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Midway through Thursday night’s debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, I became so offended I walked out of our TV room. That unfortunately left Lynn to watch the debate alone.

I mentioned this the next day to a woman who works in town, and she responded, “That’s just what happened in our house.”

Why were we offended? When people know that someone is lying to them, most folks feel insulted. The liar apparently thinks they aren’t well enough informed to recognize the lie. Nonetheless, that was Trump’s repeated tactic, even though much of his audience saw through at least some of the lies.

The orange liar. (Reuters photo by Leah Millis)

As The San Jose Mercury News reported after the debate: “Trump’s performance was riddled with false claims, on topics ranging from the coronavirus to foreign policy to immigration. And while former Vice President Joe Biden made some missteps and stretched the truth at times, his comments essentially hewed to the truth.”

Despite what Trump said, his administration did not respond well to the Covid-19 pandemic, initially discounting its seriousness. By today more than 8.5 Americans have been infected and 224,000 have died, with the number of cases currently spiking. Yet Trump insisted the worst is almost over. He also promised that vaccinations for millions of Americans will be available far sooner than experts say is possible.

Vice President Joe Biden in 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

While offering no evidence for the claims, Trump repeatedly said Biden had received $3.5 million from Russia and was making money in China. Biden, as I would have expected, flat-out contradicted the falsehoods, and The Wall Street Journal subsequently determined that Biden is not doing any business in China.

As for the candidate’s getting the $3.5 million from Russia, The Mercury News pointed out: “Trump was seemingly trying to raise an allegation previously made against Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, but there’s no connection to Joe Biden.

Hunter Biden

“Hunter Biden also denies the allegation he received $3.5 million. Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires, told CNN that Hunter Biden was not an owner of the firm Senate Republicans allege received the $3.5 million payment in 2014.  A partisan investigation conducted by Senate Republicans, whose report was released this month, alleged that Elena Baturina, a Russian businesswoman and the wife of late Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, sent $3.5 million in 2014 to a firm called Rosemont Seneca Thornton, and that the payment was identified as a ‘consultancy agreement.’ The report did not provide any further details about the transaction.

“Hunter Biden was a co-founder and CEO of the investment firm Rosemont Seneca Advisors. But Mesires said Hunter Biden did not co-found Rosemont Seneca Thornton. It’s not clear what connection exists between Rosemont Seneca Advisors and Rosemont Seneca Thornton. Neither the Senate report nor Trump have provided any evidence that the payment was corrupt or that Hunter Biden committed any wrongdoing.”

I suspect that, like me, quite a few Americans are offended by Trump’s repeated attempts to mislead the country.

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A West Marin author last month released a fascinating bookAutrefois to Today. Autrefois is French for “In the Old Days.” The book consists of a series of stories from the life of Laure Reichek née Guyot, who lives along the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road near McEvoy Ranch.

The cover photo shows Laure at Toby’s Coffee Bar, where I first got to know her. That was before the mural on the wall of the neighboring post office was painted over. An anonymous tourist snapped this photo and gave it to Toby’s Feed Barn owner Chris Giacomini, who gave it to Laure.

Laure was born in Paris in 1930 and in 1951 moved to the US with her husband. He was an American veteran she met after the war when both were studying in Paris.

Laure at 19 in Paris.

As a child, the author saw the disaster of World War II at close range. In one story, she tells of German bombing forcing her to move to the countryside and change schools. The French had previously erected the Maginot Line of fortifications to block any German invasion, but in 1940, the Germans went around it and went on to seize Paris. As a nine year old, Laure saw the French retreat.

“First we saw French officers in cars driving south, the foot soldiers, those who had gone to war with flowers in their guns to fight the war to end all wars…. Now the French army was walking it did not know where, heads down, eyes vacant, hungry, dirty, stinking, dragging itself like mangy dogs, begging for food and water, hugging walls in case of enemy air attacks. We watched as stunned as they.”

The French army retreating in what they called La Déroute (the rout).

“One day, as I was taking food in a small metal pail from my grandparents’ house to my great-grandmother’s for her pet — just stale bread soaked in hot water we poured over the plates before washing them, just to give the bread a little taste — it was snatched from my hands by a hungry soldier. I kept saying, ‘But it’s for the dog!’ and the soldier replied, ‘But I’m hungry too.’ I was shocked — shaken and deep down humiliated by the sight of a man gulping down dog soup without a spoon.”

Laure’s grandfather, Dr. Guyot, with two pets and two hunting dogs.

