Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back Again... (and Guests)

Only this time I have never left-- just been ridiculously busy. To reassure-- my health is the best it has been in a year, though my vigorous and always expanding exercise routine takes up a surprising amount of time, and neglecting it brings on a slide if I do it very long.

Add guests to the mix and one runs out of hours in the day (and sleep is also important for controlling PD).

I think the Russophile "motif" and the Asiaphile one (is that a word?) has reached critical mass in my life, work, and the environs of Casa Q. About two weeks ago we knew that two of the people we term "The Russians", Australian- born, Ukrainian- derived Denverite Peter Reshetniak and his associate, merliner Anne Price, were on the way. Russians? Both, who also run the Raptor Education Foundation , are Russian speakers who brought our friend Vadim Gorbatov to the US, including Casa Querencia and the Golden Spur, a few years ago.

We also knew that Lauren, subject of innumerable posts here and now the official first female Berkutchi, was coming to tell us of her Fulbright year in Bayan Olgii Mongolia, and brainstorm on travel writing before she was off to a remote cottage in Scotland to fly a slightly smaller (big male) eagle and work on her book.

What we didn't anticipate were an email from another young American off on a Fulbright to study eagle-ry in post- Soviet Asia, this time in Kyrgizstan! Dennis was in Santa Fe and was leaving California for Bishkek, Kyrgizstan, about as far from our beloved Almaty as, well, Santa Fe is from here. He was leaving in a week and had been inspired in part by Eagle Dreams; could he come by and pick my brain? He did, and I attempted to fill it with info and contacts for about three hours. Dennis is not a falconer (yet) but has Russian and some Turkic and has read at least one anthropological Russian work on birds of prey in Inner Asian culture that I want but that is beyond my feeble Russian. (He was a high school exchange student in Almaty--!-- has kept up with his "family" there, and went to Olgii to see eagles off season). My network has responded and we hope for dispatches from Bishkek.

And just to bring the whole situation to the edge of absurdity, we walked into the Spur after one group left and a local rancher in his forties came up to introduce his new girlfriend who he said had a special reason to meet us. Her first words were "I speak fluent Russian and I'd love to go to Mongolia." She was not exaggerating-- had worked in Moscow for two years-- and also turned out to be a mathematician and a pilot. "Bodio's law" is "everybody knows everybody", meaning closer than six degrees-- you just have to dig. Its corollary is "All roads lead to Magdalena/ The Golden Spur Bar". (That one is so true nothing shocks us-- in addition to "Names" I have talked to someone there in from Beijing less than 48 hours after the Tien An Min Square massacre, who lost a friend there; a guy who had just worked in a village targeted by the Sendero Luminoso; and less ominously, a rich Ugandan who kept a Mercedes up on blocks in his garage, was obsessed with goats ("Do you have GOATS in America?") and who lost a bet to the Beijing guy that I wouldn't know Kampala). That all said, things were as they put it in cowboy land "real Russian" here this week.

I have planned a lot of blogging with links but at the moment links will not cut and paste. (I typed the ones above, and don't know if they will work yet). I am now going to try to put in photos.If THAT doesn't work I will post anyway and cry for help. If it does, I have more photo stuff for another (single) post, courtesy of Lauren. Wish me luck, and see you soon I hope.

Aaahh, photos work anyway. (All will "embiggen" if clicked on). Below, game dinner (rare grilled Canada goose breast slices, with a pomegranate marinade, and pheasants, brought by the "Russians", at cellist neighbor Joel Becktell's. Joel will be the subject of a post himself soon when I get the frackin' links working. From left: me, Anne, Peter, Libby, Joel.

The inhabitants of the living room: Ataika, Irbis in his crate, the redhead (who is now doing high jumps).

And, finally, a pic of Lauren HERE with us, rather on horseback on snow, eagle on glove; at rest for a fleeting moment:


Matt Mullenix said...

What a great, rich update. Thanks, Steve! Very glad the photos are working for you.

Andrea said...
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