trying to set our world on fire. one year hundreds of thousands of acres burned. the area went up in smoke and there wasn't much people could do. it's a dry place, and also windy.

the bone spur brings his tanks into washington like this is russia or something. might as well bring russian tanks. he's all proud of being in a military parade like he has to show firepower, and how he's in charge of it. it makes me angry. he has kids in cages. he's stolen billions and redistributed it to his friends.

out by the reservation, the woods goes up a long steady hill, with a dry canyon down in the middle of it, mountains up each side. i followed the path this morning, and it curved me around so i wouldn't come to the reservation fence; i stayed in the national forest, where dry trees waited for the monsoon season. occasional piles of deer turds would be in the path. down at the bottom, toward where the people are, there were some bones; people had been hunting here. the new mexico sky, clear blue as always, beat down. it was hot already, even in morning, on a cloudy day.

it gets cloudy, but then it doesn't rain. this also, i find characteristic of this season. they are like teaser clouds. it appears that it might rain, and that the dry season might be ending, but it doesn't. it's like "june is the cruelest month." it's cruelest, if you care about rain most of all, and if it teases you, and if it never rains. june is dry, yes. grasslands turn to brown. dry sticks sit around on the forest floor like matches on a stove. everyone watches the sky hoping that the clouds will bring the real thing.

so close to the apache reservation, i feel almost like i'm at the edge of the u.s. i know the apache have a different view of the fourth of july, but they actually have moved in and taken it over, and started to have their big apache welcome celebration on the fourth weekend. i'm not sure, this year, which weekend that would be, or if it is today. i rarely talk to the apache, although i see them sometimes, and a kid that my son befriended was apache. this may be more than most of us, who live in this kind of white mountain enclave where people fly the american flag on the back of their trucks. they have their opinion. i have mine. i am way back, beyond their homesteads, where they'll have to come way out here to see if i fly that flag or not.

my dogs, i feel, fall down on the side of animals who are spooked by your average firecracker. they get spooked if i clap above a fly, or if i come down on the table with a newspaper, trying to swat one. they are not big fans of violence, and i don't blame them. one year i was hit in the temple with a firecracker, and i was lucky that it didn't go off until it landed on the ground, because i was deaf for about an hour afterward. if it had gone off when it hit my temple, i might not be telling this story. it was the bicentennial year.

in this area, there are two places where they set off fireworks legally. one is on the mescalero reservation, at the inn of the mountain gods, where they have a lake, and set them off over the lake. the other is the town of alamogordo, only eighteen miles down from cloudcroft but almost forty miles from here. at those, they set them off over some dry mountains and a parking lot, and keep plenty of firetrucks on hand in case they miss. i'm passing on those too.

we did, however, have a fourth of july parade in our town, and it was last saturday, at four in the afternoon, on a day much like this. not too many people went, in spite of the fact that it's a busy season in a small tourist town, and there isn't a whole lot to do. they said the congresswoman, who is a democrat, was coming, but i didn't see her, and neither did i see a few people who said basically that they'd come just in order to boo her. perhaps one of them said a little too much, or it sounded like a threat, and she got wind of it. it could also be, she being busy and all, that she had something else to do. for whatever reason, she didn't show up, and it was an uneventful parade. i saw two of my students from down the hill, two very different ones, who had the luxury of riding in cars at the parade. i was in the audience, my little daughter darting out into the parade to grab the candy they'd throw out at us. the firetrucks made their sirens go, just to show that they worked, and that this was their presence in the parade.

a little while ago, we had a controlled burn on our property. the whole neighborhood knew it, and lots of people came to see; they wanted to make sure we knew what we were doing. one mistake, and you lose the whole valley. it's just the way it is, and they've seen it before. things are growing back, yes, even down in the burn scar, but, it takes years to recover a forest, and it's often not in our lifetime. you lose it, you see it burn, it'll take forever to see it come back. a delicate thing, a garden, an elm grove, a democracy, these things are gone in a flash, and then you wonder why you didn't do more to keep it hanging around.