Laure’s parents were poor and lived on a barge moored along the Seine. It had no electricity, running water, heat, or sewer, and when she was 11 days old, she went to live with her grandparents, whom she treated as her real parents.

She liked her grandparents but also tells of being violently abused at the age of 10. Her grandparents had arranged for her to receive private tutoring in Latin and when Laure missed one tutorial session, she claimed to have lost track of the time. Her grandfather didn’t believe her.

“Grandpa was furious. His voice was angry, loud, uncontrolled…. Before I knew what to think, he was hitting me in the face. The left side of my face hit the doorknob several times. He would not stop. After my initial surprise at the depth of his anger, my head began to hurt, and I could feel blood running down my face and into my collar.

“I must have been screaming for Grandma, and Suzanne, the maid, appeared yelling, ‘Stop, stop, you’re going to kill her!’ I just stood there, crying in my pain….I thought perhaps I would die. Wished I would…. When he finally stopped, his anger exhausted, all he said was, ‘Take her to surgery.'”

Laure ended up with a bandage around her head, but instead of apologizing for his assault, her Grandpa told her to now go to the tutor and apologize for missing her Latin lesson. Laure was “speechless…but I dared not disobey Grandpa.” It was a lesson learned the hard way.

Laure as seen in a May 5, 2019, posting here. (Photo taken in 2018 by Marna Clarke)

One of her amazing stories tells of a pair of well-liked twins who ran a saddlery and who both became infatuated with a Madame Pitault when she brought them her horse’s reins for repair. “They must have felt thunderstruck, as in front of perfection, looking at an apparition. That was it. Instantly. Forever. Unfortunately, for both of them at the same time.

“We know nothing of Madame Pitault’s reaction, whether she was aware of the earthquake she had just created in those men’s lives. We know nothing of the twins’ suffering, their discussions, if they had any.

‘What we know is that a week later, a customer, finding the store open but empty, went upstairs and found the twins hanging side-by-side from the rafters of the attic where their father had hung himself 20 years earlier…. Since the twins had been respected for their hard labor, exemplary lifestyle, good humor, and the quality of their work, not to mention the curious circumstances of their death, every able-bodied person in the town of 2,000 went to their funeral.”

Laure as a happy 81 year old in 2011.

As Laure notes in the ending of her book, she has been “actively involved in the creation of a senior center, a homeless shelter, and an organization to help immigrant working women. I have worked as a volunteer in public schools as a mentor and volunteered in a restaurant as a prep cook. I have tended the land on which I live and formed relationships with animals. Lucky me.”

And lucky me for having just read Autrefois to Today. (Publisher: Equity Foundation, Berkeley CA)

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For a small town, Point Reyes Station (pop. 848 at last count) has long had a lively art scene with galleries, artists selling their work on the streets and even creating art there. Here are three examples of the town’s highly diversified art community.

Christine DeCamp selling her art in front of the Point Reyes Station post office last Saturday. She has also sold from a studio. Until the pandemic slowed businesses down, many of us also knew her as a server at the Station House Café. Here are three more of her paintings:

Our Lady of the Mountain

Mountain Goddess…/ sheltering all creatures/ within her domain. Her/ interior is the mysterious/prima materia or the/beginnings of ‘all is/ possible’. The magical/ deer are symbolic of/ rebirth and rejuvenation.

copyright  2012   Christine DeCamp

Wild Spirit Wisdom

 

Clyde

Clyde the rider Crow with/ Blue eyes that SEE. He is/ being carried by Navajo spirit/ horse — who embodies SEEING/ and brings forth living springs/ with each step. Can you hear/ the drums? A magical journey

copyright 2011     Christine DeCamp

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Maddy’s Jammin’ with its balloon-adorned sign has for years been a familiar sight along Highway 1 a half block downhill from West Marin School. Before this year, Maddy Sobel also sold her jams in front of the post office on weekends and — like Christine — also sold her art there.

The Animal Kingdom, Mammals Maddy, standing in front of one of her large paintings, which is hanging in her living room, shows off a jar of her blackberry jam. These days, she has to sell her art mostly from home.

Hang in There exemplifies Maddy’s often-whimsical style.

Timmy the Tiny Turtle

 

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Another artist with a creative imagination is Billy Hobbs. Almost all his art these days reflects Greek mythology, Hindu scripture or Native American history. This drawing is titled ‘Lakota Burial.’

Billy’s Saber-toothed Tortuga is eye-catching even before revealing its subtleties.

