Sunday, October 26, 2008

When A Moth Makes Your Day

I keep trying to come up with something to say here. We seem to be in the midst of too many personal crises to even think about our lonely, little blog. I actually thought about creating a personal ad:


Between broken ankles and panic attacks, emergency appendectomies, and a rather crazy certain someone whose familial relationship shall not be identified, but whose self-centered, selfish, cantankerous ways are the stuff of family legend, we are at the frayed end of our old ropes. Tired. Very tired.

Still, we summon from some depths of ourselves the energy to hit the road one more time and drive south on Monday to spend the week with my mother. We hope to help her transition from the evil nursing home back to her own place with 24 hour home health care and some good home-cooked food. I keep telling her that just being back in her own bed with her laptop and three-weeks of email, great youtube videos, and Netflix movies, she'll be back to herself in no time.

Before the emotional deluge, we watched dolphins diving into the roiling surf, so close to shore we could make out what looked like an adult and two juveniles. Whales seem to come reliably into the bay along a very particular route, probably straight over the Monterey Canyon. We know where to look to find them on the horizon. When we have time, we actually remember to do it.

Lately in the wee hours of a still-dark morning we have been awakened by a barking sea lion. It is a sound that, even while being beautiful and wild in its own right, makes us long deep in our bones for a howling coyote and miles of woods and meadows around us.

We miss you. Heck, we miss ourselves.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Yellow Moon on the Rise

Sometimes the sky here is surreal. A yellow moon rose in the rosy sunset sky. Made us think of Neil Young and how lyrical the earth can be.

We're paying a lot of attention to politics lately, but not saying a word about it here. There is certainly no dearth of opinion already out there. You know us, you know what we hope will happen on November 4th. We've never wanted 18 days to fly by as quickly. As long as there are yellow moons rising, whales that flash their slick black flippers in the bay, and the sound of waves in a constant reassuring sea, we can abide.


(Embiggen the photo to really see the yellow moon. A totally un-Photoshopped photo)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Light Wednesday

I was hoping the photograph would convey just how red the wings looked on this very golden dragonfly in the afternoon sun. It reminded me of all the times I tried to photograph the diamond bright raindrops on the backyard trees, when the sun finally peeked through the clouds after a rain. The yard lit up like a Christmas scene every time, but the photographs never captured the tiny globes of shining light everywhere.
So, I followed this dragonfly to its perch. Its wings glittered and glinted like they were made of precious jewels. How could a camera grab an instant of light like that, I wondered.

(Photos should be embiggened.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Go 4 Rest Stop

We left southern California at 9:00 am Sunday morning, after stopping to see my mom at the nursing facility. She was sad to see us go, but knows we will be back in a two weeks to check in on her progress. She's really doing well, although, she is understandably frustrated. At 83, who wants to have to take on this kind of effort and burden? We reassured her that all of her physical therapists say that she has what it takes: strength and vitality, even if she is a bit forlorn about it all.

The only way to drive through LA is at 9:00 on a Sunday morning going 80 mph (128.75 km/h). Everyone else is either in church or at home hungover, either way pulling the blankets over their eyes. Excellent. We were on the other side of LA county by 10:15 and driving along the ocean at Santa Barbara by 11:20. Fast. Safe. Sailing.

We stopped at the first rest area on this stretch of highway. We had a little picnic. We always pack our own food for the road. Sitting at a cement picnic table, the highway sounds came in over our shoulders. We sat. We stared. We said a few words about everything. We stared some more. The wind was blowing the few fallen leaves and the movement caught my eyes. Was there something else? Maybe. Then the little brown head popped through the ground hole.

Hello there, little gopher. Mind if I come over to take a closer look?

Well, yes, as a matter of fact I do, this is as close as you get, lady.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Updates and Surprises!

