Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Letrero en el Camino

You know the signs people leave around saying "Cuidado, piso mojado!" ("Be careful, wet floor!") after they mop the floor? The staff here have an annoying habit of leaving those signs right in doorways or right around corners, so the signs themselves are more of a peril than the thing they're warning about. I've been fretting about this, and have felt the need to come up with an alternative sign:

Cuidado, letrero en el camino!

I've printed out copies and am pasting them over every applicable sign. I mean, which hazard is more immediate?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Skiing on 2/13

Went skiing yesterday at Waterville Valley and brewed pilsner today.

My friend and I were going up the chairlift that lofts over the beginner-intermediate green/blue slopes and saw a father leading his son (7 years old??) downhill. The son had taken off his skis and they were headed for the lodge. Skiers will sometimes scoff at one who has taken his skis off and surrendered to the mountain ... and probably faces a tougher walk downhill than if he/she had given it a little more effort and side-slipped down the slope. Anyway, the son had bailed and the dad seemed to have no problem with that.

My friend and I both have all our kids in college now and are about to be led by them rather than doing the leading. We talked about a recent Boston Globe article counseling parents to surrender to the realities of being a parent rather than trying to impose our world-views and (e.g.) our athletic prejudices on our kids.

We went in for lunch a few runs later and saw that same father/son combo sitting on the deck, drinking juice and talking. I commented to my friend: "That's a good Dad." I hope he heard me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Emmylou at Hampton Beach

Saw Emmylou last October at Hampton Beach Casino and she opened with One of These Days from her second record. Here's a video of her doing the song about 20 years ago:

... but Buddy played with her and it was more like this (can't embed this video).

Then she went on and let it rip all night. She managed to channel herself from all parts of her career ... just a fabulous concert.

Bugs on water

After talking with you last night about bugs I remembered a magic moment with the real world I'd had recently.

I was kayaking by myself on the Concord River on an overcast but clearing day in mid-late Fall.

I was heading Southeast and the sun peeking through the suddenly clear sky was behind me and beautifying things up something special. It was in the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and the golden softness where the sun hit the brown-red bushes and the black-gray shadows they threw on both sides of the river were captivating. Added to that, it was totally still and the wide water in front of me was a huge, endless mirror of gray-black trees, a few dark red leaves, sky, and clouds. I could see high jets leaving arrow-straight contrails in the water in front of me.

I was captivated by the ripples set off by my bow and how they became parabolas in the black, blue, and white picture of the sky I was paddling through. Following one of these I saw a miniature sight that literally made me sputter at the beauty of it. There seemed to me to be no wind, but a tiny spider had spun one thread that drifted up into the air and became a kite for him. He was skating on the surface tension of the water, being pulled along at what must have seemed an incredible speed. The sun glinted off his long kite-thread.

It's hard to read bugs' expressions, but this little guy seemed to not have a care in the world. Sure he would have liked his thread of spider-silk to catch on a bush so he could start a web and catch other insects. But this wasn't the highest priority. Maybe he would never reach shore ... it was a wide river after all.

Editorial: that's one reason why I love kayaking, that you can see stuff like this. Our neighbor in Sedgwick once observed that sometime when she sees me go kayaking I just stop after a little bit and don't do anything for a while and then take off again. I told her that's absolutely right, I need to slow down once in a while and give myself time to start perceiving the incredible detail that's around us constantly.