Monday, July 01, 2019

i'm in el paso for a short vacation. to be blunt, one kid was having a hard time at home, always needing stuff, and my wife thought it would be good if we got away. she was right. we went to a baseball game, and stayed overnight in a hotel. by we: me, and both sons who are still at home. a short trip away from home. a cool motel room, a pool, a fitness center.

i don't feel like the kind of yuppie who is out to enjoy all his money quickly, and traveling around just dropping the cash at will. on the contrary, i'm scared. i went to the hearing aid place and found my hearing way down. my son, i feel, is on the edge. the bill goes on a credit card i'm afraid we can't pay. the car's oil light shone and i filled it; that was a success; but it has over a hundred thirty thousand, and the trip back is over hundred-degree desert wasteland; i don't look forward to it, especially since it will be early in the afternoon.

last night, in the evening, we parked in a fashionable rehabbed part of the city and walked to the baseball game. the game was between the el paso chihuahuas and the fresno grizzlies. for some reason the chihuahuas were wearing neon greenish yellow uniforms that said "margaritas" and the scoreboard made it appear the game was between the tacos and the margaritas. it was some sort of promotion, no doubt, but the people in the stands were mostly wearing red and black, with hats with insignias of a fierce chihuahua. the team's normal colors were clearly red, black and white and there was some red, black and white pride going on. the game was pleasant, but it was over ninety in the shade (a "dry heat," they like to say around here) - and the evening was clearly a better time to be out than the daytime. in the daytime people rush around in newish cars, shut up against the heat, going up and down this one road we've come to know, with lots of businesses and restaurants on it. it's a conservative city: people work hard, make money, protect themselves against the heat.

so the stadium was about half full, and the chihuahuas were going around in these neon uniforms. it was a good game; the grizzlies got out to a big lead but the hometown boys closed it up and made a game of it. the people around us were almost all mexican-american families. my son bought a water for $4. i was mad as that's kind of amtrak prices, but, what are you going to do? we bided our time. the families near us had these kind of taco constructions that looked huge, and, given the price of water, were probably $20. at one point the margarita guy came around and stood in front of me as he served a margarita to the woman next to me, for $13. he had three in his tub; they were carved out pineapples, full of fruit, and soaked to the top with margarita, apparently. she gave him a $20 and he reached into his pocket with his wet hands to get change. one of them tipped over. margarita fell all over the tub. he was embarrassed, but, that's the price of business. one way or the other, they were going to enjoy their evening.

the chihuahuas lost, but it was a fun evening. our car was still there when we got back to it. the lights of mexico glowed from across the river. i consider taking the boys to mexico, something i've always wanted to do for all my kids, and have done for some. we may or may not. one side of me wants to take the advice of every shuttle driver: stay away from juarez. another says, this may be your last chance. we would walk. we would stand on a bridge across the two countries.

the car has oil; the long desert is in front of us. right out of the city, you get into new mexico, and it gets pretty empty. i've come to not feel threatened by that, though. there are people around. it's like getting stranded in the middle of illinois.

you can't make a kid happy, though, if he's suffering inside. i have a couple like that, and i'm at a loss. here i am, losing my hearing, yet what i want, more than anything, is a little peace, kids who are ok with who they are and what's going on around them. television and xbox will only go so far. mexico may not change things; they barely know what they're getting into, and besides, we'd barely step over the border, even if we had plenty of time. we do have plenty of time.

that sopping wet fruit is an image that stays in my mind. it was like cantaloupe, kiwi, mango, not sure what all was in there. i'm sure they soaked it up pretty good. it was an evening in the borderlands, with signs like "paso del norte" around. everyone's bilingual; that's not an issue. maybe what's happening in clint or tornillo is an issue. you don't hear about it, though. everyone's polite, and ready to take your money. if i could get used to the 100 degree days, it would be easier.

