I went hiking in Claremont Canyon yesterday to clear my head. Three hours, six miles, and 1000 ft elevation change later, I was sweaty, sunburnt and still fixated on the bug and its countdown. While up there, didn't pay enough attention to the trail... scratched my palms slipping on loose gravel, more than once. Now it hurts to type. (July 20 2004)I went hiking in Claremont Canyon yesterday. It was just me and Kiyash. He was on the Claremont hike last year, too, but I didn't mention him back then because damsels in distress need to be single. I didn't scratch up my palms this time, because we did the loop backwards. We've done that trail maybe a dozen times since we moved to Berkeley in Summer 2001, and every time we've gone up one way and down the other. This time, we reversed it. Amazing what a difference that made. Both the ascent and descent were markedly more difficult, but felt exactly right. The ascent should be up the narrow, scrambly hillside path, the path I scratched my hands up on last year. And the descent should be down the shaded woodsy widecut swath. Sort of like we were hiking in reverse all these years, but of course those hikes were good, too, and memorable--two New Year's Day hikes, for instance.
Today we went to stomp around the salt ponds by the Dumbarton Bridge. That bridge is a lovely firmament which until today I had experienced only peripherally, furiously powerpointing across it in the passenger seat on my way to the PARC forum last spring. Getting to know the Dumbarton Bridge a little better, we did a mash-up of the Tidelands Trail and the Newark Slough Loop Trail. Salt flies everywhere. Chaotic flocking behavior of bird overhead. Funny... last night we watched the Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter. Mick Jagger kept imploring the violent Altamont crowd to "get it together, can't we all just get it together?" The birds overhead for awhile really seemed like they were just not going to get it together. Not going to do that emergent self-organizing bottom-up woo-ha everybody writes about these days. Watching Gimme Shelter was research, although I didn't know it when we started the DVD. (At first, it was just an attempt to clear out a Netflix that has been lingering around the apartment while we plowed our way through all five discs of Season 3 of Six Feet Under.) But those of us who ask people to assemble in large groups in public for festive and playful occasions have a responsibility to understand why it occasionally goes wrong. Also, I'm interested these days in how non-festive crowds might get it together. Spontaneous community in public spaces. Working on it. More. Soon.
We also experienced the salty burning numbness of a barely sweet Cucumber Chile popsicle today.