Ranger Kathryn's Arches

January 17, 2012

Spiderphone

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 9:04 pm
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[WARNING TO ARACHNOPHOBIC FRIENDS: SKIP THIS POST.]

You know, if you make a New Year’s resolution that states “Go into the wilderness at every opportunity,” and you find instead that wilderness is coming to you, doesn’t that count? At least a little?

Diameter with legs: about size of a quarter

After I reached for the phone and found an arachnid (species unknown) guarding its buttons, I went outside to our porch benches and looked underneath them. Black Widows hang around buildings and structures, and their webs are blowing in the breeze beneath the seats. Oh, the things it’s better NOT to tell visitors…

Nobody has ever been bitten, by the way. It’s not a safety hazard. I see it as a teachable moment — like the telephone spider who sidled away after my camera lens got too close. Learning to co-exist peacefully with other species that share your space is a useful and compassionate skill.

March 15, 2010

How many of you are (k)not experts?

The length of purple rope lay in my hands expectantly. “Tie me,” it seemed to taunt. I didn’t know where to start.

In my life, I’ve learned how to tie shoes, scarves, and sutures. That is three (3) kinds of knots. Any time I’ve been camping, lashing something onto a car top, or securing something for a move, I either let someone else do it or I end up with the ugliest jumble of untrustworthy ropes and loose ends that you’ve ever seen. Knots have been my nemesis.

It is now time for me to look at them differently.

Ed models the first one, a water knot called a Ring Bend. “This one secures two ropes to each other.” With a few flips of his hands he has a handsome figure of rope that I am to copy, and I enjoy success with this very easy knot. After a number of repetitions, I think I have it, and we move on to something else that should be vaguely familiar — a Figure Eight Follow Through, one I’ve used in the past for rock-climbing. That one boosts my confidence as well, which I think is Ed’s strategy.

Knots can be fun???

We work through the list. Watching someone who’s tied them thousands of times is one thing; I, however, have no muscle memory, nor any concept of what each one is used for. It’s pure mechanics for me: grab bight, twist twice, insert short end through loop, etc, etc, etc.  After each one I review the ones I learned earlier, and am pleased to discover that I have a modicum of retention.

That’s good. My life, and the lives of others, will depend on having strong and correct knots.

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[Permission granted by Ed to use opening line of his Knots Class as this post’s title.]

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