As I drive the last stretch feeling like motion itself, like my direction could change and I wouldn’t notice, the elevation at 5000ft and my ears feel like they are forcing out bubbles of gum. The landscape changes into mountain, sharp, sheer slab of granite and I get the unobtainable urge to reach out and give it a good slap, to feel its temperature and its surface tension. It is at these moments when the senses seem to be at their highest, when the sensation is freed from existential doubt by the pure pleasure of the feeling of touching something but actually not. The car daubs and coughs up the hills, providing an uncertain soundtrack like the first act in Siegfried, as we discover not what fear is but that our objects are visiting a land which has lost its meaning somehow. FULL TO THE BRIM. People flock, as they have done for plunder and wonder up the coast and inland California for centuries, since Columbus, maybe. Yosemite feels otherworldly, is protected but seems somehow to have broken tether with its other reality as a hostile and chaotic environment of death, brutality and natural power. The people are everywhere, the paths are easy, the squirrels fat and docile from human clack, the dear look and act like they are on ecstasy, they come so close, inches of their own accord. The bears are reported to be kept wild with bear boxes, the old, feeding the bears on the rubbish tip but keep your distance mind, from the 50’s is replaced with an eerily worrying smiley facade for a bear problem that means they approach humans, regularly, get hit by cars regularly, will not stop approaching camps to loot bins and sometimes cars. The presentation is that the bear problem is being managed, but it is not a bear problem it is a human problem that will not cease to cause havoc to the natural environment until the valley is closed. The bears have never taken a single human life in the valley quote rings with suspicion in your ears after the 10th or so time, and you begin to realise the rhetoric is all wrong, we are told punishment for leaving food in tents or cars or not sticking to bear rules is eviction or a fine, rather than you may get eaten. Then there are the colossus camps and cabins and posh hotels, the camps and cabins full of bugs and diseases easily spread, colds, coughs, diarrhoea all common, but its ok, get the guitar. The hotels full of bugs and diseases of a different kind.
The objects dig in though, they don’t care, they don’t even know, and anyway its irrelevant, one is from 400 ad and the other from the 11th or maybe 12th century. They go to Mirror lake first thing, bath in the delicious scenery, not worrying about hantavirus at all. They are oblivious and so they should be, the majesty of the rock surface takes over and these tired objects flogged by history, take their break, well earned, not thinking. They hire a raft for the following day, to take on the lazy river.