Wednesday, September 20, 2017

To Add to the Insanity of 2KL4SKL Bus: The SNAP Challenge

So, we bought a school bus.
I'm hoping its not the worst decision we have ever made.

Adam has slowly, much too slowly been morphing it into, what hopefully will be a living space. 

 And I have been trying to pack up our house, sew a million curtains, and keep life normal.  We have successfully (what is success anymore??) been navigation the line somewhere between a mess and a disaster.

Some days I drop both of the kids off at the bus stop, other days I drop off one at the bus stop while the other would rather hold my hand the whole way, since I walk past the school on my way to work anyway. We always arrive just at the front just as the buses pull up to the back.

I spend more than I ever imagined staring at a computer screen, navigating an entirely new and foreign world of a federally funded affordable housing project. Damn, that shit is complicated.

Late August, I received an email about participating in the Community Food and Agriculture Coalition's SNAP Challenge to raise funds for the Double SNAP Dollars program that, true to it's name, DOUBLES the value of SNAP benefits spent on fresh fruits and vegetables at participating locations. So, SNAP is the snazzy acronym for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formally known as Food Stamps) and the challenge is to have folks to pledge to live on a limited food budget for a week. The guidelines are to spend $5 per person per day. For my family of four my budget is that is $20 per day. Which now, as I'm putting it in writing sounds a little wrong - pledge a week to eat like a poor person – a strange kind of class appropriation, except for years I didn't eat like a poor person, I was a poor person.

I started this blog, in part, to indirectly talk about poverty in America.

So of course, I'm in.

First thing first:

SNAP. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The program is miss-named. For many, including my family, this SNAP wasn't a supplement to an existing food budget. It is the food budget.

Second thing second:

SNAP can be spent on FOOD PLANTS! This is a less widely promoted benefit of the SNAP. I was unaware for the first year or two, but as soon as I figured it out, I planted entire gardens using SNAP benefits to purchase seeds and starts.

Third and best of all:

Participating locations in Missoula (farmers markets, a few CSAs, and the Food Coop) will DOUBLE SNAP benefits. Wow. What? So cool. Every summer, I would turn my SNAP benefits into wooden tokens, spend those devoted to fruits and vegetables, and hoard a few SNAP benefits each Saturday into a small stockpile (and an accounting nightmare for those who track the tokens) until I had set aside to buy a bulk purchase of pork from the Farm to Market Pork vendor. Why? Because it was a way to budget and bulk purchases are cheaper and when you buy more than 20 lbs of meat there is a discount. Buying in bulk is often not an option when the daily budget is $5 per person per day. But, when SNAP benefits spent on Fruits and Vegetables, go twice as far it opens the remainder of the supplement up to so many creative possibilities. In addition to bulk pork purchases, there are the cases seconds tomatoes and peaches that I canned and lined my kitchen with and lasted far beyond the summer season.  

These days, I work one just over half time job, hold an elected office that has a stipend and provides health insurance for Adam and I, sell my pottery, and Adam works full time. We no longer receive SNAP, but our food budget and habits haven't changed much since those days, and I am still regularly drowning in the anxiety of my day to day.

Our SNAP challenge starts, the 20th and ends the 27th.
I will try to post along the way.... you can follow along... and potentially donate to my fundraiser.

It can be found here:

My goal is to raise $1000. (My secret goal is to raise twice that.. but shhh... )

Lets talk about food, food access, and poverty.    

Oh, and that our vanity plates arrived for the school bus today: 2KL4SKL! 

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Great American Solar Eclipse 2017: A Moment Among Moments

Strong, cold wind blows down the beach, the water is so cold my toes tingled and the kids still get soaked from head to toe, splashing in the space between solid land and sea.

The kids shriek and run.  They gather up rocks, poke at pieces of jelly fish, and these moments alone would have been worth the drive.  The moments with friends and the most decadent camping food, in the history of camping, would have been worth the drive.

But, the excuse for this trip, is a moment 1 minute and 55 seconds in length.

Intellectually, I had been prepared for this moment.

We had listened to podcasts, heard other people's stories, shushed the children on the eleven hour drive split between two days: "Shhh!!! Listen, to this story.  They are talking about what we are about to see."

"Don't look at the sun without your glasses.  It's dangerous."

