July 28, 1997

Yeesh, people.

Got email from Anita today, as she discovered the fact that I was both another Seattlite and a Fan of Jon Singer. My sister printed the first Friends of Jon Singer t-shirts. Talk about a small world.

Amusingly enough, she also got me to do something I've been avoiding since I learned about it. Cera had mentioned that Ceej was doing Clarion West, and that she was writing about it in her journal. I've been avoiding that journal for about four months now. Studiously and completely avoiding what I knew would be there. Anita's entries pointed towards not only the Clarion West parties, but also to Rainier Cherries (which are my favorite). The latter is easier to take.

"Great tests also offer great gifts. To fail the test is, itself a misfortune, but to refuse the test at all... that's failure of a different sort." -- Cordelia at one time or another...

I applied to Clarion West about four years ago, and in the application, in the cover letter, I told them, flat off, that I wasn't prepared to be a professional writer yet. I was told later, that while I had writing quality that could have gotten me in, that that letter stopped them dead. And I have to admit that I knew it would. The crucible that Ceej is going through does transform. Utterly. And I was and probably am still damaged enough that I'd probably just get crushed, shattered, and destroyed by it. So, every summer, I half ignore Singer's occassional peeps about how Clarion West parties are happening, and how fun they are and who he met, and I do ten thousand other things. I'm not ready for this test yet. I may well never be.

Though, like the engineer in Falling Free I know that I've cleverly never chosen tests that will take me to the breaking point. Some would say Caltech should have been, but only I know it wasn't even close.

I spent my weekend river rafting and lazing about, happily.

The Sauk river is nearly the same color as my hair! Hoorah! A beautiful green blue and it's set in the midst of a valley that's been declared 'Wild and Scenic' by the government, so all construction along it is forbidden and all roads must be built away from it when they're built, now. There are a few camp grounds and many trails through areas of it, but folks are warned to pack out what they pack in and only a limited number of rafters are allowed down it per year. The season for the river is only a few weeks, too, when the water is high enough to get through it and low enough that it's interesting.

It was a lot more adventurous than the Skykomish was. A good handful of threes, one four, and the named rapids were fun. The initial rapid, which was almost immediately after the put in was called "Entrance Exam." And it was bumpy fun. The one four was called "Demon Seed" and was a set of rapids that then led to an area where the only through point was through a very narrow channel that was to one side of a huge rock, which was called "The Demon Seed." The reason it was classed as a four was not just becuase of the nice big holes and waves leading to it, but also for the fact that getting around the rock was a 'must make', in that if you didn't hit that channel precisely, lots of bad things could happen, and since there were also rapids and rocks further downstream, if someone got knocked out of the boats at that point, it could get a little risky rescuing them.

The rapids were wonderous things, great big waves of white water, churning, pushing, trying to get into the boat. I was in the back again, decided to just take it easy and not get as wet, and it was nice to just concentrate on getting my blade deep into the water and paddle constantly and consistantly with the person in front of me and only worry about the sideways waves that Jerry kept putting us into. That was fun. Reminded me of the previous trip. There was just a whole lot more white water, and big standing waves that completely soaked the two front people.

The river was very interesting, too. Lots of things happening, every few minutes, there was some small rapid, or rocky area. The trees were gorgeous, the sky was blue, the sun was hot, and there were birds everywhere. Ducks and cormorants and keen stuff. There was a constant breeze coming from downstream, and at one point Jerry asked us if we knew why the wind always came from downstream. He said that it was becasue as the day went on and the air warmed, the air was flowing up stream because that was up hill, i.e. the hot air was flowing along the channel of the river in order to go up the easiest way possible. I'll have to remember that, someday. Though it seems that there must be eaiser ways to figure out which way is downhill or down stream or down river.

Lunch was out on a sandbar, sandwiches, brownies, fruit and hot chocolate and coffee and such. Just basked out in the sun and ate slow and happy, very different than the drizzling wet trip the time out before. It was very nice to just sit in the heat and chat.

After lunch we went a ways and got to Clearcreek Canyon, a small creek that ran into the river with water that was glass clear. The water of the Sauk was a cloudy blue green, the green mostly from the glacier run off. So the creek was startlingly clear after the near milky green of the Sauk. We waded out of the boats onto a rock, slippery trail cut into the side of the canyon wall.

