Friday, July 31, 2009

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Friendship surrounds, envelops, directs
attention to the calm day with little wisps
of fog and only a suggestion of clouds,
not anything that could bring a storm
to spoil a bicycle ride beside the sea.

Sometimes there is no explanation
for beauty... beauty which imposes itself
on all the senses at once deleting all
suggestions that somewhere there is war,
that underneath a bridge somewhere
someone is crying alone, forsaken
by the one in whom hope was invested,
and in a dark closet somewhere a child
is hiding and hurting from having been beaten.

We ride single file sometimes
side by side enjoying fellowship
grateful that things are good for us
if someone asks but mostly we don’t
notice our good fortune and only later
maybe we remember to remember.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

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I’m not sure why I turned to look when I did. In the middle of this morning I glanced over my shoulder to see the bird struggling to fly, and I recognized my little dove. It had left the nest with no help from the mother. I suppose that’s the plan. I guess I had thought the baby would be given some sort of signal and then instruction from the mother when it was time to leave the nest, but that didn’t happen. She was nowhere in sight. I think the signal for doves, perhaps for all birds, is hunger. The little guy, no more than three weeks old, left on his own. I grabbed my camera and went out to take a final set of pictures. It had hopped from a hanging air plant over to a planter of mixed tropical shrubs. I got very close. He just looked at me and sat very still. I took my pictures, resisted the impulse to try to help, and got out of the way to let nature take its course. I have been moved and humbled by the experience of watching the nest for the past couple of weeks. I think there must have been baby doves in the nest when I got back from Norway a couple of weeks ago. I assumed the female was sitting on eggs, but I guess the little guys were hiding out of sight already. The most astounding revelation for me has been how quickly the chicks have grown.

I won’t be able to tell which ones are mine when I see doves flying or sitting around our place, but I will always wonder if I am seeing them. It would be asking too much of nature to reveal it to me.
--John Keats

Linger awhile upon some bending planks
That lean against a streamlet's rushing banks,
And watch intently Nature's gentle doings:
They will be found softer than a Ring-Doves cooings.
How silent comes the water round that bend;
Not the minutest whisper does it send
To the o'erhanging sallows: blades of grass
Slowly across the chequer'd shadows pass.
Why, you might read two sonnets, ere they reach
To where the hurrying freshness aye preach
A natural sermon o'er their pebbly beds;
Where swarms of minnows show their little heads,
Staying their wavy bodies 'gainst the streams,
To taste the luxury of sunny beams
Temper'd with coolness. How they ever wrestle
With their own sweet delight, and ever nestle
Their silver bellies on the pebbly sand.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


For the full effect, click on individual images.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This Tuesday photo du jour almost makes me dizzy. In fact, all of the flowers in today's BLOG are incredibly and appropriately designed for their function as living things.FLOWER POWER

Monday, July 27, 2009


Walking through the meadow gingerly making my way
between a menacing stand of poison oak on one side
and the thick tangle of blackberry vines on the other
I wondered if the trail was used mostly by farm animals
and then I knew it didn’t matter who or what had worn
down the grass to make a clear way from here to there.
All paths lead to everywhere if one is willing to go back
when necessary to connect or reconnect to other roads.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

For several months a group to which I belong at First United Methodist Church of San Diego has been focusing on the humanity of Jesus. In doing so we have moved attention away from the, shall we say, magical stories told about him. We have been trying to see his life more as we think it actually was than as a Harry Potter kind of experience that ended tragically. Most of us in the group have come to think of him not in the same category as hobbits, trolls and unicorns. He was almost certainly not the conjurer that some of the Biblical writers and some modern-day preachers and teachers suggest he was. The words of the Christmas carol we sang as children say it best. He was our brother, kind and good.

We had someone visiting our group this morning, Marita Viloria, who has, as we say in America... “put her money where her mouth is...” In Baguio, Philippines, she has begun a program to help young prostitutes get education so they can get out of the oldest profession before they become too old and unattractive to continue their “work.” She is not judgmental. She knows they and their children could probably not survive without the income they earn selling their bodies. She gives them practical health information in her effort to keep them as safe as possible until they and their children can break away from their pimps. Most of the women and men prostitutes get into the business when are still children. Most are sold into sex slavery by their parents or other relatives. There are thousands of them in Baguio and millions more all over Asia.

On another subject: My doves are doing well. The male hasn’t shown up at all. The female was away from the nest almost all day yesterday and today. The time is seven thirty in the evening as I write this, and she still hasn’t come back to the nest. I took pictures of the two chicks today. I continue to be amazed at the rate of their growth. The feathers on their heads are now almost as smooth as those on their mother’s head, and just four days ago they were barely able to hold their frizzy heads up.All of today's pictures are of the chicks. In the photo above they look as if they could fly already. Of course, they can't; so I am being careful not to scare them into trying to fly away. Their mother will know when they are ready.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Beginning in 1855 and continuing for thirty-six years at sundown each day a lighthouse keeper climbed the winding stairs of the Old Point Loma lighthouse and lit its fresnel light to guide ships to the entrance of San Diego Harbor. At 422 feet above sea level it would have been in the perfect spot had it not been for low clouds and fog which often obscured the light. In 1891 a new lighthouse began service at the bottom of the hill. I prefer the old one. I go up there at least once each year to try to find a new way of seeing it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

O.K., O.K! I’m hooked... Who needs reality T.V.? Mother Dove and her two chicks have captured my attention. She is spending more time off the nest looking for food. I haven’t seen the male yet. I wonder what happened to him. Last spring he showed up to help shortly after the eggs hatched.

Check the Wednesday post below to see just how much a Dove chick grows in just two days. The startlingly fast growth of feathers is testimony to the beauty and power of evolution. The babies are most vulnerable while they are still in the nest. In a couple of weeks they must develop from tiny helpless, naked babies into birds that can fly. Amazing!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This is the weekend for San Diego’s biggest, and some say most important, convention. Comicon is a celebration of movies and comic books. Devotees come from all over the world to wear the costumes of their favorite comic book and movie characters. Some of them seem almost religious in their devotion to their stories. Others are obviously here for lighthearted fun and frolic. I easily recognized some of them by name. How could I not know Wonder Woman when I saw her... uh, uh, uh, magic lasso and magic bracelets. Most of the others were vaguely familiar, seeming to pop out of some movie I may or may not have seen.
One talented, enterprising young man, Ray Sumser, has created a 6 foot by 9 foot painting which is meant to be a catalog of all the characters expected to appear at Comicon. He is selling prints of his painting. You can find the details on his WEB site:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

LIFE GOES ON...The mother dove who comes a couple of times each year to lay her eggs in a hanging pot of jade which I have hanging outside my window has done it again. For the past couple of years she has laid eggs twice and each time she has brought two fuzzy, helpless, quite ugly little creatures into the world. The drill is always the same. She sits and watches me as I work at my computer; I turn often and acknowledge her. Today I carefully removed the screen from the window, set up my camera on a tall tripod, and slowly without making any startling moves aimed the camera and got a few pictures. I saw both chicks yesterday, but only one of the them made an appearance for the photograph today. Of course, I’ll keep trying. Papa Dove hasn’t come around this time. Last spring, I think it was March, he helped by bringing food. I expect him to show up any day now. The little guys get hungry and seem to make demands for food. The babies seem a bit rude, but the mother is very patient. I didn’t notice until two days ago that they had hatched. Mama Dove was sitting a little higher in the nest, so I looked closely; and sure enough there they were. I’m being careful not to spook them. I do believe the Mother knows and trusts me. As I type this, she is no more than ten feet from where I sit at my computer.