Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Margaret and I attended a meeting at First United Methodist Church in San Diego tonight, and we came away with a sense that we are part of a community that enriches us.  The senior pastor arranged with the School of Christian Studies to hold four evenings of discussion about the subject of human sexuality and the church's position relative to inclusion or exclusion of persons whose orientation is homosexual. We came away with the distinct impression that our part of the world is changing for the better.  Perhaps sixty people were in attendance, and the small group that sat around our table agreed that our community of faith is open and welcoming to all people... and that all means all.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I was looking through my journals again today, perhaps with the image of the two neighbor children standing proudly to have their pictures taken before their first day of school.  In the journal for Monday, March 12, 1990, I found a verse I wrote after Margaret and I saw David off to his first day of work at Scripps Clinic in San Diego.  He had finished his PhD work and was off to begin his post-doc assignment.  I remember the day as if it were yesterday.  

First Day

He came down to breakfast this morning
dressed for his first day at the clinic
and his Mother and I looked him over
the way we must have done on a dozen other first days
We approved his choice of shirt and trousers
then sent him out into the world once more,
this time as Dr. Miles, biologist and research scientist.
Parenting is interesting work when you can get it.

Monday, August 29, 2016

After reading in the New York Times about the valor of Sergeant John Chapman who fought alone on an Afghan mountaintop for more than an hour before his death, I went outside to clear my head and I saw my neighbor taking a picture of her two young children on their first day of school.  I had felt the world was a bitter, ugly place; and then I realized that I was wrong, that the world is full of beauty.  Although I shall never know the details of Sergeant Chapman’s family beyond the brief description of what he did on that mountaintop on the other side of the world from where I live in peace, that he had two daughters back in the States yet he chose to give up his own life to save his comrades, that he is remembered by those who fought with him as a gentle, good man… Life is good. 

Early this morning I was treated to a glimpse at an old ritual that I hadn’t forgotten, but had placed so far back in my mind that I felt as if I were seeing it for the first time.  My young neighbors were getting ready to go off to school, the first day of first grade for them… a new year in a new school… and they were standing patiently while their mother got a picture of them.  I horned in and got my picture for the day.  What beauties they are.  Later in the day I got a look at two other beauties.  The first one is the word beauty being painted red in North Park. The other is sunset from the patio of the fourth floor apartment that will become our home next week.  Life is good! 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Today we go back to San Diego, but before we leave we went over to Rabbit Run Theatre and to a couple of beaches on Lake Erie before going to the airport.  The pictures today are of the lake, Joaquin, my Son David, my Niece Janet, a sugar maple tree, and a close-up of another tree at Rabbit Run Theatre.The visit with my sister and her family has been very good.  She and Don are settled into their new home.  

Tonight Rabbit Run Theatre company will present the final production of The Complete Works of Shakespeare.  I’m sorry I’ll be leaving Cleveland without the pleasure of seeing the play.  Reviews in the newspaper have been good. Tomorrow I’ll be back to my regular routine of photographing whatever catches my eye, and writing. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday was a special day.  Before a picnic at Janet'sand Richard's house in the afternoon, some of us went up to Geneva on Lake Erie.  Geneva is a summer coastal section of the lake like the San Diego beach regions but this one is for the Cleveland area.  It's green and beautiful, but California beach towns are different in a good way.  The beaches here are manufactured and the houses along the beach remind me of Ocean beach in San Diego.  We go back home tomorrow with renewed appreciation for home.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The family met in Madison, Ohio, at a Mexican restaurant for supper.  I was aware of it before, but I became even more convinced that there are few collections of people more special, more precious than family.  Margaret and I have had a couple of days with Helen and Don and their children, then our children joined us.  We believe we have the perfect family.  Margaret and I agree that here is nothing about David, David or Nancy that we would change, and nothing about those we are visiting that we would change. Life is good.

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.