TRIP-3 ENTRIES 3 OF 3 - END
On my back home to California I stopped in Colorado for a couple of weeks over the holidays. On Christmas Eve there was quite the snow storm. The next day I woke to blue skies and a very white Christmas.
I had come to Colorado to be with my sister Eileen and her husband and my good friend, Jake. She was recovering from surgery and he was in a cast with a broken leg. At their mountain home in Evergreen I helped with errands, shoveling snow and carrying in wood for the fire. I enjoyed every minute with these two characters with their great sense of humor and warm hearts.
Eileen is the oldest of the eleven kids in our family. I’m number five. When I said she was a character with a great sense of humor it may have been an understatement. The day after Christmas I took her to Denver for one of her radiation treatments. Years before, my sister Maggie (#8), when she was visiting my brother Shawn (#7) in New Zealand sent Eileen a set of “Possum Pasties” as a joke. Eileen very much appreciated the care of her nurses, Michael (her father wanted a boy) and Carole and thought they could use a good laugh. So…..Eileen positioned herself on the machine and covered her chest just as she had done every day for the last two weeks. Eileen positioned me so I could get a picture of their reaction. It went something like this: “So, Eileen how was Christmas? Did it wear you out? How are you feeling today?” Michael asked. “Christmas was great and I’m feeling just fine,” Eileen answered. “I do have a question about these two growths that may have been caused by the radiation.” Michael lifted the sheet and saw the two furry pasties. After the shock and laughter subsided Michael called Carole on the phone asking her to come in for a consultation. The entire treatment was repeated. We were all in stitches laughing. Surely the best therapy of all.
Jake, Eileen and I had spent Christmas Day with their good friends and neighbors, Mike and Mary. Mary (on the far right) was born in Italy and the food was as delicious and plentiful as it was for her own childhood Christmas. Mike’s family was there from all across the country. I, of course, took pictures. Mike and Mary’s daughter, Nicole, said, “This is the first time all of the cousins have been together. Could you take a picture?” After getting them all in one place I took the picture. Eileen, very aware of family relationships and ever alert to make each moment special, put it together that all of “the cousins” also meant all of the grandchildren. We put Marilyn right in the center and made the picture that was a gift that will keep on giving for generations.
I, also, had the opportunity to visit my friends Steve and Cheryl. Steve’s son, Emmett and his wife Laura were part of the group portrait along with the other members of the family, Chena and Baxter. The late afternoon light pouring through the windows also made for some very beautiful and dramatic individual portraits.
My friend Elizabeth invited me to a dinner party with her family and a few of their friends. It was great to see her again and to enjoy “the kids.”
Ever year, on New Year’s Day, my friends George and Melanie host an informal kite flying event with friends. My brother, Dermod (#10), picked me up in Evergreen so he could bring me to the airport the next day. On the way to his home in Denver we stopped to surprise some of my friends. The kite flying was just ending as we arrived. It was a joy to see some familiar faces and to see a few face forms in the frozen snow. That is Melanie flying one of her giant kite creations the last time I was at the event in 2003.
It was good to be in the place that I grew up and will always call home and, after having been gone for three weeks, it was good to come home San Francisco. I looked forward to a weather forecast that didn’t include “accumulated inches of snowfall” and “wind-chill factors.” Two days after I got home to Sunny California a rain storm hit that knocked out power to a million homes. During the eight hours that my lights were out I took pictures and treated it like a “snow day.” There are no special effects on these two pictures other than the same 30 second exposure. The effect on the left was simply created by taking a picture through the window that was being pelted with rain and the mighty oak thrashing around during the exposure. The trunk of the tree on the right stayed fairly stable as its leaves and limbs whipped from side to side in the 50 miles per hour gust of wind.
After four days of rain the sun came out and it was time to get out of the house. I went my friend and fellow photographer, Joe Burull, to Stinson Beach for some breakfast and to catch a few rays with our cameras. As soon as I got out of the car I saw a group of individuals against the ocean. Relying on my automatic settings I raised the camera and clicked the shutter. I immediately discovered that I had my auto-focus turned off from the last time I had taken a picture out the window at the wind and rain. When I looked at the picture when I got home I discovered how much I liked this mis-taken image. The seashore is normally populated with a screech of gulls and a crackling of crows, but this day a volley of vultures filled the trees. When we reached the shore we found out why. The storm had covered the beach with debris. The violent surf had also sealed the fate of a California seal and provided the vultures with quite a feast.
Though the beach was littered with piles of plastic, the sea foam you see is not a form of pollution from detergent. It is created from the agitation of the surf and consist of inorganic and organic particles of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. The proteins provide surface tension to allow the bubbles to form. An occasional single strand of kelp danced in the tide reminding me of the enormous kelp forest rooted just off shore in a very alive world of water.
Thanks for joining me on this trip to so many different worlds. And thank you for all of the replies from Russia with love, from Poland with praise, from Texas with thanks and from Dayton declaring it made your day. I am enormously complimented when these notes strike a cord with your own music and magic. If, for any reason, you would like to be removed from the list just send a reply with “No Thanks” in the subject line. If you received this from a friend and want to be included just send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org As my mother always said, “There’s always room for one more.” I’ll leave you with this “Portrait of an Artist” that I took in my own neighborhood just before I left on this last trip.
Have a good laugh!
WHERE IS TAO?Tung Kuo Tzu asked Chuang Tzu, saying, “What you call Tao-where is it?” “There is nowhere,” replied Chuang Tzu, “where it is not.” “Tell me one place at any rate where it is,” said Tung Kuo Tzu.
“It is in the ant,” replied Chuang Tzu.
Why get so low down?” asked Tung Kuo Tzu.
“It is in the weed,” said Chuang Tzu.
“Still lower,” objected Tung Kuo Tzu.
“It is in potsherds,” said Chuang Tzu.
“Worse still!” cried Tung Kuo Tzu.
“It is in manure,” said Chaung Tzu.
And Tung Kuo Tzu made no reply.