Friday, June 28, 2019





Saturday, June 15, 2019

you go out eighty two, east of cloudcroft, and it's a classic mountain road. it winds and curves, with green valleys on each side and mountains rising up to peaks on both sides. below is a kind of dry creek and the road follows it. a couple of houses are backed up against the hillside on the right. around a few bends you come to a horse arena, and a couple of roads cut off to the north.

one of these is sixteen springs canyon road. once i let off a hitchhiker at that corner, and he knew he was in the heart of the mountains, but i'm pretty sure he got a ride, and didn't starve or have to go camp somewhere. it's a green valley, and mountain roads go off in both directions. sixteen springs canyon road has some houses at the bottom there, where you go twenty-five and drive back and forth up to a gooseneck turn, but then you start climbing james ridge until, way at the top, you come to a lookout that someone is often in, looking for fire across the ridges.

way up there on the ridge, it has its own weather. cloudcroft could be raining or snowing, but james ridge is eight miles east, and almost as high, and it's not always the same. there's no weather report for james ridge, and the roads are frequently icy. one day i came through there and there was a fog thick as pea soup, and there was a kid in camo with a shotgun. but behind him was his dad, on a cell phone, because up there at the lookout is pretty much the only cell reception on the whole mountain. and once you come back down, you are in a valley, green and mountainy on the side, and this valley has a few elk in it. the elk are often gazing at us as we come down the valley, like they're wondering what we're doing down there. but they're pretty - large-shouldered, different shades of brown, sometimes huge antlers. i'm tempted to stop for a photo shoot.

further on down the hill and you're in sixteen springs canyon. the sign back at the highway says sixteen springs canyon eight miles, but now, an old rusty sign just identifies the place as sixteen springs canyon, and you cross a little dry creek, and head down, following the creek, going east again. you still have about four or five miles to our house, but it's a paved, windy road and it comes down into walker's ranch, where it is now smooth and straight, and there's a little spring to the side there. walker owns most of the cows in the valley; they graze on the roadsides, sometimes just walk across the road, and head up into the valley where the elk are, though they seem to get along with the elk ok. they also don't seem to worry about bears or lions much. they look healthy, well-fed, and family-oriented, the mothers watching after the little ones as they do experiments running off the road, or in it, as the case may be. at walker's ranch you go twenty, or at least the sign tells you to. this may be too slow for some people, but if you're curious about ranching, it's just about right. you can slow down and watch these folks round up the cows, or the horses, or feed them, or whatever. old man walker is ninety-five or six, they say, and his son is maybe eighty or something, i'm not sure, but they appreciate it if you're going twenty. i feel like promising to build them a bypass, but first we'd have to put a town where their house and barn are, and we'd have to have some real action on the other side, enough people to generate some traffic. it's not a totally dead road, but it's pretty quiet.

further down the road is a fire house. it's pretty new and it's the center of the community, i'd say, though it's unassuming, and mostly just a garage with a little cement-floor dining area. they're serious about fighting fires out here, and that's good, because you have to be. i plan on helping them once i get my act together here, soon.

two roads come off sixteen springs road here that are important. one is bell canyon road, that heads up bell canyon to the right, back south, toward the highway, and it has the most houses, maybe three or four, and all the people take this way down to sixteen springs because the south way back is way to rocky and treacherous. they come north to sixteen springs, only to wind back around west and then south, and to them, it's a long way but well worth it. and the other one is walker canyon road - this is the one where i left a car for about five days, because it got a flat on some sharp rocks that we apparently had no business trying to drive on. at first i thought sixteen springs canyon road was the most exotic, remote, beautiful road i'd ever been on, but now it turns out that walker canyon road makes sixteen springs appear to be a main highway, paved, with traffic, and even with a speed limit sign down there by the ranch. walker canyon road is like, well, there was probably only one or two people who knew that car was sitting there for five days, and fortunately, we knew them, as they'd given my wife and daughters a ride home that day. there weren't a whole lot of people who even saw it sitting there, the road is pretty much untraveled in that part. and i'm sure folks like it that way.