The sun was bright, the temperature dropped, our shadows become duplicate, the spaces between the leaves turned into a thousand pinhole cameras, and then the light rolled in waves.

Emotionally, I was completely unprepared.

In an instant the moon and sun became one and neither was recognizable. I dropped to my knees and found myself staring into the space that just moments before had been the sun, it felt as though my whole being was being drawn into the center of our solar system, looking past the center, at the bright dot of Venus on its orbit beyond the sun.

Time stood still.

Time moved too fast.

People cheered and it was a moment we all shared, and yet I have never felt so void of my own physical presence.

Much too quickly a blinding flash of light shot back into view and the process reversed. The light rolled across the ground and the shadow crescents mirrored those before.

I yearned to be in the moment a little longer, but just as instant as the return to light had been, the physical was all too real and I realized just how long we had been staring, off and on, directly at the sun. The kids tugged at my arms.  "Can we go?" "I'm hungry."

We order lunch and occasionally get up to check the progress of the sun across the sky.

We dawdle on the way home.

We drive through the forest, a dirt road edged by blackberries so thick that they blend reality with that found on the pages of a Tom Robbins novel,  small state highways that lead us though small towns, past farm stands and, eventually deliver us into the endless golden expanse of wheat fields.

Too soon, our route overlaps that of previous adventures and we stop in at our ritual last destination before heading home.

Going home seems unusually hard. The sky is black and heavy with smoke and in passing we see trees silhouetted against pockets of flame on the hill side. We unload.  The whole trip seems surreal. The proof we went somewhere, saw something, is the giant pile of dirty laundry spread out across the floor, a large box of canning peaces on my kitchen counter, and the knowledge I now know at least one way to cook clams.

Steamed Clams - AKA Best Damn Camping Food Ever 

I had never, ever cooked clams before.  I don't live by a coast and they always look terrifying when I quickly walk past them at the grocery store seafood counter.   We stopped at a seafood market, looking for oysters, and because it is the wrong season we brought back 5 pounds of clams....  and I got a much needed cooking lesson.

6 cloves of garlic (thinly sliced)
2 sticks of butter 
1 bottle of white wine
  • heat the butter in a large pot and add garlic
  • pour the entire bottle of wine into the pot, bring to a rolling boil,  let it boil for a while
5 lbs (more or less) clams
Salt to Taste

  • pour the clams in the pot, add a good solid shake of salt, put a lid on the pot and bring it back to a rolling boil
  • while the clams are boiling/steaming chop a parsley
1 bunch of parsley  
  • Stir a few times, and make sure the clams have opened.. add parsley and serve with bread (toasted/grilled if possible)
  • there might have been a squeeze or two of lemon involved.  I'm not certain...  there definitely was lots of laughter, my rowdy kids, good friends and a few beers - so, not sure on the lemon...  but it certainly can't be bad.  
NOTE: If a clam didn't open while cooking, DON'T eat it.  No one wants to find out what happens when you eat unopened clams. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Weeks of Cherries

For an entire week our mornings and evenings were filled with the chink, chink, chink of cherry pits.

Two cherry pies, cherry danishes, and quart bags of pitted cherries are in the freezer.  

Jars of apple cherry jam are on the shelf.

Once a year we drive up to Finley Point to pick cherries in the summer sun and then jump into the clear  cold water of Flathead lake.  

The silver fruit picking ladder gets warm  in the sun and is almost to hot  to touch against my skin as we move from one tree to the next. The sticky, sweet, dark red juice runs down my fingers as I fill the same basket over and over, carrying it up and down the ladder, and we fill the cardboard boxes we brought along. The kids pick cherries for a while, and then get distracted and sprawl on blankets, eating lunch and running through a sprinkler the owner’s of the orchard left on.

Between my feet and the ground, between where I stand on the ladder and where the children play, between here and now and an America I have never known, there hangs a shimmer of memory that is not my own. Around the edges of everything there is a halo that might just be something akin to descriptions by John Steinbeck or stories gathered and relayed by Studs Terkle.  There might have been a time before corn rolled over fence rows, in which some people followed the harvests, knocked on doors, traded chores for buckets of milk, and slept in stranger’s barns and haystacks.  It is a thought neither fact nor fiction.

We have cherry pie for dessert and cherry pie for breakfast.

