all that and breakfast! ~ part one

Posted July 1, 2019 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Ramblings Off Topic

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The incessant rain of recent weeks around here has been replaced with punishing heat. Cloudless skies rain down scorching heat as though some cosmic balancing mechanism has been turned off.

It’s not so bad on the biking trail, though. As long as I keep moving, the breeze evaporates my sweat and seems to keep me cool. I know where all of the (working) water fountains are on the trail, and the hills (for the most part) are manageable. There is a lot of shade and even relatively cool tunnels under major roads. And of late, my rides have taken me to a particular destination where I get to pursue the edifying effort of learning about the many kinds of beer in the world. I haven’t even once veered off the trail and into the creek from heat-induced delirium or clutched my chest after getting up (or not) a bad hill.

In my years I have run or ridden on every bit of the Indian Creek Trail, a riparian, asphalt quality-of-life “park” maintained by the various communities it passes through. And like the song says of Lake Shore Drive, it passes from rats on up to riches (and then more rats).* And I can say, very literally, that I have spent thousands of miles on this trail, running and riding.

So it came to pass in my little head that I should ride the entire trail in one continuous effort. The trail has mileposts on it, so I knew with pretty good accuracy the total distance, which is only a few miles greater than the longest ride I’d done to date. I thought I could do it.

The only trouble was the brutal heat. (Yes, by August a 90-degree day will feel pleasant, but in June that’s still a bit high.) As I said, as long as I keep moving, the breeze keeps me cool, but I suspect that’s a deceptive cool, especially if relied upon for a long-haul effort like the entire trail. And my solution was to get on the trail at first light, before the heat fell onto the asphalt trail. I’d been toying with this idea for a few weeks, and I realized that if I put it off much longer, the first-light heat of the morning might be worse, so yesterday became the day.

I had discussed my idea with my wife (my ground crew) before and suggested that yesterday would be the time to do it. When I woke that morning, I was ambivalent, but she seemed charged, so I slid into some plastic clothing (from my running days) and loaded my bike in the back of the Prolechariot. We drove out to the current terminus of the trail, at a place called Hampton Park in the suburban town of Olathe (which figures prominently in the settlement history in this part of the country). The mileposts on the Indian Creek Trail count up from State Line Road (thus from Missouri), and the nearest one to Hampton Park is mile 19, so I called the Park mile 20.

Just after 7:00 a.m. yesterday morning I strapped on my helmet, climbed on my bike, and rode the paved circle within the park to “ensure” that I could call it mile 20. Then it was onto the trail.

I had chosen to start there because the journey is a net downhill to the finish going east. There are a few hills that seem to make up for the loss in elevation as you go, but going the other way truly was uphill, and if not visually then certainly in muscle fatigue.

This part of the trail passes through neighborhoods and parks and is nicely paved. There are a few major streets to cross, but I timed it well and managed to reach them when there were breaks in the scant early morning traffic. There were also many people on the trail: on bikes, on foot, with strollers, with dogs. They had the same beat-the-heat idea I did, I guess.

I really wanted my ride to be continuous, that if the hills didn’t defeat me, I’d be astride my bike the whole way. And so, when I came to a boulevard stretch of the trail early on that was being watered with lawn sprinklers, all I could do was ride through them. I got a thorough soaking, which would have been better near the end of my ride than at the beginning, but aside from the spots on my glasses, I knew the water would evaporate soon.

After about four miles I was entering a stretch where I knew the pavement was in rough shape. Since much of it runs stream side, there are parts that are cracking and slowly sliding down the hill toward the water. And the recent big rains had washed out a few places where the trail was fenced off to prevent riders and runners from going over the edge. It’s also kind of trashy along this part because the stream brings down debris and leaves it when the high water recedes.

But it’s a familiar stretch that I’ve run and ridden many times, and just after mile post 15 is the establishment where my beer education classes are held, so despite the drawbacks, I liked being along there.

And I was doing fine. I felt no fatigue, and the heat of the morning hadn’t arrived yet. About the only complaint I had at this point was that in some spots I was riding directly into the rising sun, which made seeing hazards ahead of me difficult. This also made passing under roads through dark tunnels a challenge. Eyes adapted to bright light are suddenly thrust into comparative darkness, and the tunnels can hold their own hazards, like mud, collected trash, and even other trail users. I had no mishaps in the tunnels (and, sadly, the graffiti is being painted over), but in two cases, coming out of the tunnels back into the bright sunlight caused me some trouble.

