Monday, October 6, 2008

Day 65: First night on the Assiniboine

The moon was on its way out.

I had been sore at the waning moon for some time. The waxing moon gives light when I want it most, at the end of the day. I can push disembarking just a little bit longer, knowing i can set up my tent or cook by its white light.

The waning moon gives a false sunrise, waking me and dogs early. I don't want to get up before the sun dries the world again, so I suffer the howling, roll over and cover my head until the real sunrise comes.

I heard the beaver playing in the water and was concerned about my canoe, filled to the gunwhales with snacks and food. I left my tent to guard my territory and forgot all about the beavers. All the stars and constellations were hung out brightly. It was a gift of the waning moon.
When that dying moon did rise, two coyotes did as well, and they were near. One howled, while the other sniffed and grunted, menacingly. Further there were more howls. I remembered Eddy Harris's violent confrontation with wild dogs in the South, and wondered what I would do if a pack of them did try attacking the tent. I unsheathed my axe. I rustled my tent and through my helmet in the direction I heard them. These antics only created seconds of silence before Grunter and Howler began again in earnest.

When I could no longer abide the thought of a grown man afraid of such small dogs, I grabbed my axe and stood up outside the tent. The world went silent, waiting to see what man would do.
All was dark grey as the diffuse light of the wan moon competed with the stars. The moon uselessly pointed to where the sun would rise in a few hours. I stumbled over stones and cattle tracks to my canoe, and grabbed two flashlights.

I pointed my lights where I had heard the voices, and saw nothing. What could I do, hunt them in the night? They were behind the trees, and I wouldn't know how to get there. I laid down in the tent, and as soon as I did, the coyotes started again, but further. They were sauntering away. I imagined Howler was saying, "Soory about that. My bad."

Silence reclaimed the area, except for the distant lowing of a cow. I returned to my dreams.

Day 65 ended: 50*14.336N, 101*08.589W


John said...


Sorry, channeling a very unfair Calvin stereotype, there.

Your stair down with the animals was oddly cinematic, almost pre-anime fight sequence in some way.

Speaking of Japanese animation, yesterday night I saw my first Miyazaki film, "Spirited Away". I enjoyed it heartily. It involved a kid in some surreal situation in which she learns to become confident and self reliant.

That's another cinematic stereotype: the harsh and surreal experience making the child stronger, instead of more confused and nervous.

Work today was another stereotype: good plain software development proceeding straightforwardly, but ventures into interfaces being ruined by configuration issues.

I listened to Startup School lecture videos as I worked (I had heard them before).

I heard back from a fellow I'm talking with about conservation social software, he's currently in South Africa, and there's a great deal of interest. I'm telling him to go ahead while the iron is hot.

Kevin Saff said...

Spirited Away may be his best, but other Miyazaki is quite worth seeing as well.

Films tend to be conservative because of the expense involved in making them, and the comedy is more conservative than the tragedy.

Read Titus Groan.

John said...

I have also now seen "Howl's Moving Castle" and I have to say it was entertaining and was almost coherent, yet I have trouble explaining what made "SA" coherent, but HMC not, given that both had such fantastic elements.