It was the most gorgeous and most trecherous walk. There was so much greenery over us that the air felt green, all the sunlight was diffused through leaves. The walk itself hugged the face cliff and sections of it were overgrown with thick mosses, soft and spongy and thick to the touch. A tiny water fall of about seven droplets constantly dripped and ran down one portion and you had to walk under it, like under a veil of bead strings, to keep going on with the walk. Most of it was barely a foot width wide, much of it wet and slippery, though the rock bits were often jagged enough to provide great traction for even the rubber soles of our wet suit boots. At the end of the trail was a log that had fallen straddling the canyon. The log was more than six feet in diameter, and people could, fairly easily, walk along it to the center and then jump into a pool that was nearly seven feet deep.

The pool was as clear as glass and cool, not quite the breathtaking cold of the glacial run off of the river itself, but a cool clean touch along the skin. I had fun wading over waist deep over to a boulder set in the center of the pool, where the throw line was. And I planted myself in the sunshine on the boulder and took pictures of people as they jumped off, and just marveled in the moss coated, cool clear greeness of the place.

The put-out was nice and easy and I surprised myself by having absolutely no problem carrying a quarter of the raft on a shoulder. I made sure that I didn't use my hands too much in the lifting and got it up pretty easily and kept it up fairly well. Dumped it on the pile of rafts that were being deflated and joined everyone in changing. We then headed for a small bar and drank pop, Hamms and Schmitt beer to undehydrate a bit and then headed off towards Data I/O.

We'd met in the parking lot at 6:30 am to make it to the launching on time, and as we headed back, we decided to stop at Thenos, which is close to Data I/O and have ice cream. It's actually Vivian's Pride ice cream, but Theno's is the dairy name. They get local milk and cream and make their own ice cream, and it's some of the best in the area. Big, fat cones with plenty of butter fat. A really lovely ending to a lovely day.

Sunday was mostly lazing about the house, a visit with James as he's about to move to Portland and wanted to visit at least one more time before leaving, and we had dinner at I Love Sushi and then sat around and ate popcorn and watched Tank Girl. I wrote a lot of stuff about the weekend I dyed my hair into my butterfly and then went to sleep.

Today's been unmotived here at work. Went to Dixie's BBQ for lunch and met James there. John's taken the day off, and likely the next two as well. He was doing errands in the area, so met us there quite handily. Liz and Jerry had wanted to go, and Ginger, Bob D., and Mark Sasten were up for the adventure as well. None of them had been there before.

Everyone got their food, no problem and noted there were nice, large portions that tasted really good, and Gene started wandering about. I caught his eye and then grinned as his eyes went wide on seeing me. He grinned and nodded and went back and got a pot of The Man and came out to greet us. Came specifically to me and asked the lady with the pretty blue hair how much of the Man she wanted. I asked for just a little bit, and he scoffed and said, he know how much a woman with blue hair would want, and that I should 'Take it like a woman!' and he put a small dab of the stuff on my sandwich, just about as much as I thought I could take.

He then went around the table and plopped on what he could, asking if folks had Met The Man before.

The Man is a really, really hot hot sauce. It has a number of different kinds of peppers, and the whole is designed to light your whole mouth on fire. Black pepper affects a different part of your tongue than white, and cayanne does something different entirely than a habanero. So the conbination was nicely balanced to make anyone and everyone melt. I take just a little bit, John takes a whole spoonful. Folks on meeting the Man usually underestimate him a bit, as the stuff builds. I usually have a bit of a plan for the meal, including a bottle of cold root beer and lemon cake afterwards. The root beer is from Mt. Angel brewery, and it's brewed with real sugar rather than corn syrup, so I bought a case of the stuff.

Gene really like my hair, especially in the sunlight. It was keen to have someone appreciate it that much, and I really enjoyed how he enjoyed it. That was keen.

Guess that that is something that's deeply built into how and what I am... that enjoyment from someone else for what and who I am. I really like it and it makes me feel good. Mark says that he's never cared what anyone else thought about him or what he did, and I just can't be that way. I have to care. It's how I'm built. I really do care how someone I love takes what I do, what I say, how I act and I change some of what I do in order to do what they like. I'm better about not changing for those that I really shouldn't care about; but I don't think I want to change the fact that I really do enjoy other people's enjoyment of any part of me.

Whew... this is long enough. There.

© 1997 by Liralen Li

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