Wednesday, October 31, 2018

did a little weblog overview as i have a little time, overseeing welding classes that are basically not allowed to weld. hands off the welding irons, and the power, until the roof is fixed, they say. and i couldn't weld or teach them to weld, though i'd love to try. these poor students, six classes of high school welding students, will either be reassigned to other classes, or, have to wait until the roof is fixed.

the weblog overview shows that some people are in fact reading my weblogs. over a thousand read this one every month, and that's significant, though maybe not very significant. i'm not sure if i care that they aren't clicking on ordering my books, or impressed with my writing skill; after all, i keep lowercase in order to distinguish that i'm not even totally serious here. my professional weblog has better writing, but poorer presentation; in short, i haven't done much to keep them upgraded or current. the numbers I got, starting at about 1100 and going all the way down to 3/mo., 5/mo., etc., are probably low points caused by extreme neglect in the last few months.

time to revive them, i think. time to at least practice putting more writing on them; "refreshing" them makes them more desirable in Google's terms at least, and proves you're still alive. that's what my latest effort is all about.

in fact, i'm reviewing them as we speak, and, at the same time, working on various writing projects. i'm considering reviving the idea of a haiku novel, but also have two or three regular novels on the table, and two or three other writing projects: 1) autobiography; 2) historical story about the early Leveretts; 3) book on language as a self-organized system. i have to be in the mood to get fired up about any one of these, and as usual, in the lack of mood, drained state of running an idle welding class, i work on the weblogs.

old welding irons sit around, and kids fire them up if i'm not watching carefully. they also take hammers and brandish them around, etc., making it more, for me, like running an overactive daycare. big damage can be done to little people, so i'd better keep my eyes open, and hope they get out of here alive, and the welding equipment also survives. they are a little aggrieved to lose their welding teacher, not to mention some money put into welding equipment. some, however, already knew some welding, being from ranching families anyway, and already having the tools, just sitting around the barn. some, in other words, can weld a pretty mean fence without any supervision whatsoever. but i am sticking to my orders, which are, no welding allowed, as long as the roof is leaking.

meanwhile, will it rain? it's the rainiest october/november that anyone can remember. they let the bighorn sheep out into the sacramentos hoping they would survive and floursih, hoping they'd find a patch of wild mountain habitat where they'll get by ok. there are mountain lions out there and altogether it will be good, as it will keep the lions from coming down out of the mountain and pawing through the hospital's garbage.i drive by, every day, on my way to welding, and i'm thinking, this outdoor life is kind of beckioning to me. someday, i'll bump up against that lion, and ask him how's the food down yonder.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

we are restoring some land out in sixteen springs canyon (see picture below), about twenty miles from cloudcroft. it's a remote valley, and my father's inheritance gave us enough to buy about six acres and then put a little house on it; it already had a hunter's shack and some electricity. Now, it's virtually livable, except that the kids are involved in town, and basically unwilling to move unless a place had internet and a little more space. Both of those are possible, but still not to where they want to move out there. it's remote. it's beautiful. it makes my wife and i happy. but we are, to some degree, outnumbered by four kids, five pets and circumstances.

so the road out there is stunning, starting from town, where we turn left at the school and roll on down past big daddy's, a diner that sits on the edge of elk-saturated territory. the road goes around past ski cloudcroft, and various other bucoloc valleys, with the grass very green this year, and the aspens bright against the dark pine background; the colors have lasted unusually long this year, and are still at a kind of peak now, though it's a peak brownish-rust color (my wife says, i've grown a liking to this rust color, and i say, it's been my favorite color all along). we're coming into the high holy days - halloween, saints' day, souls' day - and to me, it's because this is the prettiest time of year. on this drive, you see a horse arena, an old church, horses down in the valley; you come down from cloudcroft's 8700 feet to about 7500, until you turn left and up into the national forest.

my career has taken a temporary detour into welding. a teacher set up a shop with welding equipment, but now has walked out, or left, for whatever reason, and i'm left with six classes of welding students, mostly boys with the need to use their hands all the time, and a bunch of equipment that nobody's allowed to touch. meanwhile i ask them a little bit about their experience. seems welding is a hobby that is common among ranchers, people who have to put together gates, and wagons, and horse bits, and various metal constructions. lots of these kids had as much experience as that teacher, or at least already had the equipment, and didn't have to put down the $250 that most students did just to get enrolled in the class. no telling what happened to the teacher, but there i am, surrounded by welding equipment, and the desire to learn, and no way to take care of either.

