Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Small Potatoes, Big Potatoes

Sometimes I'll be maybe sitting at the bus stop and it's early morning and some hikers are sitting there too on their way to Happy Isles, and the big hike up Half Dome. Having been there now a few times, if I learn this is their first time, I try to be helpful and share some of my experience.

When I do this I always feel a bit of a "big potato".

And then sometimes in the conversation I learn that the hikers have traveled the world and climbed mountains all over and I feel a small potato...

This happened on Lambert Dome, now that I think of it. One evening I made it to the top for the first time (easy way from Dog Lake trail) and had the view to myself I thought until I framed a photograph and saw a climber scrambling up from the road, which is a steep face, but many do it. We talked a bit, trying to identify different peaks. He was from back east, and I learned ran a mountaineering school.

Next day I came across him and his wife sitting at the store picnic tables having breakfast, and talked a bit more. I had a photo of him climbing up the dome and offered to send to him when I had it developed. He graciously gave me his mountaineering school card.

Well, what I'm saying is for a moment I felt a big potato atop the dome, but a bigger potato came along!!

This just happens all the time, not just with hiking, but with painting and writing and just everything!!

Sometimes I am in fact the big potato, and I try not to...what?...be condescending??

It's a serious thing in a larger sense...Americans are famous for thinking themselves big potatoes!!

Anyway, I come back from four days out and flip through the channels. It's always a kinda shock to come back from being out and turn the tv on. The Dirty Job guy sings a good national anthem. PBS had a doc on about buildings built like things...hot dogs, donuts, ketchup bottles, ducks. And then a show about some little Arab state planning to build a whole city from scratch out on the desert. I think Brasilia was made that way, and is now surrounded by shantys.

Clearly the Arab sheik is keen on being a big potato!!

I never did send the mountaineer the photo. I dont know how much mountaineering one must do to be a mountaineer, but I'd like that, to have that epithet.

Tree in the Door
July 24, 2007

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