Perhaps Dr. Freud never had the experience of camping in drab, ugly, and half-dead forests in the summer -- to escape the heat -- and then busting out into the open in September. An oceanic feeling can be very powerful indeed. Better yet, this feeling can be used for a practical purpose: it helps to keep an outdoorsy lifestyle interesting, long after the tourist phase is over.
Recently this oceanic feeling provided a real phantasmagoria for me: breaking out into the sagebrush hills seemed like heading out to sea on a sailboat. Perhaps this was helped by reading Jack London's "South Sea Tales." (Gutenberg.org) I even listened to some Jimmy Buffett songs for the first time in a long while.
For instance, as you creep out of the forest gloom, and head downhill into the sagebrush sea, you see trees hanging on to the gullies. They never seem to be thriving. They seem so frail, like the sand spits that stick out from the mainland into the sea.
(Sand spits might only be a foot above the water level. You can't help wondering why they aren't wiped out by waves during the next storm. Despite the frail appearance, sand spits are waxing, not waning. That is, they are being deposited by currents along the shore.)
But what about these treed gullies? Are they waxing or waning? How and Why did they get there? In general trees invade grasslands because of fire suppression by the forest service and BLM. Fire favors grasslands over trees. So can these treed gullies be seen as the advance guard of the invaders?
It might not be an interesting subject to standard tourists, but it is to me, because of this analogy to sand spits in the sea, and my misadventure of nearly drowning (during my first sea kayaking lesson) off the tip of Point Pelee, sticking down into Lake Erie. (The Wikipedia article says it is the longest sand spit in freshwater.)
So things are working: I am finding things to think about when mountain biking, not just to look at. And nature begins to appear as a dynamic process, rather than a static object for syrupy sentimentalism or pseudo-religious veneration.
|My favorite laccolith in the distance. But it is a mere runt compared to the Grand Mesa over by Grand Junction.|