Now that Grover is over….

A few days in California’s Carson Pass are not renowned for inducing strain. This is where people go to stare at the wonders of igneous rock and the miracle of running water…while taking in a few trees and the odd marmot. The state park ranger at Grover Hot Springs will tell you that, yes, the browning trees are showing the effects of California’s persistent drought, but it could be worse. The Carson Pass actually had normal rainfall last year. Of course it wasn’t enough to make up for the four years before that. Besides, this is September, a time of year when the green Alpine meadows turn brown. Autumn rain? One can hope.

As for the strain, that’s a bit of a mystery. I found myself pleasantly soaking in the hot springs one day, enjoying the warmth and the mineral buoyancy. And let me add that with schools already back in session, families seem to have fled the mountains, leaving places like Grover surprisingly quiet. Quiet enough to let Jane support my body the healing mineral waters, extend my neck more than is possible in my day-to-day life, which of course, is anything but buoyant. But there I was, doing just that, remembering that left to its own devices the sky is blue.

Blue sky, why aren’t you brown?
Like any downtown

No, there is no town and the only down leads to earth. Can’t be bad, right? So explain why I contracted a massive neck and shoulder muscle spasm, a very painful and further crippling condition that had me moving my upper body even less than usual throughout most of our stay. The results of stress or a stress all its own? Doubtless a profound, albeit very boring, question. I haven’t gone there, having other neurotic fish to fry.

The latter has to do with my mounting anxieties over age and disability. I’ve got several trips coming up. One is to a men’s conference where, you guessed it, Jane will not be in attendance. The same can be said of Gloucestershire in late October, while Jane attends an annual clergy conference. Adding these two trips together, let me also point out that I am in one case clasped to the bosom of friends, and in the other, to the bosom of family. Still, I am already worried about not being able to get out of bed on my own. And somehow something awful will happen. For example, there I could be in bed while Gloucestershire has its first earthquake in 1500 years. Or in the middle of the night, all the guys at the men’s conference could decide to go into some real estate Ponzi scheme and head for Florida. And there I’d be, howling at the night. Thing is, I’ll be howling anyway, such is the general effect of fear. The only thing we have to fear being itself. Except for that other thing, which is Donald Trump.

With the political polls rising and falling like the Pacific tides, the Trump specter seems credible some days, risible others. I put my stock in this homeless guy at the Powell Street subway station. He is currently displaying a sign that reads ‘Give me five dollars, or I’ll vote for Trump.’ I am afraid to look inside his paper bag.

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