Extinction

I’ve put off blogging til my last night here in Mt. Shasta. I was just watching coverage from the east coast blizzard and realized I was starting to get a little loggy from the beer I sat down with when Selkie and I came back from the library. Must write. Must write….

Beautiful little Sisson meadow owned by the Siskiyou Land Trust is right across the street from where I’m staying. (The photo is shot from the driveway.) Walking up to the library this afternoon was such a sweet little journey.

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Earlier in the day we went up the lower Sand Flat trail for maybe a mile. I’ve just finished the Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. You can guess what that is about and how dire it is but the audio book was fascinating and on the long slog through deep sticky snow with unwaxed skis I thought about the curiosity in Homo Sapiens that would bring an old widow woman over a hundred miles from home to come out during a Travel Advisory to ski off by herself on an unknown trail. Kolbert theorizes that the Neanderthals, had they prevailed, might never have created art, pushed to develop new and better tools, nor exterminated species as we humans have throughout time. Now with species extinction happening on the scale of one every 100 minutes we are just watching our own demise despite the efforts to keep endangered species alive with extraordinary measures and to slow climate change. That drive of ours, that curiosity, will always push us forward into what is already set in motion– a human caused great extinction event to rival any that came before. I’m fairly numb to it even though I worship the creatures I live beside.

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Last night I went to see the Revenant (what does that mean, the Revenant?) It was filmed in some of the places Michael and I have been in the rainforests of B.C. and in Kanansakis County, Alberta. The story was brutal and really unbelievable (no Dorothy, you might survive a bear attack but you won’t survive staying in frigid water for more than a few minutes and without gloves in freezing conditions you will have no hope of saving your fingers…) What connects to what I was just writing is that the crew and horses were airlifted to 8000 feet for one scene, a bomb was set off to cause a picturesque avalanche and when there wasn’t enough snow the whole kitten-caboodle film shoot went to Tierra del Fuego. Such are we capable of to make a basic bloody revenge movie.

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During the day yesterday Selk and I went (yes, drove on gas,) up to the Old Ski Bowl that is a couple of miles by ski above Bunny Flats (parking lot at about 7,000 ft) and about a 600 ft gain in elevation. Michael and I used to scoot that pretty easily and then ski around on the bowl for some runs (him in what I would call the most relaxed and satisfied and at home way while I made huge long shallow passes and kick turns to decrease my speed to slightly faster than walking, tense and always intimidated by the slightest dip.) In September I released some of his ashes on the far lip of the bowl. Yesterday it was enough for me to look at that ridge, eat my peanut butter sandwich and turn back… I felt like getting there had been a supreme effort and I wasn’t going any further than having the bowl in my mind’s eye and my real eye. Everything was in gray scale and the only sound was the occasional stinking snowmobile. I haven’t seen the outline of the peak of Mt. Shasta since I came because of the weather. (But refer to the last post here for a shot of Michael and Sasha on a snowmobile out on the bowl not so many years ago. By my Veggie Voyagers posting I can see our last time together alive on Shasta was April 3, 2013… just before that huge surgery to try to remove the cancer…) M and Lassen 2-27-13 019

I must say something more important. Every once in a while I would stop and just allow stillness to inhabit my breath, my body and the empty expanse that unites what is sentient in me with the great empty stillness spirit of the mountain. In those moments were reams, expanses, eons… the reason for life and the kindred of death. That is why I am drawn there and why I mourn a bit leaving tomorrow.

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