"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

30 December 2014


Five years back, my mother was in the midpoint of her final seventeen days. That bardo in the sickhouse before my brother and I would stand over her emptied shell. Cooling meat that stank of disease. Neither my brother or I had coins to place over her half-lidded eyes.

I started this by trying to explain the concept of everyone having their place in the world. Kashmir being the buzzword. Although, I had been purging my words into the spider's web of cyber for six years already, I wanted to do something new. Something I felt was more reflective of the me who had been living in the mountains for a few years.

New mythology? New narrative? Choose your buzzword, I reckon.

Five years on, I've told some stories and shared a few walkabouts. I still believe in Kashmir, head, heart, and gut. If the concept of worship did not involve submission-dogs submit, I bare my jugular to no one and nothing-I would say I all but worship the mountains. Perhaps totalmuthafuckingrevere would be the better adjective. 

Something that is most important, at least to me, is I am still interested enough to leave my words here. Whether or not anyone else reads them. It does seem the concept of the blog is getting a bit trite. TLDR, is a term I've seen and heard of. Look to social media for quick quips and kitty pictures. However, you want a story or a missive about living where others come to vacation? Come and talk to me.

27 December 2014

Second Creek

It was her birthday, and of course she wore a tiara...

Though it was brisk, the sun was shining. Light flakes began to fall halfway up the trail. It would be later in the day that the sky would ice over with clouds and the snow would fall steadily. At one point during the night, we were afforded the the tiniest glimpse of the stars, glittering like diamonds against velvet.

It was three of us, but there was food, wine, and conversation. Though cold outside, the fire kept us warm. We slept well.

The thermometer read negative eight that morning. The finest ice crystals, like will-o-the-wisp, wafted through the alpine atmosphere. Lower down, there was fog, of which the sun tenaciously burned through, gifting us the slightest of rainbows.

Two of us would be heading back down, life calling us from this Backcountry respite. The other would stay another day. We had our one day of camaraderie. An adventure, and, a set of memories more precious than rubies or glass beads.

23 December 2014

100 Words; High Adventure with BBQ

Some righteous icicles out back...

It is the first time in many, many, many years I have done what white man calls Christmas shopping. Horrible. To assuage this psychic trauma, I treated myself to BBQ. The graham cracker stout beer was a meal unto itself. One you could cut with a knife, of which the restaurant's proprietor promised me a sharper one for next time. I smiled and thanked him for his time.

I guess there could be a next time; hopping down-valley for some BBQ and a graham cracker stout. That Christmas shopping thing? Bah-adding humbug would be trite-! Now that's for the birds.

21 December 2014

The Long and the Short

The river looking west...

It is the eve of the longest night, or the dawn of the longest day, depending upon your equatorial aspect. Of course, along those equatorial lines, the profundity of such celestial events like solstices and perhaps even equinoxes might not be quite as significant. It is when you get those changes in latitude and changes in attitude that these things even get noticed.

The day could be marked as an almost halfway point in the Long Dark. In a little over a month, we'll get direct sunlight back on the house. When we first moved here, I'd refer to it as our little slice of Alaska, but, over the years I've met enough cats with ties to Alaska in some form or fashion to realize what a fool I used to be.

So, we rage against the dying of the light. Curiously, Sabina digs the winter solstice because it means the days incrementally begin to lengthen for us. Come the summer solstice, she laments how the days will incrementally shorten.

And I'm the contrary one...

Town will be hosting its Christmas party. Funny how when you don't really celebrate that holiday, it kind of sneaks up on you. I try to decide if I want to go, if for no other reason than to see one of my neighbors in Santa drag. Besides, a town party means potluck and the potential for free booze.

Yeh, us kooky mountain folk...

On the other side of the solstice is Sabina's birthday. We count down the days to hut trip. It's snowing again and there's supposed to be another storm on the way, which equates to justifying our snowshoes. The other day, we bedecked my pair with stickers the way snowborders decorate their rides for however long that'll last.

What?!? It was something to do...

It might be the shortest day, but I got out to enjoy it. The snow might be falling, but it wasn't horrifically cold out. That mantra of no bad weather, just the wrong clothes. There are those who would call this the first day of winter. I would say we're getting to the middle point. Who knows which of us is right? Time is an abstract and it's all a matter of aspect anyway.

17 December 2014

The Fast

"Rather three days without food, than a day without tea..."-Chinese proverb

Jazz plays on the morning radio and there's a fire. Otherwise there's a curious silence about the house. I sip water, the only thing I am allowed to have for the next three and a half hours.

