Thwarted from visiting public woods for now…

…by a second force this summer, the smoke. For now I just look at backpack contents until it makes sense to pack again. Early in the summer the pandemic had many trailheads closed. The smoke and fire risk now have a lot of federal lands in my area closed. Some state forest is open though, which is closer anyways, although I loved being in wilderness a few weeks ago.

So lots of time at home lately, resorting to exercise on a mat, seeing from the mat my world that is currently inside my house.

And from above the kitchen sink:

Food-related aesthetics in general, I’ve been noticing while spending so much time indoors.

As I was marveling at the fact that frozen burritos microwave in only 1.5 minutes, it occurred to me: if I run out of burritos before ranch, I’ll have to replenish the burrito supply. But what if after replenishing it I run out of ranch before the burrito supply runs out? What then? Can this ever really end without perfect timing?

Samples of what the smoke mixed with fog was like up until today:

In town there is homelessness growing or simply less harassed during the pandemic and allowed to stay

We’ve got an unemployment rate not seen since the 1930s Great Depression, and it grew in record time. And now in my area, towns need rebuilding since the fires, and roads and trails need clearing since the wind storm. In other areas, towns need rebuilding since the tropical storms. The New Deal comes to mind; there’s a lot of work needing done, and a lot of people needing work. In the 30s the Democrat-Republican Investment Tool (our two party donor-investor bribe system) took turns establishing it, snatching it away, and restoring it. It’s time to restore it again or something like it. Many jobs — in service industry, retail, hospitality, travel, airlines, on and on — simply won’t return after this health-economic-political storm. Public lands have been neglected-underfunded over the decades, and that neglect may very well have contributed to the destruction-by-fire of towns and timber. Instead of care, neglect-and-insure has been the mode. The insurers are going to fail everyone: their shareholders, policy holders, municipalities — I don’t know what all the list of the let down will include. The tax payer will be forced to step up, but we have far fewer tax payers than we had before this spring. And for some in high-fire-risk areas insurance policies will be made unavailable or out of reach pricewise, which means home equity lines of credit will be made unavailable too.

I wonder if employers and populations in tropical storm areas will simply be moved inland. Forest management might be able to reduce disasters in high-fire-risk areas, but not in tropical storm areas.

What will be proposed? I think it will be a combination of universal basic income and some form of New Deal.

I’m going to visit state forest today.

I noticed while riding how…

…different it feels exploring knowing that sit-down stops at a diners or coffee shops are not yet again routine, not quite yet allowed. A stop for the magic of something as simple as a chocolate chip cookie dipped in coffee, and that partially dissolved chocolate found in the last sip. All these tricks we’ve done over the centuries with plant matter. And then this loss of access to these stops leads me to wonder why I would even leave my neighborhood when such establishments are here; sometimes I think I could be a tourist just in my own neighborhood, and then I contemplate the meaning and purpose of tourism or exploring. I guess such establishments are the conduit and commonality between and among places, cultures and micro-cultures. And it’s these places I want to see because they tie things together.

Typically I would ride with a riding buddy. But last weekend I rode solo, actually passing through a riding buddy’s town, enjoying the aesthetic of the little berg, but unable to try any of the coffee joints. I’ve been riding strictly solo while restrictions seem to still be in place.

Now that I think about it, even when I’ve been overseas in quite different cultures, even if still western, I’ve actually not been that interested in food even though I enjoy it there. I’m more interested in being in the midst of the cultures’ age, history. Its age compared to young US culture is what has intrigued me. Sometimes I’d think US culture was ahead, and sometimes behind, whatever the place I visited. Even in the one eastern country I visited. Then I’d realize this inconsistency (“behind” versus “ahead”) was just pointing out that people are alike, which ties everything back together through similarity between places and cultures old and new. But then if I just walk into the woods for two days, any cultural differences are impossible, not even on the radar. The critters think and act mainly about and on food; but that’s what I’m frequently seeking out in small US towns: food — the connection between US micro-cultures.

But back to the “cultures’ ages” thing. Without that age/history of older towns by comparison to US ones — even western places like London — exploration of towns and culture here consists of absorbing a little town as a microcosm differing slightly in story from neighboring towns. Different stories, but similar or same routines and cafes, diners. People in general just seem to have the same pastimes regardless of where I am. On one level, these towns are all indistinguishable from any western culture on earth, and on another, each is its own thing: a microcosm which is separate by time-frame/history/story. Personal histories that make up neighborhood history, town history. Any larger scale than that and it tends to all blur again with the world’s western civilization in general.

People in my riding buddy’s town seemed to want the same thing as anyone else. To be out in the sun, to swim, to treat themselves to a restaurant meal or ice cream. To have a break from work life. To avoid or spend time with family, depending on their circumstances. These are my guesses about people while riding through, unable to hear through ear plugs let alone my helmet. A snapshot with assumptions built on learned and perceived histories.

All I’m saying is I rode through my friend’s town last weekend.