This word I like... We architect our life...
A song, a sigh... developing words that linger...
Through fields of green, through open eyes... It's for us to see.
Interanimate: To animate or inspire mutually

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Elusive but not shy

Its been a while since my last post. The only sct update is that last week, the transplant nurse said she would let me know this week about a transplant date. I dont know what is holding things up except that the donor may have scheduling conflicts.

Tuesday, Oct 30, my Dad and I took an overnight trip to Borrego desert. Dad has a new Celestron telescope and wanted to try it out under clear skies. I'll start this trip in the middle. At our campsite it was windy in the daytime and the temp was in the low 80's. We hiked maybe 1/2 mile in the afternoon cuz we are both fairly unhealthy. Dad has been developing pains in his legs and I needed to gas up, my hgb in the low 8's. The night was fairly clear and we saw many more stars that we would have been able to see in San Diego. When the moon came up that changed.
As soon as it was dark Dad setup his telescope and leveled the tripod. He turned on the scope computer and aligned it by focusing on 3 random stars, one at a time. When the scope has this information along with the correct longitude, latitude and date/time, the on-board computer knows exactly where every heavenly body is located. I typed in a star and the scope motors rotated to point west towards the horizon. Unfortunately, the huge mountain to the west (at Palm Canyon campground) was in the way so we could not see the star. I then tried Jupiter and the scope motor would not respond. The scope remained fixed towards the coast. The telescope runs on 8 AA batteries and I think they were low. Just around the time the scope tanked and we rebooted it, the only other occupant in the campground called out from nearby, "Hello the camp!". This is the traditional way you are supposed to approach a campsite in the old west in order to avoid getting shot as an unfriendly. I invited the guy over. Dad and I ended up speaking with 'John' for an hour about various subjects. Very interesting guy. 56 years old, tall, grey hair, just had an interview that afternoon to be a park worker. I think he was a cubicle refuge. He used to work an office job but realized his life there was not what he wanted. Anyway... After our talk with John, Dad put the scope away. The moon arose over the mountains a short time later. It produced some crazy optical illusions before it came up. Both of us were looking just above the tip of the mountain where the moon would later appear. There was a lone star in the sky just above the mountain. As we watched it, the star jumped around randomly in various directions, but always coming back to remain still for a few seconds. The jumping distance was significant, and we did not know the moon was just below the tip of the mountain at that time so we were quite amazed. We speculated that the star was a UFO. Within 1/2 hour, around 10pm, the moon started to appear. The moon was almost half and the flat side was pointed upwards. The first thing we saw was this bright 'line' appearing on the top of the mountain in the far distance. The star stopped jumping around. We did not know it was the moon so we thought we were witnessing another strange and new astronomical phenomenon. After another few minutes it became clear that we were mistaken. There was the moon. The star was gone, eclipsed by the moon. All the other stars were not as bright because of the moonlight. The wind had died down. All that intruded on our senses were the bright moon and the sound of dozens of coyotes yelping secret messages to each other from adjacent canyons snaking out of the valley.
We repaired to our Coleman tent and called it a night.
The next day, Dad was up at the crack of dawn and had all his stuff cleared out of his half of the tent before I awoke. We had no coffee so we had to collect our wits the old fashion way, work. As we broke camp, we noticed the moon high overhead. It was taunting us about our failed attempts to view it the night before, and how it fooled us with it's little star dance. Dad couldnt take the taunts. He broke out the telescope, leveled the tripod and trained it in the direction of the half moon. No matter how hard we tried, we moved the scope, focused the scope; all we could see was blue sky. Out foxed and probably out witted, we disassembled the scope again.
On the way home, we stopped at Dudley's bakery in Santa Ysabel and bought 4 loaves of their wonderful bread. Heading west, starting on the hill immediately to the East of Dudleys the earth was scorched. The scorching lasted until we entered Ramona. Most every house that had trees around it had been reduced to nothing except the skeletons of various appliances. Rubble. In places, the ground had the look of a fresh dusting with snow. It was ash. The huge chicken farm outside of Ramona survived, good news (I guess) for the millions of hens housed therein. The hen barns had no trees surrounding them to catch fire. The brush had been kept cleared. Most of the houses in the long canyon between Santa Ysabel and Romona were gone because they were tucked into pretty groves of California Oaks. After passing through Ramona, we decided to take Highland Valley Rd to 15. This was a reasonable route back home. I was concerned about being a looky-loo. Highland Valley was heavily impacted by the Witch Creek fire. Many houses were gone. Thousands of Avocado trees withered but still holding up blackened avocados. Crews were everywhere installing new wooden telephone poles and protective rails. Driving South a few exits along I15, drivers can see several hills in North Rancho Bernardo that are now missing houses. Chimneys remain standing over the ruins, seemingly to make an obvious statement, "Next time build the *whole* house from brick".
On our previous trip to Borrego last year, I took some pictures and made a Slide Show. Be sure to check out slide 5 of the Big Horn Sheep posing. These sheep are elusive but not shy. We were able to get within 40 yards of a dozen of them. Also check out the beautiful desert afternoon cloud formations in slides 1-3. You just dont see this on the coast.


Anonymous said...

Jim those pictures are great... a new background for my computer. Hope all is well. Miss you.