March 26, 2007
Ucross #10 - across the river
Sometimes I feel like I am living in some sort of experiment out here on the high plains. Almost like I am on a secluded nature preserve which prides itself on the herds of deer, prairie dogs, rabbits and turkeys. Oh yeah, and the herd of eight artists. I don't mean this in a bad way at all. I think it's because there is much less separating nature and humans out here. Every day, I get a veritable performance of wildlife right outside of Jesse's Hideout. And the animals are remarkably brave and curious, especially the rabbits. Maybe they are just stupid, but they don't run away until you are essentially within touching distance.
This whole notion was amplified on a run I went on the other day. I decided that there was no way I was going to leave Ucross without climbing the twin peaks that sit right behind my studio.
Climbing these peaks is really no amazing feat of athleticism or strength, but the reason everyone always runs on the other side of Route 16 is because there is a river the passes between the studios and the peaks. There is no bridge, and it's a good 25 feet wide with significant flow. Not a raging torrent, but what it lacks in ferocity, it makes up for in sheer bone-chilling temperature. I made the mistake on the way over of going upstream looking for a narrower and easier spot to ford the river. This makes sense but for the fact that I didn't realize going upstream meant that I had to ford two rivers! No matter, I made it and headed towards the eastern peak.
On the other side of the river I felt like a visitor; like I wasn't supposed to be seeing everything. The first pack of mule deer I ran into made me think I was in Jurassic Park seeing some wondrous new animals gliding in their posse as they have done, unnoticed by human-kind, for thousands of years. And then a T-Rex swoops out of nowhere making a snack of three or four in one bite. OK, so that's probably a bit dramatic, but it really was an other-worldly experience.
And today, the wildness has continued. There is a woodpecker on the roof of my studio! This thing is big and loud and for some reason thinks it can find bugs in the cedar shingles of Jesse's Hideout. I like woodpeckers, I really do, but this guy is sadly not helping the peace and solitude that I find so inspiring about Ucross. Let's hope this is a temporary situation...