Eclipse!

Didn’t want to announce this until I knew if my faithful Canon point- and- shoot would do it any justice, and I am sure Peculiar will do better esthetically. But for a more social record our in- town shots are not too bad. (As always right click or double to enlarge).

Our neighbors, the Apachitos, seemed to be the only others out and informed.

Trying to shoot through a dark lens:

Totality

Viejo

James “Viejo” Trujillo is one of my best and oldest friends here (relatively- despite his nickname, given because he was gray- haired at 21, he is a decade younger than me). He is a horseman above all, a cowboy, and a farrier, a man who never spent much time indoors. Now he is laid up by terrible diabetes; he has been medevaced out 100 miles to Albuquerque three times in the last month and a half. He is on dialysis three times a week, and needs new kidneys. I believe others than relatives can sign up, and there could still be the possibility of a match, so I am putting out both a query for info, if anyone knows much (docs don’t talk to unrelated friends and he has been preoccupied to say the least), and a general request. I am also told my Parkinson’s disqualifies me but don’t KNOW this…

James was my best man the second time I married Libby (without a divorce– this was the local, Catholic ceremony rather than the first, a C of E version with a female priest in Montana); he wore his hat and boots and spurs despite the objections of the (obnoxious non- local soon to be gone politically correct modern) priest.

Viejo tale: for a while almost 20 years ago he leased the bar. I was working in a corner there as I always have, when three junior cowboys from a neighboring county (guess which?) came in. One was offended by the sight of someone reading and was suddenly leaning over me: “Where you from?”

I said back with just a little less attitude: “Here.” Went back to editing. Kid shoves me: “Where you REALLY from?”

“HERE!” I stand up as he says “Where’r you born?”

… I am answering and starting to push back, at which point James is suddenly between us saying “He told you three fuckin’ times: HE’S FROM HERE!”

He is… and you’re not. Your money is no good; the drinks are on me. Finish up… then you and your friends leave, and don’t come back.”

They left and I said, “Viejo, you didn’t have to do that.” He replied “The hell I didn’t! You drink your drink and shut up or I’ll throw your sorry ass out too.”

This story is pro- manners, not even a little bit anti- cowboy. I will soon tell the one about Sis and the Sybille Bedford memoir. And leave you right now with this wonderful language, a statement that only a cowboy could say. Around the same time as the last tale, some boors were badmouthing women in general on James’s watch at the Spur. He took it as long as he could, then came over, put his hands on the bar, and said: “I don’t know about you boys, but that ol gal I’m married to?– she is one good son of a bitch.”

Lauren checks in…

Adventuring on; she will be going out to Kazakhstan to learn serious Kazakh soon, then to several other Stans. The Explorers Club has provided some funds but I may just have to run a bleg here…

(Need I say more about my friend, protegee who long since surpassed her elder, first female berkutchi, first American ditto, eagler, writer, Fulbright fellow…?)

A short quote:

” On June 6th I am flying to Kazakhstan to spend two months intensively learning Kazakh. Amazingly, incredibly, this was fully funded! Then in September, I will run away again to that region to fly eagles, run dogs, and really learn how to manage horses and camels (for the sake of *ahem* cultural anthropology). I’m rearing to go – its one of those places that, once you been, all you can think of is how to get back (as you know), but I’m also fairly anxious and the harsh realities of it weigh on me. It will be very cold (I have some permanent damage from my frostbite) hard, and lonely. Also, finances will be difficult. The Explorer’s Club gave me $2800 (!!) but no other money has come through as of yet. .. [re new pix] Some photos from the last little while. Man, there is so much to tell you. I included the lamb’s eye one – as eating such things was old hat for me, but it was quite the “party trick” for all the visitors!”

Lauren with her eagle in Mongolia a couple of years ago:

Recent pix:

With our late friend and guide Aralbai:

T. H. White quote #1: Requiem for a faithful dog

On the death of his beloved setter Brownie:

“But listen to this, bitch, and you, Grim Powers,

If any road ever leads up to heaven’s towers

My bitch comes with me. When I come to die

We go together, my bitch and I.

Or, if you fear to let such love return

Go to, and shut your gates. Sweeter to burn.”

UPDATE: As most western thought, religious or (at least until recently) scientific, has tended to devalue animals, consider them Cartesian automatons or Skinnerian objects, deny them feelings or emotions or souls (can you tell I don’t agree?), I find Peculiar’s take on the Eastern Orthodox position interesting. Though I understand theology about as well as my dogs do, I have moved a quote from it up here, from “Comments”.

Jack says: “I don’t pretend to any deep eschatological understanding here, and I won’t belabor the issue to a general audience, but for what it’s worth I think the question is much less problematic from an Eastern Orthodox perspective. The Orthodox view of salvation isn’t about any gnostic, spiritualized heaven that only a rational soul can enter. It’s about the eventual renewal of all creation, and that encompasses dogs. “For Thou hast no desire, O Master, to destroy the work of Thy hands…..” [St. Basil the Great]

For a scientific take that includes the existence of emotion and thought in animals see Sy Montgomery’s new , nominally “children’s” book on Temple Grandin, the best bio of her yet; it even contains drawings of her inventions; or any of Temple’s own books, starting with Animals Make Us Human. Jonathan Kingdon (his Wiki page is pathetically inadequate, and I may have to learn to edit them) used to say that “Animals are good to think with” a LONG time ago, attributing the saying to tribal elders in one of the less agricultural East African tribes…

Lawrence’s bookplate

…. free- associating here, for Pluvi: my almost accidentally acquired rebound copy of Norman Douglas’s Together, from T.E.L.’s library. I picked it up in Berkeley 20 years ago for nothing; when I pointed at the plate and asked why so cheap, the clerk replied that I was the first person in five years to notice… in Berkeley! But then I also picked up a Leigh Fermor first with a dj there for $20, an early Voyage of the Beagle, and the only Linsenmaeier Insects I have ever seen for sale, all the same day…

RIP: Hawker’s Dachs Diamond Lil, 1996- 2012

Lily the wire- haired dachs, aka “Diamond Lil, Born to Kill”, whelped at Teddy Moritz’s place in New Jersey and a long- time resident at Casa Q in New Mexico, died in Libby’s arms yesterday at the ripe old age of 16. She had various cancers and a mouth infection and was losing weight and the ability to walk, but was still cheerful and eating and seemingly free of pain when she simply stopped moving while Lib was grooming her. We should all be so lucky.

She began her career as a working flush and hole dog for our team, helped raise any number of hawks and pups, sat up like a marmot to beg from both birds and people, and kept us laughing. She will be missed.

Back from Texas

Pluvialis and I met in Austin to immerse ourselves in TH White’s archives which were nothing less than INCREDIBLE. There are whole books there, one of which Helen is writing and a couple that Tim White already has. Much blogging will ensue, quotes, prospective works, writing profound and brilliant, silly, drunken, honest, hilarious, and fully Terence Hanbury White. I am glad Helen thought of it; I always had the idea in the back of my head but might never have acted. Were we the first researchers in all the years to share White’s actual interests?

Teaser quotes: “Learn incessantly, incessantly, incessantly, about everything.”

On a goshawk: “It is Caligula, it is the Pan of panic, it is Edgar Allen Poe…”

Two slightly fried White scholars:

To be continued, at length….