After Fly’s run in with the NPWS gate on Grassy Mountain, we decided to wait on Nullo Mountain until the following Tuesday, when the vet was due to come out to the area. Although his scratches seemed to have healed well, there was still a bit of persistent swelling. A horse’s lower legs are not something to muck around with and I wanted to get the all clear from the vet before our four day ride up to Sandy Hollow.
We had a very relaxing stay at Above the Clouds, doing very un-trekkery kinds of things like watching sunsets and drinking wine, sleeping in, patting the horse just for the sake of patting the horse, learning how to make stringy-bark rope bracelets, and reading. Oh my gosh- what a luxury it is beng able to read things that are not directly connected to school or teaching. Although I havent seem to have found much time for art or music on the trail, I HAVE been planting my nose in more than a few books. Here are a couple of the books that have coloured my time on the trail…
‘Atlas Shrugged’, by Ayn Rand
I hadn’t heard of Ayn Rand until recently, when a very intelligent and inspiring colleague of mine (yes you, Alex!) mentioned her in the staff room one day and I decided to have a look at her books. I have been reading this one on the kindle for months and months and never seem to get any further through it. I finally saw the paper version in a bookshop the other day and it is about the size of a phone book, so that explains that.
Atlas Shrugged is not like anything I’ve ever read before. It is kind of a celebration of capitalism and free enterprise- a dystopian novel in which basically all the creative minds of the world go on strike. Apparently, Rand’s goal in writing it was to show how desperately the world needs prime movers and how viciously it treats them. As one of the characters states, ‘Evil is impotent and has no power but that which we let it extort from us.’ Like Orwell’s 1984, ‘Atlas Shrugged’ describes the very world we have begun to live in, where mediocrity is expected and indeed celebrated, and in which creators or producers are outnumbered by the ‘looters’. Funnily enough, I have really enjoyed it and couldn’t agree with Rand’s theories of Objectism more.
‘Neither Here not There: Travels in Europe’, by Bill Bryson
Bryson’s light, humorous travel writing balanced out the heaviness of ‘Atlas Shrugged’, although I have to admit that this book seemed a lot whingier and snarkier than his other stuff. There are some really hilarious analogies though, and he recounts some spookily similar experiences to what we had in Spain last year, involving dead hedgehogs, bakeries and pedestrian crossings. But I found myself getting more and more annoyed at Bryson’s somewhat rude and misogynistic descriptions of women (ie ‘Around the station were some of the most astoundingly unattractive prostitutes I had ever seen – 50 year old women in mini skirts and fishnet stockings with crooked lipstick and tits that grazed their knees…’). Is Bryson always like this or am I just getting more intolerant with age?
Anyway, enough lounging about- Fly has been given the vet’s tick of approval and the trail ( or the trial as I’ve started to call it) is calling… Here we come, Sandy Hollow!