Setting the story free: Words as worldstuff

A few years back, after attending a local storytelling festival, I wondered in this post what would happen if I released a story into public domain.   I resolved to work up the nerve to let go what some might imagine to be my intellectual property, to “breathe it out” into the common atmosphere, where anybody might breathe it in and make use of it.  

Then two years ago, members of that same storytelling festival committee recruited me to participate.   I was assigned to write an introduction for the festival, a preamble that would signal to visitors that the storytelling was about to begin.   Another purpose for the introduction: To support the opening ceremony during which each of the evening’s participants carried a lit candle into the auditorium as they entered single file.   The candles symbolized the intentional passing of stories–heirloom narrative valuables–from generation to generation.   Continue reading “Setting the story free: Words as worldstuff”

Getting digs in: On the 6/11 SE Utah artifact raids

Saturday, June 13.   As I was coming up out of Crossfire I heard voices.   Much has happened lately in our small, southeast Utah town, so I was curious about who might be coming into the canyon.   I saw a woman on the rocks above me, well off the trail, turning back in response to a companion’s call.   Picking up my step to be sure to meet them, I  caught up with  the two retirement-aged women—out-of-towners—as one helped the other over the arched rebar cattle guard at the trailhead.   They had no idea I was there.   I greeted them then asked where they were from.   They were coy about saying, replying only that they were visiting.   €œYou? € they asked.   I answered I lived up the road but was not originally from the area.   €œAre you going to see the cliff dwellings? € I asked.   There’s a nice Ancestral Puebloan (“Anasazi”) structure at the base of the cliffs, a little off the beaten trail.   €œYes, € they said.     Then one of them pointed  to the yellow, green, and white, heavy-gauge metal, BLM sign posted at the trailhead announcing the canyon’s September 2007 closure to off-highway  vehicles (OHVs) and displaying the extent of the restricted area.

€œBut we really wanted to see this, € one said.

€œThis sign? € I said, puzzled. Continue reading “Getting digs in: On the 6/11 SE Utah artifact raids”

Field Notes #5

From time to time, someone asks why I don’t write about the meaner, nastier  side of nature, especially the predator-prey drama.   Until I go on that man-eating African lion-hunting trip  or bag  me an Alaskan  grizzly or happen to be on hand when a puma takes down a mule deer buck, I just don’t have much to offer on predator vs. prey.   Sorry.

However, something did come to mind the other day, musings upon a kind of predator-prey relationship that I jotted down in my hiking journal as I  strolled through Crossfire.   It isn’t pretty, but I thought I’d pass it along.

Warning: This post shows Patricia in a mood.   If you’re in a mood today,  you might want to skip this one.      

May 21, 2009

Overcast, humid, cooler-that-has-been morning.   I set out for Coyote Way, the trail  leading down into Crossfire Canyon.   As usual, I pass my mouldering friend,  the dead coyote    lying  off to one side of  the trailhead.   I stop to look at him whenever I take  this path.    

After a month of decompostion he  looks considerably worse for wear, though that lovely triangular earform  still holds  up well.    Gone, the  shine and softness his coat had when he was first dumped.    Matted patches have loosened, as if  he were going through a heavy shed,  or  they have been peeled back  in the course of some  other  scavenger’s work.   A gaping entrance into his inner cavern has formed in his side.     His coat has taken on the patina of old carpet  across whose nap mud has  been tracked  and into whose fibers a wide variety of liquids has soaked.   The flies that earlier clouded his vicinity have gone through their cycle; no insects are visible, though something must be creeping  through the body.  Every time I stop here, I wonder how and why  this animal  died.   Anything could have happened, but the dominant reason folks kill these animals—if, in fact, he was killed—can usually be summed up in this word: competition.

 A week ago, winds  blowing up out of the canyon carried the scent of  the coyote’s chemical crush into the earth.   Today, cliffrose pollen lightly perfumes  breezes  swirling past. Continue reading “Field Notes #5”

WIZ’s spring photo gallery

Wilderness Interface Zone  is happy to announce  the arrival of  its spring photo gallery, now  showing in the photo box in the upper right-hand corner of the page  displayed on your screen.   It’s a little late, I know, but flowers,  tree leaves, migratory birds, and torpid amphibians and reptiles have only emerged  in  abundance here in San  Juan County,  Utah over the last three weeks.   I did include some photos from the winter gallery I couldn’t bear to part with.  

My son Saul took these pictures using a Kodak DX6490.   He shot somewhere around four hundred photographs, from which we chose these seventeen.   Many spring flowers haven’t yet bloomed.   Hopefully, we’ll be able to get nice shots of can’t-be-missed subjects  to add  to this collection. Continue reading “WIZ’s spring photo gallery”