Sunday, February 22, 2009


The following account is a short fiction:


His words came back to me now, "Watch out for quicksand." I felt the tightening grip on my feet, my legs. So far from the trail I trotted off, to answer the call of nature. How ironic. Was this now nature's last word?

Vaguely I recalled I was supposed to swim, but with only my legs, well, now my knees?

I hoped this wasn't very deep as I struggled. I tried to recall which side of a creek was the deepest. Can't recall. Outside of the bend? Inside? I'm probably in the deepest part. It's my luck, or destiny.

Now at my waist, I can see the world rising higher above me. At a child's height this wilderness looks more ominous. The leaves whisper as I struggle. Can anything be more foreboding than the level reaching my chest?

Nobody around to witness me. I went hiking alone in this lovely lush Utah riparian area. And it is a deep creek bed, crowded with vegetation. All factors that absorb sound. Absorb breath. I yell anyway. It sounds...useless.

I live 50 years and this is it? No fanfare except the fanning of my arms as it reaches my neck.

Oh God, it's a vulture overhead! The sun is right in my eyes now as I look downstream. Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be hikers. Crazy thoughts like this race through my head. When was the last time someone died by quicksand in the US?

It feels like I've been stuck in this gooey, sticky mud for hours. I'm cold, cold and really, really stuck. Darkness is coming; I'm exhausted. They'll find me tomorrow. Just follow the vultures. I'll probably make the National news.

Is that the sky starting to lighten? Am I dead or alive? Strong hands have a hold of body parts I am not even sure are mine anymore. It was a trial of endurance. So thankful they found me.

Later I died of pneumonia, but much, much later. It had that same suffocating feeling. But without the vultures.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Blacksmith Competition

Less than an hour away, in Willcox, Arizona, I went for 2 days to see the World Championship Blacksmith’s in action. They had about 40 iron hammering men from all over the USA competing at horseshoe making, and horse-shoeing. They had 10 semi-portable coal (or coke) burning forges running hot and the guys got the iron cherry red and hammered and hammered. Powerful biceps muscles were the norm. Are you listening single ladies?

I might add, my husband is a Blacksmith hobbyist. I bought him 2 bags of coke ( a processed coal product, not cocaine) - how romantic, huh?

One thing about handmade iron products. They don’t break, rip, tear, spoil, or rot. If kept in damp conditions they might rust away in couple or ten generations. Who cares by then?

The champion blacksmiths were judged by a panel of 4 or 5 men, one from Europe. I watched the British blacksmith demonstrating some forging techniques. But it was a man born in Alaska and now living in California who impressed me. He had iron bent into horse heads, birds, and flowers, as well as fine utility hammers and many other ornamental and useful items. What a master craftsman!

In the end, I think it was another California guy won the competition.

Strike while the iron is hot, has a solid foundational meaning.