I continued along the familiar path with no trouble. The short hills, to rise onto bridges to be crossed, for example, were all known to me, so I could build up enuf momentum to meet them well. But what I found along here, barely five miles into my adventure, was that if I didn’t think about how far I had to go, the present distance was not difficult at all. You could say I was “in the moment” or the “pleasant present,” but let’s not, okay?

When I say this part was familiar, I mean from the opposite direction. Most of my riding along here is to get to the beer education establishment (where a ride home always awaited me), which I had passed already. So I was gliding down hills that had always challenged me before and grinding up ones that I had breezed down in the past. That was refreshing in its way, which broke up some of the tedium of the trail.

I had not carried water, and I had passed the few water fountains on my route thus far because a) I wanted the ride to be continuous, and b) I wasn’t thirsty. I know from my running experience that thirst is not the best way to judge dehydration, and I probably should have at least sipped some water at the fountains, but I hadn’t.

The trail passes through my neighborhood, only 6/10 of a mile from my house. When I got there I would have traveled about a dozen miles, and I half expected my wife (and likely the dogs) to be waiting trailside to cheer me on (or to haul me back home if my ambition exceeded my ability). They weren’t though. She had stayed at Hampton Park after I had left to give the dogs a walk around the same circle I had ridden, and since my ride was continuous, without serious traffic or even stoplights I needed to obey (at that hour), I was actually making about the same progress to my neighborhood as she was. She calculated that when I had passed through our neighborhood, she was probably just arriving home. As it was, I was still feeling fine at that point and just rolled on through.

When I ride the trail, I tend to go west (the direction I was coming from on this ride) because if I go east any worthwhile distance, I face the two biggest hills on the trail. One is three-quarters of a mile long, and while not steep, it is more or less unrelenting. It takes constant peddling to keep moving forward. (There are some brief stretches along it that are flat, but you don’t want to be deceived into surrendering your momentum there.) So not long after I left my neighborhood, I passed under the interstate highway (for the first time) and then faced the bottom of that three-quarter mile hill. But I knew it was coming. I’d run up it many times, and I have ridden up it, so it was merely a matter of resolve. And I reached the top, making the turn that would quickly undo all of that elevation gain. But first I had to bump over a quarter mile of oddly rough trail. I think the drainage from the trailside apartment development there makes keeping the trail flat (-ish) a challenge. I’m no engineer, nor am I a city planner, but I can’t figure out why parts like this are left in such poor shape while other stretches seem to get repaved every couple of years.

But I bumped through it and soon came to a downhill piece with two blind curves thrown in. Once again, my early hour on the trail meant that I didn’t encounter anyone as I zipped down the hill. But after this point came the first of two bridges that really need some redesigning. They are over Indian Creek, and they’re road bridges with sidewalks on each side, but whoever designed them had never ridden on a bicycle. The sidewalks are probably standard width, but on one side is a high steel fence (to keep you from pitching into the creek below) and on the other side is a shin-high concrete barrier (apparently to keep wayward cars from pitching into you). The trouble is that if you’re on a bike, you have little margin for error. You have to stay focused on keeping in the middle of this sidewalk until you’re across. And compound this with the chance (likelihood) that you will face another cyclist coming at you from the other direction. I think, mathematically, there is enuf space for two cyclists, but one time as I was trying to leave enuf room for an oncoming wheeler, I managed to scrape a body part on the concrete barrier (at shin height). Anymore, I check to see if anyone is coming my way before I start across these bridges, and if there is, I stop and let them pass. Fortunately for my plan to be continuous, I didn’t have to stop either time.

Again I passed a chance to get a drink (in the park where I’ve recounted here a number of spooky experiences I’ve had) and kept peddling. But soon my continuous ride met its first stop.

The second of the two in-need-of-redesigning bridges was ahead of me, and before I could ride across it at peril to my shins, I first had to ride under it. That part was easy, but I knew that the turn to get up to street level was going to be a challenge. First, it’s blind. Second, you’re coming out of darkness into sunlight. Third, the trail under the bridge always has mud or dried mud on it, so it’s iffy about building momentum there. On this day, I went under the bridge and managed not to hit two people who were blithely walking down the center of the path. (They had sufficient line of sight to know I was coming!) Then, as I came out on the other side, with insufficient momentum, two more people were coming down the hill, not staying to the right as they should. I had to brake to avoid them, and then I came upon a woman who was running on the trail, just coming down the hill I had to climb. I tried. I cranked. But I just couldn’t get up this hill. It’s not all that long, maybe thirty feet from bottom to top, but it is steep. And without enuf momentum, it beat me.

