Thursday, December 11, 2008

Geokarma or Coincidence? A Few Stories for the Day



I stepped out onto the mesa, embarking on a search for ancient Anasazi cliff dwellings in the Grand Gulch wilderness. It was a beautiful Utah summer morning, folks were excited, it was a great trip, and life was good. I took another step and paused...I had heard something right under my feet...


45 miles away, the deer nibbled at the Mountain Mahogany, considering his possibilities. They seemed dim. This buck was depressed. Did he fail to win a doe? Had his antlers not developed right? Whatever, this deer had decided to end his life. But how?


Craig (see this story about Craig, which takes place approximately two weeks in the future) set forth along with the rest of the students on the same mesa I was exploring. The class had been instructed on safety in the desert: take lots of water, stay in a group, stay in a defined area (the mesa top)...


Meanwhile in the present day, my good friend SciGuy315 was taking a final examination for his Mississippi-based distance-learning class, working towards a master's degree. Twenty questions to go, and he pushed mouse pad to bring up the next problem. Something seemed familiar about that picture...


What is geokarma? Who knows, I just made the word up. But Craig was unique in the annals of our department history. As I said before, karma hung around his neck like a noose. Some karma is good, and some is not so good.


The sound I heard under my feet was that buzzing sound that field workers don't usually like to hear: a rattlesnake. Only it seemed like it was in stereo. I looked down and saw not one, and not two, but three rattlers between my legs. I should have known to cancel the day and just go home, as I jumped through the air in some random and probably poorly chosen direction. No bites, but a very high heart rate for awhile....


The deer decided that 12:43 PM was to be the selected time, some four hours away. The highway between Blanding and Monticello was to be the place....


Craig walked into the wilds, lacking water, companions, and common sense. He wandered off the mesa, climbing down a 4oo foot cliff, and climbing onto the adjacent mesa. He hadn't heard anyone for several hours and finally realized he was lost, and long overdue at the vans. He tripped and fell, wrenching his ankle badly. Back in the parking area, concern was growing and search parties were organized. Finally, two hours later, as we prepared to contact the local Search and Rescue, Craig stumbled out of the pinyon forest, having heard the honking of horns. We were now two hours behind schedule. We set out on the highway, headed to Blanding and Mesa Verde. In forty-five minutes it would be 12:43.


We should have passed the embankment along the highway two hours previously, but Craig...Craig had been lost. And so we were selected to introduce the deer to the hereafter. And the front of our van would never again be the same. That's bad karma.


Meanwhile, yesterday SciGuy315 looked a bit harder at that test question photo. This is good karma, and involved me. You can read his delightful story about the photo right here.


Geokarma or coincidence? You decide...

2 comments:

Silver Fox said...

Interesting stories! And great how you wove them together.

MJC Rocks said...

I think I was influenced by an Edward Abbey novel whose name I forget, but was made into the movie "Lonely are the Brave". A recurring scene had a tired looking truck driver, and you had no idea why he was in the movie, scene after scene. It turned out he was going to hit the main character (Kirk Douglas) in the final scene of the movie. Thanks for the comment!