Posts Tagged With: Environment

 
 

A Beast In the Night

I may be slightly guilty of complaining about my neighbors on Facebook. In most respects they are nice, normal people with young kids, relatives, friends, a dog and a trampoline. I wonder, though, if they celebrate more than the average family. And I also wonder, often, how to disable the bass speaker from their stereo system in a quiet, legal way.

This past weekend I found myself actually wishing for the simple annoyance of that bass thump thump thump vibrating through my bedroom wall at any hour of the day or night. What could possibly make me wish for such a thing?

Wilderness camping.

Yes, you heard me right.

Wilderness camping.

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Aw… peace, quiet, beauty and serenity

When I think Wilderness I imagine large open meadows filled with wildflowers, pines intermingled with quaking aspens, blue skies, birds twittering, chipmunks chattering, and the smell of a campfire, with a soft breeze rustling the leaves. Maybe it would even include a brief afternoon downpour, which makes the air even fresher and more wilderness-like.

 

Our little outing included all that in glorious abundance. Exactly what a person seeks when they go out into the wild. At least, that is what THIS person seeks when going to a wilderness area. Don’t you?

Apparently other people, people I do not comprehend, think wilderness is for unmuffled engine noises and dust and the smell of gasoline and exhaust.

 

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The Beast’s Minions, no doubt.

Not long after setting up camp, in the WILDERNESS, we realized we were way too close to a dirt road that apparently compares to Times Square in mountain terms. Holy smokes! Every motorcycle, ATV, four-wheeler, jeep, and zoomy loud obnoxious vehicle ever invented drove up and down that road.

 

We took comfort in the thought, the absolute certainty really, that once the sun set the traffic would abate.

But alas, we found that assumption to be completely and totally incorrect. In fact, some of the wheeled monstrosities seemed to amp up the volume after dark.

Somewhere around 10:30 p.m. someone unleashed some Mad Max movie vehicle from the depths of Hades. I told MSH, “I think the apocalypse is happening. Isn’t that what the end of the world sounds like?”

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This “War Rig” is actually from the movie Mad Max, but could easily be what I heard and felt.

I pictured amplifiers attached to where a muffler would be, flames shooting out the top and back, and a doomsday soundtrack that normally plays in a sci-fi movie when an entire planet is about to be destroyed. The driver most certainly looked like one-eyed Dennis Hopper from Water World. And I’m certain the beast was a half-track, or some tank or a war machine. This thing made our tent rattle and vibrate and I swear the ground shook. The fact that lightning and thunder were intermittently happening only added to the creep factor. Unlike the other vehicles that blasted through after dark, this one could be heard two to three miles away, coming and going.

 

Unnerving. Definitely not sleep inducing.

So MSH and I decided to read a bit and talk over what we were reading. A few more, by comparison, fairly quiet ATVs blasted through, surprisingly. Near midnight we turned out the lights and assumed we’d sleep through the night.

No flames shooting, since it’s daytime, but definitely similar to what I felt and heard.

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No flames shooting in the daylight,  but definitely similar to what I felt and heard.

Until 1:45 a.m. when The Beast Built From War Machines of Horror Movies returned, driving slower and if possible, louder. The mountains echoed with the roar of this monstrosity, I swear house sized boulders voluntarily rolled down mountains and trees fell of their own accord at the sound of this thing.

 

What little bit of sleep I did manage was nudged awake by birds and chipmunks at the first hint of dawn.

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A cousin of The Beast, no doubt. Not so scary in the daylight.

The ATVs didn’t wake up until five hours later, a very welcome respite.

 

If wilderness is so loud and ridiculous, how do I escape the noise and chaos of mankind and their machines? I guess I need to try backpacking miles and miles away from any roads. Or try setting up camp next to a very loud river. Or both.

I suppose I’d better get my backpacking body back in shape.

mad max 3In the meantime, I guess I could be more tolerant of my neighbor’s late night stereo blasting. At least it’s not some vehicle from Mad Max showing up at my doorstep, right?

Have you ever noticed that so much about life and the troubles we go through is all about perspective?

 

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Disclaimer #1: When I was a young’un, dad and his pals and their families, all headed up into the mountains from time to time specifically to ride motorcycles all over the place. We were oblivious to the thought that maybe our noise and dust weren’t as delightful to others as they were to us. But once it was getting dark, those machines got parked for the night. No one would mistake our little engines for some beast from the underworld, that’s for dang sure.

Disclaimer #2: More logical people than I have suggested having a chat with the neighbors about turning down the music a bit after midnight. But, I’ve found it’s more fun to whine on Facebook about it than to resolve the situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Humor, Nature, Outdoors, Traffic | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dew Drop In

Dew drops

Dew drops (Photo credit: Moyan Brenn)

Dew is on the grass today.

“Yeah, so what?” you might say.

But in a desert climate, dew is a glorious thing.  It means visible water.  Dew means moisture in the air.  Dew is life-giving around this part of the country.

At a sharp, early angle, the morning sunlight on the dew gives it a frost like glow of whiteness.  A kid on his way to the bus stop short cuts through the park and leaves a dark trail of footsteps through the dew, clearer than a path through snow.   His shoes will be sodden through most of the morning.

The sun rises higher, the shadows shorten, the dew begins to evaporate.

Am I silly to wax poetic about droplets of water on grass?  Maybe.  Yet there is nothing so miraculous as those tiny drops of hydrogen and oxygen molecules in that perfect recipe.  In one drop an entire rainbow resides.

A smattering of water from the sky, at just the right season of the year, can prompt thousands of smaller-than-a-dime frogs to emerge from their yearlong underground slumber.  A miniature migration of froglets push their way from one puddle to another puddle for reasons unknown to us mere mortals.  And then, the rain subsides, and the little hoppers migrate underground again.  All that from a bit of rain.

The desert literally blossoms after a rain.  Cacti drink deeply and plump up., agave plants send growths skyward,  blooms appear on spiny plants, flowers pop up out of cracks and crevices and bare patches.  It’s the desert giving out a visual sigh.

The part of the desert I live in has been temporarily reclaimed from the typical scrub and scrap and dust by canals, irrigation, concrete, electricity, pavement, and row upon row of almost identical houses.  If the water went away, so would the people, like so many flowers after the desert rain.

I suppose that’s true of any area of civilization.  Water is the one critical ingredient for success.  Just those two simple hydrogen molecules combined with an oxygen molecule are all that keep it together for us.

My wonder and awe at the dew on the grass doesn’t seem so odd I think.  Perhaps the dew deserves an homage, a song in its honor, a statue in some park, at the very least a day on the calendar to celebrate its immense power.

Imagine that.  We’d all go around saying, “Happy Dew Day! or “Happy Water Day!“  Then we’d all drink a glass of water in honor of the lowly, mighty water droplet.   Just briefly, once a year, we’d recognize how our life teeters on the rim of a cup, acknowledge out reliance on water and honor the idea that we thrive in its presence.

I hope you notice and enjoy the water in your life today.

Raise a glass, and then drink up.

Categories: Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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