October 21st, 2003

Dancing Thru

Autumn in the Gold Country

Aye, there is Gold in those hills, the Gold of Autumn, which calls to me. I spent last weekend up at the condo at Angels Camp, and enjoyed the turning of leaves and a quality in the air that speaks of the Eld. Angels has a lot of folks who decorate for Halloween, a homespun hallowseve of scarecrows and pumpkins and homemade ghosts. It's like a primal urge takes over, and commands that you honor the season. This season is somehow much more real there. And it wasn't just in Angels, but also Moke Hill, and other old haunts of mine that call. And then I found out that Sutter Creek is doing a Samhein festival. Not Halloween, but the elder Celtic holiday. Oh YES! Hmm, and Tempest is going to be playing there. I think about if I want to go up for it...

We wandered amid the giant trees of Calaveras Big Trees park. The South Grove takes serious effort to visit, and one leaves behind the stations of tourism, and finds more of the spirit of the ancient forest. The dogwood was turning pink and red, and red berries hung off many plants.

Sunday was a bit of shopping in Jackson, where a new *real* Irish shop has gone in, one that sells items made by small craftsfolk, not like the "export trade" Irish crafts. And then a visit to Moke Hill, a former hangout of mine, with its Legre Hotel, a shade of another era. Then up to Indian Grinding Rock. Odd, but since they have fenced off and "preserved" the mortars and petroglyphs, they seem lonely, less real, and like they are slowly losing their power. I think these are things that need human interaction, not to be treated like a painting on a museum wall. At least the local native community still uses the site for ceremonies, and the huge Round House was very present. Then checking Black Chasm, the newest show cave of the area, home to a fantastical collection of the most astounding helictites. Any day with caves is a good day. It was interesting to hear from our guide how she, her husband, and two other people, built all the amazing webwork of stairs (this is a very vertical cave) themselves, over a period of 10 months. I was seriously impressed.

I feel more connected again. There is something about autumn up there that restores me.
  • Current Music
    Heather Alexander: "Wanderlust" album
Dancing Thru

King of the Jungle (Corwin-Marvin school)

Okay, it's a weird theme for a reality TV show. Take a bunch of wildlife people, and give them a daily elimination challenge with a wildlife TV show hosting as the prize. But I'm liking it because...well, I'm so THERE. It's taking me back to stuff I used to do.

Okay, maybe I never fished for baby gators in a muddy pond. Does helping with cleaning a caiman habitat (with a very *nasty* caiman wanting to bite you) count?

It's also educational. They give critiques of everyone's performance, and you know *why* a person was eliminated. Mistook an animal for something else? Failed a challenge? Bad handling of an animal? Misinformation? And then there are the physical challenges.

I want to go DO them! They're similar to the sorts of things I've always done to challenge myself. The first one was climb up a tree to a platform, then traverse a rope on one of those zippy wheeled things, hanging from a knotted rope, grab a cargo net, and climb down. I want the whole course! It looked like such FUN! Like stuff I haven't had a chance to do in years. And I did these things without a safety line. Last night, I thrilled to the second challenge, because I've *DONE IT*! You had to climb a tree, cross a couple logs suspended in the "canopy", including bridging a substantial gap between, observe a raptor nest, then return the way you came. I did something like that (except part of the branch was rotten!) as a kid, to get to a vintage tree house, where you had to leap from this branch waaaay up there to the "porch" of the tree house. And back. Very scary. And then there was how I became acquainted with my college boyfriend, the start of a 5 1/2 year relationship. At the Electronics Club picnic, he issued a challenge: "Can you get across that stream by using the sycamore trees?" "Sure." By the time we had traversed a couple leaning trees, changing trees literally in midstream, we were fast friends. (Lately hasn't been trees, but rather rocks I've climbed, and found I've needed to jump from a ledge to a miniscule rock spire across a substantial gap, etc.) Watching makes me want to go climb some trees, hunt up some wildlife, etc. After all, my degree is actually in Biological Sciences. I just hung/hang out with Tekkies. (Okay, I'm both...)

I'm not a good enough zoologist to be one of the contestants (hey, I'm a botanist, okay?), but I sure would love to play on their challenge course!
  • Current Music
    adventuring music