Billy is still working on his drawing ‘Condor.’ The artist is homeless and sleeps in my second car, which I park downtown on Mesa Road for him. To comply with the law, I have to move the car every three days. My car meanwhile has also become the studio where Billy does his drawing.

Billy, 62, has been homeless for seven years following the breakup of a 25-year marriage. Several organizations are supposedly trying to find permanent shelter for him but have been looking for more than a year. I first got to know him pre-pandemic when he’d frequently do his drawing while sitting on a bench outside the post office. In those days, I typically had my morning mocha at one of Toby’s Coffee Bar’s nearby picnic tables.

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Sheltering in place with only limited socializing definitely affects one’s thinking. It forces many of us to spend more time alone taking stock of ourselves and of our lives. It’s a humbling experience and may provide an inkling of why a prisoner behind bars cannot avoid thinking about his life. But, as I’m sure the prisoner knows, too much such thinking becomes tedious. For the moment, I’m trying to divert my attention to the creatures I find all around me.

A hummingbird a week ago enjoyed a few sips before the smoke from the Woodward Fire significantly dissipated. As of this writing, the fire, which a lightning strike started on Aug. 18, was 97 percent contained, having blackened 4,929 acres in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

A coyote wandered up to the greenhouse of neighbors Dan and Mary Huntsman on August 21. Had I been looking out my living-room window, this is what I would have seen. Alas, I wasn’t looking, but Dan was and from his home took this picture. (Photo by Dan Huntsman)

Buzzards on Sept. 13 feast on the carcass of a skunk presumably killed by a great horned owl. It was the second time in recent weeks buzzards dined on a skunk near Mitchell cabin.

A gray fox showed up on our deck after dark last week to dine on the last bits of kibble I had given some raccoons earlier.

A skunk goes eye to eye with Newy, the stray cat we adopted in late July. More frequently than the fox, skunks show up after the raccoons to pick through what remains of the kibble.

And in a weather vein: Whenever Lynn opened the bedroom window in recent days, I started sneezing and then coughing. “Do you think it’s pollen or smoke that’s causing the sneezing?” she asked me a couple of days ago. “The answer,” I told her, “is blowing in the wind.”

I’ll stop here. There’s a lot I’m tempted to write about our political situation, but I think I’ll save that for another week.

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Friends are continually sending me humor to brighten these dark days. It works, so I’ll use this posting to pass along a few laughs.

I wish the California vote alone could decide the presidential election. The San Francisco Chronicle noted last Sunday that in this state, “Republicans now account for less than 25 percent of registered voters.”

—   —   —

When news media in Western democracies inaccurately report something, most are quick to own up to their mistake, whether serious or simply ridiculous.  I belong to the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISWNE), and its members of late have been laughing at some of their own bizarre goofs. Here are two.

Manitoulin is an island within the Province of Ontario, and the editor of The Manitoulin West Recorder sent in examples of bloopers caused by misplacing items. Notice what’s “for sale” in this page of classified ads.

“Thankfully the parents got a kick out of it,”  the ISWNE member reported.
 
The Canadian editor also recalled, “We once had a front page picture of the final service of a church in a community on our island’s most western end. The photo was of the oldest congregant leaving the church for the last time and chatting with the minister. This particular week was also the week of one community’s fall fair, and what’s a fall fair without oddly shaped vegetables? Sadly, one of the veggie pics’ cutlines (captions) was placed with the old-lady church photo and began with: ‘This crooked specimen…’ She ALSO had a good sense of humour, thank goodness.”
 
—    —    —
Until I read this headline in The San Francisco Chronicle last week, I’d always wondered how busy government officials could find time for hookups and courtship, let alone a wedding.
 
 

—    —    —

Coronavirus. As noted in US News and World Report on Sept. 8: “Over 400,000 motorcycle enthusiasts gathered for the annual rally from Aug. 7-16 [in Sturgis, South Dakota], and it was reported that social distancing and mask wearing at some of the events was not observed.” 

“The rally was officially linked to hundreds of coronavirus cases across more than 10 states and at least one death. But the study that relied on cell phone data to track movements estimates that over 250,000 reported coronavirus cases from August 2 to September 2 are due to the rally – nearly 20% of the national cases during that time period, according to Andrew Friedson, one of the authors of the report.”

A friend in Point Reyes Station, however, claims a correction is needed:

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And finally: Why doctors don’t go on strike

 

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A Cal Fire helicopter on Thursday crosses Inverness Ridge to drop water on a containment line for the Woodward Fire in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Smoke from back-burns rises through the forest.

