Monday, February 21, 2011

Mountains, Clouds and to the Lake

To see snow on our Mayacama's in not an unusual Winter sight, but it is dramatic.  From the high point on our way home from the Lake with the dogs I could see The Geysers puffing.  It is a remarkable sight.

Many love to travel to the snow.  Not me.  I prefer to keep my capers warm.  I have been known to hike into the mountains in Oregon, but the reward was a hot springs bath, either in the freezing stream, or snuggled in old cedar tubs.  I could be convinced to do that again, but not in the snow.  It is much more sane for me to stay warm, that way I am not grumpy.

Hiking is not my favorite sport, either.  It is too much work, and I've never had enough to eat, or any security around my morning coffee.  At high elevations I could never get the water to boil.  Anywhere else, like flatland hiking, I had to drink it black, which means no cream, which brings up the question, "Why Bother?"

The snow is too cold.  You have to drive in it to get to it, which is just wrong, if you ask me.  I much prefer a short little 5 hour flight to Hawai'i, landing warm, purchasing dresses and flip-flops at the open-air vendor, renting snorkel gear and driving for a little while to your house for the week.  Eating fruit and fish for days is my idea of Heaven, with Kona coffee in the mix for good measure.

And swimming.  I love to swim.  No, I do not swim between straight lines.  I can, and love to swim for hours, until I am pickled and weary.  I swim, float, tread water, float, back-stroke, front-stroke, dog paddle, float, tread water:  Bliss.  I am not afraid of the water, and I love all bodies of water; rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, the ocean.  There is a spot on Highway 101 north of here, where a sign is posted at the crest of a hill, "Russian River Watershed."  It feels like home when I see it.  I live in a watershed.  Well, we all do, whether we recognise it or not, I suppose.  With cars and highways and Internets our awareness of canyon, valley, mountain range, ridge, gorge, plateau, deer trail, swamp diminishes, in fact, may disappear altogether.

A watershed encompasses it all, from the top of the mountains to the river bed.

Emerson is a talker.  A whiner.  A moaner.  We just do not get where we're going fast enough for him.  And, I must say, he is one handsome Labrador.  He is big and strong and ready to go for broke.  All day.  Every day.  He also loves towels:  he wallows in his blue towel after his swim, and if he finds one hanging where he can reach it, he wraps himself in it with snorts and grunts.  It does seem a little weird, now that I am describing it, but we laugh and enjoy towels with him.

Yeah.  Yeah.  Let's just get there;  patience, Luna, it is not so long ago that you were the anxious pup, whining and drooling to get to the Lake.

If one happens to listen to NPR, or watch PBS, one cannot help but notice that the world is in an uproar at this point in time.  My head is not in the sand.  I purchase really spiked-up-in-price gasoline, to take my dogs to the Lake.  In ways it does seem crazy, and immaterial to do so.  I could, and do, take them on walks, which does not use gas.

"It's kind of a melancholy day," my friend Gail said this afternoon.  The clouds obscured the sun, creating sky of flat cream colored acres.  There are bursts of pink blossoms, and the Buck Eye is leafing out into bright green umbrellas.  Spring is sending skunks and foxes to their demise on the freeway, the Ravens, hawks and Osprey are in pairs.  Life surges to express, regardless.  Spirit rises to Live.

It is a gift of a day, and now, evening.
Blessing it all.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Point. Click. Point. Click.

1.  Must clean camera:  Soon.  It is acting up just enough to put the fear of failure in me.  First Place on the list is to encourage me-own-self to do it before it quits altogether.  My walk this morning included a quick trip to the Summer Bridge, which, of course, is stacked neatly beside the road.  The river is high and roaring swiftly below flood stage.

Water is everywhere.  All the small gullies and ditches run with clear, oxygenated water.

I feel a painting coming on.  I love the abstract nature of the cement shapes.

This morning, as I walked, the air cold, the wind cold, everywhere noise and action of the rains.  We have experienced crazy storms, piles of hail, wind, rain and snow.  Even today you can hear the water soaking into the garden, dripping from the trees.  Clouds are piling up, perhaps more is on the way.

I love it.  These days of being socked-in, have been productive.  Revision, and submitting my work.  Catching up the laundry.  Back to the work.  Cook dinner.  Back to the work.  Back to the work.

