SPIDERS … Like snakes, I was afraid of spiders as a young child. We lived among black widows and my mom even got bit by one, hiding in the sleeve of a jacket she put on. She was sick for days … But meeting an herpetologist at Pinnacles National Monument in California, I learned to love snakes – recognizing the danger but respecting their power and beauty. And after 30 years living in Norwood on a property with many old outbuildings and in a house with many resident spiders, I’ve come to an arrangement of sorts. I like to say, they don’t bite me and I don’t kill them. Both of these statements are true, although there may be no direct correlation between them. However, in my own magical worldview, there is. And I take great care to escort spiders out of my home (where a good number provide flycatching webs, eliminating one of the area’s summer pests).My success in doing so relates in no small way to making use of that wonderful humane spider trapping tool, the BugZooka – an airgun that sucks up spiders and lets you relocate them outside, unharmed … Having become a fan of spiders now (one of the great Diné feminine deities), I was delighted to learn in a recent issue of Science News of the discovery of a whole new family of spiders, Trogloraptoridae. Tens of thousands of new species are discovered every year, but finding a new family of critters is very rare. These new specimens sport big, three-part claws and spikes on curved feet and measure about three inches with feet extended. So far, this spider family has only one genus and only one species. It was discovered by cavers in southern Oregon, and was dubbed Trogloraptor (“cave robber”) marchingtoni (for amateur spelunker and deputy sheriff Neil Marchington). However, specimens have also turned up in the redwoods of Jedediah Smith State Park in California, and may be a second species of the genus Trogloraptor.
INFLUENZA … It didn’t seem like a big deal. Gorio was home sick last Monday with a headache, bit of a sore throat, cough (but no fever). And then Tuesday. But when it stretched into Wednesday, I took him to the clinic. And glad I did, because he tested positive for the flu … Both of us got Tamiflu pills (for which Don of the Apothecary Shoppe in Nucla saved us mucho dinero, as those little drug cures cost a pretty penny). And we stayed home all week. Him in bed, and me sorting through Mary’s things and being caretaker single dad. Lots of chores at Cloud Acre – wood heat means constant hauling of logs from the shed to the stove and keeping the fire banked and burning, hauling water, preparing meals, washing dishes, shoveling snow, – the list of rural Wright’s mesa what-to-do’s goes on a spell … I did get Saturday off to visit friends up from Shiprock for a dip in the pool at Ouray. But missed Sunday’s 49er game, which was tempting (especially as I love it when they win – Giants in the World Series and now the Niners in the Super Bowl – what a year for the Bay Area!) … Friday there was this dinner party in Telluride, but Gorio and I watched movies, played games, stayed up late and slept late … Sometimes being sick is the only way to slow the world down and sleep a lot.
100 YEARS … It’s wonderful celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the Sheridan Opera House, although it didn’t start out that way. Originally the Segerberg Theatre when it opened as a “picture show theatre,” according to the Telluride Daily Journal of July 2, 1913, the name was later changed from a theatre venue for silent films to an “opera house” and a mainstay on the state’s vaudeville circuit. There were several earlier opera houses in Telluride, both long gone. Opera houses not only hosted performances and lectures, but they served as community centers for dances and fancy dinner parties … The surviving Segerberg/Sheridan has become the town’s cinematic landmark, thanks to the annual Telluride Film Festival and its international following. And blossomed as well into an intimate performance showcase, “Telluride’s living room,” thanks to the Sheridan Arts Foundation.
WESTERN COLORADO JOURNEYS … Kat Rhein of Wild Kat Media has published a second edition of the Grand Valley’s premier regional art, media and poetry guide. There are marketing sections on all the local hotspots surrounding Grand Junction, luscious photographs of impressive artwork, arts-related stories, and a selection of regional verse from place-based poets … To get your own copy of what are quickly becoming collectors’ items in their own right, or to learn more, visit westerncoloradojourneys.com and enjoy the work of Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Malcolm Graeme Childers and Frank Coons.
WATERSHED … Glad there was a full house at the Nugget for the Telluride Institute’s showing of the Robert & Jamie Redford film and the panel discussion afterwards … Mea culpa if any of you were thrown off by my misinformation last week, moving the movie from Thursday to Friday. I have to say, things just seem all out of synch for me this winter, forgive me.
THE TALKING GOURD
The Death of a Fly Fisherman
After his death
she tidied his desk,
all but the vise
which she lovingly left,
his last fly untied.
- Kyle Harvey