Making Noises in the Dark

I just redacted a very big chunk of text and electronically tossed it away. Consigned it to the oblivion that the Delete key can so easily provide, and from which there is no coming back. And why would I do that? For your benefit, my friends, your benefit. So that your tender eyes and minds wouldn’t have to deal with a level of prose that is of even lower quality than my usual output.

I know that you will scarcely credit that there could be a lower level, but believe me, there is. What I threw out was yet another longish rant about the game of golf and served almost no point except to demonstrate how dead a horse must be before I will stop beating it. The game is slowly vanishing as we speak, with courses closing around the country and the younger generations showing less and less interest. It will disappear without any help from me.

What I should be talking about is what to do with these lovely spaces once the clubhouse doors close.

The one that comes most easily to mind is to turn them into parks. Place pieces of sculpture where the greens once were. Provide Tonka Trucks and let small children use the sand traps as play areas. Use the existing buildings as campuses for community education. Or just leave them all alone and let Nature reclaim them and make of them what she will. Habitat, you might call it.

There, now it was just a small and manageable rant. Almost painless.

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We finished the first season of The Bear last night. We really enjoyed each tasty episode. Although it takes place nearly entirely in a small restaurant, I don’t think we learned anything about cooking, except perhaps that people who are high-level chefs might be just the least bit tetched.

It is not for children, however, even though there is no nudity or violence. There are times when one F-bomb has barely faded out before the next one comes along. And there is a bit of drug use as well. Plus, the younger kids simply wouldn’t get it. It’s that kind of show. One that’s all about the mess that adults often make for themselves out of what could be a perfectly good life.

The characters are all rough cobs trying to make their way, and one of the good things about watching the series is seeing that they are no better or worse at it than you or I.

These characters are also often rude and sometimes behave horribly toward one another. But redemption comes along in the form of an epiphany (I behaved like an asshole!) followed quickly by an apology (I’m sorry that I behaved like an asshole!) out of respect for the other person.

What better lesson to learn?

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The bear cartoon cracks me up. It’s all about anticipation, no? Those lying-awake campers listening to the forest sounds and trying to sort out what they are hearing. And that droopy-eyed bear plugging into the amplifier in preparation for changing their world.

I’ve been in that tent. I’ve heard those thirty-foot tall bears scuffling through the campsite. It’s true that I didn’t have to deal with ursine musicians, but if I had, here’s a tune that would have definitely got my attention at midnight in the big woods.

O Fortuna, from Carmina Burana

When it is quiet in the woods, or the desert, or wherever you have pitched your tent, the imagination comes alive. Some urbanites can’t handle the quiet at all, never mind worrying about the identity of whatever is rummaging outside that flap of nylon.

The funny thing about camping among predators is how magically protective we think the tent to be. As if any dire wolf worthy of the name couldn’t slash its way through that light material with a casual sweep of the paw. We think … if we don’t open the door and tremble oh so quietly in our sleeping bags, we won’t be noticed and thus will be spared. You don’t think that saber-toothed creature going through our gear out there doesn’t know everything there is to know about us already? And isn’t busy trying to find a meal composed of inert materials, the kind that doesn’t make a big fuss when you eat it, rather than turn its attention to you and I, who can be a noisy and troublesome sort of snack, at best.

This video (which is not my own) re-enacts the toughest wild animal encounter I have had in several decades of camping. Although it might seem trivial, when you are standing out there the dark in your boxer shorts with a flashlight in your hand these animals seem quite large, indeed. And the gnashing of their teeth gets on your nerves.

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I speak no Norwegian. Let me put that out there to start with. I recall a few phrases that my grandfather used to utter at times, but that’s the extent of it. Actually, I only remember three. You can make up your own mind about me by what I recall.

  • Drittsekk: “Shitsack”- sort of an all-purpose word, often hurled at some creature, not necessarily human, of whom you have a low opinion.
  • Faen danse mig: “Devil dance me!” is a phrase used when something unexpected comes along, like a prodigal who has returned to the farm, or when one hits one’s thumb with a sledgehammer. (This has a more modern translation than the one my grandfather would have used, where faen danse becomes an f-bomb.
  • It’ll be all right before the bird farts in the morning: Sorry, but I can’t recall the Norsk words here, but this one is used when you hurt yourself and have come crying to your grandfather, who has assessed the injury and made the diagnosis of a self-limited problem. He doesn’t dismiss your pain, but reassures you that it will not last your entire lifetime.
Still Water, by Daniel Lanois

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I don’t think I’ve shared photos of the e-bikes that Robin and I are enjoying. I am coming up on 1000 miles on the odometer in non-epic trips around town. They both have 500 watt hub motors and will go as high as 28 mph with some significant pedaling help from the rider. The batteries will carry us about 40 miles before they need a recharge. The only thing we don’t like about them is their weight, which is around 65 pounds. You can get much lighter models in a few other brands, but be prepared to spend thousands more than we did for these Aventons. For instance there is a very nice Trek model sold here in town that only weighs 38 pounds, but retails for $4000.

The batteries can be removed using a key and then charged indoors, or you can charge them on the bike as well. Extreme cold and heat both sap the strength of the battery, so in cold weather I bring them in to store them, away from the bike.

When bicycle helmets came into vogue I resisted wearing them for the longest time (as I had once done with auto seat belts) but now I would not think of riding without one. I feel naked (and not in a good way) if I try to leave my helmet behind. As I look back through the years I find a pattern that is not necessarily flattering. When presented with each instance where a logical and sensible behavioral change is really the only way to go, my response typically goes like this:

  1. learn that there are such things as seat belts, but ignore them
  2. make fun of people who are using them
  3. unscrew them from new car that comes with them installed
  4. on learning that laws now demand their use, buckle belt and then sit on it
  5. buy t-shirt that reads: “I’ll wear a seat belt when you pry it out of my cold dead fingers”
  6. accept wife’s entreaties as valid: “set an example for the kids if nothing else”
  7. begin wearing them oh-so-grudgingly while wearing pained, martyred expression at all times
  8. wear the darned things without even thinking about it

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One thought on “Making Noises in the Dark

  • Depending on your opsys, the delete key is not fatal. Some designer somewhere was human, wiped-away “code” she later regretted, so implemented the electronic bit-bucket. Usually not a “for3v3r” thing though, so if there’s a “trash bin” on your file hierarchy, you can recover that tiny bit of brilliance swept away with what may have truly [I am inclined to doubt] been rotted potato peels, but be decisive, the window or possibility may close. – As to the “golf” rant [ full-blown or merely a demi-rant], go for it. I have the same misgivings for the [snicker] “sport” which extends to rabid {expletive} practitioners, normally sane people. – Thoroughly enjoyed your raccoon episode. I recounted a similar, almost unearthly encounter with deer. – Enjoy your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

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