These are a few of the fleeting weeks of summer.

There is still a large shallow box in the fridge with stemmed, firm, dark red cherries.

Handful, by handful content shrinks, but it is not yet gone.

Past Year's Cherry Recipes.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

That One Time I Tried to Put Words to a Series of Moments on my Daily Commute

These days I am largely stuck driving to work, since I am juggling my husbands schedule, dropping off and picking up kids from friend's houses, unpredictable summer activities and all those other errands that have to happen.  When I have to the opportunity, I usually choose to walk the 1.2 miles from my house to work.

During the winter months, in the dark and snow, I ride the bus. The commute gives me an opportunity to interact, talk with, listen to, and observe folks I might never bump into otherwise.

This is a series of non-fiction snap shots that crowded around in my head into I finally put them on paper.  I entered it in the Missoula Public Library - 2017 Writing Contest, in a moment of boldness, that made my skin tingle, my heart pound and caused me anxiety for days...

I didn't win.

And even though the skin on my arms is already prickling and the heart pounding and anxiety is sure to follow, I am sharing my writing here:

En Route

The man across from me is holding onto the poll. I think he says something to me and I don’t quite catch it. I lean forward to respond. He is practically dancing as the bus is moving.
He holds his walkman toward me and yells: “Sorry, can’t talk right now. Listening to Led Zepplin.”
 I lean back against the seat.  He bangs his head and kicks the air. Jean jacket. Black backpack. Mullet. Walkman and earphones.

The windows of the bus are splattered with tiny drops, caked across the surface of the glass in layers to render the outside almost invisible. I am wearing both layers of my coat, hat, gloves, boots and my thermal long underwear. I slide the hood of my coat behind my neck. It is warm in here. A woman gets on and hoists herself up on the seat across from me.
Sneakers in the snow.
Sweat pants in the driving wind.
Wrapped around her shoulders is a blanket, not the kind the kind that is woven and fringed and you might see on a hipster paired with cowboy boots and a smart hat, but the kind that depicts a sports team and might be thrown in the corner of a dorm room. She pulls the edges closed across her shoulders and around the front. I wonder if she has been crying. She tucks her hair behind her ears. Does she need help? She actively avoids eye contact. I start to say, are you okay, but then does one ask that across the aisle of a crowded bus? We all filter out of the folding doors and disperse to other buses, down sidewalks, and into buildings on our way to our respective places.

The man next to me smells.
There is nowhere else to sit.
People get off and there is room, but I don’t move.

Big brown eyes keep looking at me from a white fur lined hood. “My daughter likes you,” says a woman with a Hispanic accent. “She usually likes one thing, a purse, a dress, but she says she likes everything about you.”
 “Hi,” I say. “Do you go to Headstart? My kids went to headstart too. The Brown Bear class and the Rainbow Trout class. In which class are you?”
She just looks at me.
“They added full day classes”, her mom chimes in.
“I am so glad to hear that”, and I genuinely am. I feel relief for her as the bus drives away. I watch her hold her daughter’s hand as they walk along the sidewalk .

“Does this bus go close to the Cracker Barrel?”, she asks.
Dark hair pulled back. Thick eyeliner. The kind I could never pull off. Her hands are fidgeting with a paper, it is a job application, and a big bunch of keys.
“I am new in town. I lost my keys. I had to pick them up at the police office this morning. Just now. It’s my Audi. It has been at the hotel all weekend. I am new in town.”
Her eyes are brimming with tears.
“That sounds terrible,” I say. “This bus goes to Reserve, but not as far north as the Cracker Barrel.”
 “That’s okay, “ she replies, “I would walk miles to get there.”

