Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Pacific

A photographic expression of feet recognition rather than face recognition. Don't we all take our feet for granted; that is, until something happens...?

My feet being air cooled, not implanted in the cold wet sand.  At the oceanside, is this where I wish to be right now?  Not really.  I am pleased to be warm and sheltered where I sit looking westward.  Is the thought of being there--at the Pacific--sufficient? At this moment, yes.  Always it's the sound of the power of the waves crashing, pouring through me is what I crave, the enormity of the sound.

At this pre-Thanksgiving moment, I think of the ocean.  To the ocean, I bestow my awe and gratitude---for what it gives to us, and what it takes---without the ocean there would be no renewal. The ocean is another entity we tend to take for granted, until the ocean isn't behaving in a so-called normal fashion.

At Thanksgiving, stepping away from the table, stepping outside to nature seems to be the most sensible gesture; instead, we're expected to socialize inside, then eat and drink even more, and then expected to participate and indulge in copious food and drink throughout the holiday season until the New Year's resolutions to lose the accumulated weight.  Of course, not all of us follow this social pattern.  Not all of us have the benefit of over-flowing plates of food.

International tourists who love nature realize that Thanksgiving is a good time to enjoy our national parks because most of the population is inside eating, drinking and sitting, maybe standing.  One of the times of my life when I was most grateful was camping on the valley floor of Yosemite Thanksgiving night.  Always will I cherish that experience.  Awakening the next morning---in a sleeping bag, no tent, being there.  Another kind of enormity, another kind of beauty.

On this Thanksgiving, I am grateful that Cleto, my brother, does not have to suffer through another set of holidays.  Not being able to partake in the joy of food---not only the eating but the creating of taste--was painful for him.  When all food tastes metallic--that is one of the roughest of spots of a frustrated existence for anyone to endure.

The Pacific has absorbed his ashes, also a sprinkling of him was absorbed into the soil of his property. 

No, I did not take Cleto for granted.  This morning we were conversing---I was telling him that I purchased a new pair of New Balance Minimus, that my feet haven't been more at ease, except barefoot; that my heels are easier to lift. 

Shoes, he liked.  Though it was the walking in the shoes that never held its appeal.  Perpetually, his mind raced ahead...the philosophy of walking or the doing of it did not offer comfort.   He never told me why he didn't enjoy walking...

Before I was in elementary school, our father would tell tales of being constantly on the move during the war in Cebu...on the move on foot, seeking safety, food and shelter.  He wanted me to understand some of what they had experienced from his perspective of holding together a small family.  No longer having a home because the Americans had bombed their home and those of others, the Americans fearing that the Japanese would overtake the Filipinos.  They lived a homeless life, living in the jungle, on higher ground.  The trauma of World War II and the 4 post-war years were the foundation of Cleto's toddler and pre-school life experienced side by side with our brother Genie 2 years older.

With settlement no longer an abiding issue, I was born in CA after the family had been in CA less than a year. Throughout our relationship, never could he understand why I continue to be stimulated by the concept of the move, then dealing with the living in different places.  Luckily, I had the benefit of security, the living in one house all my growing up years.  Even at the end of his life, he kept on obsessing with me "Why are you bothering with another move after retirement?"  Obviously, it's a good question.  I believe that moving to another place allows another opportunity to consider life from another perspective...a chance to be refreshed.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Atmospheric conditions

From across the street will the sound of a basketball bouncing be heard this weekend?  It was. The even bouncing was heard last night after 8 pm.   Several years ago, the bouncing would be a few slow bounces, then the ball would be lost, a re-beginning, then some uneven bounces, a final silence.  With perserverence, a more even rhythm has been attained and sustained.

Listening to sounds.  Right now very distant barking from higher in the hills, the starting of a truck engine, a jet plane passing overhead.  Another jet---flight patterns have changed somewhat.  This morning a rainstorm is moving in.  A typical sunny Sunday morning the sounds from above would be emanating from the engines of small planes. 