The Woodward Fire, which was started by a lightning strike Aug. 18, was 85 percent contained by this evening after having grown to more than 4,800 acres. Part of the containment has included setting back-burns along Limantour Road. Full containment is expected by Tuesday.

Smoke from the fire has at times made the air in much of West Marin unhealthy, and smoke from hot spots may last for months, the Park Service has warned.

Vidas Negras Importan

The Black Lives Matter movement is sometimes getting overshadowed by the chaos at just a very few of the hundreds of protests around the country. In these isolated cases, looters and vandals have taken advantage of there being crowds in downtown areas. On at least one occasion, however, a covert white supremacist damaged property during a protest to discredit the protesters. Despite all this, only 7 percent of all the protests nationwide have had such problems, The Washington Post reported this past week.

 In an effort to refocus public attention on what the movement is really all about — stopping the unwarranted killing of Black people by overly aggressive police officers in several cities — I came up with a sign in Spanish. Its intent is to show that criticism of the killings transcends the Black and Anglo Saxon communities.

Maddy Sobel, who often sell jams and jellies in front of the Point Reyes Station post office, is also an artist, and she illustrated one of my signs. Her thought is that if I make some copies of her illustration, she can give them to kids to color with crayons. Sounds good to me. I gave another copy to Toby’s Coffee Bar, and you can see it displayed there without illustration.

Bumping elbows but not shaking handsFrom left: Phil Jennings, yours truly, and Gordon Jones

Before the pandemic and sheltering in place, I went to the No Name Bar in Sausalito to listen to live jazz every Friday night. Sunday afternoon, two friends from the No Name dropped by for an outdoor visit. I gave them both copies of the sign, and Jones was so enthusiastic he said he may have it imprinted on t-shirts.

My own family’s efforts to get justice for Blacks date from before the Civil War. My great-grandfather Luke Parsons was a member of John Brown’s Army but did not take part in the debacle at Harper’s Ferry. Instead he went on to command a Union Army company of Native Americans fighting in the Oklahoma Territory.

My late father was a Republican who supported the NAACP.  I formally joined the movement in the spring of 1968 while I was teaching high school in Leesburg, Florida. At the time, Willis V. McCall was the sheriff of Lake County, Florida, where Leesburg is located. He had come to be called the worst sheriff in the US and in private bragged he’d “killed more n-ggers” than any other man.

When McCall came up for reelection in 1968, a well-regarded Leesburg police officer ran against him, and I signed up to canvass voters in Black neighborhoods for the challenger. Unfortunately, McCall again won but was defeated four years later after yet another cruelty: a mentally impaired Black man was kicked to death in the Lake County jail.

Civil rights activist Julian Bond (center) in 1970 with members of an Upper Iowa University group, the Brotherhood, who had invited him to speak on campus. While he was studying at Morehouse College in the early 1960s, Bond had established the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a.k.a. SNCC (pronounced “Snick”).

In the fall of 1968 I began teaching English and journalism at Upper Iowa University and the next semester became a faculty advisor to the new Black student union. As the group explained in a flyer: “The Brotherhood was founded and chartered in February 1969. It is an organized group open to anyone interested in furthering their knowledge of Black culture…

“Under the able leadership of our past president, Rick Weber, and the helpful assistance of our advisors, Mr. Mitchell and Mr. [Robert] Schenck, the Brotherhood has enriched campus life by promoting various social functions, such as the annual Black Night.” Besides that variety show, the Brotherhood has sponsored “an inter-racial forum, and a play, A Raisin in the Sun. Our biggest accomplishment was, of course, acquisition of a Black Cultural House.”

Half a century later, I still recall advising the Brotherhood as one of my most informative experiences.

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Last week’s drama of wildfire, politics, and coronavirus continues, and none of it is better.

The Woodward Fire in the Point Reyes National Seashore had grown to more than 2,800 acres and was only 8 percent contained as of this morning despite more than 10 days of ground and aerial (seen above) firefighting. Residents south of Inverness Park on Silverhills Road, Fox Drive, and Noren Way have been ordered to evacuate.

Because the fire started near the Woodward Valley Trail on the ocean side of Inverness Ridge, it was named the Woodward Fire. And where does that name come from? In 1890, some members of San Francisco’s Pacific Union Club formed what they called “the Country Club” in the area for hunting, fishing, and socializing, Inverness historian Dewey Livingston told me this week. The hunting club building was at Divide Meadow. As it happened, two of the original members were brothers, Henry and Robert Woodward, and the trail is named after them.

