The sun rises at 4:30 am here. And at least half the time, so do I. Seriously. It's beautiful out then, cool but not cold, rosy, still. I usually go out and walk around for a bit, then hit the computer or some netflix to try and get myself sleepy again. Which usually takes until about 7 or so, then I go back to sleep 'till 10 or 11.
The other morning, my second of the day, I was stumbling out of bed when Mom knocked on my door. "Potterman says there's a HUGE diamondback rattler sunning on the road!" she said, excited. "Wanna go take a picture??" "Heck yeah!!" I said, rubbing my eyes and patting at my sleep tousled cow lick. I grabbed some flip flops, a hairbrush, and my camera and off we zoomed.
On the way Mom saw a guy she knew, driving the other direction. We stopped, and so did he- apparently blocking the whole road is "allowed" out here in small towns. It's not like anyone came while we chatted. Anyway, she told him what we were looking for and he said, "Oh yeah, I just saw 'im! Follow me!" And so we did. And there it was. Four and a half feet long, beautiful... and then, as I stalked it, I thought, you know, maybe flip flops weren't the best shoe for this. But there was no stopping the crazed wildlife paparazzi, oh no. I crept closer and closer, snapping away. I don't think it appreciated the attention, because it started to slither away. "Do you dare me to pick it up?" Mom kept asking. "I dare you NOT to," I said. "I used to be able to do this all the time," she said, "and you used to pick up lizards and stuff when you were a kid." "Yeah, until the alligator lizard that bit my finger AND WOULDN"T LET GO." I had to lay my finger with the lizard clamped on on the ground and beg it to let go and run away. Last lizard I ever bothered. So Mom tried to pick up the snake, but it freaked out and jerked from 52 inch line to 10 inch squiggle, so she just petted it. Have I mentioned that it was just a really big gopher snake? Sorry, hope I didn't start any panic attacks out there. I got my photo fix, the snake found a nice safe drain so as not to get run over (or hassled by nature freaks), and Mom got to be the brave one who touched it. Cool. And I got to SOUND cool with my rattler stalking ...until the gopher snake part. Pretty nifty, eh?
Tumbleweed. It is my arch nemesis. Okay not really. But it's probably at least the spawn of satan. How mean am I to say that about a plant, me, the usual champion of weeds? Well. I met the spiny side of this terror. It is not pretty. And it's not nice. And I've made it my mission to eradicate it from the 4 acres upon which I reside. Which, honestly, is laughable. I could pick a bushel a day and never win the race towards dried- spiny- stab- you- in- the- leg season.
Let me start at the beginning. I love weeding. Always have. Tumbleweed comes up easier than any weed I've ever pulled, which is awesome. It gets my zen on, although, granted, I can really only stand hunching over and kneeling and crouching for an hour, tops. It makes me feel terrible empathy for immigrant strawberry pickers making 50 cents an hour under the table. Oooops, didn't mean to delve into politics there. But since I did...
I moved to Arizona. What if the people here didn't let me? I came for a better standard of living, willing to contribute to the economy and abide the laws... granted, I speak the same language, but other than that, how different is my migration from a Mexicans? We're all earthlings, as granola as that may sound. Yeah, I'm a big fat hippie socialist. Oh well. Back to my racist tumbleweed eradication.
See, I'd only kill in self defense. A mosquito bites me, it becomes a bloody smear on my skin. That sort of thing. Tumbleweed not only bites me when I walk by, but it's an invasive species only here because of man-made conditions. Haha, besides being a fat hippie socialist plant racist, I'm leaving the phrase as "man-made" instead of the (?) PC "human made". Oops, I again digressed.
Anyway, while pulling weed after weed, it dawned on me that it would be cool to see my progress. Plus, my pull n' toss method might just end up as transplanting. So I got a bag and started filling it. Pheonix and Lilly not only kept me company, they graciously volunteered as supervisors. And the weirdest thing happened. This feeling of absolute connect, of rightness, came over me. For one thing, I still need as much mind numbing distraction as possible from Sebastian's freak accident death, and weeding gave me that. But when I actually started collecting the tumbleweed, it was like I was reaching into my deepest gene codes, my most ancient ancestry, filling the primitive need to gather. It's like how campfires can mesmerize you. It's our human roots. And, come to think of it, it's why I think we should look at all people as earth dwellers, united, who cares where lines are drawn on maps and what deity or deities any one of us believes or disbelieves in, or who has brown eyes and who has freckles. We all came from the same place, be it monkeys, cavemen in africa, a god who created us and our habitat in seven days, etc.
I don't know. I don't know the answers to these thoughts and feelings. And I can't say my sense of human kinship will change my curmudgeonly tendencies. Nor can I say that I will live and let (tumbleweed) live. I guess all I can do is what I've always done... try to be empathetic, try to treat others with courtesy and respect, try to be thankful for what I have, and most of all, try to have more love than negativity in my system.
I've branched out from turtles. When I make these critters, except for the cats, which are really easy, three or four hours will pass with out me even being aware of it. It's a great escape, 'cause I don't think about anything other than the clay. Even better of an escape than tequila, because instead of waking up with a headache I wake up will colorful, fanciful lil' characters.
Now, Mom, Potterman and I each pitched in 25 bucks for a booth at the local three day, July 4th faire. I am going to attempt to sell some of my photos, some in mats but most just as cards. And I am even going to try to sell some of my clay creations. I feel terribly vain and egomaniacal about it, but that's not going to stop me. If I can sell just one card or photo or critter it will make my year.
However, considering how long the critters take to make, due to the teeny tiny neuro-surgical steady hand and eye focus required, I will at most have 50 of 'em. That's my goal, anyway. Even if I don't sell a thing, it'll be a good experience. Also, I'll have my christmas shopping done in advance because I'll be pawning 'em all of on my friends and family. MUAH HA HA HA HA. P.S. Ignore the scary bug behind the kitties. While native, that particular individual is dried and dead, so no clay kitties will be harmed by lurking monsters.
It's been rough here, emotionally. Physically, weatherwise, it's been one beautiful day after another. I've found many new grief diversions, all better than, say, tequila, but Blogger, the confounded blankity blank is (again) refusing my pics. So I have now composed not one, not two, but FOUR new tales of my adventures here... and as soon as Blogger gets it together and I can have illustrations to embelish my stories, I will.
Thanks everyone for the cards and calls and comments about Sebastian.
And now my hash browns are burning. Be back (hopefully) soon.