bright red with frozen marrow
Thursday, January 20 2005
In the mid-afternoon temperatures rose into the twenties, so I decided to go out with the dogs and try to use a new hand truck to haul an enormous slab of bluestone I'd unsuccessfully tried several times to bring home before. The handtruck is the most robust model Lowes sells and has a rated capacity of 800 pounds. It also has big tires some six inches in diameter. I figured it might be able to roll across the surface of the hardened snow more easily than the uneven terrain underneath it.
Before I left the house I found myself looking all over the place for Gretchen's black floppy stovepipe hat, which is good for keeping the ears warm. Eventually in desperation I called out to the dogs, "Where the fuck is that hat?" and Sally immediately ran into the kitchen office (the room with the ugly green carpet adjacent to the kitchen) and retrieved it. Now it's possible that this was just a coincidental reaction on her part, but it's also possible she knew exactly what I meant and was doing her part to speed up the process of our going outdoors.
The massive slab of bluestone was, as it always has been, a couple dozen feet south of the Chamomile River along the Stick Trail. It measured five feet by two feet by two to six inches and weighed between 350 and 400 pounds. I'd actually been able to move it about ten feet closer to home from its original position using a variety of ultimately failed techniques, and now it lay atop a pile of rounded boulders. This had prevented it from freezing solid to the ground, and I was able to maneuver it back out onto the trail and even, after much effort, into a sort of position on the handtruck. But it was far too unwieldy even on such a robust transportation mechanism and I eventually had to abandon the attempt.
The slipperiness of snow did put an idea in my head, however. Perhaps I could make some sort of crude sledge and slide the slab home on top of the snow. When I was a kid my father used to have me and my brother bring home fairly massive logs from the hilltop across the road simply by dragging them with ropes, as if we were Clydesdales. Using this technique, it wasn't difficult to move a log more than a quarter mile in a little more than the time it would take to walk the same distance. It bears mentioning, of course, that in those days we always had gravity on our side since we started the drags about two hundred feet higher in elevation than we ended up. In the case of this massive slab of bluestone, on the other hand, the idea is to move it mostly along a contour, with a little downhill-uphill action at the Chamomile.
After giving up on the bluestone, I took Sally and Eleanor further down the Stick Trail until we reached the remains of that dead doe deer from hunting season. As you'll recall, a week ago not much remained except for its skeleton, and Eleanor brought home half of that. Today I helped Sally carry the rib cage back homeward as far as the Chamomile so she'll have an easier time of finding it in the future. She took great joy in crunching on the ribs, which were still bright red with frozen marrow. There's nothing the slightest bit vegan about her.
I paid absolutely no attention to the re-inaugural of President For Life, and was so out of the loop that I wasn't even aware of the Not One Damn Dime meme until after it was over. Nonetheless, I spent absolutely no money today and, aside from the aforementioned bluestone harvesting attempt, I wasn't even out of my pajamas. (I still don't wear underwear but I've been wearing pajamas around the house lately.)
Here are some pictures my friend Matt Rogers took at the inaugural, which he attended (captions are his):
"A platoon of riot cops doing their best to intimidate us."
"One member of our group holding up an American flag that said 'sold' on it, he later got tear gassed just standing at the fence; other protestors burned his tear gas soaked flag. There were long lines to get into the parade route we (and thousands of others) never got closer than 1000 away behind 2 layers of fence. We got gassed anyway."
"The aftermath of the gas attack, this is a woman in the crowd is suffering the after effects of tear gas."
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