At this time of year, the moss is alive with the rains.  It has a short amount of time to do all of its housekeeping, reproducing, and greening.  Then, the sun comes and dries it to a crisp, and it waits patiently for the next wet season.

2.  Stay with the work:  finish.  Revise.  Send out.  Do More.  Finish.  Revise.  Send.  Do More.

Happy Day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Heart

Winter has returned.  We have a gorgeous, storm-soaked windy morning.  Inspired thoughts lean into 17 syllables.  I forgot to bring in the garlic basket.  It, the garlic, the strawberry starts and a bag of poppy seeds are all out there with the hoe and two shovels.  I just walked away and didn't give any of them a second thought.  So easy to go back to hibernation.

Beautiful Haiku Morning
Storm in Trees
Labrador Nose-print, Sigh.

Easy to go back inside.  Having not been feeling so great for the past few days, I am so fine snuggling back into comforter and sheets and big dogs.  Listening to the wind chimes and Pines shoooooo-ing, water dripping, long contented hufffffffs, is so nice.  I am grateful to not go anywhere, though this means missing my Beloved Artists' Group.

My Artist's Date this week was a trip to the Grace Hudson Museum, where there is a collection of baskets on exhibit:  American Masterpieces... The Artistic Legacy of California Indian Basketry.

These all ways make me cry.  Their Beauty.  Their Herstory.  Their Joy.  Their Expression.

The Baskets are from "rarely seen Indian basketry collection of California State Parks."  Exquisite comes close to an acceptable description.  

This Little One did a miraculous thing in the photographing.  At home, I up-loaded the shots onto my computer.  I have a series of the Little Lady.  What I didn't notice, as I was focusing on my camera, attempting to get in-sync with the lighting, etc., was that She put a show on for me.  She is Dancing.  Dancing Color, Spirit, Goddess, Love, Beauty, Tears, Motion, Transcending, Life, All Things Female.

The Call to the Studio is timeless.  The Call to the pen, the brush, the fibers, beads, feathers, is perhaps situational as each has Her Life with which to create.  Yet, the Call to the creation is the timeless piece, that which we have done forEver, and will continue to Do.

This little basket makes me weep.  I feel so blessed to have experienced just a tiny increment of Her magical motion through time, across cultures.  The tears bring relief.  Maybe, just maybe, I am experiencing some of the Joy which brought this piece to fruition.

Enjoy this day celebrating Beloveds.

Friday, February 11, 2011


My grandson Kai, and I, are working out a new schedule.  Monday was our first date, and we went into H-town to the Park, and what a cool park it is.  Of course, I have only eyes for Kai, and you may see why!  He is rather handsome, if I do say so myself, but then, his pretty Mom is my Liz, so those dimples and brown eyes are in the jeans.  I mean, genes.

I left the camera in the car on purpose, so I could just soak him up.  He ran up to me and said, "Let's play TAG!"  Of course, my mind flew to disturbing scenes of me lumbering around, crashing, tripping, etc etc, and I said too fast, "Where's base?"  "Base? What's base?" his expression quizzical.  So yes, I explained to him what 'Base' is, and that it is necessary in the game of tag.  "Ok.  Base is the swing set." he said with authority (know that he is a future Police Chief.)  The swing set is on the far end of the playground.  Fine then.  I took off, dodged around stuff and through sheer surprise, beat him to it.

The good thing about leaving the camera behind, is that when I brought it out, the late afternoon winter light was exquisite.

The unfortunate thing, was that we dawdled too long, and got him home a little late, and he had to launch into homework-mode, which doesn't make him too happy, ever.  Next Monday, we are doing homework... first!  We will get used to this.

Tonight there was a big arrow in the sky.  Pointing right at me, of course.  Maybe a symbol of Cupid, since Valentine's Day approaches, and I need to figure out, once again, how many years Wayne and I are celebrating this year.  29 I believe.  Wow.  That is a long time.

Or maybe it is pointing to the setting sun, which is getting closer to rising on the other side of the world, where Egypt is re-creating itself.  Wow.  What a big job is in store for them.

Here it is, Friday night, which seems to have arrived so quickly.

Have a goooood TGIF.  Do something fun.  Smile!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

New Friends & Neighbors

New Baby on the Block!
Arrived today; second stop: Gladys's.

These smiles!

It looks as though for her, this will be an easy transition!

Joanie and Bently.

My new neighbor, a baby Great Dane!

