by wjw on September 6, 2006

I am in the midst of a rural idyll.

A couple weeks ago Sage Walker invited me up to the Bear Paw Ranch near Regina, to loaf about in beautiful scenery, watch the baby elk frolic in the pasture, and to eat her splendid cookery, which included a breakfast of eggs coddled in brie.* I was allowed to stay up at the Main House, which has an expansive front porch just perfect for sitting at sunset and drinking margaritas. (Though since I was working late at night, I left the margaritas off the menu.) I took long walks through the forest, where amid many elk tracks I found the print of a little baby bear and another print of one really large bear. I didn’t see either bear, but there was some thrashing in an arroyo that I stayed away from. It could have been an elk or a dog, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

This last holiday weekend Kathy and I went up to Taos Ski Valley with our friend Patricia Rogers. We rented the ground floor of the Edelweiss Chalet and went on long hikes through the Carson Forest and did some shopping and worked a jigsaw puzzle and saw some weird videos and ate extremely well. The toilet blew up but we didn’t let it spoil our day. I finished by coddling some eggs in brie.

Returning to the Rio Grande Valley was like a descent into pollen hell. I have never in my life been so allergic to, well, air. Six weeks of rains and the desert is blooming with things that haven’t bloomed here in decades.

Spending any amount of time outside renders me helpless. I have taken to doing yard work wearing safety goggles and a face mask. I can’t open the windows at night. No relief in sight.

I look back on the coddled eggs, and sigh.

*Coddled eggs in brie. Cut some onion and celery in a fine dice. Sautee in butter in a skillet. Add cream. Cut the brie into strips, removing rind. Use the brie to divide the skillet into sections, one for each diner. Drop a pair of eggs into each section of the skillet. Bake in a 350-degree oven till eggs have reached the desired amount of doneness.

As you listen to the crackle of plaque forming in your arteries, congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Foxessa September 7, 2006 at 10:34 pm

Sympathies, Walter, on the air being toxic to your respiratory system.

It’s been pretty bad around here too; Vaquero’s gone on sneezing jags that last for a half to a whole hour. Even I’ve been sneezing.

So much pollen this year — cool and wet, yanno.

Think this winter is going to be brutal with snow and cold.

Love, C.

S.M. Stirling September 9, 2006 at 5:50 am

Have you considered nasal irrigation? I know it sounds gruesome — it _is_ gruesome — but I’ve been doing it recently, and breathing better than I had in 30 years.

dubjay September 11, 2006 at 2:16 am

Nasal irrigation?

I think I will have to get more desperate.

I spent the last four nights being coddled again. Our friend Louy invited us to her family cabin in the Sacramento Mountains near Ruidiso, NM.

The cabin is in a nearly unspoiled mountain valley. From the spacious, screened-in front porch, we watched herds of mule deer peacefully cropping fruit fallen from the apple trees. I also spotted a bear— not quite full-grown, I think, but not a cub either. The bear fled as soon as it realized that it had been spotted. Odd to think it was more shy than the deer.

Since I’ve been back I haven’t had an allergy attack. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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