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Hungry Squatters

I've only noticed this in one spot of my dog-walking grassy field: a cluster of hungry squatters, munching away on their campsite.

Dogs of Iron, Rocks of Wood

Northern Arizona, a couple summers ago. What a relief it was to drive away from 7000 feet and snow and head down and north to Snowflake AZ. Certain things gave me a chuckle, like "Alaska Oil" gas stations and "Our Lady of the Snow" Catholic church. After driving only fifteen miles it seemed like a different state. Northeastern Arizona is a strange combination of LDS (Mormon) towns, Indian reservations and fossilized trees. I thought of the joke that ended the movie, "Raising Arizona." It was nice to be back in "greater Utah" in some ways. Nobody could lay out a town like Brigham Young. I chose one of those wide streets and pulled a U-turn, just because I could. Once I asked a couple men of good taste which state had the best looking women. We all agreed: Utah. They exude wholesomeness, an underrated  quality in a society saturated with media smut. There was another wholesomeness that you can appreciate best when you compare it

Kestrel's Eye

I compliment Netflix quite a bit on this blog, and have to do it again. A Swedish documentary called "Kestrel's Eye" caught my eye the other day. The opening moments were not confidence-building: how could a nature documentary without narration or a musical background hold my interest for almost an hour and a half? Much to my surprise the lack of narration helped the movie. It made it seem so real. There have been other times when I've watched a movie in which the action was slow and the dialogue was understated, and wondered if this was really a movie. With "Kestrel's Eye" the viewer has to make a persistent effort to be satisfied without the noise and razzle-dazzle that we are accustomed to in entertainment products. And it worked. The other advantage of no narration is that you are spared the predictable sermons and platitudes about 'what man has done to the Earth' or the 'delicate balance of nature.' It's funny how animals are

The Crooner

A curved bill thrasher sings into the microphone.

Appreciating Humidity

Back East they complain that 'It's not the heat, it's the humidity.' I'm here to tell you that it's not as simple as that. Easterners suffer from such an excess of moisture over an annual cycle that they never think of the hardship of aridity.  I just finished a bicycle ride in enormous humidity by New Mexican standards: 60% in mid-morning. It only takes 30% to generate an afternoon thunderstorm. The fields have become green with all the rain and humidity lately. The Easterners yawn at this news. But not me. Soon my camera will go to work on fields full of seed heads, texture, and flowers. Bear in mind that in April, after a freakishly wet and snowy winter, everything was still brown. Some people's idea of sensual luxury is to go to a spa and be pampered with hot springs, massages, aromatherapy, etc. I'll settle for an experience like today: I didn't need to smear my skin with that crisco-like sunscreen, since the high humidity partly blocked the s