Saturday, September 24, 2005


Mary was out today, came last night and we fiddled around all day, falling into intimacy and taking walks over the land looking at what is and what could be done to make it better. After indulging in BLT's we went to the river where we lay naked in the sun for a long while. Neither of us had gotten enough sleep and so we dozed and talked and got into the very cold water and out again quickly and back into the hot sun. The river seems motionless and the day totally quiet. Then a breeze blows a few yellow alder leaves into the emerald water, marking the moment in time, and they float so gently so quietly so slowly on downstream. I hadn't been down at the river so late and didn't notice as the time just slipped away. When we came back it was 5:30 and past time for the big equinox dinner at Cindy and Larry's followed by the movie Rivers and Tides--a Hyampom evening extravaganza organized by Neil and others just arrived in the valley. Mary says it was a better way to spend the equinox anyway--lazing at the river.

When we arrive, there are many more cars than expected and a big crowd drinking and gabbing away, and no one has started eating as the lamb and beef aren't done yet, but Rick has brought smoked salmon and the wine is flowing. Mary stops also and she notices she knows only a few of the people. Hyampom is now a very different place from the one we moved into to. And that is partly because we moved in and are here. Neil is making a movie of the event, a hodgepodge of smoked salmon, kid faces, squash leaves, and sunflower--he moves through the crowd, preoccupied, serious. Kids are running and screaming in the background and the adults greet and meet and catch up on where everybody is on their various projects--the house, the aromatherapy business Cindy is now learning, the grape harvests and bottling, the diverse mindstates that accompany the activities, excitement, joy, discouragement or sadness. Larry says Kent and Paul have runout of money for the Bar 717 house and mentioned work on my project as a possibility. Weird to have a project to divide the spoils of.

Then I get the news from Pat that Daniel Holthaus died. He was a couple of years younger than my daugther and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I spoke to him this spring about coming to Bill's memorial and he said he'd be there and wasn't. A whirlpool of impermanance swirls around me, and sadness, that a young life is over, a young man who I last saw at my Easter party, grown from the little boy I knew into a man and feeling connection with him through my daugther and the past. Mary who knew him as a high school student in Weaverville is unsettled and leaves to drive home with her thoughts with him.

The rest of us, who would be quite content to stay and chat and drink away the evening into the night are interrupted by various blowings of a conch by the unpracticed and inept, although Bill Huber must have played a trumpet in high school. We are told it is showtime and we are off to the 6 acre barn. The best news about the evening is that Marni and John and Ted and Ruth are at the same party together and Marni is going to the movie on the Meigs property. This is a break through in local relations which were strained to the breaking point over HCC and the firehall fight. And of course there was Cindy's pear tart.

Now the barn is filled with chairs, grapevines hanging from wire, a large daisy flower made out of shakes and a sunflower and other works of art and pictures decorating the inside. It has a good feel. I am happy to be there. The kids immediately grab the front seats and start wiggling and squirming, trying different postures and attitudes, jump and run around and grab their seat again while the adults mosey in and stand around talking. The movie was to start at 7:30 sharp and in true Hyampom fashion, Tim arrives with the dvd player at around 8pm. We are told to cheer when he comes in and we all oblige.

So the movie begins. Beautiful footage of various places this artist works in, River and Tides. And the artist seems unpretentious so is easy to listen to. However, the wiggling and squirming and running continues while Ruth falls asleep next to me. The fire behind me is very hot and I am lulled into drowsiness. Mikayla, four years old, decides that running in front of the tv and around the sitting crowd is the most fun thing she has conceived of in her young life and so begins a marathon of back and forths which begin to make the room, although obscured by darkness, seem much more alive than the images on the screen. Then she begins to give grapeleaves to all the front row sitters and wave grapevine branches around, stopping in front of the tvscreen to be startled by her own presence and the image on the screen. Suddenly, Jelada yells Mikayla please don't stand in front of the screen and off she runs again. Shortly after, Jennifer takes Mikayla and leaves and others begin to filter out into the starry night. I get up to go, not able to concentrate on the artist or his work. The screen is too far away and obscured by too many bobbing heads and the movie itself at points becomes too talky and not enough lovely image. I left as the artist was dumping red into a stream and turning the water the color of blood. Not my favorite way to conceive of river, especially during hunting season and at that point the movie seems overlong. I figure I can see the rest later and I go home to sleep off the excitement. There are Mexicans coming tomorrow morning and I have to get up early and prepare.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Opening of Deer Season

Hunting season started last Saturday, and I awoke at daybreak to gunshots really really close. So I get in the truck with Samson and go look and sure enough right up the road, right by a NO HUNTING sign is a guy with his bloody hands in the guts of a deer and another guy standing looking on. I get the license numbers and yell that the place is posted. I just had to put up new signs since the old ones burnt up.

They shrug of course. They look like they are from Hayfork. The Eureka hunters tend to wear camoflage and have huge trucks.

I drive back to my place. As I pass them again, the onlooker's hand reflexively jerks in a wave and I know for sure they are local. I call my buddy Aaron Adkins, the game warden, (see previous blog for details) and report the violation and give the license numbers.

Aaron shows up and interviews me. I give the details and off he goes to catch the guilty. He says my place is well posted--so there!!!! About an hour later he comes back and says he's got them and they are prominent members of the Hayfork community and they want to talk to me and apologize. I think about it and say, No, I'm tired. I was awakened early to gunshots and don't feel llike talking to them. I'm very at peace with this--let them be prosecuted--Mr. Prominent Member of Hayfork. They are teachers and coaches, he says and their 12 year old son shot the deer, two of them.

About two hours later, I have come to a different state of mind. I'm sure it is too late, but I think, well, I could have had them drive back to Hayfork and buy No Hunting signs and put them up all along the road here and then their punishment fits the crime and I'm thinking how cool this would be as I drive down to Richards to tell him the news. Lo and behold, there they are by the side of the road with the game warden. They are waiting for a friend to show up. Four skulking teenage boys with BUSTED written all over them and the father, Mr. Prominent. I stop and talk to the warden and then tell the guy if he will do drive and get the hunting signs and put them up, I won't press charges. "Oh thank you, you are so sweet, thank you so much" the guy is truely grateful relief written all over him. They have been standing with the warden for these two hours--it's almost noon, with guns and deer confiscated and a large fine coming their way because it is open and shut case. Other hunters have been driving by and have seen the bust which is very cool.

So I drive on and tell Richard who thinks I have blown a great opportunity to PUNISH WRONGDOERS. When I tell Marion she says the warden was supposed to prosecute whether I wanted him to or not--like a battered woman changing her mind about her abusive husband. Sigh. Jennifer remarks that too bad the deer didn't get a second chance and I am then left twisting and turning and trying to second guess myself.

However, that evening the new no hunting signs went up and I began once more to feel like I did the right thing. I don't think they will be so careless next time.

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