Tandem, An American Love Story

Most of the country is having awful weather this winter. We have decided to be in no hurry to leave Tucson.

I remember an August day in Marlinton, West Virginia, green mountains, blue sky and hot, at the beginning of the Greenbriar River Trail, people swimming in the river, laughing. What a beautiful day in a beautiful place. Now Marlinton is flooded with melted snow and ice. The swimmers cursing the river now, and this strange winter.

Global warming. Climate Change. I have been a skeptic. No more. This winter and last are more than coincidence. More heat revs up the atmospheric engine; more cycles means more chance for extreme weather.

Our Christmas cards just arrived here, and with them the news that Jerry Cowherd died shortly after we visited them in West Virginia. Jerry helped me hang and skin my first deer. He shared his secret jerky marinade, and favorite native brook trout streams with me. Interment was on Dolly Sods, a high windswept wild place, home to huckleberries and bears. He is free now of the arthritis that slowed him these past years, that bent his body, but never his spirit or his smile. Good-bye Jerry.

We’ve gotten very settled in here now; we’ve been here over a month, and it’s almost February.

A small shower last night. The creosote bushes have given a sweetly medicinal scent to the air; the presence is so intense, you can see it and feel it in the warming air. All but a few puddles were dry by dawn.

This dry air does strange things. Yesterday afternoon, returning from a ride to the desert east of here, we saw rain falling from high clouds over the Catalina Mountains. It streamed from an ink-wash cloud, like beautiful hair cascading from a silken shoulder, ephemeral; it then evaporated to the source, high above the desert floor. I’ve seen this before in the Rockies, on the Great Plains, in Texas, and on rare occasions in the Northwest. I understand the principles, but it is too beautiful to dismiss.

It was supposed to rain today, but dawn was blue sky as usual. Clouds began to ease overhead this afternoon and were as fine and textured as Northwest summer clouds by sunset; their soft forms glowed, a display usually reserved for rock ridges of the mountains, gold fuzzed with far away saguaros.


Tandem, An American Love Story — 2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the memories, and the update on your own adventures. That last few days back to Sequim was bitter-sweet after more than a year on the road. We’ve never been the same; a good thing.

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