Saturday, June 14, 2008

Letter to montyman

Dear Michael,

Thank you for your kind and good humored letter – pretty much your theme, I reckon. Good to hear you’re well and marching ever forward. The new camera sounds good, but I have to caution you that your photos are much less the product of your camera than of your mind, so we’re all expecting greater resolution of the same old great things. Photo: Chris, home on leave from the Corps; David, home from Houston; Lauren, here for a great weekend.

Yes, time moves on – usually a good thing.

At the moment I’m kind of between the past and future (but not really in the present, if that makes sense). I have most definitely left my job teaching, but am working two part days/week at la clinica. That’s going very well and is far less stressful than having students at the clinic – I’m just seeing patients and nothing else – enjoying working with Pat, Socorro, and others. I’m going to Bible study every Wednesday and staying the full hour now that I don’t have to race to the clinic to get there before the students. Hanging out at home a lot, reading, hardly ever writing.

A big part of what I’m doing though, is getting ready for the coming months. David is home now, between his job in Houston and moving to Berkeley in early August. In the meantime, he is leaving next week for Cali, to hike the John Muir Trail with his high school (and since) friend Scott. They’ll be on the trail for about 17 days (220 miles) through the Sierras – high up, alpine. When he’s through with that epic trek, he’ll go back to Berkeley for a few days, then fly to Denver where he and I will meet.

In the meantime, I’ll be here for awhile, doing what I’ve been doing, then in early July, driving to Colorado for a few days of car camping (camping at places you can drive to, maybe walking in a mile or two), then solo hiking – mostly to acclimate myself to the altitude – and then meeting David. Our plans are to spend about 10 days in the Wind Rivers, high and wild and then drive back to Dallas. We’ll spend a week or two here and David will fly to Berkeley and I’ll head back to the mountains for about a month – until the snow starts. My mate Jeff will join me part of that time and part of the time I think I’ll be alone, a good thing.

I got a dehydrator and am drying everything in sight (Leslie would say, madly drying everything …). At the moment a huge batch of chili, yesterday hamburger “gravel” to add to spaghetti, etc., and also some fajita jerky. This evening I’ll bake some energy bars: oats, honey, wheat germ, walnuts, cranberries, protein powder. They won’t be dehydrated of course. Actually, I just put the bars in the oven – Oh Yeah! Photo: Buddy, the innocent dog.

The situation in Burma is basically stagnant, with few relief workers let in a
nd of those, many not allowed to leave Rangoon. Cops everywhere. What a tragedy. Anyway, my name is out there at a number of organizations to go when things open up, but I’m not sure they will.

Leslie and I are headed to Asia in early 2009, God willing. She asked the other night what I think of when I think of going to Asia and it’s the strangest thing – I’m longing for Hong Kong, of all places. I’ve always liked it there, but it seems like I would be thinking more of other places. As it turns out, HK is mostly what Leslie thinks of, too. I’m so happy and looking forward to traveling with her – what a great traveler Leslie is. I have this great photo I took in 2007 of Leslie on the stairs at the Chungking Mansions. It’s blurry, but who cares – how many 60+ year old anglo women have ever been on those notorious stairs?

So those are the plans as they stand now. I believe it was Jerry Garcia who said, “A plan is just something to deviate from.”

Warmest Regards, Charles

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