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Quiet few days; a walk on a deserted road

You know that constant busy-ness that’s afflicted (or blessed) me since late spring? It culminates this week. Specifically tomorrow. After that, though there’s another week or two of “heightened activity”* as the folks at the NSA-CIA-DHS like to say, it is done.

I can go back to being my usual slug-lazy self** and poke around on the Tubz for good (and bad) stuff to blog.

But look for the blog to have a couple of quiet days. Of which today was one. Tomorrow will probably be even quieter. So I count on the Commentariat to pick up the flag and carry on in my absence.


Because of tomorrow being a Big Day, I decided to take the afternoon off to rest up and give the dogs some extra attention.

We took a longish drive to a logging road we used to walk a lot when we lived in Cabin Sweet Cabin. At first, I drove right past the road’s gate. Where I recalled a wide gravel parking area, there was now only a narrow, overgrown tunnel of greenery. Only after driving another half mile did I realize I must have missed it.

Once I found my way back to the gate, walking on the road was a strange experience. It was raining and bleak and otherworldly and while I recalled every turn, every uphill, every downslope on the path, nothing else was as I remembered.

“Wait. Didn’t this spot used to have a view?” It’s a grove of tall alders how.

“I know this is where we used to turn around. But where’s the … what was that old landmark, anyhow?” Not there any more, whatever it was. Or hidden beneath masses of creeping blackberry vines and morning glory. (The Pacific North WET is like a tropical rainforest — or at least it’s as fecund as a rainforest, but unfortunately without the “tropical” part.)

Once-open stretches of road were now as eerie as the forest from The Blair Witch Project. Strange, pungent wildflowers grew as tall as my shoulders.

The road itself was disappearing under a haze of tall grasses whose rain-laden blades soaked my tennis shoes and socks. Unless Weyerhaeuser opens the road again soon in a few more years it’ll disappear entirely.

Heading back I paused at the old spot (I know it must have been the old spot) where we used to stop and catch our breath before the last uphill trudge. And there it occurred to me that the old road is like this country.

The grounding is still there. Somebody who knew it well would recognize the fundamentals. But it’s all been overgrown — taken over — by strange and vaguely (or more than vaguely) ominous excrescences. And doomed to disappear altogether unless someone makes a determined effort.

The only thing about the surroundings that was pretty much the same as I remembered (and watch for it; this is Portentious and Deeply Significant) was that right near the beginning, where the road forks in several different directions, people had been setting up targets and shooting to their hearts’ delight.


*Dear NSA-CIA-DHS: Other than “heightened activity” I have nothing to do with anything you might be legitimately interested in. I know that won’t stop you. I’m just sayin’.

** It is one of my most sincere aims in life to become lazy. I try very hard. But actually I’m lying when I claim to have succeeded at becoming slug-like. I know me; when this long busy drudge is finally over, I’ll just find some other Giant Project.


  1. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal August 14, 2013 8:25 pm

    I have enough laziness for the both of us, I am sure. Relax and enjoy (as much as you can allow yourself to) when everything is sorta, kinda settled again.

  2. Old Printer
    Old Printer August 14, 2013 8:47 pm

    “Perhaps – I want the old days back again and they’ll never come back, and I am haunted by the memory of them and of the world falling about my ears. ”
    From Gone With The Wind.

  3. Kyle Rearden
    Kyle Rearden August 14, 2013 10:15 pm

    I used to have experiences like that when I was a kid, and even during my college years, but since I’ve moved (again!) into yet another urbanized/suburban sprawled/gentrified artificial habitat, it’s pretty difficult to get close to nature, myself, or really much of anything, for that matter. Everything here is so cold and disconnected, even on warm, sunny days.

    It doesn’t help that I can hear constant road noise at all hours of the day and night (some louder than others depending on the time of day, but I digress). I can only guess that the drivers are “busy, busy, busy” pressing the petal to the metal, just in order to get to where they are going a little bit faster, when in fact, they are going nowhere fast, at least, nowhere important.

