Squirrel, traffic, people, rocks, leaving
It turns out that the squirrel goes back to two previous generations of renters here. I asked the people who lived here before me if they knew of him, and they said oh yeah, they had a picture of him eating the wicker chair that's on the deck, and the renter before them also fed him.
I came close to making a big driving mistake this morning. The sun was shining and I thought I'd take a break and drive the trash up to the dump. I threw the bags in the car and started driving, came up to my yield sign, and was surprised to see the town wasn't overrun by the tourists. Then turning to my left I saw the road was blocked off to people coming in town. No problem, I thought, they'll let me get back in. And then I saw the line of cars waiting to get into town. I did one of my patented u-turns and high-tailed it back here.
I just came back from the festival and the band that was supposed to be playing already was late because of the same problem -- they got stuck in the line of traffic, which is at least a mile long. I don't know why they have a different traffic strategy today.
Watching and listening as people walk through the town is interesting. Many of the older people are in a lot of pain, which makes me so glad I've done this when I'm relatively young. Today I saw people with Cubs and Bears shirts on (I grew up in and around Chicago), a man with a Texas A&M hat (I went to school there), and heard other people talking about Alabama (I lived there too).
Some of the couples get along just fine, while others bitch and bitch at each other. The other funny thing is the women telling the men what to do, and the men refusing to ask for directions.
Not many people ask me for directions, but I don't think I look like I live here. My hair is now cut very short, and I think I was the second-best dressed guy at the festival yesterday, behind some poor guy that had to wear a suit. I wasn't that dressed up, but a black turtleneck and new jeans will make you #2 here.
As a final festival note, the sun here makes a huge difference in temperature. With the sun out yesterday it was hot, and when it hid behind the clouds it was cold, no in-between.
One of the simple pleasures here is walking by the river. I like to do that, and skip rocks across the water. Yesterday I was amazed to skip a large, flat rock half-way across the Susitna river. It was borderline anti-gravity as the rock kept going and going. I was amazed at how far it could go by not losing much energy as it skimmed perfectly across the water's surface. Can I do the whole width of the river one day?
To stay or go
Last night was the first time any thoughts of moving "back" crept into my mind. I'm told that winters here can be "magical", so I'm going to try to stick it out. But there's also an itching inside that's telling me it's time to go back, but "back where?" is the next question.