Monday, April 8, 2019

Springtime and the grapes of wreck

April 8 and it's a beautiful morning.

It feels like spring this morning. At sunrise the air temperature had just fallen to 43 degrees, which happened to be the overnight low. As Sol's magnificent warming light flooded across the Prairie the air temperature trend reversed and within 15 minutes had gained 10 degrees.
The air felt like it held a lot of water molecules, and sure enough, relative humidity was hovering at the 90 percent mark.

It was shirtsleeve weather. A bit on the cool side but trending not-so-cool. In addition to warming the awakening countryside, sunlight added a sepia tone to everyday images, producing achingly beautiful portraits. I snapped a few pictures, none of which do the beauty any real justice.

Each of these moments, each of these scenes, are similar to countless moments which have occurred down through the ages of Earth, yet each is also completely unique, never to come again.

Yesterday, while Goldfinches swarmed the thistle seed feeder,  Nona accompanied Mom on her daily prairie walk.

People who wonder where I come by my love of walking and outdoor physical activity need look no farther than Mom, who at 78 years young gets out and walks multiple miles across the ranch nearly every day, rain, shine, or snow. It keeps her fit and provides the gift of scale, context and perspective to balance the insanity constantly vomited from the television and various "news" sources. What a treasure her shiny new hips have turned out to be.

But I digress. Nona joined the walk, as she always does. She came back early though, slinking surreptitiously into the farmyard, a piece of Pronghorn leg clamped in her teeth. I watched her for a while as she cast about for a good place, dug a hole, and buried her prize.

That's the wild side of a domesticated dog. It's not normally evident, but yesterday something triggered her wild behavior genetics and she was, for a brief time, more wolf than dog. Fun stuff to observe and think about.

On a bit of a tangent but lurking near the forefront of my mind, I've often wondered about the exact circumstances of the very first human experimentation with alcohol consumption. In my mind's eye, I can see Og the caveman returning to the home hole after a long but unsuccessful day of hunting. He's tired and hungry and thirsty and disgusted, resigned to having a growlingly empty belly until he can kill something to eat. In the back of the cave are a pile of rotting grapes, which smell sour and off. But Og is very hungry, so he bolts down some grapes...

And something magical happens.

Was it like that, the first time a human got drunk? It could have been I think. Not that it really matters.

Anyway, here in the present of 2019, someone close to me is struggling with alcohol. It's an ugly struggle. Fortunately for this person there are a great many resources available to help overcome the problem. That wasn't always the case. There are also a great many people who love this person without reservation and who will unhesitatingly provide as much support as they possibly can. There's no way to know what the outcome will be. In the reality of reality, there are things that the afflicted person will have to do to get better, things only the person can do. It'll be a hard road, filled with fear and uncertainty. If the person successfully navigates the road all will be well. If not, then not. It is the way of life. Only time will tell.

In the midst of springtime beauty there coexists ugliness and despair. Nothing in life is ever simply wonderful or simply awful. It's always a mix. That's not a bad thing. It might be one of the keys to making our mortal existence worthwhile.


  1. My middle son is fighting that battle. Sober 15 months now. He had to shed most of his "friends". Can't begin to tell how proud of him I am.

    1. That's fantastic! Takes guts and grit and hard work, but it can also be a happy road to a beautiful life. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  2. Kudos to those who make it to the other side of addiction.
    If they don't want to change it, no amount of love, care, support, etc is going to make a difference. As much as I wanted to fix it, make it better, for my late husband, it ultimately wasn't up to me. The hardest thing I've ever done was to walk away from him after 41 years.
    Another spring is almost here, my first in the PNW. Looking forward...

    1. As the Marine PFC at Khe Sanh said while trying to make a C-Rat selection, "Sometimes all that's left is shitty choices." Out of the mouths of babes...

      Enjoy the spring Brig! It's be strawberry time soon. :)

  3. We have a strong winter storm approaching for Wednesday night. We could get up to six inches of snow. April snows can be very impressive, but they don't last.

    With far too many family members with drinking problems, and 14 years in LE, I loathe alcohol, for the misery I have seen it bring.

    1. We're scheduled for that storm too. Same quantity plus 50-60 mph winds for 36 hours. Forecast is rather similar to last month's storm. I seem to recall a bit of a blizzard last April 9 as well.

      Yeah, the damme hooch and misery are closely linked.

  4. Might be likelier that it was grain, stored in clay or stone, that was infiltrated by water and fermented. Something like mead or beer. The effect was appreciated enough to result in efforts to replicate it. Then you need more grain. Next thing you know, you're farming and all of what passes for civilization is just an effort to make more beer.

    1. Your hypothesis just blew mine out of the water! :)

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, and Semper Fi.