The Cadence of the Cicadas
The approach to the Royal Arch. Photo by UCFFool on Flickr CC.
Thursday as Luddite Day offers me a weekday respite as an online site keeper. So, yesterday morning, I set off to hike up to the Royal Arch. It was summer, breezy, and the trail was somewhat crowded. It is that time of year that on hikes around here your brain buzzes to the mesmerizing drumming of the Cicadas in the trees, and the sound never stops.
The trail was crowded because my town has turned, once again, into a tourist town. The Texas license plates have started to take over and Eben G. Fine Park is becoming the usual hangout for those scantily clad who like to wile away their hours next to a cold creek communing with others who like to wile away their summer hours next to a cold creek.
I love the Royal Arch hike both because it’s a good workout, and because the reward at the end is a wide and high view overlooking Boulder, Denver, NCAR, and the assortment of wind generators over at NREL. Once or twice I’ve had the spot to myself and that’s a real treat, but I also enjoy meeting strangers up there from all over the world, and I’ve heard some of the most bizarre stories while there.
Yesterday, a guy told us about his part-Boxer dog who’d lost all of its skin but had laser surgery that cost five grand to repair it, and once a young lady told the story of observing a Spider-Wasp attack a Tarantula at a kid’s camp in Colorado. A couple of times I’ve watched incredulously as people scale over the top of the arch on foot. And once I saw a person up there accidentally drop his water bottle to its untimely death far below.
A view of NIST and the Univ. of Coloardo and beyond from up top the Royal Arch trail.
Photo by UCFFool on Flickr CC.
Don’t ask me why, but so often when I do that hike, I get inspired to write something, and this time was no exception.
I belong to a very large women’s writer’s group here and many in the writing community swear that you have to bare your soul to get a reader audience. My b.p.a. site philosophy has been to present information that can’t be found elsewhere and maintain an unbought independent voice that is so rare in agriculture, then, know a little about how the search engines work, and the rest will take care of itself. And to some extent that has happened. Even so, some of my writer friends tell me they can’t cope with my site, it is just “too much”, others tell me to write for that 5th grade level to reach far more people, while still others think it is outrageous to write unless paid $.50 or a dollar per word — or else be a travesty to the profession.
Today I’m going to be baring my soul here more than usual, and then I won’t do it again for a long time.
Read on only if you want to learn what I’ve learned. Some of it relates to writing online, some of it doesn’t.
I’VE LEARNED THAT this site’s acceptance last December as a Google News site was both a blessing and a curse. G. News rarely ever accepts a single authored site, so I was very pleased, but the downside is that their news bots expect daily “news”. So, if I feel like taking two weeks off for a break, I might lose my news bot friends. That’s the curse. Which makes me nothing more than a bot’s bot.
I’VE LEARNED THAT it is really fun to meet my readers. A first for me happened a few months ago, when I attended a local event unrelated to agriculture. A nearby audience member asked me whether I was K.M. who writes b.p.a. Wow. That person is now a friend and site helper — letting no good opportunity go wasted. Then, last week, I met with a long time reader downtown who was truly a most delightful young lady and I was in awe of her achievements. I shall meet with another reader soon. Perhaps we can get a local coffee group going eventually.
I’VE LEARNED THAT you can’t please ‘em all. My stance on GM technology has cost me many would-be readers, especially in my own community. I don’t let things like that bother me. I just keep going.
I’VE LEARNED THAT the internet sucks. People will cut and paste entire articles that you’ve worked so hard on and never credit you. People you know will even use your “stuff” and pretend they didn’t. Or, you can make an a – - out of yourself for the whole world to see.
I’VE LEARNED THAT the internet is an amazing platform that offers a writer unlimited opportunity. It takes one click for someone to get to the NYTs, same as it takes only one click to get to b.p.a. It is the great equalizer.
I’VE LEARNED THAT life eats life. You can judge that all you want but you won’t change it.
I’VE LEARNED THAT although I love Nature, I think the most beautiful things of all are those which combine Nature with human efforts. Like architecture in a nice urban landscape design. Like a Japanese garden. Like a beautiful bicycle path. Like a well-designed bridge over a river.
I’VE LEARNED THAT life is unpredictable and can change on a dime in a good way or a bad way, precipitated by the most unlikely of events.
I’VE LEARNED THAT death is very mysterious and if we understood it better we would understand life better.
I’VE LEARNED THAT this world is a magical place if we just pay attention.
I’VE LEARNED THAT you can’t tell much about a person just by looking at them.
I’VE LEARNED THAT life was good to me when husbands were handed out. My husband has the patience of a saint and helps to make life easier for me. AND, he likes cats.
I’VE LEARNED THAT not all of the best things in life are free.
I’VE LEARNED THAT I will never ever be caught up on the technical work aspect of having a site such as this. Or, the reading.
I’VE LEARNED THAT a year and a half ago my average reader was a 65 year old male with a PhD. Now, that has supposedly changed to more female readers with college degrees. Not sure I trust those stats, however.
I’VE LEARNED THAT the U.S. Navy likes to keep a very close eye on this space. Since I’m opposed to biofuels categories that don’t make sense, this bothers me just a little.
I’VE LEARNED THAT the Dept. of the Interior is paying a lot of attention to my loss of CRP land and loss of soils posts. Maybe one or two persons can make a difference.
I’VE LEARNED THAT I become exhilarated when I get reader comments that are brief and hard to interpret from remote places on this Earth, but they are making an attempt to express gratitude for my series of posts on water-saving techniques. That happened again just yesterday. The best I hope for is that this site has some positive ripple effects. The worst is that it does someone some harm someway.
I’VE LEARNED THAT opposites like good and evil are in balance.
I’VE LEARNED THAT what you think was the worst thing that ever happened to you can later prove to be the best thing that ever happened to you.
I’VE LEARNED THAT this site continues to evolve. After four years of online writing and learning, I feel I’m headed towards writing less here and more elsewhere — eventually, particularly when it comes to analysis. It felt really good when an editor approached me a couple weeks ago, offering me a paid writing job. I’ve got many ideas that I’m toying with, but am still honing in on them. Some very valued readers have expressed, “but where would I find this information if you stopped providing it?” to me, but they also understand that it is my time that is involved, not theirs.
I’VE LEARNED THAT reading books containing Eastern philosophy soothe me and provide a nice counterbalance to my intense writing for b.p.a. I’ve learned that a few perceptive readers figure that out without me having to ever explain it.
Light reading at Pfeiffer Beach in May.
I’VE LEARNED THAT I’ve acquired quite a global list of agricultural writers for readers. Perhaps this is my niche. I present info and they can run with it from here. I even have reason to believe that I am influencing some who wield a pen far more powerful than mine.
I’VE LEARNED THAT you can learn something worthwhile from any human being.
I’VE LEARNED THAT there are a few gurus that you can learn way more from, the challenge is to recognize who they are.
I’VE LEARNED THAT the more you learn the less you think you know.
I’VE LEARNED THAT some problems are unsolvable.
I’VE LEARNED THAT as Rod Stewart ages and loses his voice, I am less infatuated with him. Same with Bruce Springsteen. But, not with Leonard Cohen.
I’VE LEARNED THAT I never have enough hours in the day to do everything that I would like to do.
I’VE LEARNED THAT people can have convictions without understanding why they have them.
I’VE LEARNED THAT I love green tea ice cream mochi balls even more than “Endangered Species” 88% chocolate bars.
And, finally, I’VE LEARNED THAT everything in life is a metaphor.