Saturday I drove to Paris, Texas, to meet my friend Gene, so that we could drive together into southern Oklahoma for some hiking. I enjoyed seeing the red orb of the sun just after sunrise as I drove to Paris. We both were a bit late to our rendezvous point, the Paris Wal Mart, because he got a warning ticket for failing to slow down for a farm to market road, while I wandered Paris, a town of a mere 25,000 souls, hunting Wal Mart.
We parked his car, and drove in my car up into Oklahoma. We intended to hike a trail on the north side of Hugo Lake, roughly thirty miles from Paris (and roughly two hours from my home, take it all around).
Hugo Lake is a large lake set in a dense cross timbers woodland. Although the lake level suffers from the drought, the lake still proved very scenic, with waterbirds amid lilies in the shallows, and little white rock cliff-ettes along some shores. Few people were in the parks, and they all seemed "local" in the way that people seem one thing and sometimes are that thing.
The various national park service portions of the area appeared in need of a facelift, and the entire area had that feel that gorgeous, lightly populated places get when they are not featured in tourist magazines but are in fact glorious but neglected. Although the terrain cries out "hike me! hike me!", the trails were either poorly marked or unmarked along the way.
I did note a wonderful, isolated floating fishing pier at one location, which looked onto a gorgeous lake vista in a portion of the lake in which fish visibly jumped. Another day, hopefully soon, I will be back with folding chair, earthworms, and an Oklahoma guest fishing license, in pursuit of piscatorial delight.
We hunted our preferred hiking location, but the trail was not marked. We did a Diogenes hunting for a well-marked trail. Finally, a marina store ranger pointed us in the right way, a wooded trail in which we walked under non-dense but fairly shady trees and talked of our lives. That trail came out at lovely cabins, wooden little homes which faced the lake. Only two of half a dozen were rented. I made a mental note that this, too, justified return.
We headed into Paris for lunch. We were trying to see what was available among the pizza/sandwich/BBQ/Chinese buffet choices we expected, when AlKebab Turkish Restaurant appeared to our hike-salted eyes mirage-like.
We went into a cool, clean restaurant, where a lovely Turkish-American woman waited upon us.
I expected that she might have the rich accent of an immigrant, but the north Texas "how are y'all dewing?" of her introductory talk betrayed her second generation status. We had wonderful and inexpensive meals, and then went our own ways.
I saw the highway sign with the telltale binoculars which signal "wildlife viewing", as I drove home. I turned off, and found myself passing the fabled Daylilly farm, where the lilies of the field had been converted to standing August kindling, attractive in their way, but not exactly floral. I passed a more vigorous longhorn bull, which looked like something from a fanciful picture postcard, drawn by a child to win a "Color Big Tex!" contest.
Soon I found myself in the Caddo National Grasslands, a lovely stretch of remote land I had visited before. My ardor for a second hike gradually cooled as poor trail maintenance meant that I was often blocked in my efforts at two different locales. Rather than seek out another trail in the area at which I had succeeded before, I paused to take a few minutes of video and then headed for home. When I stopped my car to take a picture of a stretch of burned grassland. Unfortunately, the inexpensive digital camera I now use fell, without damage to the camera, but the little AAA batteries were dislodged. This erased the pictures from its tiny flash memory. Thus, I can only share word pictures in this journal, although I may create for my own purposes a youtube video of the Caddo grasslands hike. Even the burned land picture did not come out right so far, for reasons I have not yet fathomed.
I drove home, and my wife and I had fresh fish at Fishmongers' Cafe, which has moved a half-block over to a new location which is more stylish looking and yet acoustically more challenging and also lacks the "been down so long it looks like fish to me" hole-in-the-wall ambience of its prior cavernous but not haute locale. We enjoyed our food immensely, though, and obtained wonderful service from one of the regular waitstaff, a woman named Colleen we don't know at all, but whom we notice always keeps glasses filled and food flowing during our visits.
Colleen has piercing eyes, darting to make quick contact, which do not interest me so much in Colleen, notwithstanding her charms, which, no doubt, interest a single man, as remind me each time of an Indian takeout place we used to visit in the western part of Los Angeles in which an Indian/American father and an Irish/American mother had produced as offspring an attractive young woman whose blue eyes pierced like stars from a south Indian complexion, capturing the imagination of all who met her. I like to think that the collective imagination ran further than her beauty, into the essence of the soul behind her piercing eyes, but I will leave the plot open-ended on this point, to permit each reader to supply his or her own optimisms and pessimisms about fate, desire and billowing bakery trays of fresh naan bread.
We went to Sunday school today in which everyone reads a book about Heaven which takes inferences from symbolic scripture and draws fairly unorthodox conclusions about the afterlife through literal interpretation, presenting the result as if it were established fact. It's good to read things, sometimes, that go against the grain of what most readers in the class believe. For some reason, the experience gives me a desire to go read John Wesley's sermons some more, which might give the reader a sense that I am deserving of praise for piety that in fact I cannot claim. I do think it's good to find ways to understand what other people think, when it can be done in a context workable for the purpose.
Based on the oldies station I listened to yesterday on my way to Bonham, I must confess that I'd rather puzzle over whether dogs go to Heaven and the problem of physical existence in some far flung future without the cycles of cell decay than to ponder why the fellow in the Eagles song imagines that four of the seven women on his mind in the song "Take it Easy" want to own him.I'll note, parenthetically, that I find that the kind of person that is at best a timeshare property often imagines that s/he is prime real estate with a built-in Jacuzzi, only to learn, with either admirable grace or sheepish resignation, that he or she is short-term tenancy material.
Weight Watchers advised me that I lost a grand total of four-tenths of a pound today, which leaves me still some 8 and 6/10ths short of my ultimate goal. The fourteen pounds thus far this year have come much more slowly than the fifty eight pounds I lost in seven months last year. I remain optimistic, though, because it turns out that I do indeed have both a spine and willpower.
Chisholm Trail, Plano, Texas
For the second time this Summer, a musician has recorded a tribute album which remixes my work.
This one is by Djsorge, from Hungary, whose Hexagon album at:
this site. I'm always pleased when I am remixed, particularly, as often happens, the artist who remixes me does an album better than my own work.
I want to go walk in the heat now.