right before the walker canyon road cutoff is board tree canyon, our canyon. here a big honking mountain dominates the view when you turn into it; this mountain is 8000 feet, and is also the edge of private land; the other side of the mountain is the reservation. i'm not sure what it's called, but it's just a bit bigger than most of the mountains in the area, so it stands up there as a landmark. and board tree canyon runs right up beside it i assume, though i haven't been up there. my plan is to know this mountain, and to know the line between private and reservation, and to know the paths in the area. i haven't enacted my plan, though.

in our little encampment, we're kind of out on the edge of civilization. the national forest is up against us to the north, and a couple miles beyond that, the reservation, and you could keep that mountain in view if you got lost. somewhere back there is the "board tree," but i'm not exactly sure what that is. and then to the east, nothing. national forest, that turns into an enormous burn scar, where it burned completely up maybe eight years ago, thousands of acres. that was a major fire - they called in people from all around; whole mountainsides went up. i wasn't living in the area at the time, but still i kind of remember it. maybe what i remember is people talking about it, the minute i got up here. or seeing the devastation, driving through mayhill. this is our local town now - maybe seventeen miles east of cloudcroft, and so small, it makes cloudcroft look like a city.

that's the way it is out here. you think you're remote, and you find someone more remote. you think you got away from it all, and you find out, you are "it all." a small campfire gets ready to disappear; i'm about to call it a night.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

there’s a power failure, and we’re way out here at the end of the line, twenty miles from the village where we moved a couple of days ago. we’re overall very happy out here, although there’s a lot of driving involved, but the power failure kind of upsets our apple cart. our seventeen-year-old is upset because it ruins his reputation in his online game, where you’re not supposed to just quit a game that you started. our thirteen-year-old lives on her phone, where she posts instagrams regularly, but the phone doesn’t work when the power and the internet are off. and finally, my wife wants to take a shower, but apparently the well’s pump relies on electrical, and without it, there’s no pressure, and it peters out.

i made a campfire as i did last night, but the rain picked up and pretty much drenched it. rain is unusual in this area in june – this is the dry time – but there’s unusual weather all over the place. there was a tornado in the area the other night, and there was a wind event in alamo earlier today; we heard this over the landline phone, which apparently still works. seems like the world is coming to an end, but even then, I don’t mind, because I’m finally in a place I really love, that I can call a good stopping place.

as it happens, it’s my fiftieth home, so now i can finish my autobiography, which has fifty chapters of true life documentation of where I lived and moved, and fifty good stories interspersed between them. i’m also sixty-five, and feel like i’ve retired, since school is out, so there are other good reasons for finally getting this down. and finally, as part of moving and general downsizing, i’m looking at everything i’ve ever produced: every poster, every music-event promotion, every document. i saved way too many things, of course, but that’s not the point. the point is, now i have to look at it, before i pitch it. it’s only fair.

in the last days before moving, i was still trying to sort, but eventually, i decided to just bring it now, sort later. after all, I didn’t have the time then, but I will, now, if only i can keep up my motivation while my wife is rushing headlong into the horse-owning business. that was, for her, the main point of moving out here so quickly, as i probably would have dawdled and waited at least until the oldest son graduated. for him, with a dread of long drives, the main benefit of being out here is being able to just stay on internet, all day, not even get dressed, and have no one bother him. i said, if you were totally isolated, nobody would even come visit, and he said that would be fine with him. He’s not hankering to drive, to get out, to move to some better place, although you could say that about the fourteen-year-old. Moving for him was not difficult. he had a small room before, and now he has a fifth-wheel camper. He’s made it how he wants it, and, as long as internet prevails, he’s fine.

no, the point is, the rain can come, the storm can come, and we’ll probably be ok, as long as it’s not a tornado. we know the rest of the world is flooding. the river’s up, and staying up. there’s more rain than anyone can handle. but in this part of new mexico, there’s been a drought for many years, and everyone is nervous, all the time, about the possibility of fire, and a rainy dry season is a kind of relief that means, for once, we can go into summer not over-paranoid, not edgy, not impatient with the clouds that never amount to anything: this year, they’re bringing us rain. green things are sprouting everywhere. the wildflowers are coming out, even before the monsoons.

