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Lousy week, good story

January 18, 2022 am31 1:31 am

Last week was lousy. Omicron was raging. I had issues to deal with. Not good. I didn’t write. Not at all.

The long weekend was welcome. And after three days, I’m feeling a little better. I don’t know exactly why, but I’ll make a list of four possibles.

1. Staying on top of a resolution. A book a week. I meant it. And I have been making it. I opened with A Game of Birds and Wolves about women in Britain who joined the naval auxiliary during WWII and worked on war-gaming the battle of the Atlantic. And this week I read Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging, and Mating, clearly written, organized by evolutionary twists and turns, with nice illustrations. Fascinating. I met one of the authors four years ago, and upon hearing the book broadly described, declared that it reminded me of something one of my favorite authors, John McPhee, might have written, and “of course you have heard of him?” He had been the author’s advisor at Princeton. I can still taste my shoe.

2. I made winter soup. It’s not the right name. I don’t think it has a name. But It is a ponderously heavy concoction of bones and lentils, split peas and barley, with carrots, celery, onion and parsley. With salt and black pepper. On a cold day it warms me from my core, and reminds me of winters growing up…

3. Walks on Saturday and Sunday, one with a twist. Sunday was a nice stretch, a little longer, and quite needed. It was not bitter out. Saturday was bitter. Saturday we batted around ideas for where to go, and settled on a lake in north Jersey, in a park big enough to have trails move away from the (exposed) lake shore. The wind added some bite, and the temperature was low by the water. We passed some people ice fishing, and turned to head away from the water.

We must have missed a turn off and reached a small camping/parking area when we heard a pick up come up behind us. He parked and got out and it wasn’t a ranger. We said hello, and so did he, and we asked what he was doing. Checking his beaver traps. The beavers dam the streams and flood the park and the Parks people think they are a nuisance and this guy gets permits, and comes in and traps. He sells the pelt, and the meat. Beavers are vegetarians, he explained, they taste good. And we explained we were hiking, and he warned us about ice patches under the snow on the trail we were pointing to. It wasn’t snow everywhere, but there were patches, more in come places than in others, so it was a worthwhile warning.

So we move up the trail, a little slowly because of the snow patches, and in case of ice, and we are passing a frozen pond on our left, and we hear something. The trapper who had been fiddling with his equipment by the truck has now caught up with us. His traps, he motions, are on the pond. And my friend wants to follow him, and at first I’m nervous about walking on a frozen pond, but my curiosity got the best of me, and I’m stepping and sliding forward and avoiding weak spots.

We came past something that could have been beaver construction to his first “set.” He showed us the sticks and wires. But the trap was in the water. He pulled out a hatchet to chop through the ice. Now, I’ve never seen a beaver trap before, so I didn’t know what to expect. Those of you who know, it was a Conibear 330. As he chopped through the ice he talked. He was local. He learned to trap from his father who used to trap when he didn’t have work. He plucked out ice chunks, and tried to free the trap, but could not, not yet. This trap (as he continued to chop) had been his father’s – the trap was maybe 70 years old. You pass down your traps, he tells the two of us who have never trapped, with care, like you pass down your guns, he tells us, who own zero guns between the two of us.

And we were not about to see a beaver – he could see the trap had not been tripped. Did it look like jaws? That was my question. No, it’s not a snare. And a few minutes later he almost yanked it out – cleared more ice, and then showed us. It was like a big mouse trap without the base. We wished him luck.

Duke 330 Body Gripper - Animal Control Products

4. Omicron has peaked in NYC. And I’m still negative.

I knew this last Monday or Tuesday, it’s true. The shape of the curve looked like the one from South Africa’s omicron surge, so the timing was about right. And the surge was slowing right before the weekend, so the little drop after was probably more than weekend cases being reported on the wrong day. And I read about the virus load in waste water in Boston (fascinating, look here or at these charts.)

You can also see above the cases dropping (New York State, no City). But you can also see below, the number of people dying is as bad as last winter, which was pretty bad. Want to keep that in mind and be careful how we use the term “mild.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. mike madden permalink
    January 20, 2022 am31 11:21 am 11:21 am

    How is it that the press knows about remote learning however when I got to school this past Tuesday the word was what remote learning? You mean to tell me the press finds out about remote learning being inserted before the people who work in the trenches?

    The media and politics has gotten way to out of control people. This is becoming a media/political driven society and the media decides what is right, what is wrong, what is racist and what to wear. How does a society break free from this chain of relentless insanity driven by “the media”.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    February 1, 2022 pm28 10:58 pm 10:58 pm

    Love the beaver trap story. Good to walk in the woods. Omicron is awful, but I think its on the way out.

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