Monday, November 7, 2016

Bonfire of the Vanities

I have been looking at pictures from Grand Turk this week. My computer is acting funny, so I have been saving files down to an external hard drive. In every photo we are eating on a screened-in porch with a beautiful backdrop. In the Turks and Caicos, evening lasted a long time. The sun was often up until 9pm or so, and every day was nearly perfect. You just had to be on a screened-in porch. The mosquitoes were the worst on Grand Turk. You never see them in the pictures, but I was at several parties that were ruined by mosquitoes.

In the deserts of Southern California, it is often too hot to do anything until nightfall. So our gatherings there were after dark when the heat of the day cooled down. My favorite thing about Imperial County was swimming at midnight when the temperature of the water was 100 degrees and the temperature of the air was 100 degrees.

In the Aleutian Islands, bonfires are the focal point of gatherings. There are shipping pallets everywhere, Thousands of them. Everything on and off the island goes on pallets. And Dutch Harbor is a major stop for international trans-Pacific cargo boats - when they need something. There are lots of pallets.

So a pallet bonfire is very typical. There are places all over the island where you can see the evidence of someone's party. If you are walking on the beach, you will eventually come across evidence of a bonfire.

On Saturday, I was invited to the "christening" of someone's new metal fire pit. They had made a large ring of metal pilings, metal used to build retaining walls for shipping channels. The party was at the house of a significant regional artist who specializes in woodblock printing. The artist had drawn the outlines of a starfish, and a local welder had cut the details into the 1/2 inch metal. He said that each plate took 12 hours to cut with a blow torch. I am pretty sure all this work was done by bartering art.  I have to admit, the fire pit was cool. It was 30 degrees on Saturday and I walked to work in the snow. But humans find ways to adapt. Though it was sleeting and the conditions sound unreasonable, the party was very enjoyable, and with the fire blazing it felt quite normal. And did I mention, there are no mosquitoes here.        

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