Friday, February 18, 2011

El viejo y el mar


I'm currently rereading Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea". I've never read anything else by Ernest Hemingway, none of his other titles have jumped out at me. But, I really love this particular fish story. I've decided to make it an annual tradition and to revisit the book about this time each year. It's such a quick and easy read, that it seems perfectly within reason.


The book reminds me a little of my childhood in ways. With only 94 miles of water between Key West and Cuba, many of the natural things a Cuban literary fisherman experiences, you also get to experience fishing and living in south Florida, especially in The Keys. Things like popping man-o-war under your feet along an island beach, the sight of pterodactyl-shapped frigatebirds circling (really really) far above, the jumping of flying fish and ballyhoo scattering before the boat or the swirl of a larger predator fish and catching dolphin along a sargasso weed line (dolphin, the fish, not the porpoise, "mahi mahi" to Hawaiians and restaurants, "dorado" to Santiago, "el viejo").


Having started it just yesterday before work and kicking back with it and an espresso over the past couple of lunch hours (faintly imagining that it's a Cuban coffee I have in hand), I'm a little sad that I'm nearing the end so quickly. In reading the book, I can close my eyes and almost picture the organic scent of salt water, feel the residue left on my skin from spray crashing across the bow of the boat and taste it on my skin when I wipe the coffee from my mouth with the back of my hand.



Monday, February 7, 2011

Compton Hollow Conservation Area - Feb. 5, 2011

Hiking Compton Hollow Conservation Area


With our full weekend plans to hike and camp in Arkansas pretty much out of the question, my buddy Brian D. and I hiked a little conservation area just east of Springfield, out towards Seymour, Missouri. We hiked about five miles in eight to ten inches of snow.

Saturday's route


Getting there was a bit of trouble. When we stopped to read a sign on the side of the road, the car lost traction and slid several feet sideways, downhill. Every time we tried the gas, it would just break traction again and slide sideways a few inches. Seeing that I didn't want my wife's car to tumble 20 feet down an embankment and into some trees, we walked to the nearest house and borrowed a shovel. We then dug some ruts down through the underlaying ice layer and crossed our fingers that the car might shift down into the ruts and get some traction. Luckily it worked or we might have had a pretty bad day.


on the way there


we had some "car trouble".


Starting out

Brian D. and I, at the start


The area had quite a few small glades and fields to wander across.

the trail went through a handful of fields and glades


the trail went through a handful of fields and glades


As well as a few old cow ponds

an old cow pond


The trail sees several types of traffic, but the only company we had all day were a handful of deer that crossed in front of us. Of course, by the time I got to the camera, they were nothing but tracks.

trail marker


Creek

small creek


there averaged about 8 inches of snow, for five miles


Brian and I

Brian D. and I


there averaged about 8 inches of snow, for five miles


Brian D. and I


Looking over an adjacent property

looking over an adjacent property


the trail went through a handful of fields and glades


the trail went through a handful of fields and glades


An abandoned house along the outer road

old house along the outer road


Long shadows

there averaged about 8 inches of snow, for five miles


Bird tracks

bird tracks


Deer tracks were everywhere

deer tracks


Either a small dog or a large cat

maybe cat tracks, maybe a small coyote or fox. couldn't tell for certain.


the trail went through a handful of fields and glades


the trail went through a handful of fields and glades


The end

end of the walk