Sunday, September 6, 2020

Off Into the Rocks


Up from three every Friday and a vaguely joyous feeling dawns around four fifteen this morning, when the call is done and the weekend begins to materialize before me.  Twelve hours ahead in China they are winding down for the day.  Israel is off, Friday.   The UK is well along on their Friday.  All the people globally who might want to discuss work are shifting into low gear, and though there are few North and South American exceptions, Friday starts very early and is enjoyed in equal measure to the melancholy that descends on Sunday evening when the rest of the world begins to share their Monday activities.


 I’m up now and almost in defiance I go sit on the floor and meditate for thirty minutes to see if I don’t really need more sleep.  Concentrating on breathing, but not doing a good job of it.  Grabbing ahold of every colorful thought that comes by and fondling the yarn and tracing it back to all of its contingencies until I remember to let it go and return to breathing, which is a thread of its own, but one that can be made to go nowhere. 


There’s a suggestion of the dawn now and I heat up some old coffee and turn off the floodlight in the back yard and the light on my table so I can enjoy this natural light.  Instinctively I want to go to the garage and take the gallon jug milk container, roughly cut at the bottom and scoop it full of sunflower seeds and toss them over the porch and down on to the lawn before where I am otherwise sitting, but there hasn’t been any seed in there for days now.   I need to visit to Lowes and buy some. 


I’ve arranged to meet my dad at nine, up at the fabled John Burroughs retreat, Slabsides. It’s right off 9W, just north of 299 and it's difficult to imagine it as remote and pristine.  But it is. The cabin is closed, but it's satisfying to look through the window and consider him in there reading, writing, with no electricity and no plumbing.  Roughhewn my father points out to me the support beams propped up on piles of rock that look rather fragile and enduring in equal measure.  It strikes me that this perch, beneath the tall trees, below rock shelves did not receive much light.  In fact, reading by daylight would only have been possible for a sliver of time in the winter. 

We don’t spend too much time at the cabin, but rather go off into the rocks.  We continue along a jagged ridge and I’m reminded that these mountains, the great chain of the Appalachians are the oldest mountains in the country.  If this is what they remain as today, what must they have been before the last ice age.   This climate, only a few hundred feet higher than my yard certainly ought to have some new wildlife and I identify a number of cool new plants including the Hay-scented Fern, Pincushion Moss, Partridgeberry, Rock Polypody, Big Lea Magnolia, Common Solvia and Modest Sphinx caterpillar, the Eastern Newt as well as Rough Speckled Shield Lichen, Orange Jelly Spot, and a bright red fungi growing on a dead tree around the point where we turned around and head back called Hemlock Varnish Shelf. 




Friday, 08/28/20

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