Friday, April 27, 2018

Arkansas: Lake Catherine State Park, Part 6: Coda


Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.


October 2017
On the way to Missouri
Lake Catherine State Park


After the rain

I survived the previous evening's rain issues just fine, and got up early to watch the sun rise. Another camper was up even earlier, and he'd set up his chair at the end of the pier to watch the dawning of this good day.


The fellow nomad

On my Monday afternoon guided hike, I met another nomad of a certain age. I'll call her Susan. From a lifetime up in Maine or some other ungodly cold place, Susan retired two years ago. After a year or so of meeting friends frequently for coffee mid-day, she wondered, "Is this what the rest of my life is going to be? Meeting for coffee every day?"  And (I'm paraphrasing here): "It's fucking cold in Maine. I don't want to be cold anymore."

There came a time when Susan hatched a plan, and she delved into research about living and moving about in an RV. Friends of hers had bought a new Class B Pleasure-Way van. Eventually, she decided on the same.

When I met Susan at Lake Catherine State Park, she was slowly wending her way to a warm wintering place. California, perhaps.

Susan graciously allowed me to visit her van so she could give me a home tour. We'd noticed that my next door neighbors (who'd lent me the shovel the evening before) also had a Pleasure-Way, so we ambled over there to see if we could invite ourselves for a tour of their van.

My neighbors' van was a vintage one, I don't remember from what decade, but at least 20 years old. Although I'm not a fan of house tours, I do like to poke around RVs because ... you never know, I may end up in a tiny home space, whether on wheels or not.

It's fun to look at which amenities people choose, the utility of the various layouts, and imagine which amenities I'd choose and which layout I'd like.

My neighbors were delighted to give us a tour.

Susan is barely in her first year as a nomad. How long will she do this? Who knows? I hope she has a grand experience.


Neighbor exchange

When I walked over to return my neighbors' shovel, they said, "No, no! Keep it, please! We bought it awhile back and we've never used it!"

What a kindness.

I realized I might be able to reciprocate: I'd been lugging around two canisters of propane for a camp stove or lantern, and hadn't used them in ages. I asked if they might have a use for them, and if so, they'd be doing me a favor to take them. This is because I worried slightly about the safety of carrying around the canisters in a car in variable temperatures and in the enclosed space of my camp box.

They said, yes, the could use them.

Win-win.

A slide show of my stay at Lake Catherine State Park below:

Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas



.... back on the road to Missouri.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Arkansas: Lake Catherine State Park, Part 5: Engineering


Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.



October 2017
On the way to Missouri
Lake Catherine State Park


Tuesday evening brought a couple of challenges to my little campsite kingdom.

First there was the rain.

I'd chosen a level site for my tent construction.

What I discovered, however, was the lack of drainage for when the rain fell, and fell, and fell.

I found myself digging storm trenches around and away from my tent.

Water diversion, Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.


On one hand, this exercise caused no little consternation. Sleeping in a sodden tent is no fun, even though, fortunately, I could sleep off the floor, atop the springy cot my nonagenarian aunt gave me a few years ago. Because I would be leaving the next morning, it probably meant I'd have to pack a muddy, damp tent.

On the other hand, there was something satisfying about having to eyeball a problem, analyze how to fix it, and then execute on the plan, with adjustments on the fly. It reminds me of what an algebra-loving acquaintance told me once: "Every day is solving for x."

To divert the water from the tent, I had to dig trenches and clear debris from the corners of the railroad-tie-built platform so the water had a place to drain into, down, and away from the platform altogether.

Not having a shovel, I used the sturdy cap/cup to my large coffee thermos for the digging, and a knife and stick for the debris removal.

My next door neighbors, RVing it in a vintage Class B Pleasure Way, brought over a camp shovel for me to use in my excavations! They'd bought it awhile back and never used it. This helped a lot.

Water diversion, Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.



 Second, the uninvited guest. 

A goddamn wood roach or some such invaded my tent right before I went to bed. I tried to trap it so I could, if possible, scoot it out of my tent, and if not possible, kill it, but the damn thing eluded me. I do not like unpredictable strangers crawling about in my bedroom at night.

Eventually, I just had to live with the situation and hope it didn't surprise me by flying into my face or ear or start crawling up my arm or something while I slept. **Shudders.**

It didn't. 




Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Arkansas: Lake Catherine State Park, Part 4: The Ethereal


Early evening, Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.

October 2017
On the way to Missouri

Lake Catherine State Park


On Tuesday afternoon, I took a short walk. Dewy webs and fungi were on the stage.

Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.


Look at those tiny leafen universes in the drops above!



Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.


For those who collect wild hearts:

Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.


I'd like to have broken off the bread-like slab below and eaten it, but .... maybe it would kill me?

Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.

Besides, I didn't have any salt with me. ..... Hahahaha! That's a joke. Of course I had salt with me!

Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.



Mmmm, brown sugar with a sprinkling of roly-poly:

Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.

Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.


I am curious about the cutting striations and also the waxy-pimply rounds on the base of this plank:


Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.


I think of constellations and galaxies below, the whorls and swirls and stretching nebulae:

Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.


And an ear cocked against the body of a tree:  

Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.


At night came the full moon. A video:



And some stills:

Full moon, Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.

