Thursday, August 25, 2016

In Madison, Ohio, near Cleveland, we're enjoying a visit with family.  This afternoon we went down to Lake Erie and walked around trails that passed through woods and monuments. What a wonderful part of the world this is.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

There is a Child Alive in Me

There is in me alive a child who tugs
and sets my face toward the rising sun
on days when clouds obscure the sky,
who shows me how to be what I must be.
He is that part of me that I can always trust,
that asks questions
instead of bluffing with an answer
when it’s clear I haven’t got a clue.
And when I die it will be he who leads me
into darkness wondering but unafraid.

Monday, August 22, 2016

My major task today was checking, sorting old photographs, mostly slides, but also some prints.  All day the past kept moving into my consciousness.  I looked at images of people and places, mostly at images I captured a long time ago, and I tried to decide what to do with them.  It was hard to throw away anything, even the smallest least significant thing.  I’m finally getting around to doing the first part of something that I’ve said I must do someday.  Now is the time. I recognize those people in the pictures standing by a seaside or before a mountain. I’ve lived in many places and have known many people.   Memory is mostly a good thing, a sweet thing.  Even those pictures of me that someone else took, the ones that show mustache and hair still brown, were of someone I remember fondly. 


Am I
the one
quivering there in mist?

a dream of the past
years stretching back
of a boy
almost innocent
how could he know
the world swallows everything…
especially people?

Saturday, November 17, 1990

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The slide at the entrance of First United Methodist Church in San Diego gave children a different kind of Sunday experience... one that they probably won't forget.  Wonderful! Is this Baptism?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Palm Bark is otherworldly.  As the palm tree grows, the old palm fronds as cut away, year after year, and finally the tree is tall and looks as if it belongs in San Diego.  It does belong.  I took two shots of the bark of the same tree.  The more I look at it, the more I like it.  Every line, every crack means something.  I don't need to know what the lines mean; but if I failed to recognize the beauty in them, I'd be poorer.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Watching the evening news on TV,  I saw floods in Louisiana and fires in California and there was that 5-year-old child in Allepo pulled out of a bombed building in Syria, and so I went to my notebook and found a poem I wrote on June 7, 1990. I don't know any more now than I did then about why some folks get slammed while others seem not to be hit at all.

What Is It In the Scheme of Things

What is it in the scheme of things
determines who will be happy and who won’t be?
Is there some game played by the gods.
(surely we want to think in greater numbers than one
to void offense for wondering if one deity alone
might be the author of such misery
as can be found within a ten minute walk
in any direction you choose from anywhere)
or is something else built into the universe quite by accident.
I prefer to think there is no intelligence behind it,
this dreadful disease that sweeps across the face of earth
dropping dismal despair on whole families
leaving others untouched and laughing all around.
Even Adam had a little trouble with his boys,
and for that matter, Jesus’ family
had more than a little confusion in it,
seeing as how there isn’t any such thing as a joyful pieta.
Tolstoy was on to something he didn’t finish telling
either because he didn’t have more information
or something or someone cautioned him to say no more
about how all happy families are alike
but unhappy ones are unhappy in their own way.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

BACK ON THE BICYCLE this afternoon… along the San Diego River in Mission Valley out to the Pacific Ocean.  San Diego by the river is a quiet place if you find a spot away from traffic.  I found such a place today.  The shoes: there is surely a story that I will never know.  Not knowing is sometimes better than knowing.  This was one of those times.  

Out at the entrance to Mission Bay some boats were resting and others were coming or going.  There are stories there, too.  Bicycling in the late afternoon is a good break from work that has to be done, and it gave me a chance to think over what I heard in the meeting last evening.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins is a movie worth seeing.  I’ve been reading essays and books on art lately, and I feel that there is something that I’m missing in the work of some artists. Some don't make sense sometimes. It’s interesting that Florence Foster Jenkins, the real person not Meryl Streep who played her in the movie, but the real Madam Florence thought she could sing correctly.  The experience of the movie is worth the time especially when it can be fitted in between other duties that are tiring. I hadn’t found my photograph for today before the movie, but driving home from the movie theater I remembered a single orchid, the only one on a stalk from last year that bloomed again this year, and I thought it would make an appropriate picture for today.  There is only one like it.  It’s beautiful.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Jerral and Jeremy, nineteen years ago, on the Davids' Boat, off San Diego.  Today's picture, which I took today of a picture that someone else took long ago warms my heart.  Jeremy and I spent the today sorting through some books.  He is the same person in the picture... only now he's a fine young man getting ready to go back to a job at NASA at the end of this month.  

