Monday, March 31, 2014

Can’t show everything that caught my attention today... but I captured some of it with my camera.  Most of it I didn’t get, however; but it’s just as well. I wouldn’t know what to do with it if I got all of it.  How is it possible ever to get into a picture that amazing light that spreads  slowly over the world just after a heavy downpour when the darker clouds are breaking and lighter, whiter ones are beginning to peek out hinting that there is a great expanse of bright sky out there somewhere.  

Just after seven this morning, Tillie and I headed out in a light rain to get the paper.  The rain was falling from a heavy cloud cover, so our part of the world hadn’t brightened enough for easy photography.  Every morning this week on our walk out to the Comptche-Ukiah Road we’ve seen deer.  Yesterday we saw eight Well, maybe only six. I half suspect the last two we saw were two we had seen earlier half a mile back on the road. They may have dashed through the woods to get around in front of us again on down the road. This morning two jumped quickly into the forest when we came upon them grazing on wet spring grass beside a driveway.  I had my point-and-shoot camera ready in my pocket, but I wasn’t quick enough on the draw any day to get a picture.

I went out a few times during the day, mostly in those intervals when the rain let up, to give Tillie a chance to stretch and run. Dampness saturates all colors... not just the inside of the abalone shell I took from a pile of them discarded down by the old red house, but everything... even the dullest gray is exciting when it’s wet. The basic red corrugated siding of a shed by the red house becomes an abstract expressionist work of art.

Check out the little dragonfly…

Sunday, March 30, 2014

…BEGINNING with the Banana Slug


“If a bull gores a man or woman to death, the bull is to be stoned to death, and its meat must not be eaten.  But the owner of the bull will not be held responsible.  If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull is to be stoned and the owner also is to be put to death. However, if payment is demanded, the owner may redeem his life by the payment of whatever is demanded.”  

Exodus 21:28-30

Now somebody tell me again why it is that the Bible is considered to be the divinely inspired, inerrant Word of God and why it is that many of the people who worship that referenced god believe that obeying directives and commandments of that god is always the right thing to do...come hell or high water. (You may want to check Genesis, chapters 5 through 10 for what to do about hell and high water.)  I got onto this little wild goose chase (I’m thinking I’ll take a chance by being completely irreverent here, delivering myself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand and like a bird from the hand of the fowler, etc. [reference here is Proberbs 6:5] over the “hell or high water” metaphor by changing from ox to goose ) when I read in The Press Democrat newspaper this morning that Republican farmers in the Central Valley are feeling the squeeze (they grow oranges, no bull) not so much from the drought which they suggest has been caused by Democrats in Congress, particularly Nancy Pelosi whom they despise, but from the scarcity of laborers to work their land and harvest their crops... and the farmers, mostly Republicans, are mixing feelings the way I am mixing metaphors. Chuck Herrin (Don't misunderstand. I'm not saying get rid of this guy whose last name is Herrin.  I'm thinking his name is Charles, so they call him Chuck), a farm-labor contractor and lifelong Republican who grew up in Central California, says  “What we have going on now is a farce -- a waste of time and money.  The country should be considering ways to bring workers in, not keep them out.  We need these people (he means Mexicans) to get our food to market.” 

Does Mr. Herrin know that the only way “the country” can figure out how to bring in workers” is by having the Speaker of the House of Representatives bring the issue to the floor of Congress for discussion and action?  Does he know that the Speaker of the House is a Republican and that the Republicans, a majority in Congress, are the ones refusing to produce an immigration law that would allow farmers to hire immigrant workers?  Nearly all farm workers in the Central Valley of California are immigrants.  Herrin explained that home grown Americans don’t do that kind of work. According to estimates from agricultural economists at UC Davis., roughly half of California’s immigrants are living in the U.S. illegally.  

Another Republican, Tom Nassif, the president of the Western Growers Association, said, “I can tell you if the Republicans don’t put something forward on immigration, there is going to be a very loud hue and cry from us in agriculture.  We are a tremendously important part of the party, and they should not want to lose us.”  

Oh, I know, I know!  You’re thinking I’ve forgotten that we’ve got some despicable doings going on in the Democratic Party, too. The party may not have been gored by an ox, but it has been butted and bruised by its own asses.  State Democrat Leland Yee from San Francisco was arrested last week in an FBI sweep on corruption and gun trafficking charges. The senate suspended Yee and two other Democrat state senators, Ron Calderon, on corruption charges, and Rod Wright, found guilty of voter fraud. Adding insult to injury to the party and to California voters, all three declined to forgo their $95,291 annual salaries while they are on suspension which will almost surely end with dismissal without pay in the near future. Good riddance of bad rubbish. 

Start with a metaphor; end with an idiom. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

All Right!  The time has come to post what the very talented Abigail can do.  

She’s young, but smart.  She dances... and runs... and jumps... and rolls... and she attacks imaginary mice.  Did I say she dances.  Yes... to her own music; and there’s a good lesson in that.  She knows how to signal that she’s glad you’re in the world with her.  In the middle of last night, she patted my ear ever so lightly... just enough to say “I’m here and you’re here and that’s enough.”  I like Abigail... and I don’t mind admitting she likes Margaret even more than she likes me.

