Tuesday, March 30, 2010

From here to there and before you go.....

The day dawns cold and bright. 24 degrees, not a cloud in the sky. While my mate boils up the coffee water, I wander about, breathing in the sharp, clean air.

Incredible, miraculous life and art in the form of columbine leaves and ice crystals.

That you'd never see if you didn't get down low, tread lightly &
speak softly.... and that you wouldn't appreciate if you hadn't spent the night outdoors, warm and at peace, surrounded by the scent of juniper and sage, floating for hours in a cocoon of your down bag, rocked in his strong arms, and soothed both by the night sounds of our breathing, the alternating calls of flirtatious great horned owls, and the modern miracle of absolute silence.

On the other side of the mountain, beyond the conifer forest, the landscape splits wide open, revealing ancient mudflows, petrified trees, and deserted trails leading naked hikers off to another dimension.

Days before the full moon, the desert is celebrating the rites of Spring.

The morning cold gives way to afternoon brilliance -- 73 degrees and golden. We planted black cottonwoods along Pine Creek for the native Redband Trout....finding new muscles, giving back to this place that sustains us, and dining like kings and queens on cheese whiz, crackers, cold microbrew IPA & baby clams. Yesssss!
Desert blooms are everywhere. This beauty has yet to be identified in the field guide.

The prickly teasel plant has some wicked cool seed pods.

We wish upon a desert star.

Willow blossoms against lichen-splashed stone.....make me smile.

The open road makes me wet. And hard. And hopeful.

We spent a night tent camping and the next day in the Central Oregon desert planting trees for trout habitat. After laboring, we went on a walkabout, explored the fossil beds & found the perfect old Juniper and a sun-soaked grassy field -- a place where time stands still -- at least until the open road beckons once again.

And now, before you go......a little farm tale for the lovely Miss Germain, who I will have the honor of visiting at her sweet little writer's retreat ON HER BIRTHDAY, a tale of chickens, insanity and love. I am SO looking forward to the toodling out to the countryside!
ps. -- Full Moon tonight! Ready yourselves -- magical wonderments abound!

For Shanna......A Word About Chickens & Butchers and the Dangers Thereof
(A tale of fowl and CRYING FOWL, from long ago and
quite some number of years staycations were cool, but Foxfire books were hot!)

I suppose Dad thought that a Sunday afternoon outing to the chicken ranch would be some good, cheap fun. We loaded up in the station wagon, my Dad, brother, sister, mother and I, and headed from the hinterlands where we lived deep into farm country.

A fat man in dirty denim coveralls met us at a metal gate. He greeted us as if we were stepping off the bus for guided tour of the Smithsonian.

“Hi kids, is this your first time at a chicken operation?”

He showed us to the coops stacked up in a large barn where the stench of ammonia took my breath away. I stared at cages of locked-up hens and pens of chicks bullying each other under heat lamps. I tried not to gag and wished my Dad knew about regular family outings like bowling or swimming or maybe even a cheap matinee.

The fat farmer let us feed the chicks then took us into a brightly lit barn with odd-looking conveyor belts operated by a dozen or so men in blood-spattered aprons.

We kids stood there in terror as they lifted bird after bird, clamped them upside down by their feet, wings flapping, and slit their little throats.

One chicken broke free and chased my sister across the barn, resulting in permanent psychological damage. She's been crazy ever since.

On the way home, we huddled in the back seat, silently contemplating the horror.

Dad, meanwhile was already planning the next outing: A big family trip to the back yard where we would learn, from a special guest and master craftsman, the fine art of butchering rabbits.


Craig Sorensen said...

Quite the tale of butchery! Ouch.

My dad's outings were so tame... going to the place the printed the circulars he created for Sunday newspapers throughout the pacific northwest and yada yada.

And speaking of, your lovely, lovely photos make me a wee bit homesick for the land of my youth, which probably means I should be writing poetry.

Enjoy the visit to the retreat.

Oh, and my verification word is "plents." Lovely pictures of plents.

Gina Marie said...

Thanks, Craig. I wonder what my boys will think of me. "Wake up boys, it's time to go run in the mud." Grumble, grumble.

I can't wait for more of your poetry.....and maybe your own photos of a desert road trip?

I'm loading up on writerly supplies for Shannalicious and a bushel of Easter peeps.....gonna have some good new-fashioned fun.

Shanna Germain said...

Omg! First I oohed and awwed over the pictures and then I giggled and then I squirmed. Love the chickie story. That just makes you'll have to feed these chickens, who only know humans as "feed me feed me feed me feed me" and not the other way around :)

Can't wait to see you and your peeps!

Love, me

ps -- my dirty, er, verification word is spontink. Which sounds like the dirty version of spontaneity.

Gina Marie said...