Friday, August 26, 2011

Finding Joy…

I was feeling fine this morning, tired, but fine. Then, in a matter of seconds, a minor faux pas on my part took me to that place inside where the movies play over and over again, like a Twilight Zone episode. Dwelling on feeling misunderstood, or guilty, or whatever that icky feeling is, really brought me down.

I mentioned it on my Facebook wall, and was delighted to be reminded once again that the internet isn’t always a cold, harsh, impersonal place. In fact, more often than not, I have found true friendship and caring and thoughtful support there. Some friends I have met in person, some are family, but most send their kind souls out through the magical world wide web and that is the only way we would have ever connected. I think.

One of them felt my pain as she admits to dwelling on those things herself. One put great thought and care into responding with personal anecdotes and information. And, one sent me outside. I went.

I could hear the scrub jays calling…creating quite a ruckus. I followed the sound to my pomegranate tree located at the very farthest corner of our backyard, which is hidden from easy view. When I got there, the birds had gone. But, I noticed that the fruits looked like they were ripening already.

Reaching up into the branches, I plucked one from its stem. It was quite firm and none of the fruits had split or been pecked open yet. I had to really work at it, but figured I would keep trying, just to see if it was ready to eat. To my surprise, it was!

This tree has survived a lot of neglect, being out of view such as it is. Yet, it still bears a most interesting fruit. When I planted it, I had not realized it was different than other pomegranate trees. It is unlike the gleaming, vibrant red jewels I remember from childhood…staining my hands and face and getting me in trouble with a crabby third grade teacher. No, the fruits of this tree are the softest pinks and translucent white…like tiny quartz gems all lined up in curvaceous rows. I pondered the beauty in its subtlety. I accepted its differences as being quite a blessing. As I peeled back the mysterious layers, I discovered pure JOY!

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Do you see it?

Oh, and by the way, the scrub jays have not made a peep ever since!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Longing for the Forest



       Well, Summertime is approaching quickly and I can’t wait to go camping again. I keep looking at the photos we took during our last trip. While it started out with several mishaps, it ended up being one of the best trips we’ve ever had!

       Relying on serendipity, we drove to campground after campground and there were no sites available. We were unfamiliar with this area and had only one choice left. So we headed back down the mountain and turned off toward the only campground we hadn’t already checked. As we drove through, we had the sinking feeling that we would not find a site big enough for our “super-dome” of a tent. (It’s a big one alright….big enough to dance in….but…nobody will dance with me! WAAAAAAAAAH!)

       Anyway, to our surprise, the last site before the driveway exiting to the highway was open and, upon further inspection, it was big enough, too! Later, a woman at the restrooms commented that we snagged the best spot in the whole campground!   I have to agree…with a meadow behind us and a creek flowing past….it was PERFECT!

       I sooooo love exploring near the creek. Around every bend in the path, beyond every little thicket or stand of trees, is another awe-inspiring scene.

       The first night, I made chicken and dumplings in the dutch oven, nestled in hot coals.  That is, after our son used flint to make fire since we had forgotten the matches.

       The next night we had so many trout…and they were so fresh and delicious. Another mishap was when I discovered I’d forgotten to bring flour to bread the trout. I added spices to my pancake mix and dusted the fish in that. It turned out so yummy…if I do say so myself! Winking smile

I have so many more photos, but can’t find what SD card they are on. One of the funniest is a photo of a trout that was so big it didn’t fit in my frying pan. I told our son that I need smaller fish! He had a quick come-back for that. He quipped that he’ll get Dad right on that! (They have a little fishing rivalry going on.) 

It was such a fun trip! I hope we can get back to the Eastern Sierras soon. I really feel the desire to wake up to the sounds of nature, unzip the tent and see a glorious, snow-capped mountain, and sneak off for a little while.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Perfect Sunday Hike

The Sunday before Easter, my family and I discovered another wonderful place to take a little day hike. It’s the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.

I took a lot of photos, of course! How could I resist? The wildflowers were blooming all around the meadows, which are dotted with large, gnarled oak trees.

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We had such a magical day!

Here’s the link to the Reserve’s website:

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Jungle Outside my Door

Sure, it may not look beautiful from across the street. The roses are overgrown and the birdseed has sprouted into a massive bamboo-like stand which towers overhead. The tangle of purple vines and gnarled trunk of grapes is out of control and now engulfs the rickety bench below.

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The Contorted Mulberry is just so. The neglected Peach tree, a cutting from a departed friend, is still struggling to overcome adversity. Behind the hedgerow of unkempt Boxwood...(more like "Out-the-box Wood"), the Bay tree I bought at a yard sale years ago still offers leaves for my stew.

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After splitting and losing a limb, the Mesquite hybrid planted by Mrs. Turner still stands and gives us shade. She would not be so proud to look down from the clouds and see its un-pruned canopy. She would, however, be proud in the fact that it still stands after all the neighbors told her not to plant it in the first place.

Now, I wonder…can there be too much passion in the garden? Well, when it comes to the Passionflower vine which migrated under the block wall to escape the neighbor’s hired help, yes…yes, I think there may be a bit too much passion back there. In fact, it has climbed the telephone wires and is trying to overtake the Mesquite. Now, it peers over the wall at Ms. Pat’s barren yard and sticks its tendrilly tongue out at her. I’m sure she is not amused.

Here, in this horticultural mess, I find peace. I can get lost and hide away in the dark, hidden nooks of my jungle. It may not look great from afar, but when I am hidden amongst the blanket of leaves, sheltered by the outstretched arms of beauty gone wild and free, I feel safe.

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Sometimes if I think too much, I feel sad to see that I have not mothered my garden well. But, perhaps in her unwavering tenacity, she has mothered me.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Trying a new way to edit my Blog.

I discovered this thingy on my new computer called Windows Live Writer. So, I’m experimenting with it to see if it makes it easier to post.

Now I will attempt to add a photo in just the right spot.

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Oh, WOW! I think this is going to be MUCH easier!!!! WOOHOO!

(P.S. this is another entry in the sketchbook I’ve been working on.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Year, New Ways?

Here it is, the end of January. My resolution was to make small changes, and to keep trying even if I don't at first succeed. I HAD a tendency to get overwhelmed and then
paralyzed from indecision or confusion. (Using past tense to show a change in attitude.) Now, I will step back from those moments and reassess my strategy....take it in small steps if I have to.

So, here is my small step toward keeping up with my blog. :)

I will not try to be perfect here....because th
at is what would make me freeze up in the past. So, please bear with me if things are out of order....or typos abound.

Let's see, I guess an update on Charlie is due.

He's still pluggin' along. And, when I see the warmth in his eyes...past my own reflection in his clouded field of vision, I still see the loving puppy that I agreed to care for until the end. It makes the chore of cleaning up after his...senior issues...much more tolerable.

We spent some time this morning warming up in the sun-drenched grass. He and Grace enjoyed lots of tummy rubs and my horrible migraine went away!

The cherry on top was that I witnessed the return of Western Bluebirds to our area.

As for my art, I've been finishing up an art journal project and working on a commissioned painting. I'll fill you in on that later. For now, I'll hit publish and feel like I accomplished something.'s a start, right?