Well, it happened. But I walked my bike up the remainder of the hill and then started peddling again, crossing the shin-endangering bridge I had just passed under, and beginning to think about the other very challenging hill on the trail that was about a mile ahead of me.

The next mile or so is a nice stretch of trail. It’s mostly flat, with rises that are easy to manage, and it’s well maintained. One particularly bumpy section was recently repaved. But after this point, it forks. A rider can go one way and, after a bit of riding on a neighborhood street, can get on a spur of the trail to rejoin the main trail ahead. The benefit of this route is that you can wholly avoid the monster hill the the other direction at the fork takes you.

My ambition was to face the trail as it came, and that meant facing that hill. But despite having a long, flat approach were I could build some serious momentum, I still couldn’t crank to the top of that hill. I could blame the condition of the pavement there, but that hardly made a difference to my climb. I was already stopping before I came to that point. I have never gotten up this hill under pedal power. (Hills are so much easier to manage running.) So I was not too disappointed when I had my second break of the morning. I walked to the top of the hill, mounted my bike again, and began sailing down the other side of the hill, leaning into the two blind curves along here and not running over anyone.

By this time I had ridden about 16 miles. I had passed milepost 4 as I was zooming down that hill. There were a few more bridges to get onto, but the hard hills were now behind me, and while I still didn’t recognize any fatigue in my muscles, I did begin to think it would be just delightful to stop riding for a while and sit on a bench.

Part of this was due to a wardrobe malfunction. Because of a torn piece of fabric, and the mechanics of a leg in continuous, repetitive movement, I was experiencing an intensely focused chafing in a place where a guy doesn’t want to experience chafing. (Subsequent investigation found that blood was drawn.) At first I didn’t realize what was happening and decided to ignore it. (This actually can work when running. A sore knee at the beginning of a run can become merely a question later: was it my right or left knee that hurt?) Because I didn’t want to stop, I poked around a little as discreetly as I could and soon discovered what was wrong. (It’s unclear to me whether a more thorough gear check earlier that morning would have identified the potential problem.) There was little I could do other than stand on my pedals and try to tug the offending garment down a little. This worked for a time, but I had to repeat it, and the damage was already done.

Not long after this, I came to and passed through a park where yet another water fountain was ignored and I had to pass under a road then circle up and make a hairpin turn to cross the bridge. I’m not the only one challenged by this poor design. The grass beside the paved trail here is being worn down by riders taking the turn more widely than what the pavement offers. That also makes the ascent less steep. And though there is most of an acre of open meadow here beside the trail, no one has redesigned the path to veer into it even a little bit to fix this. Which is all to say that I didn’t make this hill either. It’s not an especially steep or long hill, but you come at it after passing under a bridge and making a blind turn. I cranked up as far as I could and resigned myself to this third break in my continuity. Once I was to the top I started peddling again and threw my mind farther down the trail, trying to see if there were any other disappointments waiting.

But this narrative has gone on too long. I’ll finish my thrilling account tomorrow.

*I have never, ever seen a rat on the trail, though I have seen snakes and chipmunks and bunnies and squirrels and birds of prey as well as many varieties of humans. The reference is more economic than critter based, and even at that, the “rats” reference is extreme.

back to Roundrock, again

Posted June 24, 2019 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Roundrock

Tags: , ,

With so much rain lately, my visits to Roundrock are governed by whether or not the roads to it are passable. A decent couple of days, weatherwise, last weekend suggested I could have an overnight at my little cabin on the edge of the Missouri Ozarks. And so I snuck out of work a little early on Friday, threw some things in the Prolechariot, and took off for the woods.

My neighbor down there, with whom I maintain a texting friendship, reported that although the county road was no longer underwater, the weather was horrible, with hail and lightning and a sky that was green! I had seen the weather forecast, though, and told him I was still on my way and that I would bring some sunshine along with me.

The rain had stopped before I arrived, but the forest was still dripping when I left the paved road and drove the two graveled miles to my cabin. It was still standing, and the lake was still there (not washed away by a breach of the dam from all of the rain and high water). Branches were down here and there, but otherwise the forest and cabin endured.

