Nomad

I’m deeply immersed in the words and sentiments of nomads and writers at the moment. Timing is good as I am also working feverishly to finalize the design on my next generation of camp trailer and also complete the canoe. I have very high expectations from this updated design of the camp trailer.

I’ve started a new Rick Bass book—one of the finer outdoor writers I’ve come across. In ’The Lost Grizzlies’, is he traveling with Doug Peacock, who was Edward Abbey’s best (and possibly only) friend. Peacock was the real-life inspiration for Abbey’s character of George Washington Hayduke in ‘The Monkey Wrench Gang’. Bass’s style is somewhat reminiscent of Abbey. I read ‘The 9 Mile Wolves‘ years ago and it is beautiful. I will read it again sometime soon.

If I’m lucky, I will still have some adventures in what little wild country remains in the US. I have some plans.

Yesterday, I happened on an ad for Cleveland International Film Festival. Lynn told me about it last year but I forgot about it. This year they are streaming movies and one of the movies is called ‘Nomad: In The Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin’. Bruce was one of my early influences in writing and in travel and I have always been intrigued by him. I read ‘In Patagonia’ first and then ‘The Songlines’—both during The College Market era of my life. Both lovely books.

I had never heard of Chatwin, but Carla did our initial book order and these two books came in and I wound up reading them both sometime soon after. On a side-note, just imagine the feeling a booklover gets when $40,000 worth of books show up on the same day. That was our initial order. It was a-fucking-mazing.

Bruce was an amateur archaeologist and cultural anthropologist, but mostly he was a nomad. A wanderer.

Back when being a nomad still meant something significant; when it was hard. When the journey was truly about experience and learning rather than checking a box on a bucket list and gathering up a few photos and stories for the on-line followers. There was Bruce. He inspired me to find ways to indulge my nomadic spirit. He validated my desire for movement when society encourages standing still and pursuit of career.

Of course I got my chances to wander and am not yet done. But Bruce helped shape in me what the term Nomad means. To this day, I use Moleskin notebooks because I had read that he used them.

Bruce died of complications from Aids in 1989.

The movie was not great unfortunately, but I have never been a great fan of Werner Herzog as a director. He is a smart and interesting cat, but his movies have not enthused me. This movie wanders quite a bit and doesn’t focus as much on Bruce’s life as I would have liked—as that was my interest. It veered off into some of his anthropological pursuits and tried to connect some unconnected dots.

“The real home of man is not his house,
But the road.
Life itself is a travel that has to be done by foot.”

                                                 Bruce Chatwin

When you really think about the slow but sure destruction we are visiting upon the natural world, it really is as sad as anything else we can think of. We are indoctrinated to always elevate humans to the highest order; to consider human endeavors as inalienable and holy. And always at the price of any consequences. In latter years, it seems, it is mostly our view of human entitlement manifested as perpetual development. Constant encroachment on nature and all wild things so we can have nice roads through their homes. And so we can build homes in their natural habitat. And put up cell towers and ski areas and the like. We dammed the best rivers in the west—disrupting amazing trout and salmon migrations.

But in the sad chaos of early days of ravaging North America, just as we attempted genocide on the Natives, we attempted genocide (successfully in some cases) on a variety of animals. This was pure greed. Buffalo, grizzly bears, wolves. In the book I just read about Crazy Horse, the reminder that a single white buffalo hunter could sit on a hilltop and kill hundreds of buffalo—shooting them one after the other. Because buffalo were not accustomed to being hunted by rifle, they had no natural fears and so just stood there while the hunters shot them down. They took the hides and left the meat.

In Aldo Leopold’s ‘A Sand County Almanac’ (probably the best naturalist book ever written), he describes how the passenger pigeon was once so numerous that it was unfathomable to imagine them as extinct. And yet within a few decades, they had been hunted completely into extinction by greedy exploiters. We read each year about ocean fish stocks continuing to decline due to overfishing. On and on. Fucking depression on a mass scale. The scourge of humans apparently has no bounds.

Tomorrow I will do the final sanding on the boat after ‘raising the grain’. This is new to me, but really is just using some water to bring out the full grain of the wood after the trauma of sanding. This will expose any blemishes I missed or uneven spots. Then a final sanding with 120 paper and I will be ready for glass and epoxy. I will probably have to wait until Saturday for it to be warm enough as it needs to be at least 60 degrees to apply the epoxy.

I violated curfew and drove an hour to Burbank OH to take measurements on the trailer I am considering for the new camp trailer. Stupidly, I did not get all the measurements I need to be exact enough for the engineering folks. So……another drive tomorrow morning.

Then I have to stop at the bank to wire transfer money to the MYO account in Namibia. The exchange rate now is fantastic so best to get that money over there. Also, Namibian banks pay higher interest so again, best to keep it there. I went yesterday to transfer the money, only to discover that my license has expired last month on my birthday. And now DMV is closed. Passport will take care of the money transfer ID requirement, but I will need to get the license when they re-open and I have 8 or 10 hours to stand in line.

Last night I made an unbelievably great ginger chicken dish. I used to make it a lot but had not made it for a long time. This time I thickened the broth very slightly with a little corn starch and added a hint of fish sauce and soy. It was good. Tonight is Mexican night. I’ve had a pork butt cooking at low temp for most of the day. So, now a margarita and then to the kitchen to complete the task at hand.

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