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Creek Running North

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April 16, 2005

Creek Running North: the Clip Show

It would just figure that my traffic would spike just before this blog goes silent for two weeks.

So I went through the last couple years of this blog to find some things I think deserve a few extra readers, and I offer them up here for your potential delectation.

Start with the most important person in my life: Becky, the woman who has patiently put up with me for the last 16 years. Sometimes not so patiently. Sixteen years is a lot of time to inhabit a neighborhood with someone, and the geographical features of the neighborhood can in that time take on whole new layers of meaning. The heart place is one of those places for us.

People who've been reading for a while know that every so often I disappear into the Mojave desert backcountry. In October 2003, I got there just in time to inhale the smoke from the southern California wildfires. There are a few posts in this series, beginning with the linked one. And unearthly photos.

The heart place piece refers to a "distraction" that disrupted my marriage. This post includes the story of one of the trips I took with said distraction.

Sometimes reality gets in your way, and the collision is not pleasant. The problem is that we expect reality to be a certain way, but it rarely is. We can either swallow uncritically the irrelevant maunderings of a handful of self-proclaimed saints who fill us with misinformation about the way the world works, or we can get out into the world and do our best to apprehend it directly.

Then again, sometimes life throws you a curveball and what seems to be a huge imposition ends up happily, and all the legacy that remains is an excellent picture of Zeke and some baby kitties, or a remembered promise to a wild animal who has saved your pet's life.

My grandmother died at a ripe old age last year, and the day they buried her I of course wrote about paleontology. I went for a hike in Sedona a few months later, and the news I'd read in the papers and the red dust on the trail turned my mind to thoughts of paleontology. On my way back from Sedona, driving through the East Mojave past ranges full of Cambrian and Devonian trilobites, I was of course inspired to write about birdwatching. That's OK, because a bird on the other side of that particular mountain range once delayed the moment at which my own potential fossilization will begin.

Think all that's unnecessarily deep? Tell me about it. You just have to read my stuff: I have to be my stuff. I can't even write about a overwhelmingly common landscape flower without getting all "meaning of life" and stuff.

In part, I think, that's due to a woman I met when I was 23. Her life intersected mine only briefly, but it took me a long time to come to terms with our evanescent relationship, which by now I realize is unlikely ever to end.

Sometimes words aren't enough. So about four months ago I chose ten photos from my archives and used them as prompts for an equivalent number of essays. The last one is about Zeke.

That should be enough for two weeks, so I'll finish as I started, with a short piece about the person who matters most.

While I'm gone, Paul Tomblin has graciously offered to monitor this blog for comment and trackback spam. This means that he's going to be reading each and every comment posted in my absence. So if any Christian jihadists in the audience can keep their provocations down to a dull roar in the "that serial killer was a better person than you are, because he accepted Jayzus and you're a heathen communist" department, I'd appreciate it, because Paul is kind of like a taller, younger, more Canadian version of me, and that stuff pisses him off.

See you in May.

Posted by Chris Clarke at April 16, 2005 08:14 AM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Excerpt: Chris Clarke, who writes Creek Running North, is a gifted writer.
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Be well.

Posted by: the_bone at April 16, 2005 11:29 AM
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I just read these two links-- "a wild animal who saved your pet's life" and "the person who matters the most." Your writing simply knocks me out. Beautiful. There are enough treasures here to last a very long.
Have a safe journey. We'll be here when you get back.

Posted by: Rexroth's Daughter at April 16, 2005 07:37 PM
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I have a vague memory of reading Chris Clarke's comments over at Michael Berube's a few months ago. I had no idea that by clicking on his name to see who he was, I'd be drawn in like I have been. I'm verily impressed by this blog. I'll be an avid reader.

Posted by: pietro at April 17, 2005 08:50 PM
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I clicked on "overwhelmingly common landscape flower" this morning as my daily ration of your wonderful writing. You're a man after my own heart-or nose, as the case may be. I am an embarrassment to go on walks with, as I occasionally have to be restrained from dropping to my knees next to someone's garden in order to bury my face in a clump of spicy dianthus, or walking straight into a low-hanging branch of lilac so I can be completely immersed in that unmatchable scent. I adopt difficult plants solely for their smell-heliotrope is so slow growing that where I live I have to start it indoors and nurture the seedlings for months so I can wallow in its swoony-sweet, anisey breath in July. There's a permanent scar on my wrist thanks to my rue bush (I found out the hard way that its sap is virulently phototoxic), but I can't give it up because I'm in love with the way it smells-like oregano's wild hippy orgiast aunt.
By the way, vanillin doesn't smell as good as vanilla because it's only one synthesized component. Vanillin is the dominant note in true vanilla, but without all the complementary chemical components (around 250 in all) that the plant produces, it's like a piano with only one key.
Sorry to ramble on, but this piece inspired me. Just lovely.

Posted by: Equinox at April 18, 2005 08:59 AM
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Beautiful honest writing; you are a lucky man in so many ways...

Posted by: Trix at April 20, 2005 05:43 PM
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Hey! The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker has made a come-back... still waiting on you. :)

Posted by: Rurality at April 28, 2005 10:02 AM
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