Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Five Weeks, Six Links

And I still haven't decided what I'm doing. Oh, I've bought the bus ticket and made a hotel reservation in Bozeman (although I may have to cancel the last night and take a bus to find a hotel in a different town because at this point I don't know where I'm getting picked up--annoying).

But what I haven't decided is whether I'm shipping, storing, or tossing. Until a week ago, my plan had been to ship everything out to YNP but now I'm leaning to storing here in Duluth because I don't know if I'm going to like the new job or if I'm going to want to work there beyond this year. Either way, it's a pain to deal with without driving.

The main sticking point is the box of journals which I don't want to toss yet. Otherwise I could probably reduce my books to a bare minimum, load up the backpack, and pay Greyhound for an extra bag and carry everything out there (though the weight isn't good for the foot). I suppose I should have been busily typing the best of the journals into the computer for the past few months, but after so many months away from books and films, it was hard to resist them.

For a lot of people the grass is always greener somewhere else. I guess for me the snow is always whiter wherever I am. Right now I don't really want to leave Duluth. Of course, I didn't want to leave Yellowstone a few months ago either, and probably won't want to again a few months from now.

It's nice having an apartment of my own and a library to use and a Lake to look at even if I haven't been able to walk by it much these past months. On the other hand, I don't want to mess with Duluth's job market again, and there's certainly worse things than having to work in a national park. And because of the large number of apartments my landlord has here, it may not be too difficult to find a place to live in the breaks between work seasons. A Duluth/Yellowstone combo might be my perfect world, once I get rid of the stuff. Though I guess I'll have to stock a new kitchen every year.

I finished watching Ken Burns' PBS series on the parks a couple days ago--I'd only seen bits and pieces previously. I took lots of notes on subjects to learn more about. Tried to read a book about Theodore Roosevelt and his role but the author lost me in the first pages with a poor high schooler's description of Thoreau as a hermit making "sulking sojourns at Walden Pond". So I just checked the Yellowstone sections and returned that book and got one about national park history by one of the guys featured in the tv series.

Park history was really my main interest but I had been curious to see if I could figure out Roosevelt, the great conservationist who was eager to kill a bison before someone else killed the last one. I loved hearing in the series that John Muir asked Roosevelt, "When are you going to get over this infantile need you have to kill animals?" Of course, that might have doomed Hetch Hetchy right then.

Another annoying thing in the book was that when I looked up bison in the index, I was referred to check buffalo. Under buffalo, one of the entries was for a note "bison vs"--when I looked that up, it explained that although the words were often used interchangeably, bison and buffalo are actually different animals, one here and one in Asia. So why the hell did he proceed to list everything about bison listed under buffalo in the index?

Lots of bison probably being killed at Yellowstone right now. Between that, and morons like Orrin Hatch and the many westerners who agree with him about the "War on the West", I'm feeling particularly disgusted by humans these days.

Picked up a couple potentially interesting free books last week which will be coming out in March: Once and Future Giants: What Ice Age Extinctions Tell Us About the Fate of Earth's Largest Animals and Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth.

I doubt either of them are going to make me like people any more though. For that I'll have to keep watching the dvd I finally got featuring the local peregrine falcon banding I wrote about here. Yeah, I know that's not all sweetness and light either, but I get a kick out of seeing myself with a falcon nestling.

Yesterday, a teenage girl told me she liked my beard. I couldn't tell if I was being mocked, flattered, or entrapped. What makes it even stranger is that she's the second teenage girl to tell me she liked my beard in the past six months. Maybe this is how Ed Abbey got all that action.


Northland said...

Glad that you haven't written off Duluth as a good place to live for at least part of the year.
Too bad that your foot is making it difficult to get out as easily as you have in the past. It's tough as we age and don't recuperate as fast as in our youth.
Good luck at your decision-making on your belongings. Enjoy your adventurous move out west again!
I'm preparing for a 10 day wilderness trip by snowshoe up in Ontario a week from now. A bit intimidated by what will be a challenge for me: by snowshoe with just a tarp, bivy sack and sleeping bag for shelter, pulling a self-made sledge off-trail the whole time. Orienting by compass and map. After having frost-nipped hands so many times over the last 40 years, my circulation there isn't that great. Going to have to really take care with my gear so I'm well prepared. For me, this should be the most minimalist extended winter trip that I've ever taken. Good to keep on the edge at my age!

greentangle said...

That sounds like quite an adventure! Is there some particular landmark/area you want to see, or is the journey itself the point? Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Yes, the foot (and the aging future ahead) is frustrating, and in my current situation with Duluth/YNP and my remaining stuff, being carfree has been more difficult than ever before. But I'm also very lucky right now and have to enjoy it because I'm not going to get any younger.

Yesterday I started wondering if I might be able to afford to keep a small studio/efficiency in Duluth year-round so I don't have to deal with the issues of finding a place and storage every time. But first, I see what happens in YNP this year.