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Saturday, 6 August 2011

It’s been a busy day, and I’ve put myself under pressure by trying to get the day’s entry written before I go to bed. Now that I have, finally, sorted out a way forward with the long piece I’d like to produce about my time down here I shall endeavour to make that my morning writing task. (And we’ll see how long that good intention lasts.)
I’ve mentioned, many times, the rough track I have to drive up to get from here to the ranch house. Since the time it got washed away that journey has been a landmark moment of every day, and as the sand settles I count every successful trip as a minor miracle – although it’s a lot of fun, bouncing through the soft spots that seem to get a little deeper each time I make the trip.

Something that’s been annoying me since I arrived here, however, are the scattered lengths of black cable that litter the surface. They are the remnants of the phone line which once linked this place with the outside world. I understand that Kitty’s dad told the phone company, on both occasions that they laid cable, not to run it under the road. But they knew better, and it duly got ripped to shreds. It’s those same shreds which keep surfacing, making the track unsightly.

Today, then, I decided to go into action. Regardless of the 88-degree heat, I marched out with a sharp spade and got to work. An hour later I’d pulled up all that would consent to being pulled up, and piled it by the side of the road. I’ll haul it off to the dumpster in Merriman in a few days’ time.

As I walked back down with my spade over my shoulder, feeling pleased with myself, I noticed dark clouds gathering, and immediately started looking for photo opportunities. I like to experiment with this camera, trying out different exposures and settings. These two shots, of more or less the same scene, seem to me to tell rather different stories; indeed, they almost look as though they were taken in different seasons. I wouldn’t like to say which one is closer to the truth.

The threatened storm didn’t arrive, but the clouds and the low sunlight still combined to throw up some attractive colours. On one of the hills to the north-east of where I was standing I spotted a pair of deer with two young.

Being taken from a distance of three or four hundred yards, these aren’t the clearest of shots, but I am rather pleased with them all the same. A lot of my pictures I regard as a form of note-taking, and I worry that it’s making me lazy. There’s that risk, which I need to be aware of when I come to write up a record of this whole trip, of describing the pictures rather than what I remember seeing.

As I said, the storm missed us, but there did appear to be another one away towards Cody, or even further over that way:

I hurried home, chased by a couple of very persistent deer-flies, only to be drawn back out fifteen minutes later by a rather beautiful sky, illuminated by a now invisible sun.

It’s now mid-evening, and dark. I am starving, but do not know what to eat. I mentioned a couple of days ago that half a tooth popped out. The jagged edge of what remains is lacerating the side of my tongue, making eating a very painful business. On Wednesday, when I called my buddy Gordon Dental, I got a recorded message saying the place was closed until Monday. Let’s hope I haven’t starved to death by then.

To add to my woes, I have just discovered that sand-bur season is upon us. I have been walking around the house barefoot the last few weeks – and now I’m paying for it. I seem to have carried in a dozen or so on the soles of my sandals and deposited them on the carpet. I suspect it’s time to institute the ‘no shoes beyond the front door’ rule.  And to get out that vacuum cleaner.

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