to get to this place, you turn off the highway at a sign that says, sixteen springs canyon, eight. this cutoff is already about eight miles from cloudcroft, so, it’s sixteen miles, more or less, before you get to our valley. but then, in this valley, you take this windy road along the canyon – past an rv park, through walker’s ranch, past the fire station, and past the bell canyon cutoff. cows graze lazily along the side of the road – they apparently don’t fear the lions and bears around – and deer and elk abound, usually darting off the road as you approach. the weather is gentler than cloudcroft, where it rains more and has more snow.

end of the line, and we're here. the rain is staying gentle, even dying off. that's good. everything will smell good, and be green in the morning.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

it's kind of the last bite of winter, here it is may eighth, and it's kind of raining and snowing and hailing all at the same time. since may in southern new mexico is usually very dry, stark dry, this is unusual and makes it a wet year. but since we are high in the mountains as well, we shouldn't be too surprised about the cold. we aren't out of the woods yet, so to speak.

the other day a truck came tearing down the mountain, and caught on fire on his way into high rolls and the tunnel where the ancient caves are. these ancient caves, there's one on each side of the road, because generally there's a sunny side and a shady side, so the ancient people just played one off the other. at that tunnel is the combining of all the eco-systems, the high mountains with their deer and elk, the river coming out of the mountain with its green grasses, and the lowland desert with its rabbits and yucca-type greenery that actually sustains you in really dry times. it's those cacti that hold the water, and knowing about them gives you all kinds of things, like the healing power of aloe for example.

but anyway this truck was on fire, and he was heading into the tunnel, where there's a slight curve, and as i understand it, he was a little over-length, meaning trucks that long aren't even supposed to be on such a curvy narrow road, but there he was, and he was on fire because he was carrying propane and maybe he bumped the propane on one of the curves. supposedly he had tar, not oil, and it was solid, but the whole thing, truck, oil, whatever, ended up going right over the cliff at the tunnel there, after he'd gone through. he might have hit the tunnel on his way through it. he jumped out of the truck, and was killed. a kid at school said her aunt was there and said it was a slow painful death. she'd called 911 and they closed the highway for a few hours.

meanwhile i was coming back from school and heard the tunnel was closed, so took the long way around through labracita canyon, a very new-mexico-ish, dry but yet green, canyon, wild, with curvy narrow roads and actually this road crosses the creek twice, but the second time it was bone dry and i was just crossing a very dry canyon. i actually like that drive, labracita canyon, but took it more because i suspected the tunnel would be closed or delayed. see the problem with the tunnel is, you can get ten miles up the road toward the tunnel, before you figure out that you have to go back, and there's only one way through.

ten years today, a tornado passed through southern illinois, tore down hundreds of trees, broke houses, caused a lot of damage, power was out for ten days. it was a straight-line tornado, a derecho, they call it, and it was about 130 miles per hour or so, and fortunately, we'd put in this fiberglass shelter in the back yard, and my wife and son holed up in that shelter and survived the tornado. i and the other son were on campus, a couple miles away, my son in the basement of a brick childcare building, and me in a mammoth concrete fortress english building. a japanese couple had come for our friend and student's graduation; it was perhaps their first time in the usa. i saw them over on campus, wide-eyed, as huge trees had fallen and were lying about all over campus, for people to step over. the university had maybe twelve graduations that week, but almost all of them were postponed, canceled or at least severely disrupted. the derecho actually happened during at least one of them.

so everyone's talking about this truck driver, and how he jumped out of his burning truck, and how maybe he jumped when he was in the tunnel, or hit the tunnel, or whatever. there's no way we can know what he was thinking. it seemed a miracle to me that they could pull the truck out of the canyon, oil and all, or tar, or whatever, and not have a massive cleanup, although maybe they have that and i just can't see it as i whiz by, which i did twice, once going to work, and once coming back, today. it was the usual, hot, sunny, bright, whole valley on both sides of the road.

but now it's snowing, raining, wet out there, and maybe that will change things. it's an unusual year, an el nino year. iowa is flooding again, and it's about to hit saint louis, if not, missouri, arkansas, louisiana, all of them. a high river is a high river. batten up the hatches.

