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Neighbors

NEIGHBORS

-----When you choose a floating home, you can usually be selective about your neighbors. If they are too noisy, messy, or bothersome, you pull anchor and find another 'homesite.' On Lake Powell, we had unexpectedly wonderful folks next door.

----LAKE POWELL NEIGHBORS

------We have been cruising on Lake Powell for more than three weeks. Every night, we swing on anchor in isolated coves in hidden canyons. We are in such a cove now, swinging on the hook, wavelets 'lip-lapping' melodically on our hull, drinking a sundowner in Mountain Sheep Canyon.

Sunset from Mountain Sheep Anchorage

-----We rarely have a human neighbor. It is April and the crowds had not yet descended to play in this delightful National Recreation Area. There were a few hardy ones on the lake, now. There are those who enjoy houseboating before the summer heat and, of course, the fishermen. Fishing is mostly a daytime sport on springtime Lake Powell. Since fishermen fancy evenings in the pubs of Page or Wahweap marina, at home, or in their RV for the night, we seldom see them at night. Houseboaters are a different breed - they prefer to anchor overnight against big, open, sandy beaches along the shores of the former river.

----- Our lonely anchorages are mostly shared with a pair or two of Ravens. These feathered Mensas scavenge the beaches for anything dropped overboard that seems either edible or just plain interesting. They love to play with things - and with each other. We have watched them tumble and chase in gusty winds, just for the fun of it, while dropping and catching a feather. They are good companions for us, since we enjoy the same behavior.

-----There are, however, neighbors on Lake Powell with whom we also share a close affinity. What a surprise to find our most-favorite botanical friend residing here in such abundance on the shores. Our plant is no ordinary hunk of green scudge. In fact, it is remarkably extraordinary.

-----It is an 'exotic' plant - reportedly from Mongolia, no less. A non-descript, rounded, green orb in living state, it becomes a spherical brown orb when dead and dry. The sphere is composed of interlaced stickers and twigs. Nestled in the interior are seed cases. It is a remarkable adaptation for spreading progeny far and wide.

-----Gene Autry and The Sons of the Pioneers helped spread its fame through romantic song -

"See them tumbling down,

-Bending their heads to the ground,

Nowhere on Earth to be found …

Drifting along with the Tumbling Tumbleweeds."

-----El and I have long admired Tumbleweeds. We have felt a kinship to them … always drifting on with the wind, homeless, free, rootless … We don't know in the morning where we will be in the evening, and that doesn't concern us in the least. In the words of another song, "We long to wander, we long to roam … The westward wind, is a wayward wind."

----- Walking the Appalachian Trail from end to end in a season, Georgia to Maine, earns one the appellation, "Through Hiker." Like the French Foreign Legion, every Through Hiker assumes a 'nom de trail' - a pseudonym. None of your fellow-hikers knows your real name, or cares. When El and I through-hiked the AT fifteen years ago, we were known as The Tumbleweeds.

Mrs. Tumbleweed

-----Garden flowers are nursed, hybridized, cared for, sheltered weaklings that couldn't survive without others nursing, feeding, and watering them. Our affinity is to weeds. Wild, free, and independent … survivors, if need be. It is in our nature to love Tumbleweeds.

-----We did not, however, expect to find our kinfolk here at Lake Powell - at least, not in such abundance. Spring is the windy season here - time for the Tumbleweeds to be moving on, and they are. They bounce and soar on the winds, leap off cliffs in gay abandon, bunch together in the lee of sand dunes, dance up the spiraling vortices of the wind, and generally have a great time. Here are some pictures of our friends:

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-----------------------------------Hide and Seek------------------------------"Last One In Is a Rotten Egg"

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In School, Minding the Teacher ------------------------------Having a Beach Party

 

-----However, the most remarkable activity of all, and one never reported elsewhere. Even El and I, astute observers of Tumbleweeds, had never observed except here at Lake Powell … tumbling … IN THE WATER!

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(04/03)

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