When I’d last visited, two weekends before, the phoebe nest on the side of the cabin, under the protective porch roof, held four eggs. On this visit, I saw what you see below:

I count at least two chicks in the nest, and while momma phoebe perched on a branch nearby as I passed in and out of the cabin, scolding me the whole time, she grew a bit more comfortable with my presence in her realm and didn’t always fly off the nest when I appeared or even moved as I sat in the comfy chair overlooking the sparkling lake.

I had fully intended to swim in the lake this visit. The forecast called for 92 degrees, and I had even brought my swimming gear this time. But the storm had left behind cooler temperatures after it passed, and it never rose above 70 degrees that afternoon. I suppose swimming was still possible — the water temperature was likely warm enuf — but I chose not to.

I had also brought the chainsaw — with the chain on it properly this time — but I’m always reluctant to use it when I’m alone in the forest, on the wrong side of the ridge where we don’t get a cell signal. There was still that oak that defeated me before, and there are two closer to the cabin that I want to remove to have more parking space (for when you come to visit, natch!), but I didn’t fire up the machine.

The only chore I did undertake when I visited was to do something about the spillway that continues to wash out. I’ve mentioned here before that I have hired a man to fix it and even pave the top part of it to prevent further erosion, but the rain has kept him busy in other parts of the county, and he got himself elected mayor of the nearby town, so he has myriad responsibilities now, and a small job like mine probably isn’t high on his list.

The high water that rushes into the spillway has now cut a six-foot drop. It still carries the excess water away, but every high-water event erodes a little more of the spillway, and if that six-foot drop reaches the lake itself (at least fifteen more feet of linear distance) then the lake will begin pouring out. Short of carrying buckets of washed-out rock a hundred feet up from below the dam to the drop — hundreds of buckets — about the only other thing I figured I could do was cut a bunch of smallish cedars and throw them in the hole then throw some heavy rocks on top of them. And this is what I did.

My thought is that the presence of the cedars in the hole will blunt the force of any water pouring into it, thus preventing the hole from getting any deeper. Also, the fine needles and branching pattern of the cedars might collect some of the silt from the overflow, filling in the hole at least a little.

As I was doing this, standing in the bottom of the hole, I could see at head height some old cedars protruding from the ground. They were from my last attempt at slowing the erosion, and now they were above my head.

The boulder you see in the photo at the top of this post is the size of my truck. It sits farther down the spillway, and in a perfect world it would be under a few feet of soil, lush with grass that would prevent erosion.

Nature always wins. (That’s actually the title I would use for any sequel I write to One-Match Fire.) My little efforts will make not much difference at all, but sitting on the porch, wringing my hands, will make even less. Also, it’s something I can continue to do as I wait for the contractor to come and finish the job. (I texted him over the weekend and made things sound dire. He promised to get a crew out there this week. That would be dandy, but I don’t think there are any heavy rainstorms coming soon, and the lake level is slowing lowering anyway, so maybe the crisis will be over for this year.)

After doing what I could down in the spillway hole, I retreated to the cabin and began thinking about building a fire. It was the solstice, so the sun wasn’t going to set for several hours. I’m fussy about fires in my forest. Once I have them going, I feel that I should tend them carefully, keeping them safely within the ring of blocks and not rampaging through the forest. Thus I did not want to start the fire too soon and then be stuck before it for hours of daylight, waiting for darkness to fall (and the whippoorwills to sing).

The forest was wet from the recent rain, and my fears were not very substantive, but even so, I didn’t want to set match to tinder too soon. So I returned to the cabin (at momma phoebe’s dissatisfaction) and wrote in my visit journal and made notes for the stories I write that seem to come to me in waves when I’m at the cabin. (I am grateful for this.)

The hours passed. I watched as a fawn walked along the shoreline across the lake. Later, I saw a raccoon wading the shallows there, hunting, I suppose, for frogs or tadpoles or insects. I had seen four quail as I drove in from the paved road earlier, which is something I’ve wanted to see ever since my feet first touched the ground there. I think I’ve mentioned before the idyllic summers I had spent at my grandparent’s farm in Kentucky as a boy. That was when I had first heard the call of the bobwhite quail, and I had hoped that my own time in the woods and fields would deliver that call to me again. Not yet, but just seeing the quail was encouraging.

At around 7:00 p.m., an hour and a half before official sunset, I walked to the fire ring and began assembling my evening fire. I’d been collecting tinder for a long time. I prefer paper bags. They light easily and they seem to burn hot but not fast, giving the kindling a chance to ignite in its turn. (Also, going to the bagel store often results in a paper bag.)

