Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Friday, August 24, 2012


            What do I write about when my mind is a blank?  Maybe just a quick review of the past week.  Maybe I’ll just do my “unhinged” thing and ramble about nothing.

Friedrich Nietzsche said that “if you stare into the abyss long enough, the abyss stares back at you.”  To put it into context, his preceding statement was, “Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster.”  Maybe it’s a warning to not become that very thing we struggle against.   I think I’ve been staring into the political abyss too much lately.  Gayle hides in the back bedroom when I start yelling at the TV, so maybe it’s time for some nonsense.

As you know, Gayle and I live in a hollow log here in the forest.  I remember staring into a crevasse when walking my dog and seeing two eyes staring back at me.  I wasn’t sure if it was a forest gnome or the abyss itself staring back at me.  Turns out it was a ground squirrel.  That’s about as philosophical as I’m going to get today.
            Actually Greenhorn Ranch is certainly far from the “Deliverance” archetype, but life is simple and basic here.  For example, it’s always special to roast a road-killed possum over the fire, but last Monday Gayle and I left our hideaway and celebrated our 20th anniversary. 

We went to our favorite restaurant, which happens to be hidden deep in the forest at the end of a long dirt road.  Some of you have been there with us.  It’s called Firewoods at the Gray Eagle Lodge. It’s a large log building that sits on the edge of a river with small cabins running up to a picturesque waterfall.  Great ambience and equally good food.

                                                                                           Our fish pond 
         Things have been quiet on the western front, with the exception of massive fires.  For several days the smoke was so thick we couldn’t see the tops of the pine trees that surround our home.  Fire is the primary concern in the mountains.  As of today the fires are still not under control.  Other than that, we’ve had a number of bear and mountain lion sightings on our road.  The bears are attracted to the ranch and the scraps left in garbage cans after the outdoor barbeques. The lions are a greater threat.

Since I take my dog up in the hills every day and let him run and explore, I’m concerned enough    about his safety that I sometimes carry one of those horrible, sinful, tools that makes a loud “bang” and puts holes in things. 

I remember the admonition by one of our great government intellects, former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, who proposed the development of “safer bullets.”  Since I never understood her meaning, I use the old fashioned ones.   

There are other things I’m aware of when hiking with my buddy, Dakota.  There is a horse trail behind our property that is used to run the horses from the guest ranch, just a city block from us, into the woods where they are kept during the summer.  The wranglers drive the horses down that trail at a full gallop, but fortunately you can hear them coming.
                                   The stampede

This past week my dog and I were walking the trail when I heard a commotion at the ranch and suspected that the stampede may be coming in our direction. I picked up the pace and found a place to get off the trail with my dog. I could hear the herd coming full bore.  Less than five seconds after my dog and I ducked under a fence, fifty or more horses raced a few feet past us at an all-out run.  That was close, but I love it.  

If you’re my age you will remember the William Tell Overture followed by the “Thundering hoof beats of the great horse Silver.”  If you don’t remember the Lone Ranger you may not relate to the thrill and power of those of the equine persuasion. 

            I’m rambling in my attempt to avoid interjecting political punches as we approach a turning point in the American way of life.  All that aside, I think Gayle and I are fortunate to be able to walk to the guest ranch, watch the city slickers learn how to ride a horse, stop at the ranch house for a red beer, and basically get back home in time to listen to the Lone Ranger, the Cisco Kid, and The Shadow on the radio.   


  1. North of 49
    Wow, 20 yrs--Congratulations. Most of our friends have to compile 3 or 4 marriages to reach this benchmark. My wife and I stuck it out as she knew no one else would have me. Ten years my junior and working with seniors gives Inge compassion required to handle her aging spouse.
    We enjoy all the blogs my friend--hold on to that sense of humor. Laughter is great medicine.

    1. I remember your marriage well, since I was in it. I do give Inge credit. She knows how to handle you and keep you out of trouble. How long is my 20 years in Canadian years??

  2. Ralph having been up at your 'log' I can so visualize your walks and enjoyment therein. I also do indeed remember the Lone Ranger and the Green Lantern on the radio on Saturday night I think. I'm sure that radio, together with extensive reading at and from the Saratoga Public Library developed my vivid imagination that still serves me well. I'm seldom without a way to pass time by creating my own story in my mind. What a great life that has given me both in reality and in my imagination. Thanks for the reminders.

    1. Malcolm -

      Those old radio shows and, of course, the books we read required us to conjure up scenes in our imaginations. It's funny how they stay with us even at our age. I too appreciate that gift from our early years.