Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Too much smoke


Not long after I moved to Alaska I started having a recurrent dream. In it, I had traveled Outside and for one reason or another could not get back to Alaska. In time I learned that several other people had the same dream. In discussing it with one person or another we decided it was simply that this is where we wanted to be and had some kind of unconscious fear of losing it. Well, that dream faded after a while and I haven’t had one in years.

However, it has been replaced by another, I had one last night. It involves the East Pole. In it, I am making my way along the trial toward the cabin. I run into people along the trail, some I know some I don’t, it changes with the dreams. It is almost always in summer with four-wheelers and difficulties along the trail change also, however it always seems there are more people than usual. Sometimes they are headed for the town, or we can see the town or it involves getting something from the town, but that is not the most disturbing part, When I finally arrive at the cabin I find I can see others around it. but even that is not the worst.

The worst is that just over the hill behind the cabin there is some kind of a development, Sometimes it is a mall or shopping center and sometimes it is a cluster of townhouses but always an encroachment of development with paved streets, stores and traffic. Sometimes I wrestle with that or sometimes I wake up but that seems to be where the dream ends, when I realize that the sprawl of development has caught up and I either need to join and accept it or start over farther away.

Just some side notes on this: After 20 years someone has finally built a cabin I can see from the East Pole and I find that disconcerting. In summer when the trees are all leafed out i can't see it, but I know it's there. In winter it is very visible from the front deck. It is like the solitude is shattered. But the dreams began long before that. I think the new cabin just fulfills the apprehension from the dreams about people moving too close. It is like when you expect people to be around you can deal with it, but when you don’t it can be disturbing,

And I am not without fault. While I was building the cabin I made friends with a man who had lived in that area in a small cabin for the previous 12 years, from long before the land had been sold as a subdivision. One day he was helping me put up the ridge board (a story in itself) and I was telling him how this had been a lifelong dream. He said it had been one of his as well. At that point a startling realization came over me. Shocked, I looked at him and said rather sheepishly, "I am part of your problem, aren't I." He politely nodded affirmatively and we let it go at that, but that realization has always tempered my reaction to others who came out later. One man's dream is another's nightmare.

One of those trivial facts I remember from early history lessons or that I read somewhere is that Daniel Boone had said he always felt the urge to move when he could see the smoke from a neighbor’s chimney. He eventually died in Missouri. I have always wondered if expansion caught up with him there and he just gave up and didn’t move again or if he had reached the end of his trail before another neighbor's smoke pushed him farther west.
At any rate, it seems these days there is just too much smoke to get away from it all.

ADDENDUM: Lately I have discovered an awful number of young people have very little knowledge of American (or any) history so here's a little about Daniel Boone. As if to make my point a question on one of the sites asked "Wasn't he the one who died at the Alamo?" The article even pointed out he died in 1820, 16 years before that battle.

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Interesting quotations

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeare on Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

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Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

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GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

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Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

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Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve