Excursion 14, Part 2 (Turn and Face the Strange)

In which our intrepid hero looks at some ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…

A few times when I was a kid, a neighbor of ours took his kids and me and my sister out into the desert outside El Paso to go “sand surfing.”  This involved taking the wheels off of a kid’s red wagon and tying the wheel-less wagon to the trailer hitch of a truck with four-wheel drive.  The truck would then go up and down some of the dirt roads and arroyos, dragging the wagon behind it, and you would be standing on the wagon, holding on to a rope also tied to the truck, hanging on for dear life and hoping that when you were finally bucked from the wagon you would not land on a cactus or rattlesnake or sharp rock.

Many years later, I reminisced about this to someone, who let me know of her sharp disapproval.  “Don’t you know how fragile the desert environment is?  Don’t you know how much damage you did to that ecology?”  Not being from El Paso, she didn’t understand, so I had to explain it to her.  “This was the desert right outside El Paso,” I said.  “That desert was only going to be there for a couple more years before development would swallow it up.”  This was because, thanks to geographic and other conditions, the tide of growth in El Paso is overwhelmingly in one direction, to the east.  And I was right.  What was desert for me back then vanished in the blink of an eye, to become three and four bedroom ranch houses.  And then the desert beyond that.  And the desert beyond that.  The rate of change in that place at that time was incredible.  Where I used to have to go to get out of the city into the desert is now miles and miles within the city itself.

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Excursion 14, Part 1 (Pastoral Ohio)

In which our intrepid hero cows some cows…

As I sit here typing on my computer, the weather outside is 11 degrees (Fahrenheit, of course; I do not belong to Al Qaeda).  The next few days are going to get much colder.  The winter of 2013-2014 so far has been a pretty darn cold one for Ohio.  That arctic quality is only enhanced when I look at the photographs in this blog entry, which were taken last July 13 on a gloriously sunny summer’s day.  As an obese person, I tend to prefer extremes of cold over extremes of heat (you can always put on another layer, but you can only get so naked), but I am not much for extremes of any sort.  Although I can put up with cold weather, I really am a weather wimp.  I would be much happier if the temperature always stayed between 69 and 72 degrees.

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