Tuesday, March 22, 2011

He Said What?

From my copied pages of Thoreau quotes from Walden and A Week, here are a few favorites, omitting the most famous:

The luxury of one class is counterbalanced by the indigence of another.

Shall we always study to obtain more of these things, and not sometimes to be content with less?

I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating.

We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other. . . . We live thick and are in each other's way, and stumble over one another, and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another.

Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.

Nor need we trouble ourselves to speculate how the human race may be at last destroyed. It would be easy to cut their threads any time with a little sharper blast from the north.

Poor shad! Where is thy redress? . . . I for one am with thee, and who knows what avail a crowbar against that Billerica dam?

The shallowest still water is unfathomable.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Goodbye, Cruel World

Keep your primate problems, I'm going back to Wonderland tomorrow. One of last year's coworkers wrote me that he's jealous because he's not going back until five weeks from now. But he was there long before me last year, so it's only fair.

Yesterday I visited Museum of the Rockies, which is a must-see if you're interested in dinosaur fossils. I'm not especially; I went to see the brightly colored frogs and took some cool photos which I'm not allowed to post.

This morning I used the Bozeman bus system for the first time so I could go to a big box and buy seven months of supplies. The buses here are free, but take some figuring out--each route only runs once an hour and instead of the usual back and forth routes, they're more like following loop trails. Some of them meet downtown, some at the university, and some don't meet at all. Often you have to start out in the opposite direction to get where you're going.

So I saw parts of Bozeman I'd never seen before including the Chickpea Cafe which just opened last month and where I returned for lunch after getting my supplies back to the hotel. Another restaurant I tried for the first time on this trip was Soby's where they have breakfast burritos you eat with a fork, not a fist. It's a spicy way to start the day but fortunately they bring a carafe of water to the table. I was disappointed to learn they were closed Mondays--I was going to return today. I'll miss restaurants--I'm not sure what seven months of EDR food is going to do to me considering 4 1/2 months were driving me crazy last year, but I guess I'll find out.

Now to start repacking and then have a relaxing day and evening here at the hotel. Tomorrow morning they come to take us away around 7:30, with park ETA around 9:00 for paperwork and a new ID, and a new room to call home, mailbox keys and mail, old and new faces, a little work intro, unpacking, settling in, and deep breaths in a park about as empty of humans as it ever gets.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Computer Hours

I got the good news Saturday that we'll be getting picked up in Bozeman next Tuesday. I'd thought I was going to have to spend Monday taking a bus back to Livingston to be picked up there. Of course, if I'd known sooner I would have stayed in Duluth for another day, but I am grateful that I won't have to bother with the extra bus and cabs. Now to start checking to see if there's anything going on in Bozeman this weekend. If not, a king size bed, tv, refrigerator, and microwave will get me through a few days of altitude adjustment and toiletries shopping just fine. I expect you'll hear from me next on mountain time.

Brown 39.4
Garcia/Garcia & Grisman/Grateful Dead 27.4
Dylan 24.4
Eaglesmith 20.9
Bach 18.8
Brahms 16.9
Holiday 15.7
Waterboys 15.6
Beatles/Harrison/Lennon 14.7
Mahler 14.2
Sibelius 9.0
Cockburn 7.4
Scaggs 7.3
Bromberg 7.0
Waits 5.9
Griffin 5.8
Morrison 5.6
CCR/Fogerty 5.2
Thompson 4.6
Young 4.3

Thursday, March 3, 2011

One Week's Worth of Storage and Stories

With one week left before heading to Bozeman where I’ll spend a few days before going on to Yellowstone, I sealed four ready-to-ship boxes last night and will take them to storage tomorrow. They’re mostly filled with books and my journals, along with a mix of photos, letters, cds, and dvds. I’ll be storing boxes of more necessary day to day stuff next week, but it’s those four boxes which are the reason I’m renting a storage space at all.

I considered taking along a few books this time since it will be so quiet the first couple months I’ll be there—I had picked out Desert Solitaire, The Abstract Wild, Thoreau’s The Natural History Essays, and Swampwalker’s Journal. They all wound up in boxes except Turner’s slim but weighty volume. And I ordered a new copy of the cheap paperback of Walden/Civil Disobedience I sold a couple weeks ago. Along with them I’ll have three advance copies to take with me for review, the most interesting to you probably being Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout.

With the outward oriented projects I’d been working on for months finished, I finally started on the major task of moving my own words from paper to computer. Beginning with the stack of loose pages, I’ve entered all the old poetry (from my teens and twenties) but the fiction and miscellanea are going into storage for now. I also found eight pages of favorite Walden quotes which I’m in the process of entering—I might post some of those when I have the chance.

At some time in the past, I reread hundreds of poems I hadn’t published in my college annual magazine and threw out all but about forty which I recopied. Reading them again now, my major reaction is that I should have thrown out a lot more. But some of them do bring back specific memories, and I was happy to see quite a bit of nature imagery even way back then. I do think I did a pretty good job long ago of predicting what my life would be like—I guess you could toss a coin to determine if that was self-fulfilling prophecy or keen self-awareness, then flip it again to see if it matters either way.

Here’s a little assignment which was written at a group meeting at my English teacher’s home after we passed around an object with eyes closed. A piece of driftwood, obviously.

Time, like the ocean

Laps gently at my feet,

Crashes harshly across my brow.

It shapes me from lifelessness,

Tossing and turning me,

Smoothing out my roughest edges

Yet leaving occasional flaws,

Which snag and catch at people's anger.

Hey, I was eighteen and pretentious—give me a break, I’d get older. I include it primarily to introduce you to the teacher, Allan Metcalf, who’s gone on to write several books about language, the most recent published by Oxford University Press.

Although I’m leaving a lot of earlier writing here in boxes, I’m taking the first couple volumes of my actual journal (August 1989-January 1991, when I was in my early thirties) to Yellowstone to transcribe. This covers the time period when I quit my corporate job and started writing a lot more pages daily so I think it should make for fun reading. I actually indexed these, a practice which soon fell by the margin. So though I have no idea specifically what I’ll find, I know there will be a lot about women, sex, dreams, therapy, insights, and writing—sounds like a bestseller.