Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Oh, sublime beauty rise above the gray mass and matter…

Damn school district didn’t call me in today, so I’ve spent idle Tuesday reading the papers, went out for a bike ride and got my backside muddy. There are still many puddles after two straight days of steady rain. I ate my first persimmon a little while ago. I read an article about the tree fruit. They are ripe right now. Esther said it tasted kind of like a tomato and a pumpkin. It certainly had the texture of a tomato and color and smell of a pumpkin. It was also super sweet and the skin left a bitter gritty coating on my teeth, tongue and upper palate. I’ll peel the skin next time.

Stopped at 320 Store and bought some fruits and veggies, along with some texturized vegetable protein. I would have bought more, but I had to fit it in my pack. They’ve got some rye flour. Esther and I learned how to bake bread from Mom Larson Sunday. We’re going to do it again Sunday at the Larson’s, this time with guidance, but no assistance from Mom. Bread making is a very tactile process, shape and knead the dough, watch the yeast rise and bubble, smell its fermentation. Making bread is life- affirming. And fresh bread tastes really good!!

Halloween night we went up to Madison to see our friend Susie, who drove us out to a secluded cabin in the middle of nowhere to a party. We each got one beer before the keg went dry. Esther was cat girl, with cardboard animal ears, a felt trail, brown gloves and black lines on her nose. Susie was space cadet, with silver and black makeup and a tin foil hat, shoulder pads, belt and spats… I was the pervert hiker. Susie said I couldn’t just get by as a hiker (even though I wore shorts over long johns, gaiters and head lamp). So she gave me some supplies from her sex toys business, including handcuffs, cheesy naked playing cards, a novelty condom and lipstick shaped like a penis. I walked in the door to a room of complete strangers and announced “no good porn has been made since 1983.”

We stayed up almost all night, then got up at 7 a.m. Saturday and drove to Milton, WI, to lead a 10-person trail crew as we finished establishing tread for the 700-feet railroad segment. After noon Esther and I put blazes through the section. Esther marked areas where directional posts should be placed.

Came home super tired. Esther took a nap while I did mindless computer work, downloaded pictures and journal entries to our 2000 AT online journals. I’m really excited to get this journal back online. It was originally placed on trailplace.com, but the guy who runs the sight took it down shortly after the end of the season. I thought I had a copy of the journals on disk, but I only had a few entries… until our friend Trainwreck discovered the journals on a disk and e-mailed them to us. It’s nice to share the pictures for the first time. I’ve finally learned how to use the scanner.

Sunday night we went over to Susie’s Dad’s place in Loves Park with Shawn. Susie cooked up this really good pizza with pesto, pickled garlic cloves and pine nuts. I’ve always wanted to cook with pine nuts because they are a staple of Italian cooking, but this was the first time I’d had any. I love the subtle nutty burst of piney-ness in each bite.
I also ate fresh horseradish for the first time, with fake crab meat. Yum!

Last night I participated in a poetry slam at the Rockford Public Library. Fourteen participants in two groups of seven. After the first round the audience votes, narrowing the competitive field to six. I made the second round, and though I did not win I was voted “most creative” and got a care package, including a wooden frame, journal, necklace, book, and word refrigerator magnets. It’s the first poetry reading I’ve gone to, well, since last fall…

This time of year my social calendar slows down. Next weekend I don’t have any trail activities planned. Tonight I’m going to do something novel and stay home. What am I going to do with this great maw of time?

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