“I love the buses here”.
A young man sits two seats down from me. He might have been cute once. He is slightly unshaven, still has a bit of acne which leads me to think he is younger than he looks, and he has no teeth that I can see.
“Yesterday, I was at the food stamp office with my babies’s mama, and the bus was running late. Two buses were driving one in front of the other. It was so funny. The one we got on was totally empty. They should have cancelled one. I love how bike friendly this town is.” He nods at his bike mounted to the front of the bus.
“My bike doesn’t do well in the wet and snow,” I respond, “the breaks just don’t work right.”
“He looks at me incredulously: “You haven’t tried to fix it?”
“I have.”
I am dying to know what happened to all his teeth, but I don’t ask, because there is this unspoken rule that adults don’t ask each other these things.
“I have four kids”, he goes on. “They are four and two and I have twins, but they don’t live with me right now and I am working to get them back. Twins are hard, you can’t change two diapers at once or feed them at the same time. I have another set of twins in Washington state. They live with their mom… We didn’t even know if the babies were mine and a friend of mine said twins run in the family and said to look into it. Turns out my grandma’s sisters were twins and since twins run with the guy..”
“Twins run with the mother,” the man across from us interjects. “I have three sets of twins. I have nine kids.”
 I look at him in relief.
“Excuse me”, chimes in the girl next to me.
She is obviously an exchange student. She might be from Japan.
“My mom had me and my brother but we are not twins. So, I don’t have a chance of having twins?” She giggles: “I mean twins are a good deal. You have one pregnancy and get two babies, but…”
She trails off and giggles again.
It is infectious.
“Look a free couch,” the no-teeth man says gesturing out the window.
“There are a few of them,” I joke, “I can’t fit them on the bus.”
 “Of course there are. In this neighborhood.”
I pull the cord and get off.
I don’t wonder what he means.

A man gets on. He is tall and lanky and clean. He always has on the same sweatshirt. It is black and has a white printed medallion that says something about a dance group. You would almost think he wears it ironically. I think he is homeless.

I own a car.

It is still dark outside and I sink into my seat and flip open my book. I look around and count the people on the bus: one, two and me. This is the first round of the day. They both have their noses bent into books and I turn back to mine.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Solid Ground

“You know what's great about plants.”
“I don't know. What?”
“That they are plants!!!” Sylvan looks at me incredulously. “Don't you get it?”
Ivory shrugs, and eats a raspberry.

The sky is peach and glowing.
We are sneaking a few raspberries at dusk.

The kids are up, way to late, once again.
The three of us walked down the street to water our garden plot.
Adam is washing the dishes.
The house is finally starting to cool down.

These fifteen minutes of my day are the only ones that seem to echo the rhythm of past summers.
I am trying to breathe – just breathe.

The sky fades to dark.
On the way home, I cradle a hand full of raspberries to share.
Soon after, we fall into our beds, on top of sheets and blankets.

I feel like I am treading water – cold icy water – that makes it hard to breathe.
I could dip under any moment.

My days and weeks are filled up.
I run back and forth, back and forth, drop off kids, pick up kids, bring them to work with me.
I count hours and try to figure out where to fit in more.
I relish the time when I can hang my laundry on the line.

I make lists: work lists, house lists, to do lists.
I check lists: who needs what, when and where.
I forget lists... I forget to make lists. 

 I don't make it to the grocery store.

The kids and I drive across town.
I have a free cup of coffee waiting for me at a coffee shop and the kids share a bagel before morning swim lessons. As we walk back to the car, my wildly unpredictably moody pre-pre teen girl, reaches for my hand:

“Don't you ever wonder how the star got inside the apple?”

I breathe.

In moments like these, I momentarily touch solid ground. 
Life might be crazy, but everything is just fine.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Knead and Rise

I have been writing and re-writing an an artist statement to accompany my First Friday show at the Missoula Community Food Co-op. The official event is on April 7th, but my pots will be on display for the remainder of the month.

"This will be easy," I thought. After all, the wheat design carved onto the surface of my mugs, bowls and plates is an external expression of a more than a decade long ritual I have created for myself to process the news of violence and conflict present in our world. But still, the words to articulate feelings and motions are hard to construct.

I was 18 for 31 days when September 11th became a date marooned in the year 2001 and we entered a pre- and post- world.

Slightly tipsy, from my first honey brown beer, at an elevation over 5000 ft, in my best friend's college dorm, I watched bright dots flashing across a night sky and I was struck by the surreal beauty of what could have been mistaken as fireworks on screen but what were in reality bombs over Bahgdad.

I graduated college with a peace sign on my cap listening to a president, who-was-not-my president, give our commencement speech. I got married, birthed a daughter, finished graduate school, moved across the country, gave birth to my son, bought a house and got a job.  I plant and harvest my garden, wash laundry, cook meals and bake bread.

I bake bread.

I bake bread because it is an activity that I can do with my children, a moment we can share that nurtures both the body and soul.

