the road west goes past a town called hope, and near that town, where the roswell-ish heat baked open pasture looks like you could land a ufo on it, is where the century plants grow. last year I stopped and took pictures; i used a picture on the e pluribus haiku 2016 (see below) though i have to admit that a cellphone, in particular mine, does not always make the clearest pictures. these century plants are a kind of yucca, so they say, and come out really only once every hundred years, and in fact only once. so this is it for these plants. they look like chandeliers, or like dr. seuss books, but in any case they are wild, and they are an intense part of my trip, something i like to savor and look for.
recently my wife has gotten me into podcasts, and one in particular, serial, entertained us while we were driving together. it told the story of a guy who is jailed for a murder in baltimore, that he probably didn’t commit. as we listened i’d point out the century plants to her; they’re hard to see, and there are a number of yuccas that are busting up to compete with them, ten feet high and all, along the side of the road.
earlier tonight the cabin was all aflutter because somehow i’d let a couple of moths in. this happened because the porch is so beautiful, yet the house has all the light. so the moths, eager to get at the light as they are, take advantage of the opened door and shoot in the house. actually i would be ok with moths flying around the house for a few hours in the evening, circling the lights as they are wont to do. some young children in the house are bloody terrified of them, though. it was a problem of living with terrified, over-the-edge fears, or just catching the silky things and releasing them outside. bit of a time-sink, like doing facebook.
the world is busy, what with the holiday and all, especially since our cabin is in a little tourist-trap town, that works hard to draw visitors and relieve them of their money. street festivals, open shops, businesses open all weekend, you name it. without giving too much away, i can say that we’re tucked back a little from downtown, and don’t see much of it unless we want to. and we really didn’t want to, at least for the first few days. I myself am considering the drives to be longer and longer, the days hotter and hotter, and once i’m up here, I don’t really want to go anywhere else. we have a kind of steep and sloping yard; we watch both the sunrise glow on the white sands, and the slow sunset back on top of it, with the purple mountains behind them, and the glistening white on the gypsum sand. one ranger told me – it’s what they make insulation out of – the companies would kill for access to these gypsum fields, to make their wallboard. i thought, well, if this stuff is insulation, let it insulate me from the outside world.
my wife was the first to say, let’s stop talking about trump. like most educated intelligent americans, we find the rise of trump to be very bad news. I agree with the guy who said that countries often don’t come back from this veering toward autocracy, and I’m appalled that so many of my countrymen would just vote for him because he won the republican nomination, or, because he’s not part of the system. but getting angry about it isn’t going to help. either I’ll get out the vote, here and / or in texas, or i’ll shut up about it and go my merry way, making myself slightly more independent and / or harder to find, so that when the revolution comes, I won’t be caught unprepared. my view is that things will go downhill. he’ll try to make a wall. he’ll pick a fight with china. or, he’ll simply lose the race, since he wasn’t really sure he wanted it anyway, and his followers will break loose with their unpredictable circus. either way, everyone loses. it won’t be what you would call a smooth transition.
i like that feeling that i had that one year when i was in minnesota, cut off from internet. we looked out our kitchen window at lake superior and i wrote blog posts like this one where, because i’m not in my usual environment, i have to make letters small that autocorrect keeps capitalizing. then, i save the post until i have the chance to get wifi, which up here could be a while, but maybe not too long. just messing with it is a kind of arcane ritual, but one i like, because it means, already, that i’m more comfortable.