If you don’t live in a western part of North America, you may not know manzanita. It’s the common name for the genus Archtostaphylos, although the way I see it there’s nothing common about the name manzanita.  Of the forty species of Arctostaphylos in California, I particularly like the form that grows in Mendocino County.  The gnarly mahogany trunk becomes spectacular in the rain. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Critters in the rain...

Susan’s home where we are staying while she takes a break in Hawaii is in a redwood forest close enough to the great ocean so we hear the roar of it, especially when a storm comes in from the northwest the way it did today, making the sea dance. . 

Of all her critters... four friendly, painted chickens, squirrels, Tillie, Abigail, at least one mountain lion and a bear that don’t show up except as digital images when they trip the shutter on a camera set to “catch” them, and four friendly, painted chickens... Tillie is the one who has trained me and captured my imagination. Coming in a close second is Abigail, a little jet-black kitten who has learned that I don’t mind sharing my pillow with her. Tillie has trained me to carry treats on our walks for when she climbs on a stump and says with her eyes, “O.K., See how clever I am. let’s have it.”

The rain and wind make the sea dance.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Trying to find the right word: redact, throwback, reiterate, exculpate, redo, repeat, resemble, absolve, exonerate, ingeminate, vindicate, assoil...

O.K., I’m going with ingeminate... THIS IS INGEMINATE THURSDAY.  I admit it doesn’t have the same ring to it that “Throwback Thursday” has, but never mind.  I like ingeminate.  It doesn’t have that pushy tossing implication. Of course, I know it doesn’t have anything at all to do with germinate, but how can you write or say ingeminate without at least thinking about ingerminating or engerminating.  I know there are no such words as ingerminating and engerminating because I looked them up and there was nothing there... so with germinating or germinable or germinator finally unstuck from my mind, I refocused and went back (good way to put it) to posting the pictures of a red house and surrounding other places I first saw more than fifty years ago. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Any healthy, reasonably intelligent person who has reached an age at least five years beyond adolescence and spends even a little time thinking about issues beyond meeting basic personal needs for food and shelter can figure out the difference between what is real and what doesn’t make even a little bit of sense. Implications (or intimations) of immortality strewn throughout every issue of every daily newspaper are seldom questioned or challenged.  Religion as motivation and reason for action is routinely accepted as logical therefore reasonable explanation. Where’s the logic in an explanation without objection for mass murder committed because a religious group declares their belief that God has commanded that it be done.  According to John Brennan, CIA director, we can expect more frequent and more sophisticated terrorism attacks against Europe the United States because Qaida operatives based in Syria have brought to that troubled country “a wide range of skills to the battlefield, such as bomb-building, small-arms tactics, logistics, religious indoctrination and planning.”  It’s the “religious indoctrination” bit as explanation for why bomb-building, small-arms tactics, and logistics are designed to destroy people that should move to the center of the thinking of every individual in the every civilized community.  

Perhaps disarmament could begin at the most basic level... with what we refuse to encourage our children to believe... with religion... with indoctrination... with confirmation. What a different world ours would be if all religions could manage to expunge from their basic doctrines every idea that encourages hurting any person... not just physical hurting but emotional hurting any person.  It’s bad enough for adults to communicate to children their personal bigotry, their biases; but when adults systematically use religion to encourage children to worship a god who, they are told, despises and rejects people... and plans their destruction...  Wow!   Think about it.

Christians who believe it’s a problem with other religions but not theirs may want to go see the anticipated blockbuster NOAH before they take their children to see the movie.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

She sits enthroned by nature, on the coast
Of California, like a reigning queen of villages,
And every other town in every other land
Tries in vain to be as elegant and simple 
All at once the way she does it without trying
To impress or sell herself for short term profit.

Timelessness is Mendocino’s strongest suite,
Her elegant houses no more valued or loved
than new ones  designed for now and later
technologies and economies not developed
yet but sure to come to protect and save
what people who live here want to keep.

It’s the sea’s compromise with wind and cliffs
where a serious Big River calmly but surely
pushes out from primeval forests past beaches
they want to preserve uninterrupted and spoiled
by what passes for progress in other places
where mega-hotels and carnivals are preferred. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

The house where we are staying with Tillie and Abigail is set in a clearing between a pigmy redwood forest and a grove of standard redwood trees. These very different side by side forests of the same astonishing coast redwood species would have fascinated Charles Darwin if he had wandered in this part of Mendocino County.  Coast redwood (Sequouia sempervirens) is the tallest tree species in the world, yet here near the Van Damme State Park ecological conditions have produced dwarf trees that are definitely of the same species as their tall cousins. Flowers growing here, including the amazing coast Rhododendron, seem not to be affected by the conditions that stunt the growth of trees in the pigmy redwood forest.

The Rhodondendron blossoms will open before we leave this place, so I'll try to get some good photographs of them.