Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Redwood and Marsh State of Mind

Some days just beckon with their beauty. "Come outside, come outside and walk in the quiet redwood forest. Stand among the giants. Be transported by awe." So off we went.

Roger stood in the hollow of one the trees to give you a perspective of size, also just to stand in something that once lived and towered over the forest floor and began its life before most of the last 2000 years of history unfolded.
There is something about these trees that almost defies perspective. We came upon one hollowed out tree that was so large that two homeless people had set up a rather comfy camp within. Not this tree, but one very much like it.
A walk in the woods is always good to be reminded of the simple power of time. I posted this photo on Facebook and wrote that it reminded me of CSNY's song Find The Cost of Freedom. These lines in particular: Mother Earth will swallow you; lay your body down.
After the redwood forest walk, we headed over to the Arcata marsh to see the open skies and be delighted by the ponds. We were so happy to find pelicans and migrating Marbled Godwits.
The godwits were beautifully camouflaged among the rocks, waiting for the tide to go back out so they could find more delicious things to eat.

After these sights we headed home so happy that the day had beckoned us and we had followed.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monday Was A Day Without Fog

Almost all of California's central and northern coast is known for its foggy summer weather. The interior heat pulls in the moisture from the evaporative ocean air, and voila fog fog fog. Arcata is no exception and is really known for its gray summer days. So when a day dawns clear and bright in the month of July, it is a day to run outside and look for the splendors of the sky.

First, we saw beautiful and subtle iridescent clouds. Always a wonderful sight.

Then, we drove to the neighboring town of Eureka to look at rentals for the kids and grandkids who are moving up here in August. It was a lovely little adventure and on the way home the sky was like a cloud sampler.

And finally, after dinner we took a look west, straight down the street and saw this.

So pretty with that hint of pink iridescence above the sun. But then, of course, the sky went a little crazy and had to wow us with a sunset sundog.

We loved ending the clear day with a sky like this.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Shorebirds (and then some words for "T")

And then a few words. Roger and I lost a dear friend and fellow blogger last week. The news of his death took our breath away. We've been fans of Adgita Diaries for almost a decade. We thought of MandT as friends. We were a part of each other's lives, even though we never met. We knew each other the way we know most of you, through these shared words, dreams, photographs, and stories. Trace died on July 10th of congestive heart failure. His loving partner and husband "M" posted this on the blog. Please take a look. We grieve and weep and send our deepest sympathy.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

125 Miles On The Long and Winding Road

We took a short trip inland mid-week to finally meet and hold our beautiful new granddaughter Luna Faye who was born May 14th on the night of the full moon. Moving here to Arcata has brought us much closer to Happy Camp, Ca where little Luna is living with her beautiful mama Indigo, her dad Kenneth, and her siblings. Driving to Happy Camp is a bit daunting for me because I have some travel anxiety. Highway 96 is a narrow two-lane highway (and sometimes one lane where the rocky cliff faces have fallen to the pavement and shattered), and the ride is 125 miles (201 km) one way to get there. But I mustered up the courage, and we hit the road.

Lucky lucky us, the road is so beautiful, and trepidation turned to delight. This is the amazing view of the summer-low Klamath River, mile after mile on a twisting highway that turns like the river itself. It is a watercourse way inland, upriver to the lands of the native tribes of northern California. The temperature rises higher and higher the farther east we go. When we arrived it was 101 F (38 C) degrees in Happy Camp. The heat hardly mattered though, because we got an even warmer embrace from our loved ones. It's why we came all this way.

We were surprised to learn that this beautiful creek with a wonderful swimming hole is just below Indigo's house. The family heads down there everyday for a cooling swim. What a beautiful spot to spend a hot afternoon. I had to bring the camera down to the creek with me and take a good look for the things that delight my optical senses. Lucky lucky me! There were caustic displays on the creek that day. I'm just wild about this stuff.

So we spent the day getting to know the baby, playing in the creek, eating good food, and enjoying the surrounding view of the vast forested mountains in Six Rivers National Forest. California is really one big wildly beautiful state. In the morning, the thunderstorms rolled in and cooled the temperatures way down.

I went out to look at the sky, and I think this may be my first view of an Asperatus formation. Even if it's not, it sure is a beautiful undulating sky that looks like stormy sea, which is how Asperatus is defined. We hit the road home just after noon and drove the long and winding road back to the real sea. We are so glad to be living close to family and these dreamy inland mountain roads.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Settling In

Humboldt Bay
We've been in Arcata for a little over two weeks now and adjusting quite well to our crazy little rental house in a crazy little neighborhood. For the past ten years our windows opened to the wild world. In Port Townsend (2004-2008) and Grass Valley (2009-2014) we watched a parade of coyotes, bobcats, fox, skunks, deer, and more bird species than I could possibly remember. In Capitola (2008-9), we saw whales, dolphins, sea lions, harbor seals, and more shorebird species than I could possibly remember. Now our north facing windows by the kitchen table face the street. We see a different kind of wildlife. Our neighbors go by on every mode of transportation-- by foot, car, bicycle, skateboard, and motorized scooter. In this college town, the last days and first days of the month means houses being vacated by students and being newly rented by other students. It's a steady stream of comings and goings, cars loaded with stuff driving away; cars loaded with stuff arriving. A riotous continuity of life, like the dens on the creek vacated by the fox, re-inhabited by the skunk.
Ducks at the marsh

We walk into town at least once a day. It's a 2 1/2 mile (4 km) trek roundtrip. The town is always teeming with life. It's like a flashback to the late 60s and early 70s, when people wore handmade tie-dyed shirts and peace and love was the currency of the day. Yes, there's a crazy contingent of homeless folks, meth-heads, drug-addicts of all sorts, and straggling loose-end travelers, but the ambience of the town is still a throwback to an old dream.
Two Willets

We've been out bike riding too. It's been four years since we've had an opportunity to take our old bikes out, so we dusted the pine pollen off and rode out to the marsh. It's a wonderful ride after dinner with the summer sun still high and the marsh wildlife still out in the rippling tide.

This new life here is such a radical change for us. The years we spent in Grass Valley were very socially isolating. We've talked to more people here in two weeks than we spoke to there in four years. We like the sound of warm hellos.

PS-- In the more mundane aspects of life:

We're waiting for our new washer and dryer to be delivered. That's supposed to happen on Tuesday. We did laundry at a LAUNDROMAT for the first time in more than 25 years.

We did not renew our directv contract and decided not to get cable-tv either. We bought a HD antenna and hooked it up to the TV. We get ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX (not news), two movie channels and some re-run stations. We don't watch much TV, so this is definitely more than enough for our minimal appetites and a total delight to be rid of the corporate monsters.

We love having mail delivered right to our front door. Not having to walk a third of a mile on a winding highway rode to get our mail is pure joy! The simple, mundane pleasures of life in this 21st century.