Bob Spiwak Monkey MazamaBy Bob Spiwak

It has been a very quiet week in Mazama. Many people have gone elsewhere, and the snow is going fast with nighttime temperatures being in the 40s. The ice is off the pond, the wood ducks and mallards are back to snarfing down cracked corn, and the larger mallards are again bullying the smaller (and more nicely clothed) woodies.

This morning we had 14 crows in a cottonwood overlooking the feeding area. I grabbed the camera thinking that if I made a double exposure, I could have the legendary “Four and Twenty Blackbirds,” even if not baked in a pie, as the poem goes. I pointed the camera and with a clatter of chatter they flew off before I could record an image.

Up at Harts Pass the snow/water equivalent is now at 117 percent of average for this date, which is 47.9. To the best of my knowledge this means that of the 120 inches of snow on the ground, approximately one-fourth of it, if melted down, would become water.

This could be a good exercise for your children in Science 101. Measure the snow depth in a jar of water, then put it in the sun. Measure the water level when all the snow is gone and that is the ratio. This is one parameter of predicting flood threats.

The numbers of skiers up here is diminishing rapidly. At the Mazama Store about 10 days ago, 27 lunches were prepared for people going heli-skiing. This week there were three. Fishing seems to be more on peoples’ minds up and down the river as it visibly begins to rise with the runoff.

It is such a slow time that I have dived into a book I consider the best non-fiction I have read. I stumbled across it in the library, almost literally as it contains 700-plus pages, a heavy tome ill-suited for bedtime reading. Written by Bill Bryson, its title is One Summer: America 1927.

My first thoughts were whether I really cared about that year, but thumbing through the book there were intriguing names: Charles Lindbergh, Al Capone, Sacco and Vanzetti, Bill Tilden – world’s best tennis player – and many others.

We are shocked at the attacks on schools by nutty gunmen these days. Modern times, too many guns. Well, in 1927 on May 19, the following headline appeared in the New York Times: “Maniac Blows Up School, Kills 42, Mostly Children: Had Protested High Taxes.” The guy’s name was Andrew Kehoe, and he was on the school board and had accomplished his act by planting cases of dynamite around the school and in the trunk of his car.

There is a back-story for all the principle names, almost a play-by-play of Lindbergh’s non-stop flight from New York to Paris.

The text itself is 663 pages, and research material takes it to 751. Best of all, I got it in large print.