Friday, May 03, 2019

these days i don't hear so well - it's not that i've lost everything, but i often feel like my ears never popped, or like i'm in a swimming pool trying to hear people that are outside of it. because i know the sounds are out there, and that on some level i could still get most of them, i'm not too upset about it. but because i feel like i need my c-pap, but also feel like it's filling my cavities with some kind of congestion, i somewhat feel trapped into accepting it.

the problem is, there is so much racket in my life, that i'm kind of grateful. the junior high is full of people who simply can't shut up, and my only recourse is to yell at them constantly, since i don't really get mad about that stuff anymore. there is a steady racket that is basically not my concern. and then i come home, and it's pretty much the same: three teenagers and a 10-year-old in a small cabin, lots of media, things i detest if not just get tired of. i tend to tune a lot of it out.

the problem is more when people try to say something serious to me, at a normal pitch, and i just plain miss it. this happens a lot. sometimes i ask them to repeat and i still miss it. or sometimes i make assumptions about what they want and i'm wrong. i give a lot of permission at the junior high - to go to the bathroom, to go down the hall, go to the nurse, go to the office. but i can't keep track of where they've gone if i never even heard it. so far it hasn't got me too bad. this particular group of kids, the ones i had this week, seemed to mean what they said, and came back after a reasonable time. they aren't all like that. it's a world where a certain amount of genuine interaction is required, and getting harder.

i look forward to actually retiring. we are moving out to the country. i will remain an online tutor and will probably even teach chinese kids for a while (job #2 and job #3), but if i come back to the public schools it will be in cloudcroft itself, where classes are smaller and it's a little calmer. my time at the urban junior high is limited.

meanwhile i had a cushy assignment today, gifted kids in small classes who worked, told the truth, and pretty much left me alone. so i was trolling around my computer trying to find a good writing project; i've been interested in biographies and have been trying to figure out who i wanted to write about.

my first choice, several weeks ago, was joe arpaio. it was partly because he'd keep my mind off tr-mp, or prove to me that there are worse people out there. he's a sheriff in arizona who set up a concentration camp, gleefully. but he's a real slime, and a criminal too, and besides, it's all political, and someone already wrote the book, not to mention the fact that he, egomaniac that he is, wrote his own.

so then i thought, i ought to do a musician, and the first one i thought of was natalie maines, who had a huge feud with the city of lubbock and the texas country scene, causing them to disbar her, reject her, and refuse to buy anything she participated in. the thing is, i had some personal connection here, since i knew some people who had made a movie with her in it, and with george strait, and other notable texans, and yet when the crash came, it ruined their movie, because she was in it. i always thought she was a good musician: good voice, driving sound, good backup band; she knows what she's doing. and she has a musical family who of course i could look up.

but i didn't get far in trolling around news stories until i found out that she had married an actor, had two sons about 17 and 14, and the guy is suing her for $60,000 / month alimony / child support. $60,000 / month, and this is for teenage boys who by and large run out of the house every morning, saying whatever, and don't come back until late. the actor himself makes $160,000 / year, he says, but he says that since she makes 12 million, or whatever, she should fork some of it over. so they sell their austin house, that's also in the news, but, basically, they live in l.a. and have a place in new york (i think) for all those times that they have to be there.

in the end, i just didn't want to read any more about it. no judgement on her, or even him, but i had enough.

so my last choice worked out much better. that was bela fleck, and, as it turns out, abigail washburn, and their young boy juno, who is now about 6. now these three i really like. fleck went to africa to dig into the roots of the banjo, and has played with all kinds of musicians all over the place. ms. washburn has been an ambassador to china, where she made old appalachian folk songs into chinese country songs, and sang them. it's a great story. the next step would be to contact them and tell them i'm writing about them, and want them to cooperate. i might get on this soon. the story just made me happy. every interview that was published, i liked what they said. they are serious and good musicians, but not too serious about themselves. these are the kinds of people i would like to write about.

