Last weekend we fled to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to get out of the smoke in the valley. There was some smoke lingering there too, but it was a good reminder that a colorful Fall is here, the skies are still blue, and the air is breathable. The reflection on Sand Pond at Sardine Lake was still and peaceful with no mosquitos in sight.
Peaceful Sand Pond
This last week we voluntarily moved all those things we thought were important to us but had to leave one very precious thing behind. The Atlas Fire was on the ridge, not terribly far from the neighborhood we live in. I said goodbye to this item I had to leave behind and said I would be back, but it made me realize how very much I take this piece for granted and what tremendous pleasure this thing has yielded me over the course of about thirty years. I hadn’t even given this prized possession a name. So before anymore time passes, here is the name; Beauty. You see, Beauty fully fills my life with joy, peace, and a tranquility that few other things can offer. My black Knabe grand piano has given me Beauty, fully for years and never asked for anything in return except a yearly tuning. Beauty fully was too large to pack in the car. You see, everything you need, or is very important to you, can fit in a car. It was a lightbulb moment for me. If my family were still living with us, we’d pack them in first and possibly leave everything else behind. All that is important to you, fits in your car. That means we have many creature comforts that don’t hold much value in our hearts. When it comes to what’s important, family is at the very top of my list, and I think it is at the top of yours too. Don’t forget to let those family members know the depth of the Beauty they fully bring to you.
I’m not very far from the horrific firestorm in Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Rosa. It’s hard to believe because we were having lunch in Sausalito at Le Garage on Saturday. The bay was so very serene and calm. Fleet Week was happening in The San Francisco Bay, the jets were flying in beautiful formations overhead, and many boats were leaving their docks to sail out in the still waters. We left there and went to Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma because we’d never been there before and we wanted to check it out. The day was so lovely that we continued on and took a short walk up to Buena Vista Winery to catch the shadows and the colorful changing leaves just before closing time. It was beautiful.
View From Le Garage
Buena Vista Closing Time
View From The Park
Smoke Settles In The Suisun Valley
Sunday came and the winds started to pick up. We were on our way up to Sacramento when we saw a plume of smoke on the other side of the hills. We had dinner outside at the Center For Land Based Learning fundraiser. The wind was from the north and strengthening. Monday we went for a walk and the air was thick with smoke, but not as thick as it is today. Last night a friend spent the night at our home, as there was a mandatory evacuation put in place in his neighborhood. He only lives eight miles away. The winds are calm now but are supposed to return, but from a different direction. This is very scary and I am so sad for all the people caught up in this rapidly moving, wind-swept firestorm. Please pray for these people, their counties, and some containment before the next winds pick-up.
Just over a week ago, we were fortunate enough to be asked to attend the Tower Bridge Dinner, that takes place on the bridge that spans the Sacramento River, in Sacramento. I never thought I’d get to go to this event. The tickets are very hard to come by and sell out immediately. When we got the call, we dropped everything else we were doing and said, “Yes!” It was a Farm to Fork event and the weather, people, and sunset couldn’t have been better. The photo doesn’t do it justice as it was taken with a phone but I hope you can see the magnitude of the event and get a feel for the good time that was being had by everyone.
Tower Bridge Dinner
Going to Seed in Explosive Fashion
What a difference a week makes. The tragedy in Las Vegas is now weighing on all our minds. I can’t make sense of it. It makes me force myself to listen to my own words. My poem, Daffodil Spring, has a final stanza that goes like this: So I give to my children Advice through their years, “Look for life’s colors, Lest you drown in life’s tears.” I leave you with that thought, and this photo, taken last weekend in the Sierra’s. What an explosive sight, this weed going to seed, gives off. So try to remember that the world, though it may be cruel, is also a magnificent place.
I have been waiting for this day for the entire Summer. Cool, slowing, lazy, Fall days. I thought they’d never get here. I couldn’t go towards the coast enough days last Summer. I kept thinking that we would get one more round of hot weather.
