Posts Tagged ‘desert’

From Badwater to Bristlecone

Our Town

Hitch #1 was full excitement.  Months of anticipation revealed a world of stimulation.  Everything was new.  As we became more accustomed to routine and settled into Hitch #2, it became more of a challenge to keep things fresh and exciting.  The cliché rang true that variety, after all, really is the spice of life.

When you work and live in the field without electricity you appreciate the importance of getting the most out of your daylight.  The great grey beast of November challenged our internal clocks to realize the full potential of the nearest star.  During our first hitch, a 6:00 a.m. breakfast allowed up to start the work day as dawn gave way to morning.  For some absurd reason, the civilized world demanded that we change our clocks between the end of our first hitch and the start of Hitch #2.

“Does that mean breakfast at five?” Marty questioned.  “There’s no way I’m waking up at 4:30 to cook!”

Four-thirty.  Even I had to admit, it sounded brutal.

But, we all agreed on the necessity of enjoying that last sliver of daylight after the work day.  It’s hard not to cherish that golden hour when the sun surrenders its ferocious intensity.  The entire desert relaxes with the deep breath, relishing in the brief lapse between solar acquiescence and the onset of nighttime chills.

“What if we just all agree to change our watches?” Jimmy proposed.  “We could have a normal schedule.”

“Yeah, like a nine to five,” joked Ross, his sudden surprise showing as he began to seriously consider his words.

“Remember how pretty it was to watch sunrise during morning stretches?” “We should do that,” retorted Becca.

“Perfect!” exclaimed Jimmy, “Whenever the sun comes up, we can all set our watches to exactly 8:15! That way, sunrise is always during warm-ups.  It’s brilliant!”

Jimmy was right.  Waking up to the stars is no problem as long as your watch tells you that it’s already 6:30.  And so we began Hitch #2.  Sun salutations became sunrise salutations.  Each passing day brought new innovations to our field routine.  We found simple ways to spice up the monotony of ten straight days of camping and manual labor.  The wire scraps from our fencing project became the canvas of wire art.  The work day featured endless sing-a-longs and tests of lyrical knowledge.  Whoever wasn’t assigned a daily task assumed the role of Toastmaster, interrupting labor to toast to such things as “Ross’s new hat,” or “fences completed and fences yet begun!”

The Toastmaster at his finest

We continued our culinary adventures provided by our subscription to a local community supported agriculture box with that theory that “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  Bequeathed with more Persimmons than all seven of us had seen in our entire lives, we doctored up the most delectable Persimmon cookies ever.  And they were vegan to boot.  Persimmon cookies will join the likes of the turnip greens in our beloved Scavenger Chili, as new patented staples of the Owens Crew.

When you work and live in the field, little things can provide immeasurable pleasure.  Waking up at 4:17 a.m. (Civilized Time, or CT) is no fun.  However, what’s not to love about a breakfast call from Jimmy’s harmonica at 7:00 a.m. (Magical Desert Time, or MDT, for short).  Even the long desert work day is a little easier when you know there’s a Persimmon cookie at the end of the tunnel.

 

Restoration Part I

Vehicle incursion before restoration

Four days and 213 plants later

Curious how we do it? Check out the Owens Peak crew site.

The Desert

If you need isolation for your contemplation, the Mojave is the location.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Desert Solitaire, posted with vodpod

 

Unashamedly inhospitable, she doesn’t pander to Man.  Let him wander the canyons of Yosemite and ponder the giant Sequoia.  The Panamints need not anthropological approbations.  The Bristlecone…the creosote, they will stand hard against the desert gusts with or without my support.

This is why I come to the desert.  My praise is disregarded as an uninvited guest.  I can’t look at her.  So, I’m left to turn inward, to discover what the lashings of wind and sand leave behind.