MOTELS, MOOSE AND MOON SHADOWS

A MALE MOOSE

MOOSE

Last Friday I embarked on a real adventure—viewing the total eclipse–with part of my family: Bill, my daughter Sara and the fabulous Kamiko, our granddaughter. Here are a few impressions.

THE SURPRISES OF ELKO
We spent the first night in Elko, Nevada, a city that is roughly halfway between Oakland, California and Jackson Hole, Wyoming (from where we hope to get a good view of from the “Path of Totality”). Elko may not be known as a destination spot but we enjoyed it. We stayed at the Best Western. For Kamiko, this motel with its free, fresh cookies in the lobby and indoor swimming pool, this was the height of luxury. Forget the Taj or the Four Seasons! It’s the Elko Best Western or nothing! [In our photographic travels we have stayed at several levels of accommodation, from the Yak and Yeti in Katmandu (very nice) to the Everest Base Camp lodgings in Tibet (no heat, no plumbing, a thermos of hot water and two metal bowls—you decide what to use them for).]

We arrived at dinner time, resigned to some dreadful pizza joint on Business 80. However, the hotel provided a list of local restaurants and that’s where we really lucked out. The Fresh Fare Bistro and Pub was only six minutes away and it lived up to its name. The food was fresh and interesting. The beers and ales were good, according to Bill. The house white wine was delicious, according to me. So if you’re ever anywhere near Elko, Nevada, stop and stay a while. We have already made reservations for our journey back home.

MOOSE IN THE WILD AND AT HOME
I have always wanted to see a moose in the wild. I’ve seen a couple standing beside New Hampshire freeways, contemplating destruction of either themselves or a passing car, but I’ve yet to see one moosing around. All that changed today. We spent an hour admiring a moose feeding in a pond (Moose Pond, actually). It’s a messy process involving lots of clumps of aquatic weeds, dripping water and giant moose head-shaking. Then when we got back to our friends’ condo, we noticed a group of people standing around a clump of trees—some with cameras, others with glasses of wine—watching two young male mooses stripping the leaves off the compound’s bushes. The larger of the two stared us down a couple of times and then resumed eating. Impossible to count him as a wild moose.

THE MOON ‘S SHADOW
The only thing I have ever known about a moon shadow is from Cat Stevens’ song. It has a lovely tune but the lyrics are not informative. Now, with all the news about the eclipse everywhere, I have discovered an odd and moving essay by Annie Dillard with a thrilling description of the moon’s shadow. You can read it at the Atlantic Monthly’s site here. It’s unforgettable.

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About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.

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