Hello again and welcome back. Last time I checked in the all-star break was looming and I was eagerly awaiting a trip to Carlsbad Caverns National Park for some back country camping and cave tours with my fiancé. Well, the break has come and gone and so has my trip to Carlsbad. Unfortunately for my fiancé and me, American Airlines continues struggling with the mechanics of running an airline so instead of my fiancé getting into Midland at 1 pm, driving to Carlsbad and hiking out to a campsite in the park, my fiancé had her connecting flight cancelled, rode in with a couple strangers from Dallas, got in much later than scheduled and we ended up camping the night at some roadside RV park and campground. Not exactly what we’d hoped for, but at least we got there and the cave tours were well worth the hassle. For those of you who haven’t seen it, the natural entrance to Carlsbad Caverns is quite a sight to see in its own right, and the mile long hike down into the cave is well worth the hour or so it takes. Much better than the elevator ride down. Once below ground we took in the cave’s signature room, The Big Room, as well as guided tours of King’s Palace and, my personal favorite, the Lower Cave. Everything in the caves is interesting and very enjoyable, but the Lower Cave tour was a little bit more strenuous, starting in a “secret location,” descending through a crevice by ladder, no floodlights like most of the rest of the cave, and some actual crawling. Overall it was a great experience and depending on the status of my minor back injury and the weather I am strongly considering heading back to Carlsbad in August to tour Slaughter Canyon Cave, one of the many wild, backcountry caves in the park. Speaking of my back, it has been a bit sore for the past few days after my last appearance but should get a test off the mound today, be it in the game or the bullpen and I’m fairly optimistic that it will be a non-issue. Other than that I have just been enjoying the time with my fiancé and dodging raindrops at the field. On a final note, regarding the questions about the off-field situation that has been reported involving the Akron Aeros, I don’t know or haven’t heard anything that hasn’t been reported publicly. Given that and the nature of the situation, I feel it would be inappropriate for me to comment or speculate on it so this will be the last time I mention it. I hope everybody had a good 4th of July and as always I will leave you with a poem.
by Albert Goldbarth
These two asleep . . . so indrawn and compact,
like lavish origami animals returned
to slips of paper once again; and then
the paper once again become a string
of pith, a secret that the plant hums to itself . . . .
You see? — so often we envy the grandiose, the way
those small toy things of Leonardo’s want to be
the great, air-conquering and miles-eating
they’re modeled on. And the bird flight is
amazing: simultaneously strength,
escape, caprice: the Artic tern completes
its trip of nearly 27,000 miles every year;
a swan will frighten bears away
by angry aerial display of flapping wingspan.
But it isn’t all flight; they also
fold; and at night on the water or in the eaves
they package their bodies
into their bodies, smaller, and deeply
smaller yet: migrating a similar distance
in the opposite direction.