Thinking of a name for a new character
This one’s probably better for the wobble. The web is just outside my window where zillions of gnats, moths, mosquitoes, and more gather every night, attracted by the lamp. Spider heaven! The spider is very active then, running back and forth to grab anything that gets caught. No wonder it’s so huge, two and a half inches easy with its legs stretched out.
I shot this with a 300mm telephoto lens from seven or eight feet away at midnight. I was busy with my last project and didn’t have the patience to set the camera up for low light, much less get out my monopod, which means it took a second or two and we have a virtual double exposure here. The neat thing is, this probably makes the spider twice as hairy. The image you see here is inverted in Photoshop CC, and the blue agrees with me.
I definitely need one of these
Announcing a new design at Redbubble! I guess you can tell I’ve been having fun today. The whole point of this exercise was to come up with a new T-shirt for myself, but guess what? The Redbubble printing process won’t reproduce these bright colors for tees, so nobody gets one until I figure out a work-around. In the meantime, you’ll have to satisfy yourselves with tote bags, throw pillows, iPhone and iPad cases, posters, greeting cards (?), and some nifty art prints that look like so:
I wanted this up there for the New Moon in Leo, and it looks like I made it. Next you’ll be pestering me about what it all means. Available now at my Redbubble store, including a version of the above with added text:
“Feel the Earth Shake ✪ Risk Everything Now”
UPDATE: My temporary solution to the T-shirt printing problem was to produce a white version of the design for clothing and stickers only. Still working on it, but for now, try this.
One dead, one writing, one lost
T his is just me I’m talking about, but let’s cut right to the chase: how about evangelical terrorism and emotional abuse? Yes, I know, yours isn’t like that, and no one is ever made to feel wretched or small. (I even believe you.) By all means go to church if you want to! Even without what I’m about to describe, however, I doubt I’d ever be into it. I do know from Spirit. Direct experience with something greater than oneself is a consequence of being wholly human, after all. I take my numinous encounters as they come, in Nature and real life, and they rock my world.
The above photo shows my sister Teresa, me, and brother Bill outside our apartment building at Rhein-Main Air Force Base in occupied West Germany, probably between my tenth and eleventh birthdays. Pre-puberty, at any rate. You can probably tell we’re heading off for Sunday school and/or church on Easter Sunday. (Yes, Johnny has a bible in his hand. Ever the scholar, that one.) Church and Sunday school for military dependents were non-denominational, although there were separate services for Protestants and Catholics. I don’t remember if there were Jewish observances of any kind.
At Rhein-Main AFB, what religious services there were took place in a school building. My Sunday school class met in a classroom. The teachers were volunteers and could have been adherents of any Protestant denomination. I remember one I particularly liked, a young enlisted man or noncom. He was smooth, funny, and made friends with us all. I remember actually looking forward to Sunday school just to see him, until he lowered the boom…
On this particular morning, he had all of us put our heads on the desk the way kids used to do to take naps in elementary school. At that point his entire demeanor and personality changed:
While we sat there trembling with our eyes closed, he raged about hellfire and damnation. Everybody was shaking and sobbing. But there was a way out, he said: “ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR PERSONAL SAVIOR!” he thundered, over and over again, to a room full of terrified ten-year-olds. “WILL YOU? DO YOU? RAISE YOUR HANDS IF YOU DO!”
You’d better believe we all did. He was so happy.
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Tres Orejas volcano in the distance
Not taken today, but that’s where I was. Similar but more grand. There was a large storm with lightning and heavy rain about twenty miles away on the other side of the gorge. It looked like a Portuguese man-of-war with horns and covered half the sky. I could see the rain advancing rapidly in my direction, but then it shifted east and north. You never know out here.
The vista was stupendous, too much for human eyes. Faraway storms covered most of the sky, save for a wide swath of blue edged with blinding while clouds. The sagebrush glowed green in the distance where great shafts of sunlight broke through and tumbled giant black shadows into the gorge. Best of all, I was completely alone, walking across the mesa in the middle of the Taos Valley Overlook with all this around me. All by myself in the middle of 2,581 acres. That’s four square miles. At three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon.
Sometimes Taos itself is the dirt on my windshield. This is what it takes to feel okay.
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Nature knows best
I swear I never saw these plants before in my life until a few months ago, right here. They’re incredibly tough. They made my Craftsman Brushwhacker cry. All I did was trim them some to make a path. Now they’re turning brown. There’s some outlaw septic tank drainage field work under all that, too, most expertly if accidentally disguised.
That’s the way it’s been this year. The back yard filled up with some kind of cute little green things that were completely new to me, and I’ve been in this location over ten years. They were so cute (and green), I left them alone for the longest time. It now turns out they produce millions of tiny burrs. This same plant also appeared all over the hillsides like some kind of invasion. I’d swear in court I never saw the things before. The cat’s fur is an unholy mess. Meanwhile, my wife complains of “sharp pokey things” in the rug, another kind of burr the cat drags in. I walk around barefoot all the time and never feel a thing.
“Life is tough all over,” I say nice enough to make her smile.
There’s no way to cut these weeds that I’m aware of. They’re like little carbon fiber trees. Not as if it really matters, though. Two adobes side by side in fatal probate, returning to the land… The property’s too small to qualify for a septic system if you knocked them down and started over. Whoever ends up with this place will have to wait until the sewer line gets out this way.
This is New Mexico, of course. I may not be dead yet then, but we will certainly be gone.
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