We're here in Laguna Woods, just a few short miles from Laguna Beach in southern California. My mother was moved to a skilled nursing facility Thursday afternoon and will begin her physical therapy soon. It will be a long road back home, to here, where I'm sitting at her dining room table typing these words. Ankle breaks are not easy, and that's especially true for old bones. We are hopeful, and my mother is incredibly strong-- both physically and mentally for the efforts that lie ahead.Still, I worry. How could I not? I woke at 3:00 am Thursday morning and could not fall back to sleep. After a while, I decided I should just turn on the computer and take a look at the news. It's all been bleak lately, and the 4:00 am perusal confirmed that was still true. Then I noticed there was new mail in our newdharmabums yahoo account with the subject line "duck in a box." What in the world could that be about, I wondered?
Aha! A stunning surprise awaited us. Back in September we wrote about a seeing an unfortunate duck that was being held in a box, in very distressing circumstances. In the post I was lamenting how some humans treat animals. But here was an email with tenderest story about how that duck, the very duck whose fate I had been lamenting, had been rescued by two wonderful and kind-hearted people. They wrote to tell us the news. The duck is now living with other ducks and returning to "normal" duck life. As the note said, eating grubs and rooting around the yard.
Is that not the most hopeful story? And then to top it all off, another email arrived as I was typing this post. It was from our dear neighbors back in Port Townsend. They sent these photos of the bobcat mama and her little bobcat babe. Sure made us miss our old backyard, but how could any heart not be completely lifted into orbit by such great news and photos? I know the stock market is crashing, and the world simply looks bleak, but my mother is in a convalescent hospital only two days after surgery, Rose the Duck is free and being lovingly cared for, and bobcats still saunter beautifully through the woods on a quiet October afternoon.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Wednesday with Few Words

Today we are driving to southern California to see my mother who took a serious fall late Friday night and fractured her ankle in three (not two, as originally reported) places. She had surgery on Tuesday morning. All went well, but she will need several months of physical therapy. For now she will be completely off her feet and will soon be in convalescent care for a while. We're heading down to sit by her bedside in the hospital and oversee the move to the next facility. It's one of the reasons we moved back to the bay area. Close enough to get to her without too much trouble. Okay, the thought of driving through all of Los Angeles fills us with dread and trepidation, still we can get there in a long day's drive.

Not sure when we'll be able to update the blog. Until then, here's a photo of a sunset we watched the other evening. The sky was a different and changing color in every direction, and seemed suddenly bigger than what we could possibly see. It felt good to feel so small.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Objective Reality

Can we agree that there is an objective reality? That an otter is an otter, and a butterfly is a butterfly, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican. Can we agree that a vice-presidential candidate should be able to take follow-up questions and answer them with some degree of coherence and logical syntax, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican?
Perhaps not.
We were just wondering.

The two otters were photographed late Saturday afternoon in Monterey Bay. The Common Buckeye butterfly was photographed Friday. Although, since reality is defined by our own predilections, we can decide what these are whenever we want to. In fact maybe they'd like to be vice president someday. They could you know.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Benefits of Distraction

Pain. It truly is a distraction. I can't have a sustained thought without wincing, especially if I move too quickly. I have no idea what I did, but for a full week now my lower back has been giving me grief. Every now and then I descend into the darkest of thoughts, it's not really a back ache, but something terribly wrong with my kidney, my colon, my descending aorta. I am going to die any minute, I swear something is about to rip apart and the face of an alien is going to burst from inside me. Pain.

So, I've been distracting myself with Suduko. Game after game. I don't want to read or think. I want to put numbers into squares and pretend that everything makes as much sense as that 1-9, over and over and over.

Still, the world outside of those squares seeps in. I hear there is going to be a debate tonight. Someone named Sarah Palin-- who doesn't know any other Supreme Court decision besides Roe v Wade, who believes global climate change is not man made, who knows that dinosaurs roamed our 6000 year old earth along side man, who knows more about oil and energy than any other American, whose foreign policy experience is limited to governing a state that has an island where Russia can be seen-- is going to debate some guy named Joe. You know, the one who talks a lot and says stupid things, but who really has actual practical experience. What does it matter? Doesn't confidence trump everything? And, that Palin girl is so nice and pretty.

My back hurts. Maybe it's not my back. Maybe I'm channeling the pain of a universe that's tired of our stupidity, our duplicity, our expediency. I'll just tag an extra $100 billion on this bailout bill and hope for the best. Stupid humans.

Didn't you think that we could be more than this? I did. I really did.