We went to China Ranch today. Itʼs one of those places that makes me feel calm. If I had no debts, no obligations, and no cares in the world, Iʼd try my hand at being one of the China Ranch farm workers, picking dates in the desert, living in a rusty trailer, and generally staying off of civilizationʼs radar.
Since I do have debt, obligations, and cares in the world, I relish seeing the creatures of the wilderness. The score this trip:
Two kinds of lizards, including a cool one with a blue beard
The crayfish donʼt belong here. Like the bullfrogs that pollute the few water sources in the desert, they were planted by settlers who though they might be useful for food. Unfortunately, theyʼre the reason the entire Pahrump pupfish population has to live in a concrete fish prison out in Corn Creek.
Unlike the Amargosa dace and Devilʼs Hole fish, they didnʼt evolve in a hot spring, so in the winter they just kind of get sluggish and stop moving. Itʼs like aquatic hibernation. And since they canʼt flee, they are easy snacks for the big crayfish that were brought in from Louisiana a hundred years ago.
Iʼve decided that grief is an ocean: it comes in waves. The waves get bigger and the waves get smaller and sometimes the sea is calm. The tide still comes in occasionally from my fatherʼs death, and that was almost 25 years go. I expect this will happen with my mother, as well.