interrogating the words to understand the experience
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” John Muir.
To return is to go back to a former position, to turn and change direction, go back the way you came. So, a homecoming, Penelope at the end of the Odyssey. But you can speak of returning to a place as soon as the second time you go there, and every time after that. Every time you change direction, go back the way you went that first time, you consolidate that sense of the new place as a place of origin.
Resort is a place you go out to (sortie) again and again. And so I keep resorting to the spring at the top of Mount Lemmon--back there, again there. I keep returning, transforming a resort into a source and base.
An Interlude (sort of)
My “monastic cell” abode is a little cement box. As a friend put it, “the Tucson broiler is now on.” 100+-degree days for over a month and to be continued through perhaps October, with occasional monsoon reprieves. I don’t turn my cooler on during the day, and it’s not a very effective cooler anyway. Even with blackout curtains on the windows, it’s often in the 90s in my home. Outside, suburbia stretches its grid, curvaceous and eccentric and still a grid. I walk. I miss the easy reach of the Rillito wash I had from my old place, a small strip of wildness and growth to walk to and poke around almost every day.
I lift up mine eyes unto the hills.
This sprawl of city is surrounded by mountains--the Catalinas, the Rincons, the Tucsons, the Santa Ritas. If you drive up to the 9000ft summit of Mount Lemmon, you pass through the range of bioregions you would traverse between Mexico and Canada--all that latitude compressed into contours. There’s even a spring at the top.
And finally, I head for the hills.
This post is not about ketogenic matters, except in a way it is.
why controlled trials are worth less than people think
It's hitting 110 degrees today. So yesterday I finally bought shadecloth to cover my sunken beds. "Bought shadecloth" is a deceptive to-do list item, as it involved figuring out which store sells the cloth, where in said store it's located (store, of course, being a very big box), and what sort of shadecloth to get.
This means there was some inertia toward that whole project, despite the fact that I'd wanted to do it for some time. Also in inertia limbo: fixing the fence, and cutting back dead weeds in order to reach the fence, for which I had to purchase the appropriate tool, a matter of $10 but still a matter of inertia.
in which I compare myself to a fridge in hot weather
High heat is here. High, dry heat.
Elsewhere, gardeners favor raised beds. Here, contrariwise, we sink them. Cooler, shadier, hold moisture better. I take sacks with me into the river wash and bring home plant debris, horse poop, bat poop, as mulch that is also shade.
What's alive so easily parches to death; what's already dead doesn't compost because it's just too dry. I love heat, but when it's so high above my body temperature, it makes me wonder if there is after all a "too hot."
Last tangent from the Gem Show:
As a person drawn to bright shiny objects and who picks up rocks, it's easy for me to think the word "touchstone," and to think it as a stone that you touch, and so a talisman, a symbol of go(o)d luck, a reminder. And of course it is all those things.
But there's more to it--more to it literally, and therefore more to it metaphorically--in a way that calls me, at least, to level up, up!
final gem show thoughts, toward the metaphorical as so often
The spectacle of the Gem Show--the enormous, the ancient, the dazzlingly polished, the uniquely colored, and all the buying and selling--is the ultimate celebration of bright and shiny objects.
Of course, a bright and shiny object can be anything that catches your eye, holds your attention, and comes to represent something else. The "something else" could be simply beauty (is that why magpies hoard tinsel and aluminum foil in their nests?), or prestige ("I want people to see me wearing this expensive diamond"), or commitment to a practice or community or relationship ("I wear this shawl because I'm of this religion"/"This crystal will clear my psychic space"/"With this ring I thee wed").
Acquiring the bright shiny object is a dopamine hit--excitement of taking possession of the item, significance of time and place and intention. The more symbolic the object, the more of a "hit" you get when acquiring it. Symbolic could just mean "more expensive," but it could be a gift that cost no money. Some of my very favorite "gems" I picked up hiking beaches and hills.
So, how do we keep our bright shiny objects shiny?
there's still time!
I took off from my routine again on Tuesday and took in some more of the Gem Show. Whereas last time was inside a convention center, this time was the more grass roots, street party face of the show, the sprawl and hustle and bright colors and sunshine lining the motels that line the frontage road on the west side of the I-10.
So much is happening at the moment, and as I said before, it would be so easy to miss out on this. During my wanderings, replete of course with conversations with strangers, I ran into people who've lived in or close to Tucson for decades who were finally coming to see what all the fuss was about with the gems.
Even the way I got myself out to the show was a beautiful illustration of how life converges. I experience myself as the center of my own web, giving meaning to the connections between different parts of my life.