Full moon, Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.

Full moon, Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.

Full moon, Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. October 2017.


Good night.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

St. Louis: Symphony Chaco


Symphony Chaco, UMSL, St. Louis, Missouri. April 2018.


The University of Missouri - St. Louis (UMSL) hosted the premiere of an original symphony: Symphony Chaco, composed by Gary Gackstatter.

Symphony Chaco, UMSL, St. Louis, Missouri. April 2018.


One hundred choir members (led by Jim Henry) + 100 orchestra members + Native flutist, R. Carlos Nakai + iconic road-trip memoirist, William Least Heat Moon +  writer,  Debora Taffa.

Symphony Chaco, UMSL, St. Louis, Missouri. April 2018.


When you've got 200 living creatures doing something together, in sync, then you've got power in the air.

In addition to instruments, singing voices, and narrative voices, a slide show in a giant overhead screen opened a virtual window onto Chaco Canyon and, at times, animated paint images, which  synchronized with the auditory performance.

The symphony fit well into my limited attention span for such things, which was an added bonus to my experience of it. It lasted about an hour. 


I've been very close several times to going to Chaco Canyon, but it's not worked out so far. Maybe in the future. When I think of Chaco Canyon, I think of a place not far from there, Bisti Wilderness. Which I visited once, but hanker to again, and stay awhile.

Bisti Wilderness, Navajo Nation, New Mexico. May 2013.


The symphony began with Creation and ended with the leaving of Chaco Canyon by its inhabitants, climaxed by the shattering of pottery:

"Breaking pottery is an act of purification and offering, a prayer of release to the afterlife." 
Program note from Symphony Chaco: A Journey of the Spirit


This took me back to two final days in my rooted home: 

Just Stuff. I got a little teary-eyed re-reading this just now.

Mazel Tov! A reader took me to task for what I did. I have no spiritual regret for my action. It felt fitting. I do confess to a bit of a cringe at the materialistic loss.

With last night's Symphony Chaco, it seems I was just carrying on an ancient tradition.           


Monday, April 23, 2018

Missouri: Some Gospel Music on a Sunday Evening


Mid-Missouri Christian Choir, Jefferson City, Missouri. April 2018. Dan Fankhauser.



Although I'm not a Christian, I do love gospel music.


Mid-Missouri Christian Choir, Jefferson City, Missouri. April 2018. Brian Smith.


A Jefferson City church hosted the Mid-Missouri Christian Choir last night.


Mid-Missouri Christian Choir, Jefferson City, Missouri. April 2018. Julie Rollins.


This choir is good.



Like Proud Mary, the song above starts off nice and easy and then it gets to rolling, rolling.


Mid-Missouri Christian Choir, Jefferson City, Missouri. April 2018. Jeannie Sneller. 


I think of some other gospel music concerts I've had the good luck to attend:

Mid-Missouri Christian Choir, Jefferson City, Missouri. April 2018. Tracy Tackett.

 
Mid-Missouri Christian Choir, Jefferson City, Missouri. April 2018. Brian Smith.


Mid-Missouri Christian Choir, Jefferson City, Missouri. April 2018. Dan Fankhauser.



Sunday, April 22, 2018

Missouri: Three Creeks Hike


Three Creeks Conservation Area, Missouri. April 2018.



I joined a hike at Three Creeks Conservation Area hike, hosted by the Sierra Club.


As winter continues to hang on, the morning began overcast and chilly. Begrudgingly, it did lighten and warm some as the day grew.

Nevertheless, petite wildflowers made a showing. Two adept identifiers, the hike guide and one of the hikers, named spring beauties, wake robin (trillium), sweet william, wild plum (tree), pussytoes, toothwort, lousewort, Dutchmen's breeches, bluebells, false rue anemone, [true] rue anemone, yellow violet, common violet, large bellwort, and a couple I'm forgetting.

Wake robin (trillium). Three Creeks Conservation Area, Missouri. April 2018.


We saw the foliage for future blooming may apples, wild ginger, wild geranium, and colombine.

Paw prints. Three Creeks Conservation Area, Missouri. April 2018.


It wasn't just wildflowers. I added two carcasses to my carcass collection: 

Dead frog. Three Creeks Conservation Area, Missouri. April 2018.

A video:




And a fossil. 

Crinoid parts. Three Creeks Conservation Area, Missouri. April 2018.



And a prosaic hiking sight, poop. (I so love how such a pretty, poetic word as prosaic describes something ordinary.)

Poop. Three Creeks Conservation Area, Missouri. April 2018.


 A fruitful walk.


Below, a slide show:

Three Creeks Hike, MO
Three Creeks Conservation Area, Missouri. April 2018.



Thursday, April 12, 2018

St. Louis: Castlewood State Park: Spring Signs

Castlewood State Park, Missouri. April 11, 2018.


A slow walk on a Castlewood State Park trail on a sunny, warm Wednesday.

The trees haven't leafed out yet, but there are several varieties of wildflowers waving in the breeze - deep purples, some flashes of underside-fuschia, white, periwinkle blue.

Dismembered carcasses of trees pounded by last year's flooding lay atop the grasses.


A sweet, breezy video below of white wildflowers: