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 — 3 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.

  2. What a marvelous and beautifully descriptive article about a simply amazing woman – Karen Landis. I’ve had had the serendipitous experience to create and nurture a friendship with Karen after I underwent a hip replacement and three hip fractures and realized I needed to request the local “Meals on Wheels” service. And of course, if she didn’t have enough on her plate, Karen serves the Chino Valley community two days a week by delivering meals to people in my circumstance.
    I loved Karen the first moment I met her. And when we started chatting I knew I had met a soul mate. I’ve been looking all my life for a role model, a hero, an amazing example of humankind. I don’t know if she realizes what an outstanding example she is of a strong, independent, intelligent, talented woman. Sometimes as women, we have a dentency to undervalue ourselves. But Karen, I want you to know you are the real deal. You are just so beautiful in your authenticity. And I a so appreciative of the value you have added to our environment by caring for the land and the animals under your watchful care. Your abilities and strength simply boggle my mind. And thank you for your loving service to me these past four months. You rock girl!

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