Fall In The Sierra Mountains
Leaf Peeping In Delaware
Then it snowed yesterday in the Sierra’s and I knew that Fall was finally upon us. I can’t remember a summer that was hotter than the one we just had. Maybe I’m getting older and less tolerant of the climate changes, season to season. There have been times, recently, that I have thought of the seasons, liking them to the seasons of our lives. If this were the case then I think that Spring would be our baby, toddler, elementary school years. Summer would be our teens and twenties or even our early thirties. Fall would last a very long time before Winter would creep in coldly somewhere around our late sixties and beyond. The changing seasons, you can’t ignore them, they’re upon us any way we may look at them.
I’m hoping that all of us have a very long and glorious Fall Season.
I recently went to France and stayed in Lyon as my last stop. It is a beautiful city and is the third largest city in France. I did not realize that walking about the city might lead me into neighborhoods that were not friendly to people who were not of their same religious beliefs. (I do think there should be an app for that, by the way.)
Stunning City Art
I am a firm believer in not talking about religion, politics, or weight. With that being said, I was so filled with the evil feeling that I received, I decided to write a poem about my experience. (That’s how I attempt to settle things in my mind.) I’m going to share the opening and closing stanzas with you. There are eighteen stanzas in-between as the opening and the closing stanzas are mirror images of each other.
Swans on the Rhone River
I walked the streets Of grand Lyon In a place, I, Should not have gone,
The evil that I found that day Is not a thing To wash away
This sleeping world Needs to awake, To realize What is at stake
If you would like the other eighteen stanza’s you can make a request at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to supply the entire poem for you. I am putting this out today because, as much as I tried to resolve what I felt that day by writing this poem, those feelings are still very much with me. I just can’t seem to shake them. So the moral to this blog is perhaps, as we age, we should try to stay on the main streets (when in a foreign place) as we are traveling through life.
I had this weeks blog all put together and just about ready to send when I drove down the road and had to stop to take a few photos of this amazing field of sunflowers.
Mix Yellow, Blue, & Green
Old Santa Cruz Mountain Faded Sign
This Doesn’t Stop Most
Sea of Yellow
I happen to know the farmer who is growing these and he truly needs people to not trespass on this particular field of flowers. I’ve seen “no trespassing” signs for years. We had them all over the Santa Cruz mountains when I was a kid. Most of them were so old that you could hardly read what they said, but we all knew that we weren’t supposed to cross that line. Today people see fields of flowers and they all rush out to get a selfie of themselves standing in the field. It takes its toll and they don’t understand that the owner really does need them to stay out of the fields. (It’s not just sunflower fields that cause people to do this. Flower fields, in general, attract bees and people.) I know that cell phones don’t have long-range lenses but maybe it’s time to take the old cameras out of the closet and put the phones away. I did not trespass. I’ve always tried to avoid it. Private places are private and public places are, well, public and free to trespass on. Next time you’re tempted, please remember to give the farmer a break.
While I was waiting for these photos to download, or upload, I could see that this year has led me to photograph bodies of water more than anything else. You might see that I was in search of water again but was pleasantly surprised to see this, lovingly placed, field of Agapanthus perched above the Pacific Ocean on Highway 1. I had to turn the car around and get out to take a shot and walk in the coolness of this cliffside. It was a busy place and I was not the only person who stopped with camera in hand.
Just as I had finished taking pictures and started to return to the car, this caught my eye. What a wonderful surprise to see this white flower with one tiny pink bloom in it’s center. How did that happen?
It made me think about the likenesses of plants, scenery, people, and creatures. I thought about how we look at things and think they are the same, but they are not. We are all unique individuals with something that is extremely special about each of us. Just passing by, you might only see the white cluster, but take a closer look and the true beauty of the plant is so small yet brilliant.
Do you think we eventually could end up with pink flowers with one tiny little white flower in each of the centers? Seems unlikely that would ever happen, but it’s fun to consider such a metamorphosis.