During the workweek, the sounds of vehicle engines starting and moving near and far dominates to the point that I tend not to isolate individual sounds.  This is LA County...a to-ing and fro-ing occurs...residents drive out of town and are replaced by a range of day contractors.  The nearby workweek sounds tend to be of leafblowers, lawnmowers and other mechanical tools punctuating the surrounding environment.  

Being a pedestrian, I am more conscious of how the air is kicked up by the blowers.  I do my best to avoid streets driven by dust-creating activities.  Some of the contractors do try to be courteous with their activities, acknowledging the passage of pedestrians.  Overall, with the growing population of dogs, just think about what kind of decaying matter must be dispersed by the leaf blowers into the immediate atmosphere.   At least, outdoor cats bury their feces.  With the passage of time,  I tend to concentrate my walking during the evening hours when the air is not as disturbed by the activity of dogs and gas-driven devices.

At the moment, the rain is falling steadily, enough to pass loudly through the copper guttering.  Even the sounds of jet planes can blast through the falling rain..this is a real rainstorm.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weight loss with a Kindle

Where I sit in my house right now, the view is to a mutable sky to the west where rainclouds are dispersing with a bright blue sky sometimes being revealed.  During the night, rain did fall.   I sit here thinking about Charlotte walking and kindling.  Last night when John and I were walking in the darkness, I mentioned that she's been on my mind, knowing how she walks daily on our street and throughout the town as part of her ritual.  One night we waited for her to pass the end of our driveway so that we could drive inward.  In the darkness the light of her Kindle was her torch.

A few months ago on an early Wednesday morning when I finished pushing the waste cans into position with wheels to the curb, I turned around to see her walking toward me.  I introduced myself to her.  She wanted to know whether I had seen the friendly big white cat.  I said, "You mean Pickles?"  Yes, Pickles is definitely around and about patroling the neighborhood.  

After introducing herself, Charlotte mentioned how she's lost 140 pounds, and how her friends think that she's too thin, and how they don't understand why she does what she does with the walking.   I responded with, "Keep it up.  Stay focussed.  Chances are that they're jealous of your accomplishment."

Earlier on her walk, the police had stopped her in order to warn her about a bear sighting over at the canyon to the west, that for her to be careful with her walking patterns.  I thanked her for the information, then relating that the bears are resident in my neighborhood also.  Chances are that the bears and the other animals know full well about her patterns.

She steps with confidence, looking downward, lost in her world.  At our next encounter, I'll tell her about what I've written, and ask her what she's been reading lately.

No more Sunday barking

A nearby corner lot is in the process of being de-landscaped, the removal of trees and shrubbery by outside contractors.  Through the grapevine, I hear that the couple who owned the property until way earlier in the year, have divorced--not that I ever did see them or know their identities, although I knew a little bit about him through another distinct grapevine.  Gradually the house is becoming more visible from the end of my driveway.  I'm crossing my fingers, hoping that the new owners will find happiness there.  It's a strange house in need of high positive energy. 

Every Sunday morning the distinct sounds of their beagle barking for attention, I knew.  Always in my head, I'd say, "PLEASE would someone take the dog for a walk?  What's WRONG over there?"  That entire refrain went on and on for a few years.

Yes, they divorced.  Where's the dog?  It turns out, the neighbor across and up the street became involved because of the beagle. -- Could that dog ever be homeless?   Even from a distance, I was in love with him, the sheer enthusiasm shown by his upright tail projecting his personality.--Without skipping a beat, Mary took in the dog, except that her friends fell in love with him; now he lives elsewhere.  In the end, a happy ending for all concerned, even for Mary who's never at home because not only is she always working but she already owns a dog and cat who live inside all day, and those two only have the company of contractors intermittently.--  Yes, this is the life in the foothills in the early part of the 21st century.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"So what do you walk?"

Small talking with a random fellow the other night, I told him that I know his street and neighborhood by walking through it every so often.  He asked me, "So what do you walk?"  When I looked at him quizzically, he continued with his query.  "What kind of DOG do you walk?"

Conversation continues...he says that I can identify him on the street by the fact that he'll be walking a golden lab, and his wife has red hair.  He remains nameless; obviously, it doesn't matter.