Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Day of Loveliness and Fun

My friend "C" came for the weekend.
So nice to have her visit. Hadn't seen her since the New Year. She brought her little dog, Max, with her and arrived on Friday.
We went to Dandelion Days downtown and ate lunch at Mel and Faye's. We also drove to Electra Rd. along the Mokelumne River.

The water was very low and the rocks were many.
Some creating beautiful patterns in the water.

And small still life's in the curves and indentations of the rock.

The bedrock is everywhere.  Some holes are deep and filled with gravel, sand, pyrite and maybe a few nuggets of gold. I marvel at the amazing assortment of tiny debris shinning up at us in the sunlight.
These old rocks and their amazing beauty are there for to all who come to walk on the river's ancient floor.

The hard, smooth petrified wood lays like fallen reminders of some old growth forest that lost its battle with a fire or storm, long ago, turning to stone as a result of the its tragic failure.

And... OH! A dog...What animal is this who follows us along the river?
His named is Max ("C"s dog) and he was having the time of his life. Jumping from rock to rock, looking as majestic as he possibly could. He was at one with the river. He was a dog briefly in heaven.

We drove up to the Electra Powerhouse, driving past thousands of Poppies and other wildflowers. This is a most beautiful time in the Foothills. A time of verdant madness.

I saw this sign at the weir and snapped a photo of it, in tribute to my "beans" (my grandchildren).
Someone had written "Cool Beans" on the sign and drew a picture of a happy bean. I know it's graffiti, but... I just had to take a picture of it.
We drove back down river, stopping once in a while to take pictures. The hills were alive with color.

Then we drove on over the river and into Mokelumne Hill, a small town with a rich mining history and a charming presence.
Interesting buildings made of stone and metal doors.
This one was noteworthy...
A secret entrance to the Horny Buffalo Society... This was the WORLD headquarters? In a little town in Calaveras county, California? I think someone might be pulling someone's leg.
There was the old car that sat on the side of an old building... sticking its nose through the fence.
I love seeing this car every time I come over here. It's been there for a long, long time.

We drove up to the Catholic Cemetery and drove through it, looking at all the tombstones and names. Lots of Italians lived here in the last hundred years or so.

Huge old Italian Cypresses, some of the biggest I have ever seen, towered over the graves of so many.

Then we finally drove home. It was a day of showing my friend what a beautiful place I live in... especially in the Spring of the year. It was a day of loveliness and fun. I didn't hear Max on the way home. I think he was taking a nap.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Why I walk...

Let’s take our hearts for a walk in the woods
 and listen to the magic whispers of old trees. ~Author Unknown

Monday, February 23, 2015


"The first section of the poem, The Inferno, was Dante’s account of their trip through Hell. Each circle of Hell contained assorted shades (ghosts) suffering increasingly harsh punishments. As the pair entered the 4th circle of Hell, they found two mobs at war, crashing against each other with enormous boulders they pushed with their chests. The armies formed a circle and as Plutus, the Greek God of Wealth watched, they collapsed upon each other crashing the stones against each other, only to retreat and taunt “Why do you hoard?” While the opposite mob replied, “Why do you waste?” Dante’s guide explained that these were the hoarders and wasters in life, the Avaricious and Prodigal. Their lives were spent acquiring possessions and chasing wealth, but by doing so they shielded themselves from God’s light. Now they were forever doomed to this fate. Their possessions became the heavy stones they heaved and crashed for eternity."

Yes, well... "Why do we hoard?"  "Why do we waste?" Good questions.  I know this is a little heavy for Monday morning but it's something I've been thinking about and it brings me to the point of this blogpost. 
We cleaned out our garage two weeks ago and even though it's not completely finished, I feel really good about what we accomplished.

We chose a day, moved the car out and faced this monster with determination. This seems like an overwhelming project. 
We began by making piles.
One for the dump...
and one for the thrift shops...
...and a small pile for the undecideds. (This is a pile that needs to be kept to a minimum. It tends to grow fast.)

This cleaning and sorting is a lot of work, at our age... at any age, really... but it took all day and visions of Dante's Inferno kept hitting me in the back of the head. 
By late afternoon the garage was looking pretty good. The only casuality was a bird that had died (quickly I hope) in a rat trap. Why it chose to fly into the garage and eat cheese left for a rat, I have no idea. Our cat sleeps in here. The poor bird must have been desperate.
By the end of the day we we able to drive the car back into the garage without hitting its doors on "stuff". 

There is still a lot of work for us to do. Plastic boxes of "things" that I need to look through and sort. There's also the Prospector's side of this... "his side" of the garage. He is complicit as well. He has a workbench and storage area that is unusable at the moment. I'm not in this alone. 
I know that my schizophrenic artistic habit of hopping from one one kind of art to another (and all of my supplies that ensue)... and my  (I believe) unconscious "Don't throw anything away, I might want to use it someday" attitude, seems to be trapped in the recesses of my brain, having left me with a permanent inability to toss something away. I know, that without the looming thought of having to move someday, because of our health or old age, I would become lost in all of this. If I thought that this was our last destination, our final hurrah, I would probably not care so much. But I do. I also don't want all of this, piling up, waiting for my family to deal with.

