Terrifying fact

Terrifying fact: If I stopped working right now and did not work another minute for the next nine weeks, I would STILL average 50 hours of work a week for the year.

As of now, I’m averaging 61 hours a week, the slowest week clocking 41 hours, the busiest coming in at 95 hours.

The Improbable Metropolis 

As the sun rises over Las Vegas (yes, here again, this time for the Spousal Unit), I wonder if the denizens of this quaint little desert burg realize or care that this city would barely exist without the Mob and the Nevada Gaming Commission.

(Not to mention the wild-eyed vision of two of my tribesmen, Ben Siegel and Steve Wynn.)

That a city of this size could exist due to the will of so few is a thing of wonder. One is driven to ponder: how fragile is its existence?

Goodbye, Beignets

On the way back from Gaviota we pit-stopped at The Cajun Kitchen in Goleta for a breakfast mercifully devoid of windborne clay dust. We rewarded the scouts with beignets.

I tried one, enjoyed it, and decided that I would not feel deprived if it were my last. 

No aspersions on the Cajun Cafe: I have of late, but wherefore I know not, slid quietly into “eat-to-live” mode. Food has become fuel, not fun, and while I still appreciate good food, I don’t give it anywhere as much thought as I used to beyond ensuring that a) I won’t go hungry, and b) I become increasingly Kosher in my habits.

Boring? Maybe. But I don’t think the world will suffer for the lack of one more foodie, and it makes weight management much easier. In the end, I might even live longer.

Gaviota Dawn

Gaviota Beach and trestle bridge.

An early fall morning, just before dawn, and Gaviota Canyon is doing yeoman service as a wind tunnel. The Sundowner winds peculiar to this area are magnified by the narrow pass behind me and they’ve been rocking cars, pulling tent pegs, and making campfires impossible for the past 12 hours.

A fine grit pervades everything, and I wonder how long it will take me to clean up.

But two months (or more, I’ve lost track) of nonstop work, travel, and “drama, not otherwise specified” have made medicine of a couple of days plotzed in a campsite. The waves crash, the squirrels, ospreys, and Monarch butterflies go about their business, and they catch me up in their rhythm, allowing me to reset my tempo and reflect in a way I could not last weekend in a Chicago hotel room.

So I will take the grit. And as the sun rises, I start to see the path forward with unaccustomed clarity.

I reach for my boots. It is time to begin.

Pocket Gopher

In the topor of the afternoon, Mr. Gopher pops by, inviting himself to tea.

Our conversation is interrupted by the distant shriek from the osprey nest under the trestle, and Mr. Gopher decides that tea might be best taken underground. Without so much as a “good afternoon” he leaves us. 

I reach for my coffee, toast the now-deserted tunnel entrance, and marvel aloud how Camping turns “pests” into “wildlife.” Somewhere, John Muir, Edward Abbey, and perhaps even the Almighty himself may be nodding in agreement.

America, the cloudless

The late night flight United from Newark to Los Angeles was magnificent. There was nary a cloud from takeoff all the way across the country and just a few broken coastal high clouds over San Bernardino. Beyond that, America was in full evening wear, one sparkling galaxy of lights after another all across the country.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a flight where I could see the ground the whole way across the country. What an unexpected delight!

Flying is never an unbound joy, but last night it was a pleasure.