My morning scramble began with a phone call to dig out some horses. (“Let’s go Supaman, get your cape on!” was what the voice on the phone said.).
I chugged some water, filled the tea kettle, brushed the teeth and looked for my winter clothes. I grabbed 4 packets of Starbuck’s Via (A backpacker’s new friend) and filled my stainless steel coffee travel mug with the boiling water and grains. I discovered this winter that I can turn it into a mobile mini pressure cooker for hot cereal! Its a quality mug (Contigo). I could get a cup of coffee at the gas station and add one of the packets of starbuck’s- despite Hazel breaking my press pot, this week- final exams, roofing, and landscaping required me to get back on the coffee:)
Last night we had an unseasonally large amount of wet snow- ‘heart attack’ snow in the midwest. Very high moisture content which if the snowmelt is slow enough and it infiltrates we should have a green(-ish) summer. We knew it was coming and hurried to button up Robert’s roof yesterday afternoon- Which we managed to do only because 2 trade roofers were driving by and asked if we needed help. And, in fact, we did have an extra nail gun!
So, the call this morning:
These horses were of the domesticated type who lead convenient lives and don’t really know what to do in heavy weather. They were walking into drifts and swales, and getting stuck- like beef and dairy cows will do- Bison don’t do this, yet. We have only just started domesticating them. Heavy wet snow in the trees also needed to be knocked down so the branches didn’t break and drop on a horse (horses have ‘poles’ on the top of their heads which when hit can cause instantaneous attainment of ambient temperatures). The tree limbs already weakened by tuesday’s 60mph wind gusts. Even the pines and aspens whose growth habits shed heavy snows. Back into town to take a final exam then to the shop to load up and begin digging out the people of Sheridan who pay us to do this thing. Including Carol D. who had lelft a message on the machine at the shop the night before saying that she had an ‘invasion of worms that were killing her lawn!’ (I love her- she’s goofy in an adorable way:) Andy wanted to leave her a copy of the movie Tremors after we shoveled her out and tell her, ‘If you see anything like this-, call us immediately!” Then the calls started hitting the cell phone. They were closing schools and day cares and people wanted to make sure their driveways were clear when they got home. A lot of time on the phone. And everybody wanted to know when. And, a lot of them wanted to be first on the list.
Trees and horses and growth habits:
The trees that have grown up around this snow will assume either a columnar shape or maintain a sparse canopy so that their limbs don’t shear from snow or wind. Other trees planted here- maples especially- can be dangerous- When winter camping these are called ‘widow makers’. I have a funny story that involves one of these widowmakers, me, and a sow bear with cubs in Tuoleme, Ca. ( Above the Hetch Hetchy area.) But, it is best told with the slapstick that could be seen if someone was watching from a distance and could see in the dark:)
Horses’ ‘growth habits’ are such that they know ONLYwhat they are used to, Kindof like humans and our comfort zones. People that bring up a Tennesse Walker to use as a pack horse soon realize that the horse only knows rolling hills and grass. Not shale and draws.Same with the Hanoverians or draughts people find- The have improper anatomy, These horses today were sport horses and didn’t know what to do. They were bunching under the trees, whereas the ranch horses were out in the open on level ground- waiting it out.
About human comfort zones: I read a piece on anthropology which mentioned that urban dwellers (those with homes as well as those without) tend to ‘live’ within 10 blocks of where they sleep. That is because everything they want or need can be found within those 10 blocks.
Summer is coming next and the National Park areas will be opening up. The west and southwest get an influx of new rangers to help out. These rangers are of the more adventurous type, so they come out this way. Especially if they have read krackauer’s ‘Into the Wild’. Every now and then I will still find one thumbing his or her way through the book. I could live another day without ever hearing how someone was ‘Inspired’ by this story. To me, it is a story about a boy on his way to becoming a man who detoured; lost his mind, lost his way, then lost his life.-Despite what Sean Penn tried to romanticize about it- if you need proof just remember what Supertramp acutally wrote on his sign at the bus and what Sean Penn turned it into. Supertramp LIVED his last three years,definately, but to be inspired by it is selectively missing the whole of his journey.
Finals are over. Weather is Spirit. Every day is naturally perfect , and another step towards symmetry
My inevitable corrections and addendums:
Saw one of the roofers today. He had fallen off at another job yesterday and sparained his ankle and pierced the kneecap of his other leg with a piece of steel. He showed me exposed kneecap…whoa.
In the mail today was a letter congratulating me on being awarded a scholorship for next year from a family in town. All I have to do is attend the award banquet and maintain a 2.0 GPA- Hey, its an Ag. scholorship not Rocket Surgery!:)