my own banjo, i can barely pick up. my hearing aids amplify the tinny part and my ears reject the actual tones, so that i get a lot of unpleasant noise. this happened also at the concert band, where my 13-year-old played, tonight. i have gone to a long series of concert band performances, and end-of-year performances, and since my wife has a kind of public anxiety, i'm doing all of that these days, for the four remaining, while she of course does the medicine, the food, the bedtimes, the laundry, etc. it's more than fair but it's hard on the ears. if you can imagine, one more concert band can almost seem like one too many sometimes. but, back to my subject. i've reached the point where the tinniness drives me inside my own head, and gets me to focus on something that's not so unpleasant. one can only take so much racket in this world. and i still tell my daughter, you played well, i heard your solo. this as far as i know is true, as i did hear part of it, and knew it was her, and, i think she was good. i'm not sure because, as i've said, i've lost the concept of "in tune," in the racket. there's just too much tinniness around.

i spend some time weeding, and doing rocks, out in the yard. the weeding in particular is satisfying. it is nothing considering what is coming - moving, and finishing a dumb rock project that includes making sure there's enough parking. so with this enormous, overwhelming task in front of me, sometimes my back hurts just thinking about it, and then i weed, as a way of resting for what's coming. three more weeks, and we hope to be moved out of here, more or less. and there are several big luggy things to move, that also hurt just to think about them.

ah but where we're going - to a country property way out in sixteen springs, out in the middle of a beautiful mountain valley - is a place with stars, with peace and quiet, with a lot of animals coming through, making some noise, but not much noise. it's a place where a person could hear it, if the wild animals started talking to each other. if i have any hearing left, when i get out there.

Sunday, April 28, 2019



cloud quakers on zoom - my new passion - but, so far, not an overwhelming response, mostly just people I knew for a while before I even started it. but no matter; it's something i really wanted to try. you need a community, you make one, and it's worldwide, and people really respond to that, or at least i do, because i have to reach past my limited range to find the people i really want to share stuff with.

if you choose to join us, we're on zoom, sun 7 pm US mountain time (8 in chi, 9 in ny) - on zoom dial 373 452 424.

i choose charlie chaplin this week because he was king of the silents. he used his fame in the silents to speak out against war and oppression; he paid a price for that. he was really good at what he did but that didn't stop him from participating fully in life and speaking out when he felt it was necessary.

it's time quakers had a public presence, somewhere that people know to find us. in my small way, that's what i'm doing.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

wild horses - see picture below. they're dark, in good shape, and, living right around the corner from me. seriously - i live right up against a high mountain, owned by the city, with a 9,000 foot baseball field - and behind that mountain, more or less, is the intersection of the road to mescalero and ruidoso. at that intersection, where the slash pit is, i have seen the three wild horses in the picture below. those wild horses just eat grass in that wild area - national forest to one side, highway intersection, slash pit, mountain used by the city.

at first i thought, they were mescalero. when we go up through the reservation, which starts about eight miles from the intersection, there are horses all over the place. these are wild, i'd say, but i always had the sense that the mescalero owned them, and let them roam free on their land, which is fenced in, generally. therefore those horses would not be totally wild, but would be owned by the mescalero and, though free on mescalero land most of the time, aren't truly wild.

ah but what some people say is, they are wild. they may have started out on the mescalero. or maybe they belonged to someone at some point. but now, they're free. they're on national forest land. they are hard to catch, and, if you do, hard to get them to do anything for you. they like being free. they do very well out there.

should i call the mescalero? i asked the guy at the slash pit. i figured they'd probably want to know if three of their horses had gotten loose. but i was surprised at his answer: no. they are probably not theirs, but just wild, feral. and, they probably wouldn't even come and get them. because, what would anyone do with them? they're wild. it's not like you can just grab them and ride them.

they're out there (see picture below) in threes. they hang around that corner. they're healthy - they've survived a long winter. they occasionally get in the road when they shouldn't. they're big, and, when spooked, they can do a lot of harm.

watch out for those wild horses!