Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Konza part x (?) (April)

“I’m back again, this frosty and misty April morning. I think it’s the 11th? 10th? Mmmm, and the birds are singing and the grass is greening and everything smells so springing. We got rain last night, turned to frost. The drive in was through clouds – waves of clouds, -- then it opened up and here I am. I haven’t been here for a while; we’ll see how it looks after the deserts of the Colorado Plateau.” (10.1)

The little creek is flowing; I can hear it before I even come to it. I never realized that it makes noise, oh it’s trickling and burbling and laughing as creeks should. I wonder why that’s always such a soothing noise. I guess if you’re traversing the prairie or the desert, then that sound of water rushing… (10.2)

I think it was William Least Heat-Moon in PrairyErth who was chiding Kansas for having the meadowlark as the state bird, as do something like five other states, but that’s the first bird whose song I learned to identify and I’m still so happy to see them sitting on the fence wire; I like meadowlarks. Lark, larklark. I like meadows; I like larks. Put them together and you have that song, that song of spring and sunshine – lark! (10.3)

Burn! I just realized – I was so lost in my thoughts, then I got to the turn, the first junction with the trail, and wow! Oh I was wondering why it looked so bald ahead, but I thought it was just something to do with my sunglasses. So. I don’t know, it’s sort of beautiful. Hmmm. (10.4)

I wonder how they keep the signs from charring. (10.5)

I had no idea that outcropping of rocks rings all these hills! I should have realized, but I never thought about it. The burn has uncovered more – some little scraggly bushes, trees still sticking up. Odd to see the very distinct lines where they mowed and controlled – the idea of ‘controlling’ fires fascinating too… I was thinking that this ought to be a similar experience to walking across salt flats, where you just have this flat lifeless monotone, alien landscape. It should seem… I don’t know how to explain it – sensually it’s the same, but here it’s such a different perspective – a hope, a renewal, this is all going to regrow. It’s potential… it’s… I don’t know. I keep saying ‘I don’t know,’ I don’t know… (10.6)

A little pool! I didn’t know that was there.

Burn only on one side, I keep looking back and forth right to left, grasses so soft and feathery, traditional landscape with hills and mist in the distance, and the other side just black with these pools reflecting the sky, such a different idea. Back and forth, grass and… I think the burnt landscape feels more alive? Now the grasses are just brown and dead, then over here, it’s just water and earth… and [laughs] sky. (10.7)

I just want to splash in the puddles and roll in the mud! Like a buffalo, I suppose. Oh, I know I’m not allowed to (because it’s Konza. Rules.) but oh… (10.8)

Why is it I can’t get the same feeling anywhere else? Watching movies or talking to people or reading a book. Not the same as the wind and the sun and even the rain, even fire. I was thinking that, as we were doing the Refuge essays, that people turn to different things for solace – to baseball, to family, to words – to reconnect with the world outside themselves and in so doing reconnect with themselves. [“Them,” I say, “them,” as though I’m not one of “them,” I’m a wild creature, not a social specie.] We’re not supposed to – now that’s interesting, ‘supposed to,’ according to Taoism, Buddhism – need anything outside ourselves, but I can’t remember, can’t appreciate the wind (or it’s absence) without it there.

I don’t even like Konza, compared to anything. I mean, I’m following this six-mile path over and over again, I can’t go splash in the puddles and I can’t go pick up stones and I can’t I can’t I can’t. But at the same time, nobody can control the wind, nobody can control the clouds, so I get that slight taste of something, something bigger than me, than us…

I hate cities, I hate buildings. I don’t want to say I hate people, but I just never feel this way, the way I feel out here… (10.9)

I just want to keep walking, walking and walking and walking without any responsibilities and goals. Here to not be on this trail, just… (10.10)

These moments, you know – I don’t know, I keep saying I don’t know, but my legs just got tired and my ears are cold and the wind is blowing and [can hear wind and birds on tape!] I don’t know. What to do. Just keep walking…. (10.11)

The peepers are peeping and the robins are looking for worms. It’s all wet and adamantly spring along the creek. (10.14)

Oh dear, drowning in thoughts/work/life, I'm afraid I've neglected this whole virtual realm for a while. I'm agonizingly trying to crystallize/coerce my prairie-walking observations into some sort of larger understanding(s), but egads thinking oughtn't get in the way of living, and moments oughtn't be frozen in over-interpretation. Here's the raw "data," though, from the past few weeks...

"It’s March, and I completely forgot to press the “Record” button. [On the way in, I’d disturbed a whole flock of turkeys who were munching on green stubble in the field, sent them scurrying into the sky. Hope they returned to finish their breakfast.] So we’ll try this again.

There’s a bird calling back to me – ‘twee-hoo, twee-hoo.’ It’s cold, windy, wet – it rained last night, so all the colors are out. And they burned too, so the soil is dark with charcoal and moisture [darkness! The contrast between the soil and the little green sprigs]…and oh, there’s a tree that’s fallen. I don’t remember that before, I think that’s new? A slump right here? Maybe I just didn’t notice, I can’t tell…

Anyway, everything’s wet. ‘Twee-ee-oo,’ go the birds. Green. I’ll just walk. (9.1)

I have to confess that after last night’s rain, I came out here expecting to experience that euphoric smell of spring. I keep breathing deeply [breathe], and don’t smell a thing. Maybe it’s the wind blowing it all away?

Today the light is different, at least. The sky is clouded over. (Stupid me forgot my raincoat, too.) With the sky clouded over, though, there aren’t any shadows… [abruptly interrupt thought, I’m sure I could have kept ruminating on that, but…] (9.2)

Runners! Two people running on the trail. I envy that they can do that, and at least they’re coming here – trail-running, -- but is there something you miss, by going at a runner’s pace? Different objective, I guess. (9.3)

I thought I just heard geese honking from somewhere far away. I heard them and got all excited to think, ‘Spring!,’ even though I hate geese and at home I always ugh, those obnoxious things would sit I swear outside my window and they would tease my dog. But after rereading Sand County Almanac – darn it all!, -- I’m sort of happy to hear geese. (9.4)

I’m excited that I’m talking again. I thought I was getting bored with the place, that I’d learned all it had to tell me, God, what a … not a failure or blindness, I don’t know what word I’m looking for, it was just a presumption, ugh. I’m seeing all sorts of new things; it feels different today. (9.5)

Lazy – that’s the word I was looking for, it was lazy of me. I need these cold grey days to feel alive. And here. (9.5b)

I just tried to take a picture of the path to show how bronze the grass is in comparison with the horizon, which is in one direction grey, and the other direction just this curious blue, blue-purple, the ‘blue of distance’ as the book I’m reading…(oh, what’s the title,…Solnit! By Rebecca Solnit!) or the purple of wet trees in March. But of course the camera can’t capture that; it’s something I’ll need to try painting, or just keep in my memory-file. (9.6)

Somewhere in that sea of grass, one little bird calling, ‘twee-oo, twee-oo; twee-oo, twee-oo.’

Oh I don’t have the notes right; I’d make a poor bird. (9.7)

I paused to take a picture of turkey tracks (‘take’ again, ugh), and heard this ‘ta-taptaptap, tap, ta-tap tap’ and thought it [a woodpecker] was right next to me, but I can’t see it among all these trees.

I also, a while back, took pictures of an old oak, this grand old oak. I don’t know why I didn’t say anything about it, there weren’t any words in my head [stepping up to the trunk, under that great canopy of branches], it felt mythic. [stumble for words…] I just wanted to stand under it, not talk about it. (9.8)

And I know it’s against the rules to step off the path, but sometimes rules just…hmm. (9.9)