We both slept in a bit, today. In an effort to avoid being entirely sedentary, I drove up to far north Texas, through the town of Bonham, on my way to the Caddo National Grassland. I had never been there before, and I forgot to look up exact directions. Soon I found myself crossing the Red River, landing in Oklahoma. I backtracked, and stopped for lunch at a rustic cafe called the Red River Fishing Hole. This place was wonderful--a "sit down" casual place with the best pork ribs I've had in years. The kind fellow pulled out a Fannin County map and gave me directions to the grasslands.
First, though, I pulled into a roadside park right by the river, and tried to make my way from the bluffs above the river down to river level. I discovered that I could, when I so chose on a later trip fish there, find such a way down, but I will need wader boots for the muddy shallows.
I drove quite remote country roads to the grasslands park. One homeowner ran an exotic birds business. Another flew a single Confederate flag on a large flagpole. I resisted the temptation to tell that homeowner that the flag was regionally anhistorical. After all, from 1865 to 1873, two families fought a feud over the hard feelings that arise from such things. Perhaps, on second thought, anhistorical is a poor word choice.
I passed the historic marker for Sowell, who helped found Fannin County, but was killed when native Americans raided his tavern stables, trying to take horses.
I finally arrived in the Caddo National Grasslands. I had expected the grasslands to be endless prairie, like a large Park Hill Prairie (my favorite regional park). But in fact, the region was more like the cross timbers woodland of Grayson County. I stopped by Coffee Mill Lake, about which I'd read a good bit, but did not stay long--it was filled with campers and fisherpeople. Then I went to the hiking trail nearby, the "Bois D'Arc" (osage orange tree) trailhead. It was fairly shady woods, sprinkled with open land. Only one other car was among the hikers.
The hike was splendid, although the ground was a bit wet from a mild rain. I saw a lot of butterflies, a few lizards, but surprisingly only vultures among the birds. I met but one other couple hiking along. It was a good walk. Then I drove past small holdings with goats for sale, small holdings with horses for sale, and 19th Century tiny frame churches. I like the way that area has lots of little towns, almost forgotten, but still active.
When I arrived home, I paused to stare at and snap a photo of the huge green caterpillar that single-handedly stripped clean our blooming container gladiolus this weekend. I "googled" to try to figure out what kind of lepidopt the caterpillar will become--my best guess is a sphinx moth, but it is purely guesswork on inadequate data.
I saw two signs of local culture. The town of Blue Ridge converted an old church into the "Blue Ridge Fine Arts Sanctuary" and has begun hosting country music evenings. A "Bonham Hoedown" in a steel building near one of Bonham's two lakes features country western and bluegrass music. This is all a kind of modern "in keeping" with the "opry" tradition, in which "church-goin'" folks can consume country music without being offended by the demon rum found at bars. I listened to the local country-western station, which seemed fixated on lament-toned celebration of one-night stands. It's like sweet and sour pork, that lamenting how good a night was way of approaching a song.
My favorite song among that group went along the lines of "we ain't done nothing wrong--we're just two lonely people". I do not have a detailed theory of the one-night stand, as it is largely outside my experience. But my detailed theory of pedal steels is well-formulated, and requires frequent and heartfelt use of the instrument.
I suppose I really like Hawaiian music because it can often feature vivid pedal steel work, but the celebrations of mutual experience in those songs tend not to be so rueful. I am not so impressed by lyrics which sound like "it was so great that I sound like I swallowed a toad just telling about it". I would probably, by the way, prefer fried toad legs to any rendition of "We've got tonight", the most commercial and least appealing of the "hell, why not" one night stand songs. I think Stephen Stills' song about loving the one one is with was much better than any of the country and western ones about lamenting the neon and the loneliness in a cheap motel bed. I except from that "Third Rate Romance", a song I love. I like the way that "serious" traditional country music can be a bit sentimental in an accessible way, though. I love that old refrain "put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone".
I did love the ranchera radio station. I must follow up on my goal to learn more Spanish. All I ever understand in those songs is how the fellow's corazon is broken and he wants his amor in his casa. That's not enough, although it may, on second thought, be everything. I found myself, parenthetically, at the journal of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend this morning, whose journal of intense descriptions of successful dates convinced me that on my most hedonistic day I did not match a single paragraph of anyone else's life. I suppose that reading LJ inevitably is like reading the Jones' diary, but fortunately I do not usually mind that I do not keep up.
I listened to Jeff Pearce's "Bleed" today. I love the quiet intensity of driving to good ambient guitar. I also love lyrics with a different kind of approach to mood, like the lyric from Brian Eno's song--"I am on an open sea, just drifting as the clouds go slowly by. Julie with her open blouse is gazing up into the empty sky". In my universe, I'd take all those great country melodies, and convert them into fun things with rewritten lyrics.
Bonham has a lot of local history and chances to encounter nature--more than enough to spend a weekend visiting the various things there. First, though, I must get wader boots. I cannot remember if I have ever owned wader boots. Also, I must learn what there is to do in Durant, Oklahoma, as it is "right nearby". The term "durant, oklahoma" sounds like something from a cigar box to me.
We took a walk by Glendover Pond. Only one goose remained today--the wild ducks moved on to other feeding grounds. Kids played on the swings--I like that our neighborhood park is well-used but not crowded. Kids in the parking lot had a long, flat motorized recumbent go-kart. I know that I live in an area in which "dad" or "mom" is often an engineer.
This Monday worked well. Only a four day week, and it will be Saturday again.