A red moon rose through the smoke Monday.

A pin given to me by Inverness friends Sunday takes note of a serious national security problem.

And while the fire raged,  Republicans again nominated Donald Trump as their presidential candidate although on Sunday night he retweeted misleading Russian propaganda about his Democratic opponent Joe Biden’s communications with the Ukraine. Significantly, the US intelligence community had already identified the propaganda as part of Moscow’s ongoing effort to “denigrate” the Democrat ahead of the November election.

“The President of the United States should never be a willing mouthpiece for Russian propaganda,” responded Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

More bad news. Osteria Stellina on Point Reyes Station’s main street served its last meals Tuesday. Lynn and I had one last dinner there Monday. (She’s placing her order with a masked waitress at left.)

In the midst of the pandemic, with customers having been relocated to tables set up in a parking lane of C Street, owner Christian Caiazzo announced that for financial reasons he was closing the upscale Italian restaurant. He will now operate a pizzeria in Petaluma.

Deer Naked Ladies. In front of Mitchell cabin Saturday, two does, each with a fawn, grazed beside a patch of Naked Ladies, as Belladonna Lilies are commonly called. They were all very cute.

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There’s certainly been a lot going on this past week, some of it very good and some of it very bad. On the good side, I would count the Democratic convention with its focus on education, empathy, reducing racism, stopping climate change, raising working-class wages, and expanding healthcare.

On the bad side, I would count the coronavirus pandemic, which in less than six months has killed 175,000 Americans and sickened 5.6 million. In West Marin, the most unavoidable bad side is the huge wildfire in the National Seashore, which was only 5 percent contained at 6 p.m today after four days of firefighting.

The Woodward Fire as seen from Mitchell cabin in Point Reyes Station Tuesday. The fire west of the Point Reyes National Seashore’s Bear Valley Visitor Center and just south of the Woodward Trail, broke out Tuesday following lightning strikes, which ignited numerous wildfires around the Bay Area.

What was first spotted as a three- or four-acre fire….

quickly grew to hundreds of acres and then thousands. The fire more than doubled in size Thursday night to 2,260 acres. (Marin County Fire Department photos)

While all this was going on here, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden halfway across the country in Wisconsin eloquently addressed his party’s convention, earning praise from even conservative news media.

The Woodward Fire was ominously reflected in the clouds over Inverness Ridge at sunset Tuesday.

Meanwhile the Covid-19 pandemic continues to keep almost everyone on the streets in West Marin six feet apart and wearing masks. The pandemic has taken a terrible toll on many small businesses. The Bovine Bakery on Point Reyes Station’s main street is remaining open by selling its pastries out the door to mask-wearing customers.

Likewise donning face masks at the Democratic convention in Milwaukee Thursday were (from left): Dr. Jill Biden and her husband, presidential nominee Joe Biden; vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff. The importance of safe, loving families was a major theme of the convention.

An air tanker approaching the Woodward Fire Friday. Air support for the ground crews was late in arriving because most planes were being used to fight the many other lightning-caused wildfires elsewhere in Northern California. Cal Fire aircraft finally began showing up Thursday, and more arrived Friday. With the fire grown to more than 2,260 acres, residents of Olema, Bolinas, Inverness Park, and Inverness were alerted that a mandatory evacuation might be ordered.

A “super scooper” collects Tomales Bay water to drop on the fire. (Marin County Fire Department photo)

A Cal Fire helicopter over Mitchell cabin Friday en route to the Woodward Fire. The heavy air traffic low over Point Reyes Station went on throughout much of the afternoon.

Aside from the fire, the convention, and the pandemic, life around Mitchell cabin also had its tranquil moments this past week. Here a jackrabbit contentedly grazed beside the cabin Sunday.

Also relaxing. The stray cat we’re sheltering had been roaming with raccoons when we brought her into the cabin three weeks ago. Here she watches one on Tuesday eating kibble with a skunk on our deck. She’s five to six months old and in need of a good, permanent home. A veterinarian has confirmed her good health.

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Uphill of Mitchell cabin.

Live Oak trees have grown up all around Mitchell cabin in the 43 years I’ve lived here. I’ve planted several pines and a palm on the property, but the oaks arrived without my help.

A Scrub-jay arborist on our birdbath last Friday. As it turns out, Scrub-jays planted (literally planted) most, if not all, of the oaks. 

