Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Spinning like a top

Seems to be a week of afternoon thundershowers, but none on the north side of the lake have truly let loose so far. The views here are such that you can see whole systems of clouds hanging, and moving, over Mono, with trails or frills of rain sizzling to vapor far before they have a chance to hit the ground.

I was thinking, today, about how the phrase "in the distance" is so confused in the Basin. Black Point, with its fissured cap, is in the distance, but within reach of a run from home. The south shore is a 20 minute drive. The high Sierra over Mammoth Lakes is clear, crisp, most days, though its 40 miles distant. Unlike, say, in the forested suburbs of New England, here distance running is, visually, immensely satisfying (even the same loop looks dramatically different depending on how the light's playing on, landing on, various (mountain) ranges of distance), but it makes me feel like a top spinning on a vast, arid table. Multiple thunderheads vying, in their windy way, for position over the lake has the same, personally diminishing effect. It's easier to feel fast, and large, when you don't look up!

A short, loosely related story: yesterday, climbing back up to Mono City on the jeep trail that heads to Black Point (sorry, I really need to come up with nicknames for them all), I just happened to turn around, and there was a soft rainbow against the dark, vaguely mauve Nevada distance. It had materialized out of the low, lit blue sky that slipped between the crescent of rock and cloud at the head of Lundy Canyon (up from Mono City) just after 8 pm. I had been running away from it, and I may have never seen it, if not for a chance crane of the neck.

Anyways, coming into home, there was a neighbor standing in the sagebrush on the side of E. Mono Lake Drive with a camera looking in the direction from which I'd come. I glanced back to see the bend of colors, but they were gone.

"Did you get the rainbow?" I asked. "Barely," he said. I nodded, and thought to myself, "Me too."

Something else, to finish: I passed a FedEx tractor trailer on the mile of 395 I ran today (rather, it passed me, emphatically). I speculate it was the very same truck, and driver, at the same hour, as yesterday, on its daily route--something you could set your timepiece to, should the sun be obscured. Presumably he wasn't hauling the same goods, though--at least, not the very same.

9 mi, 63 min; Conway Ranch-Hwy 167 loop, slightly abbreviated, for lack of energy (and sleep last night)

Also: An HCN blog post on wolves in Oregon: Jumping (to) the gun

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