Monday, April 28, 2014

Fancy shmancy

Another slightly overwhelming weekend, probably best to recount chronologically.

I'll start with the rest stop before the turn off to "Other Desert Cities" at the base of Mount San Jacinto (10,834 feet and the 2nd highest range in SoCal). Snow clouds were feathering their way over the top, snagging on the rocks and evaporating as they were touched by the sun.

Random Saturday Cloudscape
Please understand that I have spent the last 14 years living in a canyon, deprived of sunrises and sunsets, and more than that, I live in Los Angeles, where one rarely sees clouds. I love clouds. I am besotted with clouds. I cannot stop taking photographs of them. Please indulge me (or change your settings to omit anything with the word "cloud" in it).

After we arrived at the cabin and settled in we drove over to the Copper Mountain Mesa Community Center for the monthly potluck. It was a very cheery affair, well attended with lots of fab food. Here's Ken putting out the bread we brought.

We chatted with neighbors Gloria and Kip, learned about cargo containers, and met new friends. My 3-bean salad was awful - I forgot to taste it and adjust the seasoning. The bread was good, though.

We said goodbye to our friends at CMMCC and drove to Wonder Valley to see the Sibleys at the Palms. Laura Sibley made a lovely ziti dinner ($5) but since I've sworn off 2nd dinners for the time being I passed and nursed a drink at the bar and listened to the opening act.

Ken asked James Sibley (bartender and drummer/singer/songwriter) when the Sibleys would be playing. James said, "When they're done," nodding toward the stage. Time. Time is different in the arid forest.

The Sibleys played a short set. Such fun songs - Can I Borrow Your Guillotine? is my favorite. Afterwards I ran into Annelies Kuiper, a local writer and volunteer at the CMMCC, and her friends and had a wonderful chat. We were home in bed by 9:00 p.m. and I was grateful that the music wasn't late and that many people here schedule their day on the rising and the setting of the sun.

On Sunday we chilled. Here's the sunrise. This is why I wake up at 4:30 a.m. - so I can see this from the first moment the sky starts to lighten.

I wish I were a better writer. The beauty of the arid forest leaves me speechless, able barely to choke out the words, "Here's another sunrise." Being a better reader than writer my lack of eloquence brings to mind this passage from Madame Bovary, by Flaubert,

"No one can ever express the exact measure of his needs, his conceptions, or his sorrows, and human speech is like a cracked pot on which we beat out rhythms for bears to dance to when we are striving to make music that will wring tears from the stars.”

Here's Ken (and words fail me again) sitting in the shade of the north porch. You can see how we installed a second door, and see the very effectual breezeway we've created (feng shui be damned). i LOVE being able to see through the house - it's like we live outdoors and just duck in once in awhile to get a drink or take a nap. After last week's snake incident I did shop for security doors and I guess we will have to install them. =(

We went out for breakfast, to the Country Kitchen. Then we did a Home Depot run and stopped at the swap meet in Yucca Valley at the old Sky Village drive in theater. I snapped this gorgeous ocotillo from above. Always something to see at the swap meet.

On the way home we passed this sign at Winters and Sunever, "Road Not Maintained." I felt a pang of envy, Fancy shmancy, THEY have a "Road Not Maintained" sign. OUR neighborhood is so out there that we don't have upscale accessories like "Road Not Maintained" signs. We just have to figure out on our own that our roads are not maintained - usually by the creosote growing in the middle of the street or the pile of tires in the intersections. Maybe someday we'll join the elite of Joshua Tree and get a sign.

Time is distorted in the arid forest, and this bonsai-ed white bursage I found on Sunday epitomizes the distortion. This twisted stem, nurse to the Larrea on the left, has nearly died countless times and yet it successfully sprouts enough green this spring to keep its toehold on life.

The wind was wild this week. We missed it but I could see the signs everywhere - the saddest being that the nest of baby house finches was blown down and the babies eaten. Nature is a bitch when see from culture. I miss the house finch family that would sit on the wires and sing to us, even if it WAS a song to please leave the land to animals.

Here's Ken as we left the property, standing between the two split rail fences he built to delineate the drive way and keep  ORVs and ATVs off the desert floor. Damn, I love that split rail fence. It makes it look like we really live ther, but it doesn't interfere with the passing through of any wild creatures.

Have a great week everyone.