I Am Big. It's the Pictures That Got Small

for those wonderful people out there in the dark

13 January 2007

Man, I must be getting old

So, it's Saturday evening, I'm blogging, drinking a "Christmas" bock (thank you, friend Jerry), and listening to Donovan, "Donna Donna" just now. A little earlier, Gerri and I had our often easy meal of rice and steamed veggie, this time broccoli. And a little later, we'll watch As Time Goes By, with Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer--wouldn't it be so nice to be that decent even in our grumpiness?

But earlier today, we were rather virtuous, or rather Gerri was and I tagged along. We attended a regional Audubon council, talking about a gazillion environmental issues: phosphate mines and the Peace River, the creating of "swamp ranches" north of Lake O, the unregulated run-off of household fertilizers into the Caloosahatchee, the fresh water dump from Lake O into the Caloosahatchee, and other water-related issues. We even got up at 5:00 a.m., to help set up breakfast, but also to tool on the Caloosahatchee in a pontoon. Lots of manatees, brown pelicans, tree swallows, and an occasional wood stork, and even an exotic feral pig along the way.

Ah, here is a great blue heron, just to the right of the mangroves and brazilian pepper, flying toward the I-75 bridge that spans the Caloosahatchee.

And here are the remains of a grounded barge (from the 1930s, I was told) nearby the oldest marina in the Fort Myers area, built by the Menge brothers who started a steamboat and dredging business in the 1880s. Technically, this is on the Orange River, which feeds into the Caloosahatchee, for those of you who insist on an accurate scorecard.

Of course, it was just a relief to be talking with some like-minded folk, trying to lay out some pragmatic and balanced plans to bring to a more friendly national legislature and a more friendly governor's cabinet. So to be on a slow moving river, something broaded-hearted and restive, was centering and deepening, even while there's talk of a temporary "surge" in a war that we intiated four years ago, or even closer, while there's talk of classifying this distressed and great river as an industrial canal so that water standards need not be met.

Okay, so now Donovan is singing about riding easy, in his wonderful fare-welling song, "Turquoise." And I can remember when he was this young, fragile, small little love-child singer, so airy and of no consequence. Tonight, at least, his music seems rather wide to me. So that is something, too.

04 January 2007

Back from Phoenix

Happy New Year!

I should be back more regularly now, and hopefully, I'll get caught up with my Poetry Thursday participation. But that'll take care of itself in its own time.

I just returned from Phoenix, feeding one of my interests, Boise State Football. Those of you who've truly followed my blog know that this blog was initially devoted to poetry and Bronco football, all in my attempt to have the least read blog in the blogosphere. I was doing pretty well, too, having received only one comment and eight visits in about six months.

For about the past nine months, after revamping the blog to a poetry-mostly blog, I have steered clear of discussing Boise State football too much. Anyway, I did go to the Fiesta Bowl to cheer on the Broncos' incredible victory over Oklahoma. I went there with Carson, my 17-year-old son, who is a huge Bronco fan, even though he lives in Nashville. This trip was his Christmas from me, and about as good, he got an Ian Johnson jersey and an Ian Johnson-crocheted beanie.

For those of you who don't know, Ian Johnson is the third leading rusher in the country; his nickname is "Hollywood," precisely because he is so not Hollywood: soft spoken, intelligent, unassuming, and genuinely humble. IJ's hobby has been to crochet beanies, but because his fame rose this season, the NCAA put a cabash on him selling his beanies (because his $15 beanies could easily be exploited for profit from his fame on the football field). Needless to say, Carson caught the attention from Bronco fans at the tailgate and game because he was wearing a genuine IJ beanie. We saw two other Bronco fans (some 25,000 were at the game) so happily hatted.

I also met my old college roommate, Mike. He's the fellow on the right. Mike flew down from Boise with a colleague on the day of the game, and it was a genuine treat to tag up with him, however briefly.

And we spent a good deal of time with my sister and her husband, Carolyn and Lynn. We spent the day before the game with them, generally doing the tourist thing and eating some really fine seafood, of all things, in Scottsdale. Yes, we were decked out in the proper Bronco gear, a pretty hideous mix of orange and blue.

Anyway, the last Bronco game Carson and I went to was last year's infamous game to Georgia, where the Broncos lost their opening game on the national stage, 48-13. The Broncos this year went undefeated, winning the WAC and beating Oregon State and Utah in convincing fashion. This earned them a berth to one of the BCS bowls, something mocked as an "affirmative action" or "politically correct" slot given to a qualifying nonBCS team. They were matched up against a very hot and dominant Oklahoma team, the champions of the Big 12, who were bolstered by the return of their all-Everything runningback, Adrian Peterson.

You know the rest, if you're still reading this entry. Boise State won, 43-42 in overtime, in what has been labeled as one of the greatest college football games ever by some reputable sports journalists. I know many of my regular readers won't get this at all, and I do understand, especially with the perverse and distressing centrality sports culture enjoys in American society. Even so, I remember when I used to play beneath the bleachers in the old wooden Bronco stadium (it was replaced in 1970), and my fahter had been a season ticket holder since the Boise Junior College days of the 1950s.

My brother, who was unable to attend the game, sent me an e-mail, telling me how my mother cried when "Z" threw the pick that allowed Oklahoma to go up by a touchdown with just over a minute left in the game. And then how my whole family was standing by the television, and how my mother had to steady my father back to his chair after Ian Johnson scored on what will be known as THE Statue of Liberty play for the two-point conversion. My brother told me how my parents were just smiling at one another. For us folks from Boise, this game was no small potatoes.