Monday, September 5, 2011


Labor Day passes slowly, a day of indolence and jazz and reading and an early bike ride.

The day passes. The week passes. The summer passes. A life passes.
Rabbitbrush, Chrysothamnus nauseosus

Goldenrod, Solidago ?
Curlycup gumweed, Grindelia squarrosa
Sunflower, Helianthus annuus

How do we know it passes?

Things change.

For instance, for reasons I don't understand, the preponderance of late-summer flowers in our yard (almost all native, requiring no irrigation but what falls from our desert skies) are yellow.

Shorter days, slowly falling temperatures. Things change. And they keep changing. Relentlessly, if depression has its say. Invigoratingly, if melancholy is on vacation.

The course of a life.

The course of a story like the one Scott Carrier helped Najib tell (see the previous post).

In thought, in language, in memory, a life is, most simply, a narrative. And narrative, in whatever form, is motion. In a story even place is motion, as the flowerville blogger recently noted with reference to Horace & Handke.

Wild lettuce, Lactuca Virosa
My ride up Loafer Mountain this morning had its own curriculum. The first twenty minutes were a climb up the steep streets of Woodland Hills, our little mountainside town. There were neighbors to greet, out walking on the pleasant holiday. Deer slipped from the roadside into the oakbrush. Wild turkeys likewise clucked and galloped into the brush. There was no birdsong -- much too late in the season to get laid.

Finally the pavement ended and the switchbacks began to climb the mountain.

Like the days and seasons of a life, they are relentless, slippery with the late-summer dryness, sometimes treacherous, often exhilarating. They link one to the next and together they lift a rider high above the valley.

About a 2000-foot altitude gain in all. And every year it's a bit harder -- obviously a case of ongoing geological upthrust. 

From a spring ride up the same trail, a set of sweaty photos:

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