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Grasshopper Soup: at home away from it all

The wail of sirens split the night like the cry of legal aliens being racially profiled. A pack of coyotes answered back, blowing their cover, like a political group double talking with confused emotion to loud, arrogant, equally confused critics, debating like rival banshees.

A faint half moon over the dark, impenetrable forest rose like a slowly maturing leader, trying to shed a little light on the disruption below with failed diplomacy and the myth of ultra-competent government. The light does not belong to the moon, but the moon, as dumb as a rock, pretends to be the source.

The phone rang and to answer it I picked up the TV remote instead. I caught myself with a pleasant chuckle just before I pushed the and#8216;selectand#8217; button to say hello.



The forest was silent. The moon barely touched the tree tops and the bare edges of the lake and river. Everyone stopped in traffic for night time road construction between Squaw and Tahoe City struggled valiantly to see the serenity of their predicament. They should have been home by now, popping open a beer and giving everyone a big hug, watching football or reading a good book, far, far from the hustle and bustle, enjoying home. The day has been long and hectic. But, what do you expect? It was Monday.

The tourists are gone. For many of us, money is slowly starting to become as scarce as snowflakes. But the beauty we love and are surrounded by is more abundant than Lake Tahoe is deep, blue and wide. The steep, sweeping slopes and long, high ridges of the Sierra Nevada disappear into the night to crest within us, filling our hearts and souls with a sense of belonging reserved exclusively for Tahoe locals.



Which reminds me, what is a local? The question was posed to me by a Grasshopper Soup fan while we were having a beer at the Bridgetender in Tahoe City. He wanted me to revive the topic so we could have some more fun with it; to celebrate having the Tahoe Basin all to ourselves again, more or less.

You may remember a column from June 2006, in which I made up a list of requirements for Beginner, Intermediate and Expert Local status. To be a Beginner Local you had to own a $400 vehicle, a hackey sack, a kaleidoscope and a coffee grinder. An old T-shirt and a heavy rock qualify as a coffee grinder.

An Advanced Local had to own a piece of the Berlin Wall and a fully computerized model train set, proving that I take the issue of what constitutes a local very seriously.

E-mail your ideas to grasshoppersoup@hotmail.com and Iand#8217;ll run them in my column with your name sometime between now and when we all have free health care. Health care costs at my brotherand#8217;s law firm went up 38 percent, so it shouldnand#8217;t be too long.

Last month I woke up in time to see Mars and Moon in close proximity. Craig Steiger, a poet friend from Nevada City, sent me an e-mail informing me of the time and date of the once in a lifetime, cosmic event that will not be seen again by humans for more than 200 years. Craig said it would look like we had two moons. Craig is a brilliant poet, as his highly imaginative two moon description suggests, but, when I looked up at the two orbs, they did not look like two moons. What it did look like was the Moon and Mars in close proximity, like several hundred million miles apart, or whatever it was. Very close in cosmic terms, like the Koran burning preacher from Florida and the ground zero mosque Imam. It was stunning, but I was a little disappointed that it didnand#8217;t really look like two moons. It was a good sales pitch by Craig nonetheless. He should run for political office.

Enjoy your mountain world now that road construction season is back, but watch out for Banshees and coyotes. They are locals too.

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 27 years.


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