For the first time in five years I am going to see a doctor. Just an annual checkup, Sabina's idea. That whole thing of we've been paying for insurance and should reap the benefit of a free checkup. Nevermind the rare as hen's teeth occurrence of me taking ill.

Practically speaking, it can't hurt. My father would growl that my mother did not get herself checked out regularly. When she finally did go to the doctor after noticing something was amiss, the cancer that would eventually eat her alive was in its second stage. Granted, it was cervical, and, unless we are speaking in vertebral tongues, it is anatomically unlikely I could get the same strain.

So, I would say this is no biggie, but it is. See, we must fast for up to twelve hours. Nothing but water. I don't mind water at all. However, I cannot have tea.

I tried to lament this circumstance to Sabina. Don't eat? Okay, I probably need to watch my slim and girlish figure, after all, at nearly six foot six I have gotten up to one-hundred and sixty pounds. I might get a gut. No coffee? I can take it or leave it. No wine or beer? An indulgence.

But no tea? Madness! This is catastrophic.

"Oh, just pretend your the Dalai Lama and drink hot water instead of tea," Sabina said when I tried to explain my devastation.

"And shall I shave my head and wear yellow and saffron robes as well?" I asked, and she had the outright audacity to shoot me a look as though I was being melodramatic.

"It's just blood work," she said.

No sympathy at all. Clearly, she doesn't understand. Fucking woman.

14 December 2014


My whore red tea kettle passionately moaned the siren song of lapsang souchong. Stepping out with Milarepa-yes, it's true, I let the dog out-my feet sank down into six inches of of soft white before kissing the ice crust of base underneath. With a smirk of wicked joy I looked up at the bright diamond-dust coated peaks. After nineteen warm and dry days, snow had returned to my mountains.

One of my meteorological prophets, of whose oracles I consider a go-to, had almost audible excitement in his typed voice as he described the conditions. More snow is foretold in coming days. I have use for my snowshoes once more, and I couldn't be happier.

07 December 2014

It Might Get Loud

A little something I threw together for dinner last night...

The morning started with Pearl Jam and jasmine tea. Now, Tinariwen's Tassili album-one of those I was surprised I'd ever lived without-is my jam. Sabina is upstate, having partied with friends of her's from her new-wave days, those days when I was somewhere between twelve and fourteen. It's an annual thing, something that's been going on for thirty years straight. She jokes it's the closest thing she does to a reunion.

Something like this reminds me of how few people outside of family I've known for long periods of time. There have been occasions, when meditating upon the subject, I come to the conclusion I am just bad at forming long-lasting relationships. I've caught myself getting a little morose about this until I remind myself; misanthrope. When it comes down to brass tacks and bedposts, I am something of a solitary creature. Having just a few friends and acquaintances has thus far not proven to be fatal.

Having the house all to myself in the bipedal context-there's still the matter of cats, a hound, and ferrets, thus meaning I am not completely alone-means the place rattles with music turned up to twelve and making myself something for dinner I don't normally have. Usually, this is some curry that the very scent of can cause a mild sweat in those of weaker constitutions.

This go-around, I went for something a little more prosaic; I steamed a pound of mussels. There was drawn herb butter with sauteed garlic and shallots, as well as fresh rosemary and thyme, and a little vadouvan seasoning. Some bread on the side and soak up the residual juices and butter all washed down with a bottle of pinot grigio and one of the Hobbit films rented from the library for the evening's entertainment, because I know how to party.

I contemplate a wander up a bit of Grizzly Gulch. Winter may have announced its presence with authority back in mid-November, but it really hasn't snowed since. It has also gotten rather mild. Only the most suicidal are attempting ice fishing-how bad does your marriage suck? I mean, can't you just lock yourself in a room and drink?-on the lake two miles, and six-hundred vertical down-valley. I question whether I'll even need my snowshoes, despite it being higher up. On one of my last walkabouts, I carried my microspikes, just in case, and ended up not needing them.

Sabina will be back in the afternoon, bringing my bachelor time to an end. Technically, that night she invaded my muthafuckingkitchen brought my bachelor time to an end, but that's another story. The stereo might get turned down a couple of octaves so there can be the occasional conversation, although, she can appreciate a loud jam as well. Because it has been mild and warm I have defrosted steak to grill and that will be accompanied by steamed artichokes. Nothing special. Just something to masticate upon whilst regaling one another with our respective adventures.