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Heartaches and Other Troubles

20 July 04

Above Gothic, Colorado

Well, we've been up north of Gothic for a while now, in a lovely flat spot across from a waterfall. About a mile from Emerald Lake. Fields of lupine and skunk cabbage and monkeyflower all around. Gothic is an old mining camp that's been taken over by the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. They have a tap behind the information building that they let me use. I've discovered that if I fill up a couple of 6 gallon jugs once a day, we'll never run out of water.

Electricity is another matter. Lately I've had to run the generator more and more, and we're still not catching up. Time was when an hour a day was plenty. I checked the water in the batteries, and the connections, and all seemed just fine. Then a day or so later, I discovered that looking back into the dark recesses of the battery compartment at the wires was not quite the same as "checking the connections". The nut on the one connection that was hardest to see and get to (naturally) was actually loose, and the ring connector, instead of being flat, was canted at an angle. This means the surface transferring the charge was the edges of the ring. Once I got that fixed, I resumed getting a charge out of life, or some life out of my charge.

Something like that.

Went to see a couple of movies in town, including Fahrenheit 9/11. Pretty good piece of propaganda, and entertaining. Of course it played to my prejudices. I doubt it's going to sway anybody that's already made up his mind, and especially not any of the two or three troglodytes on the newsgroup.

The road from paradise to Crested Butte runs through Mt. Crested Butte, the ski enterprise. Gradually the Aspen disease is creeping ever higher up the road. The town, not the tree: one millionaire's empty summer home after another. I guess some day Bill Gates or some lesser godlet will buy up everything to Schofield Pass. Visit while you can. It is a wonderful place to view vast fields of alpine flowers, and this is the time of year to do it.

Before it disappears under the avalanche of McMansions.

Indeed, as I was coming down the hill one day, Crested Butte itself disappeared. A low compact cloud had swallowed it up entirely, like the whole valley had been packed in cotton. Eerie.

One advantage of rich folks is that they like to put on airs, and that means me and forty bucks got to go hear a classical concert for the first time in months. Some guitar. Mostly voice, which is not my favorite instrument, but appearing there gave me an excuse to act moderately presentable. I spread a rumor that I clean up pretty good, and it's still going around. Just ask me if you don't believe it.

Janice had to go back to Georgetown. She retired as a schoolteacher in the spring, after umpty years. But, as any schoolteacher knows, few can live entirely on the pittance the Great State of Texas puts out. So she's lined up a bunch of job interviews as a counselor, part or full time.

We've had a good time together, despite the infamous mouse massacre. I miss her.

I'm been sleeping above 10,000 feet, and every now and then I wake up gasping for air. I had gotten used to it at Lake City. But now my chest has started hurting with a dull ache, right above the heart. I'm about to surrender to the better part of valor and head on down to the Blue Mesa Reservoir, and sit there by the water for a while.

We looped and looped around this area in the truck. I've seen most of what there is to see.

I have a very modest lifestyle. If necessary, I could live on a good deal less than I do. But I like to have a little extra oxygen on tap.

Make that a lot.

Breathing is one of my favorite things. Heck, when it comes to breathing, I'm a prodigal son of a gun.


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