"Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.” -Henry David Thoreau
'Tis the season for vacation from Astrocamp, which also means that is the season for my other job cleaning rooms and rental houses for the Quiet Creek Inn. Throughout the day I often find myself judging the aesthetics of each place we clean; the rooms at the actual inn are really very beautiful. The owners have chosen tasteful paintings and photography with occasional pine-needle baskets or ceramic vessels. The houses however, even the beautiful ones, are often decorated as if everyone needs to be constantly reminded that we are in the mountains. Now, there are subtle differences in mountain decor; some people choose items that reflect the history of Idyllwild like historic photos or artifacts, most of the time I have no problem with stuff like that. What drives me crazy though? People who decorate with pine cones and dead things. When we're cleaning a house and there are pine cones adorning all surfaces, and those pine cones are covered in dust that I have to clean up, I often think "Can't I just throw these outside with all the other pine cones? Why do these pine cones get a place of privilege while all the other ones get raked up and taken to the dump? It's a freaking piece of tree debris!" Yet house after house I see it, hanging pine cones, pine cones in baskets, placed in windowsills, adorning fireplace mantels. We get it, Idyllwild has pine trees. If you want to see a pine cone, step outside.
The other thing that I find disturbing are the many houses with dead things in every corner. Mountain lion pelts, stuffed birds, cow hide rugs, and my favorite is the giant moose head over the pine cone covered fireplace. Guess what people, Idyllwild is a moose free mountain; you aren't even paying homage to an actual native animal.
Oh, and this one just makes me laugh, the raccoon that looks like it's committing suicide by jumping off of Suicide Rock.