Sunday, September 11, 2005
Chapter 7. 9.9.05, Yosemite, CA
Maybe it is the malingering headache or the persistent dehydration from the evening with Dav and Tim, but some got me up in the morning, so I make myself a soy slice sandwich, fill a bottle with water and head to Urnal Falls (wait, was that Vernal???) blissfully unaware of what Yosemite calls a “strenuous” hike. The ungodly hour of 7:30 am is here…
Part of the reason, as I said, is that I just woke up early…but what got me going was the Yosemite guide saying the best time to hike these trails were off-peak times of early morning and late afternoon. Being that I got there too late in the late afternoon yesterday, I went for it. Amazing. The trail was empty except for a few hikers. Wait! What is that! The aliens have come again…then I remember the reassuring words of my neighbor, oh yeah, it is only the sun. I hiked for a while with a delightful lady about my age, but, she outpaced me on the level stuff (I later passed her on the climb, restoring my masculine sense of self). The hike was glorious, but more than I expected, towards the top I stopped frequently out of paranoia fueled by family history of heart attacks! BUT, I made it fairly easily and hung out with my sandwich on the top. Strange, after telling Chongo and Cedar about my fear of heights, up there, I felt no fear. This might sound cheesy, but the beauty was so overwhelming that I forgot all about heights…there is even a pic of me hanging over the edge.
It was nice to be up there when it was just me and a couple of folks at first, and then by myself. Made me think of this:
“Ordinary men hate solitude.
But the Master makes use of it,
Embracing his aloneness, realizing
he is one with the whole universe.”
Tao Te Ching, excerpt Chapter 42, translated by Stephen Mitchell
I tend to like quiet, but not necessarily being in solitude. I’m going to try that more often. But not on the hike down.
On the way down, I ran into a zillion hikers, I am so glad my hangover inspired early rise led me to an early start. The nice thing, I got to see their faces on the ascent, the looking upward in awe at the beauty of it. That was nice.
Doubly glad at the early ascent, it clouded up and rained in the afternoon. Then came my new neighbors. Ouch. Loud yuppies, playing loud music. Too damn chipper, dancing and singing. Let me enjoy nature, I yell! Hoping the fear of the madman in the RV will put the fear on them...Between them and the thugs two sites away (somebody graffiti’d the bathroom while I was on my hike…I wonder who?) I have my hands full training new neighbors.
I head for the coffeehouse to write. Chongo is here, working away. I met Chongo and Cedar Wright yesterday while collecting my 800 pieces of email from the wifi hookup at Yosemite Lodge. Cedar, a professional climber, it turns out, was working on mixing and recording music. Very cool. There in Yosemite, with his Oxy8 (same keyboard I use) adding lines of music to a mix. From what I’ve been told, Chongo is homeless, but that doesn’t matter, he lives a way more productive life than many, has written several books, recorded a CD, spends time climbing and camping. Intelligent and well-spoken. Recorded and mixed in GarageBand on a 12 inch PowerBook using the built in microphone and midi. Pretty slick, Apple is making some cool stuff happen just by making this available with every laptop they sell. You can peruse Chongo and Cedar’s CD here, and eventually purchase it at the same place. I hooked up Cedar with my manufacturing contact, it is a unique musical work. I hope his CD does well.
Anyway, back to thinking about my new neighbors. Here in the midst of the glorious Yosemite National Park (submerged 500 million years ago under the sea, magma rose cooled, and over the next millions of years was carved by glaciers, rivers, then sedimentation made the meadows…and on and on). Now, here I am at lovely spot 509 in North Pines and besides being thankful for the years of geologic work making this land, I am grateful for my RV. For many reasons. Not the least being: refrigerator, kitchen, bed, bathroom, et cetera. Another not-too-often stated advantage of an RV is that it can be used as a barrier between you and idiots. I have a rule of thumb that I operate on that I think should become law in all national and state parks. Here is the law: No sound you make should be above the ambient level of nature surrounding you, or better yet, a few decibels below that of nature. Why don’t people know that intuitively? (Has the human level of consciousness not evolved far enough that people aren’t able to see outside themselves and see how their actions affect others? This is a base level, noise disturbance, I think if we get a handle on this we can get a handle, on, well, let’s see, war? I would say yes, it has NOT evolved. Yosemite has evolved, and it is gorgeous, but humanity has not.) I think that should go for any noise (including campfire folk singing, a rowdy game of pinochle, and more) but particularly: generators and what they bring. My neighbors in their tent trailer have a generator that sounds like a WWII era motorcycle. You think if they liked it so much, they would position inside their tent trailer. But no, of course, they position it as far from their site as possible…this makes no sense to me, until they fire up their television, Now I understand, they are hearing impaired, or, maybe not hearing impaired, just their low IQ makes it easier to understand the sporting event they are watching (listening) to it if is loud. SO, back to my initial observation: unlike the delightful older couple tent camping between me and the idiots, I am able to position my motor home as a sound barrier, for which it works well, and I am grateful for that. But when their 1943 Harley powered generator revs up really loud, I just walk to the Merced River, which drowns it all out. I feel sad for those people, that they can’t enjoy the sounds of nature. I feel worse for their neighbors, who aren’t allowed to enjoy the sounds by their auditorily bullying generator and television. Thomas Bernard has some beautiful things to say about sound pollution, me, I’m thinking about the John Muir quote in the parks guide:
“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of the flood, storm and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”
I’m also thinking about leaving some exploding firewood in the idiots’ firewood stack.