At my late dispersed campsite, there were so few bugs that I could have almost left the screen door open. It almost seemed too good to be true. And you know what they say about...
Moving over to Alpine, AZ, I went out searching for a dispersed campsite and good places to mountain bike, helped by Jim & Gayle's advice. Much to my surprise I stumbled upon a place where the Mogollon Rim fell precipitously into a canyon. I say 'stumbled' because I was NOT out there looking for scenery -- I was looking for a side road to camp on. The long-suffering reader knows that I'm going to argue that 90% of this pleasure wasn't really from the scenery per se, but rather, from the surprise.
How strange that some folks want to be told -- exactly -- where to camp, as if finding it isn't half the fun. Despite the lucky break with the scenery, there was no place to camp. So I went back into the travel trailer for a second.
What the ...! There were at least 50 flies buzzing away inside my travel trailer. But they hadn't been noticeable in the forest. Was some food spilled inside? Something dead under the bed? It was a disgusting experience! At least they were ordinary house flies, rather than those peanut-sized deer flies of last year.
Fortunately I had a fly swatter and the flies cooperated by gravitating to screens. At first the carnage took effort, aim, and timing. Soon my arm tired. It's a wonder that the fly-swatter didn't break.
But soon I learned to relax, like in the movies, when the apprentice is mastering one of the martial arts, and his master tells him, "Too much mind!", or "Just feeeeel the Force, Luke." The fly-swatter became to me what the light sabre was to Luke Skywalker. I stopped aiming and started killing quickly, repeatedly, effortlessly. The Buddha would not have approved.
At some point in the carnage the kill-rate fell to two flies per minute. Steady-state. Flies were coming into my trailer at a rate of two flies per minute. But where? And why hadn't this ever happened before? I didn't know what to do because I had no explanation for any of this.
It's true, there was a wet, soggy creek-bottom a couple hundred yards away. But like I said, flies were not particularly noticeable outside the trailer. Only inside. I needed an idea.
When I was a lad, my school teacher father once told me that if an educated man was killing time in an airport, waiting for an airplane, he would find something interesting to think about. This example never really impressed me all that much at the time. But for some reason, this fly fiasco made me think about how badly I was doing just by thinking, and that something else needed to enter the picture.
Recall that some of the most historically important documents every written about human thinking were those of Francis Bacon. He argued that unaided human reason was a pitiful and weak thing, prone to numerous errors. He advertised in favor of observations, demonstrations, and instruments.
So, with that in mind, I renounced sterile theorizing and went outside to look for clues. It wasn't hard to spot. Their malevolent sibilance was concentrated near the broken cap of the grey-water vent on the roof of the travel trailer. At any given time there were about 20 flies in the gaggle. Some couldn't resist the siren-smell of the vent: they flew down into the abyss, presumably never to return.
I could put my ear to the vent pipe, which was like a musical instrument in using sound-resonances. I could hear the grisly, resonant buzzing of the doomed.
|Silver City, NM. "toSimplify.net" watches his doppelganger falling through the Net of Doom, into the abyss.|
So that was it, eh? I replaced the cap on the vent and filled the gaps. The fly problem disappeared. Later I dumped some of the bacterial treatment made by Roebic into the grey tank.
There was something satisfying about this experience. When you camp alone you are aware of your own puniness and isolation from society. You are also undistracted by the trivial busy-ness of city living. The mind naturally gravitates to the timeless and fundamental. In thinking about Bacon and the problem of unaided human thinking, I was connecting with History and Civilization. My school teacher father would have approved.
I was like the thin layer of life on the outside diameter of these huge ponderosa pines in the forest where this experience took place. The inside of the tree trunk might be "dead", but its strength supports the living annulus on the periphery.
How many of the blogs that I read will be thought of as fundamental when looked back on, from the future? What is the shelf life of most of the trivial junk on the internet? It's probably not even as long as 24 hours.