I bake bread because there is something intensely grounding in the motions that connect me with women who kneaded warm elastic dough before me in their own places in time, with women whose houses I walk into and see plump freshly baked bread resting on the counter, and with women who engage in the same rhythm of knead, rise, knead, rise and bake all around the world.

Sometime, I bake out of rage, powerlessness, and desperation in an invisible and futile gesture of compassion.

This is Syria.
This is Iraq.

This is where wheat originated.
This is where, 10,000 years ago, ancient grasses became grain.

As I knead, I imagine that life must go on in a war zone the way life goes on everywhere.  People fall in love, get married, have children, have hopes and dreams.  People engage in the mundane tasks of everyday life: go to work, care for their children, do laundry, cook meals and bake bread - until those task of everyday life stop.  STOP.

What then?

What then becomes of hopes and dreams?

As our national rhetoric and even local politics devolves to the level of Muslim bans, the refusal of refugees, and the persecution of immigrants of all kinds, I carve wheat on the surfaces of my pottery.

Wheat tells a story.

The origin of wheat from grasses in the fertile crescent, to an ubiquitous presence all around world, with long histories and varied uses across many cultures and within our own, the story of wheat is not a story about difference but it is a testament to just how much we share in common.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

Legislative Committee Meeting Road Trip

Today is President's Day. 

This kids are off school, wrestling around the bedroom as I am typing, because sleeping in on a day when there is no school just is not an option. 

We are going on a road trip. 
We are going to return to a few of our favorite Helena places.  
I might be bribing the kids a little bit, because I have an ulterior motive. 

We are making a quick jaunt over the pass to make an appearance at a legislative committee meeting to make a public comment on House Bill 361.  This bill revises the criteria for who is eligible for SNAP benefits cutting benefits for many low income Montanans while also costing the state upwards of $500,000.  Go figure.  I can only assume that the sponsoring legislator likes poor people even less than he likes being being fiscally responsible. Driving two hours to go speak for a few minutes about proposed legislation is a a new adventure for the three of us and I have to admit that I am pretty nervous.  I spent the last three hours writing and rewriting my comment.  Here is what I have come up with: 

Hi, my name is Heidi West. 
These are my children, Ivory and Sylvan.

House Bill 361 is not only fiscally irresponsible, but also displays an ignorance of the demographics, diversity and complexity of who and why people are poor in Montana. This bill goes further than just restricting access. It also undermines the judgment of professionals who work with SNAP recipients and make a system work as well as it can, for as many people as possible.

We are one of the many families that depended on SNAP. From 2009 until 2015 I worried about many things: I worried about holding onto 12 months worth of income documentation for my LIEAP application, I worried about getting sick with no access to health care, I worried about not providing enough opportunity for my children; I worried about finding houses to rent that we could afford but were also a safe; I worried about snow boots and warm coats and occasionally toilet paper but I NEVER ONCE WORRIED ABOUT HOW I WAS GOING TO FEED MY FAMILY.

SNAP benefits provide a small but essential buffer between having a home and being homeless, between being able to absorb an unforeseen expense and disaster, they are what allow thousands of Montanans to make it through each day and hope that though hard work, creativity, patience and planning they will create the right combination of opportunity and success to provide for themselves.

Low income individuals, and especially low income women and children, are members of a largely voiceless and under-represented demographic. In legislatures around the country, the value of lives is degraded into conversations about drug tests, sugary drinks and more generally the idea that SNAP recipients are undeserving.  The people that are being spoken about in these legislative proposals, are me. There is no accurate stereotype of who a SNAP recipient is:  they are moms and dads, they are kids, disabled folks, and people who for some reason or another are in challenging times; they could be your waiter, your kid's preschool teacher, your friends and your neighbors.

You have the opportunity and responsibility, to give voice to the voiceless and to represent the whole spectrum of Montana citizenry – maintain access to SNAP benefits and let Health and Human Service workers do their jobs.  Thank you.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fresh Air

Sylvan stands on top of a rock on top of “a mountain” proudly announcing that this was the first mountain he had reached the top of while being six. This event  being categorized as his first summit as a six year old was true, but the definition of mountain was being applied liberally.  The landscape feature we are standing on top of is the same as the view out of our dining room window, or rather the view we used to have before all we could see are walls of shiny metal on the new townhouses, and that feature is aptly called Waterworks Hill.  “Let’s walk to the top of the Mountain”,  sounds so much more exciting, as does: “We made it to the top of the Mountain”.  