“California Scrub-jays…. are an important part of the natural oak-woodland ecosystem of our area,” Lisa Hug, a naturalist and ornithologist, wrote in the Sonoma County Gazette this month. The magazine notes she has been an interpretive ranger in the Point Reyes National Seashore, a research assistant with the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, and also one with the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Ms. Hug currently teaches birding classes.

Live oaks that have sprung up downhill from the cabin.

“The Scub-jay’s favorite food is acorns,” Ms. Hug explained. “In the fall, the Scrub-jays collect acorns and bury them in various places. One jay can hide up to 5,000 acorns annually and remember exactly where it has hidden most of them. They will also watch each other bury acorns and steal each other’s treasures.

“If a jay thinks it was watched when it buried an acorn, it will re-bury it later. This acorn-burying behavior is very important for the regeneration of oak forests in California.”

Scrub-jay funerals. Ms. Hugs also points out, “Scrub-jays are very intelligent, social and even sensitive [and] are known to have funerals. If one bird finds a dead jay, it will call loudly and other jays will gather around the dead bird and caw loudly for up to half an hour.”

Too tired to eat. A mother raccoon with four kits in tow showed up at our kitchen door Saturday night looking for kibble. Apparently they’d spent the evening wandering around, and no sooner did the group start eating than two kits fell asleep.

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Redwing blackbirds waiting for a dinner of birdseed at Mitchell cabin maintain proper social distancing (relative to size).

They say the Covid-19 pandemic is especially bad for older people. As a 76 year old, I can vouch for that. Like a lot of others my age and older, I wear hearing aids. Unfortunately, part of each aid sits outside the ear, and anti-virus masks are usually secured around the ears. As a result, our hearing aids sometimes get pulled off when we remove our safety masks. Goddamn virus.

Jackrabbit behind Mitchell cabin last Saturday.

“Jackrabbits are actually hares, not rabbits,” according to National Geographic. “Hares are larger than rabbits, and they typically have taller hind legs and longer ears. Jackrabbits were named for their ears, which initially caused some people to refer to them as ‘jackass rabbits.’ The writer Mark Twain brought this name to fame by using it in his book of western adventure, Roughing It. The name was later shortened to jackrabbit.”

A fence lizard with part of its tail missing.

Most of us are aware that lizards can lose a big piece of their tails and survive. To quote a Washington State University online explanation: “Lizards have a series of small bones that run down their back… called vertebrae. Along the tail are several weak spots called fracture planes… They are the places the tail can detach.

“The main reason a lizard loses its tail is to defend itself [and not only if a predator has seized its tail. A detached tail can also distract the predator]. When a lizard detaches its tail, the tail whips around and wiggles on the ground… Sometimes the tail will keep moving for upwards of half an hour.”

Lizards can regrow their tails in three to five weeks, but the new tail is usually shorter, has a different pattern of scales, and is made with cartilage rather than bone.

Another fence lizard, also warming itself  this week on our railroad-tie front steps, has regrown most of its original tail. The dark section where it broke off can easily be seen. It’s important to male lizards to get their tails back. Female lizards aren’t interested in them until they do.

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I’ll close with a couple of my favorite poems, both set in pre-shelter-in-place times. They’re by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Alan Dugan (1923-2003).

 

On a Seven-Day Diary

Oh, I got up and went to work/ and worked and came back home/ and ate and talked and went to sleep./ Then I got up and went to work/ and worked and came back home/ from work and ate and slept./ Then I got up and went to work/ and worked and came back home/ and ate steak and went to sleep./ They I got up and went to work/ and worked and came back home/ and ate and fucked and went to sleep./ Then it was Saturday, Saturday, Saturday!/ Love must be the reason for the week!/ We went shopping! I saw clouds!/ The children explained everything!/ I could talk about the main thing!/ What did I drink on Saturday night/ that lost the first, best half of Sunday?/ The last half wasn’t worth this “word.”/ Then I got up and went to work/ and worked and came back home/ from work and ate and went to sleep,/ refreshed but tired by the weekend.

Tribute to Kafka for Someone Taken

The party is going strong,/ The doorbell rings. It’s/ for someone named me./ I’m coming. I take/ a last drink,/ a last puff on a cigarette,/ a last kiss at a girl,/ and step into the hall,/ bang,/ shutting out the laughter. “Is/ your name you?'” “Yes.”/ “Well come along then.”/ “See here. See here. See here.”

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