22 December 2008

More snow = more pictures

Winter sure has set in with a vengance.

21 December 2008

An explanation and mission statement

Welcome to Rick's Virtual Bar and Grill. Hello all who may come along and encounter this wonderous place of, uhm, wonders, I guess. This is the home of my random thoughts. Outside of that, I make no promises. This is the first step in an endeavor to become more creative in my everyday life. It seems these days that bad news is everywhere, so I am striving to counter this turn of events with some goodness, some fun, a distinct lack of seriousness, and who knows what-all. Here I will try to regularly post something of a creative nature, whether that be an essay, a short story, bits and pieces of a novel or two, some photos, or even some audio in the future. I may use this as a repository for ideas I think could be cool. If I can interest anyone, I may use this space for a book club of sorts. I will make recommendations on books, podcasts, music, and many other things. I will be silly, probably be overly sentimental (see the boots post), and may not make sense from time to time. But I hope to be entertaining every once in a while, maybe. So welcome, feel free to check back often and raise a virtual toast. Pass along the link to anyone who may be interested. Post a comment or critique if you like. Send me your links to your own creative projects. If nothing else, we could all be so busy creating things, we could forget to worry about the real world!! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you back again soon.

Goodbye to old friends

Hiking boots are a funny thing. No other piece of equipment impacts your comfort on the trail as much as your boots. They keep your feet warm and dry, your ankles unturned, keep you from slipping around in snow, gravel and skree. Few things can ruin a trip like foot problems, so its not hard to understand why to many hikers, their boots are like old friends, comfortable, reliable, always there when you need them, battling against blisters and stubbed toes and other such foes.

Slipping on an old pair of boots can be a trip down memory lane. The day you bought them, choosing to wear them out of the store, old boots in the box under your arm. The first trip up on the mountain when you purposely walked through the creek three times to see if they really were waterproof. The time you wore them snowshoeing and discovered waterproof has its limits. Fly fishing on the wash, sage busting on the east side, dusty scrambles up desert buttes, each outing is recorded there in leather and canvas and rubber and memory like a performance art trail journal.

The thing about boots is, it’s a partnership destined to end. You hope to hold on to your good friends for a lifetime. You hope a great pair of boots lasts four or five seasons, depending on gas prices and free time. Maybe the rand starts to come loose, or the heel is worn flat, maybe the side of the toe box blows out. Whatever the reason, there comes a time when you know, these old boots are ready to retire.

So the question becomes, what to do with the old pair in the box under your arm when the new pair gets worn out of the store. Do you toss them in the first garbage receptacle you pass? Seems a bit heartless for such a loyal pair of boots. They were good boots, always ready to hit the trail when you were; never once making you wait for them at the trailhead. Do they have enough life left in them for some very light hiking with the kids? Nope, they’re dead for sure. What to do, what to do.

On a trip to a wedding in the Elkhorns, I remember passing a pair of trees in a steep river canyon. The trees were good-sized deciduous affairs, both on the north side of the road. Both were hung heavily with old footwear. It’s a common practice for those exiting the military to tie the laces of their boots together and toss them over a power line on base, but I had never seen the practice translated to hiking boots in a tree till that summer. The trees were quite the spectacle, like oddly trimmed Christmas trees decked out in leather and canvas of earthy tones. The shoes all had a good view of the river from there, a nice breeze blowing through in the evening.

Now, next to the front door, resting in a place of honor, is a pair of old boots waiting for the spring rains to clear the passes. As soon as work and weather and gas prices permit, I will set those old boots in the passenger seat of the car, throw in the fly rod, lace up the new boots which do not have a mid-sole squeak or a rand coming loose, and head out to find a pair of trees in a desert river valley and say goodbye to a pair of old friends. I hope they like the view.

20 December 2008

Snow Day!

Snow day! The words just aren't the same as they were in grade school. Then it was a stolen day, somehow illicit in the joys it brought. Outside for as long as you could stand it. Wind burned cheeks, numb fingers, a day spent throwing snowballs and sledding down every hill you could drag your sled up. Now it is chaining up the car, questioning if you really need to be out driving, and worrying about the other fools out on the road with you. But somehow the snow always refreshes my spirit a little bit. The clean slate it lays down over the landscape, hiding all the imperfections just seems to beg for a set of bootprints to be impressed upon it. Cold, crisp, new. Snow can turn the city into a small wild place worthy of a hike. Yes, the snow is good. Here are a few pics from my little hike down by the river this evening.

18 December 2008

test test test

This is a test. It is only a test. More to come soon.