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dahlia, Insect, Anniversary flowers at Church...  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I confess to an attraction to melaleuca trees.  I became aware today that most of the pictures I have taken of melaleucas are of dry, papery bark covering the lower area of the trees.  There is much to these trees than the loose flapping sheets of desiccated bark and interesting slits in the bark a few weeks or months before the flapping stage.  Today I got a picture of a melaleuca coming to life.  At a place where a big limb had been cut away, new green shoots had emerged. The tree is very much alive.  I'll try not to forget this stage.  The other two pictures are from other days.  The Japanese garden lantern is from Balboa Park's Japanese Tea Garden.  The vagabond standing in front of graffiti
is the beginning of something, not the end.  I came across the picture when I was downloading a set of pictures from a disc that I had thought was empty.   I took this one of myself last year in Lisbon.

Friday, August 12, 2016

August 12, 1955... a special day.  Sixty one years ago Margaret and I were married.  The years have been very, very good.  We celebrated the day with lunch at the DeRisi Home.  Everything was good, but Ruth's special cheesecake desert was the best cheesecake I've ever had...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Today’s photographs are actually part of an ongoing record of what was happening in my part of the world for the past couple of days.  The epiphyllum blossoms that are wilted are the end of those vibrant red blossoms I posted on the seventh of this month.  This is only the eleventh, and the final bulb on the mother plant opened yesterday.  I took the picture just this morning.   I went to the bank for Margaret a couple of days ago and got the picture of the hill above Mission Valley at the north end of Plaza Boulevard.  I think the area is called University Heights because SDSU ( I think this information is valid) was once a school either planned for the area or was actually located in the area for a time.  The first picture is from yesterday.  I was going into Linder Hall at First United methodist Church first to have supper and then to attend a discussion (called something with the word “holy” in it) about human sexuality, particularly whether or not the Methodist Church should end it’s homophobia and accept that LGBTQ persons, as well as all the other people who are human beings.  The church will leave the belief that people do not at some time in their youth choose their sexual orientation.  Science and psychological and social science have all determined through research and careful study that sexual orientation is built into the person from birth.  Of course, the church will eventually accept LGBTQ persons as legitimate persons, acceptable to God and to congregations for any employment the church has open to people.  The day will come soon when everybody who learned as children that the Bible is a historical text will have forgotten that there ever was a problem.  Some of them will learn that the Bible is a faith text, others will go on believing that the Bible is historically accurate in every respect, but that there is some other reason for the church’s change of heart and mind.  The church will change.  Some other Christian groups and other religious organizations will hold onto the “magic” elements in religion for a longer time; but they will be fewer and less powerful, and LGBTQ people will join the rest of the human community in lobbying for equality for all people. 

I looked at that last sentence and was about to change it to say that perhaps the rest of the human community will join LGBTQ persons in lobbying for equality for all people; and I changed my mind because I know some LGBTQ people who treat other people as inferiors, and I know of many people who are not LGBTQ who have soldiered on in favor of inclusion of all people without regard to sexual orientation.  So I’ll just say the world seems to be getting better… and I’ll wonder at least for the remainder of today if the world is indeed getting better.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Stepping outside my front door into the world I asked myself today if I felt safe.  The reasonable answer to the question is that I don’t feel unsafe.  The election is raising questions that are unsettling, but the unsettled state of the nation doesn’t make me feel unsafe.  Our wedding anniversary comes every August 12th, and this year I have a particularly good feeling about the marriage that has endured for more than 60 year.  I am never bothered with feelings that the marriage was in any way a mistake.  I wouldn’t change anything about my family.  I have been retired for more than a decade, even from that teaching job I did for seven years after retirement from the the main job of my lifetime.  There isn’t anything about any of that which I would change if I had some kind of magic that could make such changes possible.  Twenty years seems a very short period of time, and I am aware that if I live twenty years more I will endure past the age of 100.  Wow!  I still am not feeling unsafe in this world, the only world I know.  The election is bringing up questions that don’t have easy answers, but I’ve decided to stop saying that if that certain candidate should happen to be elected to the office of President, I would move to another country.  I’ve asked myself if I should stop saying it because I now believe he won’t win the election or if saying it is a political statement too elementary to be meaningful or that saying it means I would abandon my country under certain circumstances.  I have decided that I have always liked leaving the United States, but I like even more coming back to it.  NO… I am here for the long haul—for the long run.  

Whoever wins the election, the people who are ridiculous enough to elect a totally wrong person to serve as President are going to be here after the election  My first responsibility as a citizen of this good country is to celebrate my own citizenship by refusing to give it up. Instead of knuckling under a yoke of ignorance that threatens our democracy, I shall stand against ignorance, and I shall try to make my stand with grace and kindness.  I shall try very hard not to fall into the trap of becoming mean like some whose political ideas are different from mine.  I am determined to give enough thought to my own political responses so my responses won’t hurt even the demagogues.