Friday, July 28, 2006

cool your aching head

i can't count the number of people who've been asking me to write lately, and i'm partially sorry that i haven't. i don't regret how i've spent my non-working moments (playing soccer, traveling some, watching sunsets, reading, playing a billiards game called purple rain)--i'd make the same choices every time. mostly, i kind of regret that there have been a number of days when my hands ached too much to type, and more often than not, i finish my day of work on a computer and don't feel like doing anything more than reading a few random emails and a little news online. and a few days ago, i ordered a new computer (and ipod) so once that comes, i'll probably interact with my new computer some.

it's prime time wedding season in my life--i'd like to think that this may be the most weddings in a summer i'll ever go to, but maybe this rate will contine (six in a summer???). i have enjoyed seeing all my relatives, traveling out to colorado and back, and i'm looking forward to a couple weekends in minnesota, bisected by a fun trip to chicago. it should be great. i still haven't figured out what i think of weddings generally, but maybe my thoughts on them will be recapped at the end of the summer sometime. i've also done a little bit of writing, preparing a short mini-series on nature writing and how i've seen and experienced nature this summer. it's my hope that since i'm going to be teaching a course on searching for nature this fall (and another on environmental history next spring) that i make some mention of how i've found and searched for nature in my own life.

i've had numerous requests from a variety of people to write world cup commentary. i will say that i quite enjoyed the days of the world cup. and i'll make the promise that for next summer's women's world cup, and the following year's european cup, i'll write some commentary. my current plan is to go to south africa for world cup 2010 so i may not have as much commentary by then. and maybe i'll write up some short commentary as a recap of this year's cup. for now, i'll say (a) that zinedine zidane remains one of my favorite all-time players of the game, (b) that the czech republic may have been the best team at the world cup this year had koller and baros not been/gotten hurt, (c) that england probably had the best underperforming starting eleven, and (d) that with cisse uninjured, france would have been an incredibly tough team for italy, however good italy's defense was.

that's most of the things that i've been thinking about lately. hopefully i'll get some of the afore-mentioned thoughts up soon, but if not, just assume that i'm saving up my online writing potential for this fall. i'm going to spend this weekend trying to keep cool as the great plains have yet another week of 100+ temperatures (easily one of the warmest stretches in the 100 year record). i'll do my best to "let the weight of the world drift away instead."

i choose this song because i've been loving beck's sea change lately, but more than that, the song reminds me of the big open (and dry) plains of south dakota, nebraska, and colorado that i've traversed recently. the song seems so appropriately fitting for the life and love i have on the hot open spaces of south dakota. and i've thought this for a number of years actually. as part of my senior project in college, i made a short video collage of my grandfather, talking to him about his 90+ years in central south dakota, and i used this song (a link to the site is included just prior to the lyrics).

this afternoon i received a phone call from my cousin, telling me that my grandfather had been taken to the hospital for heat stroke, having passed out while watering his tomatoes in the garden. his temperature was 106 by the time it was measured in the emergency room, and he covered the room with mud from an unintentional soaking of the garden. it feels good to say that he regained consciousness and has been speaking with my relatives (although my grandmother reprimanded him for not cutting his toenails appropriately soon after he woke up)--a speedy recovery for a 92 year old, and this isn't the first time he's went to the hospital as an older fellow. in fact, this kind of activity is quite indicative of the life he enjoys living, that has kept him going all these years. it's not a wonder that this happened while he was caring for the garden. earlier this summer, he was stepped on and knocked over by the cows he was feeding, bruising him up pretty well.

a few years ago, he was climbing in the rafters of the barn, trying to get a dead raccoon out of the eves before it started rotting. he fell through some rotten particle board, between the rafters, breaking is second, third, and sixth vertebrae on the cement floor below. while wearing the metal halo with bolts screwed into his skull, i remember him remarking that he hadn't heard as well in years (with the halo serving as an antenna i guess). soon after getting out of the hospital--still in the halo--he was driving around in a bumpy truck through bumpy fields and was actually bitten by a possum, less than a week out of the hospital. he's quite a remarkable person, one of my heroes, and while i wish him a speedy recovery and wish that he wouldn't do quite so much physical activity when it's close to 110 degrees out, i also realize that nothing makes him feel better than taking care of plants and animals, and tinkering around, fixing things out in his shop (though he's gotten much slower at this and much less effective in the last couple years). if i live to be over 90, i hope i can be half as amazing as he is (not to mention that he and my grandmother have been married for over 69 years now). i love you, grandpa and grandma.

the golden age by beck

put your hands on the wheel
let the golden age begin
let the window down
feel the moonlight on your skin
let the desert wind
cool your aching head
let the weight of the world
drift away instead

these days i barely get by
i don't even try

it's a treacherous road
with a desolated view
there's distant lights
but here they're far and few
and the sun don't shine
even when it's day
you gotta drive all night
just to feel like you're ok

these days i barely get by
i don't even try