so the guy out in sixteen springs, who had a hunting cabin before he died and moved along, leaving us two little shacks, a wood stove, thousands of beautiful rocks and arrowheads - he was a welder too. he had welding equipment, spare metal, old metal pipes, that kind of stuff. moving the old drainage pipes one day we saw a rattler, who'd been living under all that metal, but he's gone now, as far as we know, and so are the bees. the place is downright habitable, and we're working on making it more so, getting our kids out there, becoming full time residents of sixteen springs. we think it's possible.

it's a gorgeous road out there, but quite tortuous. after you leave the highway you go up a couple of miles north, toward the forest, and then it becomes gravel and winds around a lot in the forest; at the top of the ridge, there's cell phone reception for a brief minute (this is called james ridge), and you can see across many valleys, back across the highway, off to the east over mayhill. after a stretch of steep windy gravel you get back down into sixteen springs canyon, and then head off to the east; you end up about ten miles north of mayhill, and definitely squeezed between miles of national forest and the reservation. there are about a dozen families that live out there permanently, maybe more; they have all been nice to us. they take note of whether we're moving out there permanently or not. they would like to see enough kids in the valley to run a school bus out there again.

not that we know them well enough to know that that's what they want; some probably want nothing more than to be left alone. the hunters run up and down the road during the season, which is now; also, there are a couple of rv parks where people apparently enjoy coming out for the summer or for hunting season. lots of deer, elk and bear all over the place. it's remote, and wild, and out there.

so this one day a fog was developing after i left cloudcroft, and in fact, it picked up a little before i got to the turnoff. i was aware, as i snaked up the mountain onto james ridge, that the fog was getting thicker. up at the top, it was thick as pea soup. and there, along the road, came an eleven-year-old boy (or thereabouts) carrying a rifle. i couldn't see at first, but a little behind him was his dad, on a cell phone; being on james ridge, he had to make his call, i'm sure. the boy was an odd sight, in that fog. i was glad he didn't think i was a deer.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

it's show your colors month - i've always called it that - and up here on the foggy mountain, the oranges come through the pines and have a nice deep background to glow on. the world is all about football - the baseball players play into the first frost, but by now people have lost their patience - and they want to see some serious pounding out there on the football field. in school lots of the boys hobble around on crutches.

told my friend about the high holy days - which, to me, are in early november - and she asked me why those are such important holidays. mostly because november is, to me, by far the most beautiful month. there is something about saints' day and souls' day that i build the holiday around - i don't care much for hallowe'en, or election day, or any of the rest, but i do like saints' day and souls' day. i don't even celebrate sadie hawkins or guy fawkes, except maybe in cursory way. but saints' day and souls' day, i kind of like. mostly because of the weather.

turns out, different cultures have all different takes on saints' day and souls' day. this is especially true in the southwest, where we have day of the dead, and all the skulls, and that kind of stuff. but other places do to - if they're catholic, something has evolved, and it could be different from place to place, and to me, it was nothing at all for many years, until i figured out that this was absolutely the most beautiful time of year. sometimes, in the north, with halloween came the blustery cold and wind and rain, that meant you had to have longjohns under your costume, but down here in the southwest, it's just simply beautiful, with november's burnt orange and none of the hardship. i love the return of the cold, and find that alone worth celebrating.

i do, ocaasionally, put some thought into all the souls in purgatory. i don't especially think that the catholic annointed ones made it, and some went the other way, or all that stuff. actually i think we're all kind of in suspension, returning to this earth, trying to get better, waiting for certain judgment about where we'll "end up." but most likely we don't end up, we just keep returning to an earth where nothing is really certain.

that's why, when the air clears up, and it gets nice and cold, with a clear blue sky and the promise of winter, and the leaves turn that burnt orange pretty color, after their splashy display, i hear the promise of spring again in the air, just as the world goes asleep. the trees settle in, the snow arrives, the last of the apples fall. i kind of feel the larger wild animals, the bears, the elk, the deer, try to pack it in for the winter, as they know it could be a long one. and they, too, are suspended, up here on the mountain, as the world goes bonkers down below, and hurricanes rage on various coasts, leaving the possibility that the whole darn coast might just go under.

that, then, would be purgatory, and somebody would have to decide what to do with all the souls.