Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Almost Wordless: Circumhorizon Arc

It had been gray for so long I thought I had simply fallen out of love with the sky and atmospheric optics. What would pull me out of the house to look up anymore? Anything? Then the skies turned blue. Then a display of clouds and ice crystals, a 22 degree halo around the sun lasting for hours, and ever so briefly a circumhorizon arc formed below the halo. It's so faint you can hardly see it, but it's there. It's there. My love had been renewed.

Monday, June 24, 2019

When The Earth Shakes

You never know when it's going to happen, but you always know that it will. That's what it's like when you live in "earthquake country." I've written about it before, the earthquakes that we have experienced here, but I can't help myself writing about it again. When the earth shakes like it did Saturday night, it makes me want to write.

There is something about earthquakes that both scare and delight me. Isn't that crazy? We never know when one will strike, how destructive it will be, how long it will last, but we know that it's inevitable one will. The power of the earth to move like this is pretty profound. If you are safe, if you know how to respond, if it's not so destructive that you run out of food, water, or power, or if your house simply crumbles on top of you, it's an experience that makes you marvel at how the state of California came to look as beautiful it does.
It started to shake at 8:53 pm. We felt it. It wasn't anything like the biggest quakes we have felt, but it was a pretty good rolling around of unsteadiness beneath us. The weird thing is that while it was happening neither Roger nor I practiced any of the safety responses that we've read about, and that I actually performed in an earthquake preparedness drill. I think it's because this quake was not a roaring instant jolt. We simply looked at each other with that wild expression on our faces and the WOW of the moment on our lips. It shook. It shook. It rolled. It stopped. I immediately went to the USGS website to report that we felt it.

It will happen again. This we know for certain. Will we remember to do any of the things we're supposed to do? Good question.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Wordless Wednesday: One Dewy Rose

iPhone photo in the early morning

Monday, June 17, 2019

Finding Ways To Laugh

We go out for a walk every morning after our first cup of tea. We call it our little neighborhood walk, a little more than a mile. It's just a way to get out and breathe the morning air and get a start on the day. We go early, before the handful of commuters and kids are out there heading off to work and school. It's nice and quiet, and the streets are empty. We noticed about two weeks ago that the city had installed radar speed signs on both sides of the road as a way to let the commuters know how much they were exceeding the speed limit. Most of them do go pretty fast. Well, on one morning the other day I noticed a jogger running down the road. I looked at the speed detector and it surprised me to no end that it actually detected his speed. He was running at 4 mph. For some reason seeing that inspired me to see if I could get that radar detector to see me.

So the next time we were on the road in the early morning, I asked Roger to photograph me running down the street when the detector detected me. It worked! I was running at 6 mph hours for that short little sprint of a jog. We laughed and laughed. Confirmation that it worked, that I do actually exist and I can run pretty fast for a short distance. We laughed some more.

I sent this photo to my family. They had such funny responses. One suggested that now I should start practicing to run at the speed of light. Another said it was great, but I'll probably never break the speed limit on the road. And another pondered if any bystanders would actually mistake me for a real jogger. We laughed and laughed some more.

It was a good balance to the absolutely crazy, heartbreaking, and mind-blowing unreal times we are living in. What makes you laugh these days? Please feel free to share!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Blue Skies and A Bomber

We went for a walk on a beautiful sunny afternoon to enjoy the warm temps and blue skies.

We looked up and noticed a plane flying low in the sky. It didn't look like any of the planes we'd ever seen before. So, of course, I photographed it. Turns out there is a sky show of old World War II bombers in Humboldt County, and we got to see one. It's a B-17.  What a crazy surprise!

Sunday, June 09, 2019

D-Day Plus 3

This is a copy of an old post that I posted on the blog on Memorial Day back in 2005. I put a link to it on Facebook just the other day on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. I am reposting it for blogging friends who are not on Facebook. When I think about this experience my father had as a 25 year old young man from New Jersey, it blows my mind.
My father was a combat medic during World War II. He landed in Normandie on D-Day +3, and made his way behind enemy lines in the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded the Purple Heart for a severe back injury sustained while rescuing fellow wounded soldiers from an overturned tank. That was a life-long, but bloodless injury. When my father was released from the hospital, he went AWOL. It's true. He and a fellow solider went to Paris for a week to really recover. When he returned to the front lines, he was told that he had a choice to make: Be recommended for a Silver Star for bravery AND face a court martial for going AWOL, or no court martial, but lose the Silver Star. He chose not to go to court.

The combat medic was one of the unsung heroes of World War II. He lived with the front line infantrymen and was the first to answer a call for help. He gave first aid to his wounded comrades and helped them out of the line of enemy fire. More often than not, he faced the enemy unarmed and was the foundation of the medical system with hundreds of thousands of surgeons, nurses, scientists, and enlisted medics.

The main objective of the medic was to get the wounded away from the front lines. Many times this involved the medic climbing out from the protection of his foxhole during shelling or into no-man’s-land to help a fallen comrade. Once with the wounded soldier, the medic would do a brief examination, evaluate the wound, apply a tourniquet if necessary, sometimes inject a vial of morphine, clean up the wound as best as possible and sprinkle sulfa powder on the wound followed by a bandage. Then he would drag or carry the patient out of harms way and to the rear. This was many times done under enemy fire or artillery shelling.

My father told us many stories of the things he had seen on the battlefield. The cries he heard. The limbs he had seen strewn about. I wouldn't say he was haunted by it, but he never forgot.

When I was young, my father was the go-to guy for all the neighborhood kids when they sustained a street injury. He could put together a butterfly bandage with his eyes closed. He was fearless around blood, and the kinds of things that made other parents very squeamish. When my cousin nearly tore off her finger in a door-closing accident in the 1950s, my father was the one who bundled her up and took her to the hospital. He was the epitome of the calm and quiet combat medic always.

On this day the 75th anniversary of my father's landing, I remember my father who passed away in 1992. This is my Silver Star of recognition for a true hero.