Sep 4, 2006

Rocketting off into the universe

We spent the night camping along the southern fork of the Eel River. The camp ground was jammed and noisey. People stayed up all night listening to loud music and chopping wood. They seemed to be mostly latino. Close to the road, everyone seemed to own a Chevy truck; down across the river, in the woods, everyone owned a Toyota truck. We left early the next day and tried to find a trail to an old growth grove but the trail petered out and there was no grove.

We got separated for a while and I came upon a doe, feeding in a thicket. It was about to scamper and kept stamping its left hoof. I stayed perfectly still, less than 10 yards away. It stared at me and stamped it's hoof, like a kid's foot gunning the engine. It's ears circled and dropped and rose, like some kind of weired radar system. After a couple of minutes, the doe stopped stamping. We both relaxed, but watching each other, dreaming in one way or another, transfixed, mindless, off. Eventually, I walked on; the doe went back to her feed.

We drove on, almost to Garberville and stopped at an old growth grove that straddles the road. I lay down on one of those benches fashioned from a section of Redwood. They're reminiscent of those deco style benches you used to see in Miami Beach.

The reason to come to this place is to lie on your back and look up. Many metaphors come to mind. One is the notion of a bridge and that in turn brought back an image described in a New Yorker Talk of the Town piece written just after the World Trade Center was built. The writer looked up and imagined a roadway to the stars.

You could do the same here, although on this day, with the sun coming in at an early afternoon angle and the way the branches were set, there was more the suggestion of four rockets launching simultaneously, amidst explosions of green and yellow blast. It was all about leaving the earth, escaping all the old gravities, going off on a 6,000 year-old-space ship bound for tomorrow.

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