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Vacation: Sun, Surf, Missing Posts, General Tomfoolery

We’ve been back from our annual trip to Assateague Island National Seashore for about 4 hours now–the van in unpacked, the laundry is going, and the rest of family has stumbled off to sleep after a vacation that was, in parts, relaxing and invigorating.

Before I tell you about it, I want to apologize for some stupid empty posts.  In my cleverness, I used the magic of the WordPress Dashboard’s scheduling feature to load up a bunch of posts, the object being to continue to entertain my kind, deeply appreciated readers even as I lay basking and baking 6 hours distant from my computer.  And I flubbed it.  Two placeholder posts made their way to the mysterious interwebs, where I have determined to keep them–as evidence of my incompetence–only shortly, after which time they will vanish into the ether and I will begin systematically denying their existence.  Truly.

Assateague Bird
This is no joke.

2014-0815-1So, Assateague–it’s like this:  Paradise.  Now, before you sign up (and make it harder for us to get our reservations), let me elaborate on Paradise:  It has uncrowded beaches, even on broiling hot weekends in August, a 10pm quiet hour, and abundant wildlife.  It also has no electricity for guests, no hot water (that’s right: ice cold showers, which I’ll talk about later on), sporadic cellular telephone coverage and no wifi.  None.  The abundant wildlife includes wild ponies that will bite you, steal your food, wreck your campsite, tear down your tent, and teach your little kids a whole damn lot about reproduction–right there on the beach.  The other premier species at Assateague, for which it is equally famous, is the mosquito–numerous varieties, in varying degrees of size, tenacity, and itch-factor.  If you aren’t up to dealing with mosquitos, Assateague isn’t your place.

In fact, one of my daughters just stumbled out of her bedroom (it’s around 1am) moaning and near tears because she can’t find where her sister left the calamine lotion.  At present, she has 27 visible bite marks on her body and may very well go crazy from the itching.  We’ll see.  I tend to think that it is the scratching that causes the increased irritation.  The bites I got all faded within 45-60 minutes, and I adamantly resist scratching.  My wife and daughters all scratch, and their itches persist for days, sometimes…OH, IT SEEMS THAT I’M RIGHT!  LOOK, GIRLS, AT WHAT DADDY JUST RESEARCHED ON THE MAGICAL MYSTERY INTERWEBS!  You want to stop the itch, just let it be.  BAM!

And there we go–a trip report in multiple installments to follow.  I just wanted to get in here and apologize for those faulty posts–I’ll make ’em up to you this weekend and into next week with plenty of new, original content.  It may not be interesting, or even any fun, but it will be new.

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National Poetry Month: Gary Snyder

bucking_hay

Hay for the Horses by Gary Snyder

He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous Mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under Black oak
Out in the hot corral,
—The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds—
“I’m sixty-eight” he said,
“I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that’s just what
I’ve gone and done.”

From Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems by Gary Snyder, published by North Point Press. Copyright © 1958,
1959, 1965 Gary Snyder.