“With this sense of the splendour of our experience and of its awful brevity, gathering all we are into one desperate effort to see and touch, we shall hardly have time to make theories about he things we see and touch.” – Pater

I’ve missed you, blog readers. It’s good to be back.

It was 100 degrees yesterday and even with the AC cranked, the car filled with the smell of Santa Fe, or sage, as most call it. I’ve been writing my brains out for my creative nonfiction class, so stepping up the computer to write anything else hasn’t been a priority. I’m going to be better.

Things that have happened since we arrived:

1. Kelly lent us a generator, so we can charge the battery. The charge from driving down here, however, lasted us more than a week. That’s amazing! Here’s what the digs look like now that we’re unpacked:

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2. I biked in to campus today for the first time this year and it was like meeting up with an old friend. Cool descent out of the canyon, no cars to be seen, and the old Synapse powering up the steep uphills = yes. Also, I’m exhausted. Time to adjust to it again.

3. I’ve been reunited with Katelynn, my Bread Loaf homegirl. It just wasn’t the same last year without her (don’t get me wrong, I’m still wishing Kate, Josh, Keith could be persuaded to be here), so it’s all “reunited and it feels so good” up in here.DSC_0017 DSC_0018 DSC_0016

Things we’ve done:

a. had puppy playdates with only one actual puppy, Parra, and my now middle-aged lady dogs. Parra is adorable, squirrely, fast, and wears the poodles out. Exhibit A:DSC_0013 DSC_0011

b. hiked with the pups until they were exhausted (we did the full Circle Trail yesterday and I was exhausted afterwards. Let the training begin. It was a poodle brigade and we made all kinds of hikers smile. Katelynn almost vomited when Klue taught Parra her least endearing specialty. You don’t want to know.

c. went to Maria’s with a ridiculously large group of people, so the waiter kept saying we had underpaid. I ate blue corn enchiladas like they were going out of style.

d. we sat on camp chairs at the yurt camper and read for classes

e. we made fun of our crew who went to Vermont by captioning pictures about how much it must be raining there

f. had afternoon beers at the camp and made dinner on the outside cookstove

g. talked about our dogs way more than is socially acceptable, even in class

4. We had Kelly over for dinner and laughed a lot. Bryan works with a bunch of amazing guys this summer and here are their names for future reference: Kelly, Erik, John, and Chris. After a week of being here, I finally got a big hug from Erik yesterday, so now we’re all back in kahoots. We still don’t have our radio this year and the guys haven’t been using them, but we’re going to remedy that soon, especially because I got a new nickname. Bryan’s nickname from last year is Freebird (Kelly always turns on his cop speaker thingy to yell Freebird when he drives by), so now my name it Ladybird. It’s my handle now. It’s good to be reunited with our Hyde family again. Warm fuzzies.

5. We slept soundly in our private campground while a crazed woman ran across the street at 3am and banged a branch against people’s RVs while screaming. When Kelly kicked them out of the park the next day, they swore it wasn’t them, despite their neighbors pointing the finger directly at them. I’m just glad we’re not in the regular campground anymore. Whew. People be crazy.

6. Bryan has been working his ass off as a ranger. Yesterday, when it was 100 degrees in Santa Fe, so 90 at Hyde, he weed-whipped in the sun all day. Other activities have included a search and rescue for a woman and her two-year-old. Bryan had recommended a trail to her and then a few hours later, he got a call from her husband saying she had called disoriented from the woods and was trying to find her way out. She ended up finding her way out just fine, but Bryan and John headed out in the pouring rain to see if they could find her, knowing that if her phone worked, she had to have hiked up the Winsor Trail toward the Ski Basin. Then the next day we went to the opening reception at Bread Loaf and she is a student! Bryan apologized to her for the poor suggestion, and it ends up her sister lives in a yurt too! I guess it was meant to be that we all met! She and her husband are going to come up to Hyde for a visit sometime this summer! He’s also helped to rebuild some retaining walls in the campground, and other fun but not that interesting things.

7. Today I work, so I wasn’t able to go on the annual Rio Chama rafting trip, but Sam, Taos resident and all-around badass, ski-bum chick-cum-Bread Loafer, is going to hook us up with something even better in a few weeks. She’s friends with guides in Taos (did I mention her boyfriend lives in a pop-up camper all summer?), so we’re going to get a raft and do a small group trip down the Taos Box. Oh hell yes.

8. We’re patiently waiting for a new friend to arrive, so we can shred the trails together, full suspension style.

9. I’ve been least prepared and most relaxed this summer. Maybe it comes with the 4th year territory.

10. Being back in Jeff’s class again was also like coming home. Liz, who was in his Victorian Lit. class with me our first summer, and I just smiled at one another across the room when he opened up with how he “doesn’t give a fuck” about when we turn in papers, since we’re all adults here. Naturally, when we saw one another for the first time this summer, the first topic of conversation was the “yuut” because he can never remember the word “yurt” and then Dawson’s Creek, because, obviously that’s what you talk to your Princeton professor about.

11. I was absolutely petrified to take my creative nonfiction class, but I am totally thrilled I was brave enough to do so because I LOVE IT. My professor, the writer Ana Castillo, is exactly the right combination of empathetic, warm, strong, and firm. Everyone adores the class and it seems like a safe group for us to share such personal parts of our lives.

12. The dogs miss the yurts. They don’t love the small walkways and high jump they have in order to lay on their king sized bed. Life’s rough for them. They have no neighbors, are far away from the road, and can roam about without leashes and their mama calling them constantly out of fear, and yet, Nitsa has just wrapped up her hunger strike. They both continue to avoid reentering the pop-up whenever we need them to go inside, but it does seem like they’re beginning to adjust. We did have to buy Nitsa a ramp so she could jump up to the bed without hurting her hips. We’re all getting old here, people.

13. I got my first check from the gallery where my photos are up! It’s completely nuts!  

14. We have successfully washed clothes at camp, not with the usual (a bucket and plunger), but with our Wonderwash. We still really need a wringer. Do you have one in your attic?

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