Oh.  Maybe we shouldn't be holding him in our arms!
Or, maybe it's just right!
Puppy Love.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Miscellaneous Meander

A couple of these guys come to my seedy bird feeder.  They hang from the ledge and throw seeds far and wide.  It appears they are pulling a Blue Jay Trick, as the Jay gets all disturbed and tries to chase them off.  They make much noise, and move into the tree above and just wait their turn, and swoop down to swing and rock the sunnies into their bills.  Really, a woodpecker is not a nice bird.  Neither are Jays, I guess.

The bird world fascinates me.  I have annoyed many a walking partner with my gasps, "OH! There's a blah-dee-dah!"  Maybe the gasp is what's annoying, as it may sound as if there is immanent danger, like a rattlesnake or something.  In my defence (hahah) I did spot a baby rattlesnake from a good distance before we got to it, so I have saved my own (and my partner's) life.  A time or two, I might add.  Yes.  Maybe next time I will tell you about those escapades.

OK.  That makes me think of another Dad-Story:  He and I were hauling a wild heifer (oh Goddess, I am cracking my own self up) in our International Truck with the racks on, because she had gotten through fences, etc., and was next door at Harry's.  So, we went and got her.  Understand, this journey was all of a half-mile away.  She was loaded, the tail-gate secure, and off we go, slowly because this heifer really had lost her mind.  She was bellowing and lunging and kicking.  We crept out onto the highway, limped and swayed to our turn-off and lane, and just as we rounded the mailboxes, she decided to blow the scene.  I kid you not.  That Jersey heifer decided to launch herself over the racks.

Yes.  I decided to leave as well, flung open the door.  Dad hollered, "Jesus Christ!" and grabbed my arm, dragging me back into the cab.  "You could get killed doing that!  Stay!"  That may have been the first time that I doubted him, that he could and would control any danger near me.  It seemed obvious, that the smartest thing to do would be to get outta Dodge.  We hunkered down, kind of under the dashboard, wrapped around the gear shift with the clear blue acrylic knob that Bob had made in shop. The heifer fell over the side, got up, and trotted down the lane towards the barn.  Like that was her intention, all along.

 My GrandGirls were over after school this week.  "Sorry," I said, "I didn't finish the dishes or sweep the floor OR make the bed today..."  That's okay, Nonnie, WE don't care!  Music to mine ears.  I have been told a number of times that they like my house, just like it is, whenever they get here.  Sometimes it is in better condition than others.

First things first:  Food!  This one has gotten so tall that it is remarkable just how much she can put away.  Just an inch or so to go, and she is going to be taller than I am.  Yes, I remember her at 2 years, walking ahead of me on a path at the Elementary School.  She decided to ditch the Nonnie, turned to me and commanded in her most authoritative voice, "Sit Nonnie.  STAY!" and off she went.  Is this a thread?

Our Mission is to do some painting and art lessons.  This day I suggested that we take a walk for "inspiration," to which they whole-heartedly agreed.  After the meal/snack, we headed for the River.  We walked down our lane, past the neighbor geese, and through the fence, past the No Trespassing Sign, and through another fence into the vineyard (Keep OUT), and up onto the levee.  "What's a levee?" Mary wanted to know.  Isn't this fun?  Air, biology, geography, engineering and who-knows-what-all is discussed on these adventures.  The willows are busting out to green.  The river looked like it was playing, throwing up its flippers all asparkle.

I heard one of my favorite whistles, just barely.  Turned and searched the leafless Cottonwoods and Alders.  AH!  Right there, was the Osprey, harassing their abject enemy, The Bald Eagle, who was hunched up and ducking.  "The Bald Eagle is our State Bird, right Nonnie?"  It was the first time that they've ever seen our National Bird, right here on our Rushing River.

Weirdly enough, we also found, just yards upstream from us, a wild boar carcass.  Another biology lesson, since there were fascinating maggots squirming all over the place.  They were not mortified or horrified:  they were curious.

We re-learned how to find and throw skipping rocks, a yearly endeavor.  As the sun dipped behind the hills, the air began to cool immediately.  Our heads were in the warm breeze and everything below shoulder height was cold, a very odd sensation.

Being a Nonnie is an adventure.  It is the most bestest thing "to be" ever invented.  And that's the truth.

Very sweet.  Interesting.  Curious.
Next time, we're doing some art.
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