    I feel that my childhood was 1984, my present condition is Fahrenheit 451, and my later years will mark the onset of Brave New World. I have nothing other than disgust and contempt for what America has become, a shopping mall sewer, as it were. More than anything, I just WANT TO GET OUT, but obviously that is much, much easier said than done. There is no time machine, no Probability Broach, no warp drive I can use to just leave this fucking place, so for the time being, I am stuck. The trick I have to learn, as we all do, is to learn to be free while still living here. Hopefully, such a feat can be accomplished before humanity destroys itself, not by the weapons our species has created to murder ourselves, necessarily, but a destruction brought about by pervasive lack of common morality.

  4. Pat
    Pat August 14, 2013 10:31 pm

    Keep your eye on the target, and keep practicing. You might make slug-lazy, and We the People might take the country back.

  5. Pre-press veteran
    Pre-press veteran August 15, 2013 5:45 am

    Nothing at all wrong, with “lazy” as a goal. I retired 3-4 years ago. The exact number does not matter. And I have no “projects” that “have to get done”… and I find I do defend myself from younger folk who insist I have to “do something”.

    I don’t have to do a do damn thing. And there’s not a damn thing wrong with that, either.

  6. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty August 15, 2013 2:22 pm

    I try to be “creatively lazy.. something my mother taught me. Find easier, more effective/efficient ways to do the basic necessary things and spend the time gained on things that feed your spirit and mind. And assessing one’s expectations to minimize that “necessary” is a good place to start if you feel so overwhelmed that you can never really rest or re-create.

    All the years I worked so very hard in nursing were valuable and I gained much, but I discovered a whole new world when I retired in ’06.

    I am busier than ever sometimes, with at least ten things I could do for every hour of each day, but I can choose what I will do… what benefits and satisfies me the most. I can work as hard as my body will allow, or vegetate with a good book… any time I darn well please. I’ve never been “bored” in my life, and don’t ever expect to be.

  7. naturegirl
    naturegirl August 15, 2013 2:42 pm

    I suppose you should be thankful they didn’t build condos or a parking lot on the old site. Overgrown nature is the better option.

    Bet it was still nice to go back and have another walk. Did the dogs remember it?

    As for relaxing, for some people being busy doing something fun is relaxing. Totally not considered lazy, that’s different. Being lazy is no activity at all. And even though I don’t “know” Claire, somehow I can’t equate lazy with her. Ever.

  8. jed
    jed August 15, 2013 3:09 pm

    I could use a day or two or 10 like that.

  9. Shel
    Shel August 15, 2013 3:09 pm

    What I find when I have more time to get needed things done is the unpleasant realization that the reason they haven’t been done is I didn’t want to do them in the first place.

    A few months ago I was trying to find a particular spot in the woods after not having been there for some years. The vegetation had changed, of course, though I was able to be pretty sure I was quite close. What cinched it was the pile of trash that hadn’t moved. At least it doesn’t have CFL lights yet 🙂

    KR: In trying to predict our future, I’ve been looking at different books. I remembered a James Cagney movie, “Shake Hands With the Devil” about the Irish revolution, as being profound. I figured out it came from a novel of the same title by an author with a name of possible interest to you, Rearden Conner.
    It is, I’m told, extremely realistic, which to me makes it a novel worth reading. Those times were worse than ours now, but I guess at the end of the tunnel they had a light that wasn’t a train. I bought both the book and the movie and read the book first. The movie, which only crudely resembled the book, was pitiful by comparison. I have to wonder how closely our national police will resemble their “Black and Tans” in time.

  10. FishOrMan
    FishOrMan August 15, 2013 5:52 pm

    On Sunday and Monday I took the new/old dog on her first firewood gathering adventure with me. She use to be an old hunting dogs, so the woods made her instantly happy and five years younger. Sunday she stayed with me for most of the cutting, throwing and loading, even picking up a piece and carrying it down to the road. Monday she enjoyed the shade of the truck and watering trough, (this all occurring in hot eastern Washington). On both days she enjoyed the sacred sharing of the sandwiches.

  11. KenK
    KenK August 17, 2013 8:35 am

    My two favorite boyhood haunts are now a cement lined ditch with a dribble of nasty water festering in it and the trash strewn parking lot for a tire store. In my memories though they’re both still pristine.

  12. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau August 17, 2013 4:21 pm

    As I have mentioned to my wife, living in western Oregon is like being in an unending battle against life itself. One’s most prized possessions are a good lopper and a chain saw.

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