I want to be like some folks who never collect anything. I truly do. I want to have a perfect, well organized life with closets that reveal what's in them at a glance. I want to find my shoes. I need that item that I put away, in a safe place, so I would know where everything was when I need it.  Yes, I have HOPE. I know that this is possible. I just don't know if I have time.
I have visions of  Dante standing there between the piles of stuff, smiling... waiting... with my "possessions" and they will have become the "heavy stones" that I will have to "heaved and crashed for eternity." 
That's scary shit. 
I need to keep working on this... fast.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Valentine visit from our son

Our oldest son said he would come up for Valentine's Day. This is, at least, an overnight trip. It's a few hours from the Bay Area. He arrived on Saturday. The Corgi boys knew this ahead of time... because the sofa bed was opened and ready.
Carl loves it when someone comes. He thinks that we open the bed for him and he lets us know that it's his bed, by laying on it as soon as it's made up. He never challenges anyone with his possession of things...well, sometimes he does... but in a cute, loving Corgi way. He loves company... so when the bed is opened he knows that someone is coming. 
He and Cutter greeted our son at the gate like an old friend.

I love having our boys here. It seems I still have that maternal instinct inside of me, even now as they both move through their 40's. I guess you never stop seeing them through your childhood memories. They are grown men, but they are still our children. They are adults with lives of their own, but the feelings are still protective and loving, as if there is still a small child inside of them. I guess we all have a small child inside of us.
So "M" came to visit us for the weekend. We had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants on Saturday night. Great food and, because we are having summer early this year, the weather was beautiful. Didn't even need a coat at 7:00 p.m. This is California Winter at its best.

On Sunday we went for a short hike up to the ridge. It was so lovely... warm and sunny.
About halfway we saw a gang of turkey on the hill above the trail. As soon as they saw us most of them continued to move away, but two of them (young jakes) came straight down the hill to see us. Too funny. As if they were waiting for us, "Oh, look. It's Farmlady and she has someone else with her."
They were so friendly that I think if we had given them some food they would have come right up and taken it from us. Of course, when we didn't offer anything, they turned around and left.
We headed on up the hill and walked to the little, old house that is falling apart. Someone told us that he was born here. I tried to imagine being born here. It would have been a great distance from town and kind of lonely for his mother.
When we first moved here the house was standing upright. That was 16 years ago. Over the years it has withered into a pile of moss covered wood with few signs left that someone once lived here. A sink, a bed spring, some wire connectors, a rusty water tank and pieces of corrugated roofing. 
A window, without glass, that frames the old oaks...
and poison oak that is slowly devouring the small house. In Summer the poison oak has big, shiny leaves that almost shield the house from view.
There was a stove pipe laying on top of the roof, rusted and looking useless.
We discussed who might have lived there and what their lives would have been like. I tell "M" that when we first moved here and I found this house, there were Iris blooming close by. I dug them up and took them back to our house. I planted them in my new little garden ... dark blue flags. They still grow there.
We walked further and "M" noticed a caterpillar on the trail. We could have stepped on it.
Just a little thing... crawling across the open trail to who knows where.
I picked it up...
It was so pretty... but some day soon it will make a cocoon and create some magic.
I wondered what kind of butterfly this little caterpillar will be? I set it back down on a leaf and told it to move on into the bushes. It didn't move... so we continue walking, trying to remember to step lightly from now on and watch the ground for other arrant creatures looking for some sunshine.
I thought to myself that we should be careful and keep an eye out for snakes too. The weather was so warm and more like April or May out there.
We decided to take another trail down to the little creek. There is a mine here. Someone did a lot of work looking for gold in this area. Probably before World War II.

There is a creek that only has water in it during the winter.  There's a lot of bedrock in this creek and a concrete wall to hold a reservoir of water in one area.
Someone built stone retaining walls for reasons unknown. Houses, roads? channeling water? Who knows. It's a beautiful mystery.
"M" and I spend quite a while exploring the area. We found an old wheelbarrow, old pilings and a good size water tank. What stories this place could tell.
We even found more mushrooms...
Fairy like and delicate...

tiny yellow ones...
and some that look like they were eaten for lunch. Maybe the little caterpillar was there.
This one looked good enough to eat.

It was time to go home... walking back down the trail to the house,
 I remembered Mary Oliver's poem called ~How I go to the Woods.~

"Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.”

This was a walk that I shared with my son and it was beautiful. It was a gift for me... and he knows that I love him very much.

Friday, February 13, 2015

From my friend...in the high country.


Pilgrim, how you journey
On the road you chose
To find out why the winds die
And where the stories go.

All days come from one day
That much you must know,
You cannot change what's over
But only where you go.

One way leads to diamonds,
One way leads to gold,
Another leads you only
To everything you're told.

In your heart you wonder
Which of these is true;
The road that leads to nowhere,
The road that leads to you.

Will you find the answer
In all you say and do?
Will you find the answer
In you?

Each heart is a pilgrim,
Each one wants to know
The reason why the winds die
And where the stories go.

Pilgrim, in your journey
You may travel far,
For pilgrim it's a long way
To find out who you are...

Pilgrim, it's a long way
To find out who you are...

Pilgrim, it's a long way
To find out who you are...