He holds my hand the whole way up and then the whole way down as he plans our first whole family expedition to Mount Everest. “That is half way around the world in Nepal,” I tell him, “and cold, with ice fields, steep slopes and a lack of oxygen.  We need to train.” He contemplates all the good hang gliding launching spots in his view shed. “Yes,” I answer him,” you can get hurt hang gliding.” He laments the emptiness left by the extinction of the pterodactyl. “They would be VERY cool to train and fly.”  He wonders which animals came before the dinosaurs.  “We can look up pre-dinosaur fossil beds, but those organisms didn’t have skulls like animals today”. Who was the first person and how if there was only one first person did they ever have babies?  “ No one has figured that one out exactly - and the whole process of becoming a person took a LONG time”.    

It has also been a long time since we spent impromptu time outside. Ivory broke her collarbone sledding and finally got the go ahead to venture outside again, but in the meantime fluffy layers of snow have compressed to spotty sheets of ice.  But beyond her ill timed injury, family life has fundamentally shifted into a new phase.  With two school age kids we simply see less of each other.  Adam is laid off less during the winter and two summers ago I accepted what began as a very part time job and the at the same time decided to run for public office.  I now serve on the Missoula City Council representing Ward 1 and that very part time job morphed into just barely part time and in the corner of my dining room are still boxes of mugs to be carved when ever I have a chance to sit down.  

Today we both needed a reset, some fresh air and sunshine.

We reach the almost level decommissioned road that connects the trail on the ridge with the switch backs that will take us back to the parking lot and I finally broach the subject of school.  “How was school today” , I ask.  He immediately becomes sullen.  “Bad.  Always bad.”  “Did something happen that made you feel left out?”  “Do you play with other kids?”  “Maybe the other boys are shy?”  He gives a dry kind of laugh, the kind that  for a moment makes him seem 60 not 6: “They’re not shy! They call me names.”  “What kind of names?” “I don’t know.  I don’t remember.  Let’s play I spy.  I see something shaped like an N.”  I look down at our neighborhood sprawling below us: “a big N or a little n?”.  “Little.” I squint against the setting sun, bright briefly between the gray clouds,  “The fence around the softball diamond.”  Two sides are  visible against  white snow while the third is obscured against the backdrop of a plowed road.  It looks just like an n.  “I spy and orange house.” “I spy an S.”

I don’t blame his teacher for not noticing.  After all,  for a  barely six year old, Sylvan has his kindergarten shit together.  His classroom is rowdy and, typical of a kindergarten class, the kiddos have a wide range of skill sets and behaviors.  She has her hands full.  But he notices that she doesn’t notice these little interactions and that really gets to him.  “But,” he told me on Monday, “ the kid that tipped me out my chair and gave me a very bloody nose,  that kid got a referral, and referrals are the worst.  He didn’t even get a timeout.”

We keep walking.

I don’t blame  myself.  I have spent the last year trying not to feel guilty;  about not being home after school every day; about sneaking out early to get additional hours of work in the morning so I can schedule a studio day into my life every few weeks; about the evening meetings that pop up in my new life and interrupt  family dinners; about how lacking my garden was last summer; about feeling guilty; about being grumpy because I feel guilty; about having to justify why I work so damn hard… There are days we undeniably fall short.  We forget to practice spelling.  The clean laundry piles up for days. We come home tired and cranky.  But at the same time, nothing has really changed.  Life moves on in a constantly new normal.  Adam and I stay up late, icing the damn rocket cookies Sylvan had his heart set on for his birthday.

I take them to his classroom.   One of the boys sitting on the rug in front of me tugs at my pants: “these cookies are good, but next time, can you please bring cupcakes?”.  It strikes me as inexplicably funny.  

We switch hands.  Sylvan is so busy looking at everything but the trail in front of him that he is constantly slipping and sliding of the trail. “I spy something blue”.  “I spy something green.”

“I spy a pterodactyl.”

 I spy it too.

 The junction of the trail we are walking on and the switchbacks down the hill look like a flying dinosaur with its wings outspread.