steps through the thorny berry canes
Wednesday, July 20 2005
Yesterday had been oppressively hot and humid in a way that made the window air conditioner at New Paltz's Taco Shack groan like an old man climbing a broken escalator. The air had been visibly milky, and one could feel it hanging like warm silk as one walked. Today all that changed, like the flushing of a toilet. The sky was clear and blue and the sun piercingly hot in a manner that would have been impossible yesterday.
I spent much of the day going back and forth between my Toshiba Linux project and the installation of a set of bluestone steps down into the backyard from the north end of the house. For two years there have been steps around the south end of the house to the head of the Stick Trail, but now that we've been using the downhill neighbor's pool so much it makes more sense to be able to get down into the north end of the back yard, where the ravine between our houses is shallowest.
There are a lot of blackberry bushes in the area through which the new set of steps pass, and their berries are just starting to ripen. It's a great luxury to be able to pick them while barefoot. I love the feeling of solid stone steps against the soles of my feet, though there's nothing especially fun about stepping upon one or more blackberry canes. Adding to the perils of straying from the path while barefoot, there are also dewberry and black raspberry canes in the area, and though maliciously thorny, neither produce fruit anywhere near as delicious as the blackberries.
As for my Toshiba Linux project, it finally produced its own sort of fruit this evening after I'd assembled a winning combination consisting of Slackware 8.1, the Zip Slack kernel, (from June, 2002) and an old Xircom ethernet PCMCIA card. (More modern kernels seemed to max out the meager 16 megabytes of memory early in the boot process, before the swap disk came online.)
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