Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Best Things in Life

Saturday Hike

Rose Rides Shotgun

Rutted Road

Velveteen Rabbit

Morning Glory (Overflow)

Hoof Knife

I have my suspicions that upon his first meeting with the Olympus, Jeff was fairly uncertain. He seemed bewildered by my obsession with images (I can fill up a 275-picture xd card over 20 times even in uneventful months) and a little uncomfortable with my relentless snapping. Gradually he got used to it, though, even borrowing the Olympus for his summer landscaping project at the plant, and lately I notice that he's perfectly compliant when I want to take his picture. He even slows down or stops when he's driving if it looks like I want to snap something I can't take from a moving truck.

This is the knife he uses to shoe horses. It was handmade for him by a guy in Riverton and though the pictures don't show it, he uses honing oil and a whetstone to get one side so razor sharp it will slice cleanly and smoothly through leather like it was paper. He uses a pencil-like file to sharpen that hook at the end. I think of it as the perfect tool for disemboweling.

Eric the Ham

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

No Wind Today

Fontonelle, Easter Weekend

Bear River, April 26th

Sulphur Creek Reservoir, April 26th

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Movie Star Mind

Another Grey Day

The only thing worse than bad news is waiting for bad news. In this case, the results of a biopsy (not mine) due back Wednesday. You're hoping not to see the word Lymphoma on those papers, not to hear it from a doctor. It's already been a long year for you, already two hospital holidays, and it's only April. I wonder if I can hold my breath for two days? Something makes me want to try.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Your Name Really Makes an Impact

I just received an email from Khong-me Mallett.

Daisy Chain

This afternoon I took a long walk around the lagoons behind the plant, making swift, uncounted laps around the green pools softly rippled by a disheartened west wind. After about three turns the antelope a hundred yards below in the valley got accustomed to me; two males, skulls abutted, tussled for ground on spindly legs. Beyond the animals, down across the highway, the starched brown grass on the grounds of the State Hospital is already mottled with rashes of emerald growth.

Up over the steep slope above the closest pond, in the soft dirt from three-years-past construction, I tried to step in my own shoeprints each time. I did this to inflict the least possible damage to the new green shoots of sego lilies, the papery desert blooms Jeff gathers for his father’s grave every spring. Such hearty perennial wildflowers and garden annuals have enormous value to me over gaudy tropical blooms. I cherish the tulips and pansies, marigolds, lilacs, jonquils, hyacinth, hollyhocks, poppies and peonies whose rare palette and perfume make the brief Wyoming summer all the more exquisite. In the hills, segos and larkspur, lupine, Indian paintbrush, arnica and skyrockets thrive without any gardener’s ministrations.

Morgan and I used to repeat a vague schoolyard chant (does she remember?) about the astounding possibility inherent in the fact that the world is so enormously populated. It went something like this: Someone is having a baby- now, and now, and now. Someone is waking up- now, and now, and now. Someone is… insert universal life experience here- etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (in my best Yul Brynner). You get the point. My favorite line, of course, was the one that made me feel a part of a vast, unseen global assembly, and yet somehow special and loved at the same time: someone is thinking about me- now, and now, and now. Whenever I am doing something rhythmic- walking, sweeping, occasionally while painting- I find myself repeating it under my breath, unconsciously.

After walking, I poured some sugar-free lemon lime powder into an empty half-liter Arrowhead water bottle and filled it at the sample tap in the lab at the back of the old plant. Constantly flowing, the stream from that copper tap is a pristine example of unquestionably perfect drinking water, despite being surface water and somewhat on the ‘hard’ end of the scale- but of course, calcium does a body good. Cold and clear, with a free available chlorine residual of 1.5 parts per million, the freshly treated water has no discernable taste or smell. I put the sour citrus powder in it because I had to get rid of the quarter of a teaspoon in the package before Travis comes back to work tomorrow. He hates it when I leave small containers of “nasty powder” sitting open on the break room counter next to the microwave. I should have left it.

I’ve got “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” stuck in my head, although I have no idea what the words are. Dang, that’s a catchy tune.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


There's going to be a spectacular sunset tonight.

I opened the break room door and stepped out into the main basin this afternoon only to find myself unable to finish a half-inhaled breath. Lungs seized, throat burning, I thought, "where there's smoke, there's fire." And there is, somewhere over the Utah border, burning soggy sagebrush and grass and scrub cedar, sending a pungent, incongruously summery stink on the artificially heated spring air into the concrete rectangle of space I inhabit six to eight hours a day. Luckily, I won't be babysitting the SCADA while the three underground tanks outside rapidly drain to fight a fire in town. I sped home and slunk into the cool, clean, dark atmosphere of my basement apartment to nurse my stricken lungs, and here I stay.

It is not my Friday anymore, but only temporarily.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Mom on a Mountain

Mom hasn't been snowmobiling in 30 years. That's a 40 mph difference! Glad you're having fun, Mom.

It's Not About Tom Cruise

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

10,000 Words

Pipeline Supply

Cattle Guard

Badger Hole