Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Postcard from the Bums


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Someone We Know

I guess it's pretty obvious that even high speed internet access hasn't increased the frequency of our posts. Dang. I thought for sure the dazzle of speed would unleash a creative spark that could be mined for one post after another. Not so.

I wish there were something to say about where we are and what we are doing and seeing. There really isn't. Something quiet and internal is taking place. We are learning something about life, about ourselves, about what it means to be human, about the predicament of humanity, about power and enslavement, about the biggest picture of all. It takes our breath away.

At this moment...

someone we know is starving himself to death

someone we know is battling cancer

someone we know can't pay her bills

someone we know wants to have a baby

someone we know cries in the grocery store aisle

someone we know just got married

someone we know is growing old and frail

someone we know has early-stage dementia

someone we know has lived in the same house for 40 years

someone we know has a job planting flowers

someone we know rides a recumbent bike with hand pedals into the darkening night

We are quiet because of all of them, because we are all here on earth together, and we have no answers. We laugh and grieve.

We are on hiatus.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


While we've been mostly off-line these past two weeks, California caught on fire. Our son-in-law is off fighting the fires east of us about 70 miles. He puts in fourteen days straight on the hand crew; then gets two days off. We saw him on Sunday just before he was heading back. He told us how close he gets to the fire, close enough to feel the heat on his neck, so hot he has to turn his face away. He said, it's mostly not the flames that fire fighters succumb to, it's the smoke and ash. It's going to be a long, hot summer for him.
We didn't really have any personal sense of the fires until Monday. That's when we noticed this sky while we were out on a walk at the marsh. It was around 6:45 pm and the sky was hazy to the east of us. The smoke was heading west. That's unusual, explained by an off-shore wind coming from the hot interior. It also explains why we're under a red flag alert for air quality. Still, on Tuesday, the air was breath-able and not noticeably smokier. We're hoping the high pressure relaxes soon.
Out at the marsh, we've had a few pleasant surprises, which always makes us very happy. Twice we've seen this feral, tail-less kitty cat. Both times in the early evening, perhaps close to the crepuscular time for a hunt. We think he walks just like a bobcat. Rather impressive and bold, with very well-articulated muscles. Maybe that's just the wildness, or maybe he's got some bobcat blood in him. He disappeared like every bobcat we've ever seen.
We also had a fine time chatting with this river otter. Unlike all the river otters we've encountered along the Chimacum Creek and Port Townsend Bay in Washington, this one in a Humboldt Bay tidal channel was not wary at all. In fact, she stared at us for quite some time. I talked to her, while she listened attentively. I think she probably expected me to toss her some food, but I had read the signs at the marsh entrance, prohibiting such behavior. I wasn't going to be fooled by those big brown eyes.

We're finally settling in to our new home. Still a few unresolved issues, but we're glad we found this particular place. We can walk into town in about ten minutes-- go to the post office, the co-op, the bank, the library. We've cut down driving by about 90%, which is a very good thing, as gas is $4.79 per gallon for regular. Arcata is an incredible time warp of a college town. Everywhere we look there are faces that hearken back to the late 60s. Peace-lovin' hippies on every corner, long dredlocks down to the coccyx bone, and a marijuana script in their jean pockets. On the 4th of July we stumbled on to an all-day free concert in the downtown plaza. First we heard an incredible drumming band doing African music, which was followed by a band doing surprisingly fine covers of the Grateful Dead. We noticed all the people who felt free enough to dance and sway in the afternoon sun had gray hair and very sweet smiles on their faces.

1. Top photo from the California Forest Service webpage.
2. Marsh photo taken Monday evening at 6:45 pm. The bright green in the foreground is algae.
3. Feral kitty on a walk in the early evening sun.
4. River otter listening to me say goofy hellos, "bonjour river otter!"

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Parking Lot Wifi

Just a quick hello from the Arcata Co-op Parking Lot, where we are sitting in our car making use of their lightning fast wifi.

Our furniture arrived Monday, only four days after promised. Sleeping on a real mattress off the floor is an incredible luxury.

We did finally get a landline on Monday as well. We don't know how FC manages to keep such a photo-rich blog going on dial-up. We haven't even attempted a single blog post on such a slow connection. Supposedly we will be getting our dsl on Monday July 7th.

We have had some very strained and contentious discussions with AT&T regarding their lack of customer support. Someday we may recount the more ludicrous aspects of their incompetence, but let's just say we were never sent a welcome letter, so we never received our passcode to get into our voice mail, so we could not access a message that was beeping on our line, which prevented us from even using our agonizingly slow dialup because the computer could not negotiate a connection without finding a freakin' dialtone. Hello AT&T, does a human ever answer your phones?

Other than that, life is interesting in a parking lot.

We saw this frog last week at the marsh.