My concern was that the kindling itself was wet from the rain. I don’t cover my wood pile, and the kindling I collect is from the forest floor nearby, so it faces all of the weather that comes. I have built fires with wet kindling that sputtered out, and I allowed myself more than one match to get this one going.

I built the fire, adding more than my normal amount of paper-bag tinder (also gas receipts, empty instant-oatmeal packets, and such) then mounted the kindling over it. When I judged that I had enuf, I drew a single match from the box and struck it, lighting the exposed paper bags where I could then dropping the match into the kindling when it had burned down too far to hold any longer.

My tinder burned robustly, but the kindling seemed reluctant. Once all of the paper was ash, I had only a few small flames licking in the top of the pyramid of kindling, which isn’t how the plan was supposed to go. (Normally, you want your fire to start at the bottom and consume the fuel above it.) But I fed those flames with small sticks and kind words and somehow, I managed to get a real fire going on that first match.

As this was happening, I was preparing the larger sticks as fuel for the long haul. I carefully added them to the fire — along with some scrap lumber I had brought from home as well as yet another picket from the rotting fence that surrounds my back yard — and watched as they joined the effort.

I had succeeded in building a one-match fire despite having wet kindling and fuel, and if it wasn’t the same as a Jack London story, it was still satisfying to me.

The fire carried me past sunset and into the night. I was not cooking my dinner over these flames, so all I really had to do was enjoy them. And I did.

Not the best photo, but here is the “mature” fire, filled with hot coals and warm flames, ready to accept and consume whatever else I would add to it.

I lingered before my fire well past my usual bedtime because I was waiting, as I always do, to hear a whippoorwill. Simple pleasures, right? I did hear some calling farther in the forest, but the randy frogs down the hill in the lake were croaking so lustily that it was hard to hear anything above their chorus. (I did hear a whippoorwill through the open cabin windows sometime in the night.)

In the morning I rose and thought once again about jumping in the lake to rinse off the grime of my chores and fire building and general sweating in the Ozark humidity. But I did not. My son and his wife had arrived in Kansas City the night before, and I felt obliged to return home sooner rather than later to spend time with them (and see if they had any news, which they didn’t). I slept two hours later than my normal time, and I didn’t rush as I prepared to leave. I straightened around the cabin site, putting fresh (bug-free) sheets on the bed I had slept in, taking extra time (at the phoebe’s consternation) to sweep the porch thoroughly, and pretty much satisfying myself that I had set thing aright as much as I could.

I’m entering the season when I feel daunted by my feeble attempts to maintain a small cabin in a small forest. The plants are growing so vigorously now that any idea of imposing human order in that space seems futile. But it’s only temporary. By August, when the heat of the summer asserts itself fully, all of the febrile growth begins to question itself. The plants begin to wither and fall back, and once again I feel that I can establish my presence in the forest.

And already, I’m looking at this coming weekend for another visit.

this week’s rescue read

Posted June 19, 2019 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Rants and ruminations

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This week’s rescue read is The Ghost Writer, by Philip Roth. When I finish a book that I don’t really like, I search for one I do so that I can “rescue” my reading self from its wander into the wilderness. I’ve said here before that I’ve probably read The Ghost Writer thirty times, and while I have ready it many, many times, on reflection I don’t think it’s been thirty.

I came to the novel in the first year of my marriage (more than thirty years ago), and for a while I read it every year. I think there may have been a year when I read it twice even. But it is part of a trilogy (and the central character makes appearances in other Roth novels not related to the trilogy) so when I finish this novel, I tend to pick up the next two, and that, along with reading everything else in the world, tends to spread out my visits.

I think it’s safe to say, however, that I’ve read The Ghost Writer more than twenty times. Many people find American Pastoral to be Roth’s greatest novel. Some cite The Human Stain. Some even think Sabbath’s Theater earns the title (in which Roth first discovered his angry old man theme). But if I were going to introduce someone to Roth’s writings, I would make the case for The Ghost Writer, at least as the best place to begin.

Add to this the fact that the central character is in search of a new spiritual father and you can see why I like it so much.

Here is a single sentence from the novel. A young, aspiring writer is meeting who he thinks is his hero novelist:

In fact, the writer who found irresistible all vital and dubious types, not excluding the swindlers of both sexes who trampled upon the large hearts of his optimistic, undone heroes; the writer who could locate the hypnotic core in the most devious American self-seeker and lead him to disclose, in spirited locutions all his own, the depths of his conniving soul; the writer whose absorption with “the grand human discord” made his every paragraph a little novel in itself, every page packed as tight as Dickens or Dostoevsky with the latest news of manias, temptations, passions, and dreams, with mankind aflame with feeling — well, in the flesh he gave the impression of being out to lunch.

something in the water?

