Monthly Archives: July 2009


A quarter of my life I’ve lain here in these rocks and thorns, watching Orion’s cold shoulder wheel through the late autumn sky, or waking a few hours into a summer night to watch the bleary Pleiades ascend.

The great bear circles warily in the north.

A quarter of my life, or more, and thus I’ve known this place longer than any other I’ve thought of as home. I lie awake with this notion for a time. I know each crevice, each crack in the cleft quartz monzonite, have watched the great granite blocks sink slowly into the mineral soil below.

How odd: this is my home as much as any place has been, and mine alone: it is not fraught with memory, or at least not many.

Rain has fallen within the last few hours. The crickets woke to drink, and they are stridulating. A bright light streaks the sky, burns out, and then another.

All of my life collapsed in upon itself in those years, until what little bit of core I had showed plain.

This place seemed permanent at first, as permanent as Orion, I thought, Orion walking his dog in perpetuity in the cold southern sky, before the fires washed over the desert and disabused me. Even Orion changes. In the years I have watched him here, his red giant — Betelgeuse — has shrunk significantly, collapsing toward a fusing core growing rich in nickel and iron.

Come the culmination, perhaps with my eyes still here to be dazzled, a million times this moonlight will sear the night sky.

The Gettysburg Address, by Sarah Palin

Four score and seven, eight, years ago — it was some time ago, anyway, in the days of our forefathers. And the forefathers… they brought forth in this American country a new nation, America. America’s life began at the moment it was conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the prop… proposal? They had this idea — they were very wise and god-fearing men — that they all, all men, were originally created equal by their creator.

Again, my understanding is we are engaged in a great civil war, proving to the world and all the foreign countries. I want all Americans to grasp what is in store for this country of America. I am all about America enduring, enduring into the future and beyond. And unfortunately, that is the road that America is finding itself on in this field, a battlefield, on the land border of the boundary we share with our great neighbor to the South. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. That’s a heck of a lot more than a whole lot of Senators and Congressmen and Representatives have done for us in Washington.

But, in a much bigger kind of a larger sense, we can not…we can not cultivate this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, good public servants with servants’ hearts and astounding work ethic… they are America’s success! What I think the world at the end of the day is going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions here, and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done the ground-consecrating here. It is for us the living, rather, who are still alive and unkilled, to be dedicated here to choose to finish the unfinished work which they who fought here died before it was finished. If I have learned one thing: Life is about choices! Life is too short to compromise time and resources… it may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, to dedicate yourself to the great task remaining before you — that from these honorable dead guys, our boys in uniform, and some girls too, and to take more and more each day and increased devotion to that cause for their devotion that they measured last, here in the Keystone State. We could highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, but that’s the worthless, easy path; that’s a quitter’s way out.

[Thanks to Jesse for the writer’s prompt.]

Watching the trains go by

A quick note from out in front of the Nipton Trading Post. Sitting here with The Raven seeing the storms roll across the valley, a promise of rain so far unkept.

It rained here yesterday but good. The road washed out a little up toward Mountain Pass, and evidence of flood in the parking lot here.

It feels as much like home here as anywhere does to me these days.

Soon we’ll head to Searchlight for supplies and then spend the night beneath the desert stars.  The moon is a thin waxing crescent, an accessory to the sunset.