Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hazel Grouse and Charlie

From Charlie Hjerpe... Bonasa bonasia (the hazel grouse or hjerpe) is the hjerpe bird of Sweden, from which my last name derives. It has, however, a wide distribution in northern Europe and Asia, its range extending east across Russia, Siberia, Mongolia, China and on to North and South Korea, Sakhalin Island and the north island of Japan (Hokkaido). In Europe it is also found in Norway, Finland, eastern France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany,  Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania, Switzerland, Italy, Albania, and Ukraine. It is closely related to the ruffed grouse of North America (same genus), the bird that I hunted almost exclusively, as a boy growing up in Connecticut.
 -- Charlie

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Day

Like a swarm of illuminated bees, they travel down the far left lane. Flashing brake lights and riding close , cutting in and out between the aluminum behemoths whose gravity seems to sling them forward, they ride as if they hold a papal dispensation from the consequences of their carelessness. They arrive in tight knit clusters of 8 to 10 mini vehicles, indistinguishable from each other - mini-suvs, sedans, the occasional small truck. Heading, as if down a wormhole, back to the very places they could not wait to leave on Friday.

I time my moves and target the gaps, steering back between the trucks for refuge from vehicular homicide. This is the last day of the Memorial Day weekend. Could we pause to think of who this day honors? 

After 12 hours of driving I ask myself why I choose to live in the crucible of modernity and forward motion. Eight days of traveling the backcountry of the Kaibab, camping on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and relaxing in the night time moonlight with a fist-full of distilled spirits has set my mind back to a time of more leisurely motion. 

I wonder where the real world is... and who inhabits that world.