Posted June 18, 2019 by Paul Lamb
Categories: short stories

I can’t account for it but in recent weeks I’ve been getting a lot of writing done. I noted that two weekends ago I had written a 4,800-word story (that I’ve since made a chapter in One-Match Fire), and now this most recent weekend I started and finished a first draft of a stand-alone short story.

I managed 1,900 words, and they cover the story fully. I still want to refine them so that they enhance the tone in several places, but overall, the story is written.

It’s based on an incident in my past running life, and it’s a comic tale with a surprising but inevitable ending. Just as with the other story, it seemed to write itself.

I have a publication in mind for it, and when I think it’s ready, I’ll submit it. but the story might work for different themes, so if I see a call that it could fit, I’ll probably send it along.

confidence

Posted June 17, 2019 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Fathers and Sons

I mentioned before that I had somehow written a 4,800-word story that would work well as an early chapter in One-Match Fire. I got the first draft done in two writing sessions (because I know the characters so well and I knew what hole in the narrative needed filling), and I’ve been refining it ever since. It’s part comical and part serious; it deals with a father helping his son face a rite of passage all boys face at a certain age. Plus it makes more clear the cause of a tension that dominates most of the second half of the novel.

I had looked at the 4,800 words, thinking that was really too long for an effective short story, and my refinements had been mostly about trimming the word count. But then I realized it wasn’t going to be a stand-alone story but a chapter in a much larger novel, and aside from being roughly similar in size to the other chapters, I didn’t need to reduce its word count for the sake of fewer words.

Better words, however, remained a goal. I had a first draft in hand, and there was still plenty I could do to it to make it better. In the end I shaved about 300 words, even as I more clearly defined the scenes and the state of the two characters’ minds.

And I’ve added it to the manuscript of OMF, making it the new Chapter Five and titling it “Confidence.” This swells the novel’s word count to 88,000 words. This also required me to add another inter-chapter vignette, which was handy since I used it to give further voice to one of the minor characters.

The word “confidence” has a double meaning, and I use both in the story, literally and thematically. I’m pleased with the new chapter. I think it adds something that was missing in the novel.

Update 18JUN19 – Although I’m thinking of changing the title from “Confidence” to “Rite of Passage.”

bits and pieces

Posted June 12, 2019 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Ramblings Off Topic

That annoying dilemma when you just want to finish a book because you don’t really like it, but you don’t want to read it because you don’t really like it.* This time it’s The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman.

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The last OMF story I had in circulation was rejected last week. On balance, I think that’s fine. No more parts; time for the whole.

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Speaking of the whole, somehow I wrote a 4,700 word story last weekend that I’m probably going to slip into OMF near the start. There are a couple of long gaps of years in the narrative, and this one helps fill one of the gaps.

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Yes, Absalom, Absalom sits unfinished on my to-be-read shelf, for perhaps five years now. Sooner or later I’m going to have to begin again with it. (Again, *)

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Beer sampling and bike riding go well together (though not simultaneously). And the biking bit may not be too nice in the winter.

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Random photo from deep in the archives. This is a sycamore leaf out at my Ozark cabin from many years ago. I photographed it from behind to get the effect of the sun illuminating it; I was trying to be a bit more artistic than just reportorial photography (back in my Roundrock Journal Days). When we first started stomping on those acres, we had no sycamores, but when we cleared the valley for the lake, and more sunlight and water became available, sycamores began appearing on their own.

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*I pretty much must finish every book I read.

coming storm ~ Skywatch Friday

Posted June 7, 2019 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Ramblings Off Topic

Tags:

Last Saturday I saw that I had a window of opportunity before the forecasted rains came, so I jumped on my bike and hit the trail. My destination was about ten miles away, on mostly flat trail, and I got there with no trouble. Then I refueled and rehydrated and it was time to go home.

Fortunately, my wife had met me with my truck and I tossed the bike in the back then drove home. But before we did that, I glanced at the sky and saw the front approaching.

The trail had been muddy in recent weeks, and my bike was a mess as a result, so it got a nice little (but insufficient) rinse in the bed of my truck.

Visit Skywatch Friday.