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.