Blowing twenty, pegging the mercury at triple digits. Tullamore Dew is God’s Irish answer to pub life when saloons are shuttered. Here in Cold Springs, Nevada you can throw a silver dollar down for a shot of amber inducing truth serum. The barkeep wants to believe the pandemic hasn’t arrived. I’m running Highway 50 with a good deal more caution.
Hot, dusty, looking for a piece of shade to set my folding chair so as I may enjoy a jigger or two. The crusade of flies setting down upon my campsite suggests my spiritual work is not done.
Nevada’s contrarian streak is as predictable as an invasion of Mormon crickets. One hour by highway north of where I’m camped is Santa Rosa-Paradise Peak Wilderness. On the eastern slope live more or less one-hundred citizens in the town of Paradise Valley. Every decade there is an subterranean insect hatch and this throng of big bugs destiny is to crawl down the mountain into this settlement. The Mormon cricket is a frightful looking insect but does not fly, bite or sting. Still they’ll ruin a hayfield, so an insect extermination effort is mounted by the citizens. At the wars peak wave upon wave of squished Mormon crickets caught crawling across a highway can be so slick a vehicle can lose traction and spin out of control sliding over this bugs oozing remains. I mean to say Nevada isn’t for the faint of heart.
Road from where they come
If this were Mars and you were suffering untold solitude a fly could be a heavenly messenger. Collared lizards are always welcomed in my book. Pesky squirrels are a sight to behold. My double negative curse is feeling deep in my soul that life isn’t without its parts I would rather do without.
East of where I am camped there runs north to south hundred-mile-long valleys suited to grazing sheep. Basque herders immigrate here to seek their fortune in the Great Basin before sending airfare back to the Pyrene’s for their faithful Basque wives.
Select tumbleweeds are taking advantage of today’s splendid blow while many more seem unwilling to let go of who and where they are, to wait for more favorable conditions. Wanderlust tumblers best not depart before conditions maximize an advantaged ride with the wind. Being genetically linked to tumbleweed’s is a certainty, don’t know if tumblers can appreciate the kinship. Perhaps there is a secret behavioral nexus between man and plant. There are things beyond our knowing but since there is so much nothing to do here, we can avail our time to think these possibilities through to their improbable conclusion.
Sun has set over the ridgeline. I’m able to come out of the shadows setup a windbreak and light a fire on my camp stove. Boil potatoes, warm a pot of scratch made beans, sauté kale and set my table and eat my supper. By the time my dishes are washed I can settle down atop my bunk to read and wonder. There is darkness now and not a sound to be heard. Another day is my beautiful reward.
Thanks, Dana, for your word-painting. I am quite amazed at your comfort in the wild. This is not the first time you have done this (set up camp in the middle of nowhere), but it’s the first time I’m getting a fine appreciation of the experience. In our RV, in our log cabin, we get that solitude, but we have folks around us…albeit at a distance…but living beings, nonetheless. I find it interesting that you are able to be so comfortable in nowhere, which, by your presence, is somewhere. Looking forward to your further ruminations.
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Merry B. Clark