Lassen National Forest shows up on Google maps as a swath of green protected land, surrounded by tiny archipelagos of green pixelated dots, some as small as a few acres. Sierra Pacific Lumber Co. owns most of the land surrounding the cabin and the locals hate them for their clear-cut methods, which leave huge bald patches on the mountains that were once dense forest. In the time since I went up last month, another stand of giants has been taken out and there are markers for more to come. Someday the national forest will be a tiny outcropping of beautiful old growth trees surrounded on all sides by empty land. It’s hard even to imagine how wild it all once was.
The rodeo made me cry. It was like a tick, coming on so suddenly and completely, unintentional and embarrassing, upon sight of the first calf roping. (In case you’re unfamiliar, calf roping is when a cowboy rides in on his horse, lassoes a calf, jumps from his horse and wrestles the calf until he has three legs tied together. All done in the span of about seven seconds. Pretty impressive, actually). The instantaneous tears took me back to Mexico, when the same thing happened the moment I saw blood at a bullfight. What was I expecting?
Luckily, other parts of the rodeo, especially the barrel racing, with its athleticism and grace, were more entertaining and less cruel. All in all, though, I prefer the monster trucks and especially the demo derby.