Sunday, September 29, 2013


Note: A little more novel babbling. Inspiration from being lost with the Scouts earlier this weekend.

Months lost, wandering over the ice. That is why I have so many refuges, crude but habitable, scattered over this battered globe.

You bring compasses and global positioning devices. Then you realize the compass points Saturn not north and the programmers of the GPS know nothing of the Voyager Mountains nor the ice and wax rills of Cassini Regio.
Circles. Walking in circles. Circles upon circles, following the wandering trails of the deer and moose. Recalling that when a bull or a buck is tired, they lower their heads and push through the brush. Pushing, pushing. Pushing through the cottonwoods that wobble as they pass and through the creepers that climb them and through the bramble of thorny paper bushes and rose hips and the purple berries that taste like burning.
You throw a spongy cottonwood log across a stream and find you're on a peninsula between two streams, the one now in your way far wider than the one you just crossed.
Somewhere not far is the road.
Somewhere not far is the road.
Do you track back to the river, trying not to make circles as you go, or do you press forward, hoping there are no circles to make as you go, maybe towards the road, maybe parallel to it, maybe, someday, bound to cross.
I have been lost for hours in the cottonwood river bottoms of the Snake. I have made circles over the lava fields, scanning for the, painted poles, thinking that if I climb that final ridge I will see the civility of a field of sage brush smooth, unbroken, and the truck - the friendly truck - waiting for me to come.
To go home.
To be lost on Iapetus is not a novel thing. Nor am I much frightened by it. Any more.
Again, Kleinman: Space is small; only the planets are big.
Ice is ice on Iapetus. Rock is rock. There are no dainty prints of deer, commanding prints of moose to follow. The only game trails off through the brambles or off over the cracked basalt at the base of that distant volcano are the ones you have made and when you are lost and you cross one of your own trails you freeze not knowing if when you made those tracks you were lost or aware of where you were going.
But then the truck has a flat tire, you have no jack and it doesn’t matter because you can’t get the spare tire released from its cage underneath the bed. And thus is life – from one sort of difficulty to the next.

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