First Fall Swell

The last few days have seen lots of quiet little waves. This morning I woke to a bit of thunder and saw waves breaking at the point. I had an hour. Surf was bigger than I like so I grabbed my camera and got a few shots. Enjoy a minute of today’s fine footed friends.

Linda Mar SUP and Surf Oct 14, 2019 from Tom Adams on Vimeo.

 

Sedona Sun Sets over Jerome

Sedona sunset

crowds cheer another sun setting

somewhere past the town of Jerome

people over friendly, seeking

something lost

 

ghosts clammor

bardello lady saves change

who gets a piece of her pie

their slice of the dream

 

sleeping in beds by the shift

closer to the surgeon’s house

suffering smells sink

deep in their chests

 

wicked city sitting high on the hill

while another source of money

down in the valley

franchise of energy worshipers

 

into the mountains

narrow dusty roads

parallax of the mind’s own tricks

sharing a moment with the ancient ones

 

I’ll tell you the truth

it’s a powerful vision

up close they shape shift

out of time and trouble

Christ on the Cross

I was baptised at the First Baptist Church of Whittier when I was twelve years old. I did it to make my parents happy. It did. I really didn’t know what I was doing then, taking Christ as my personal savior, and for the longest time, while I’ve had an affinity for Christ, I didn’t relate to the personal savior aspect. I see Christ dying on the cross, resurrecting, and having everlasting life as a metaphor for the notion that we do not die and simply cease to exist, but manifest in a different plane, with different attributes, or simply change state and our consciousness has a different point of view.

But then I saw the crucifix on the grounds of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, in Fatima, Portugal. It’s a gargantuan cross (122 feet) with a long lean Christ hanging lifeless, dead at the hands of his own, and I started to cry. The only way to stop was to turn away.

fatima cross cropped

Not everyone likes this crucifix, angular and stark, but it carried great power for me, walking toward it, the cross blocking the setting sun. I tried to reconcile my feelings about how a man who did so much for so many ended up on a cross with nails driven through his hands and feet, and left to die in a public display of disdain and power. I could not.

fatima crucifix backlit

I wasn’t on a conscious pilgrimage during our trip, but by the time we returned home, I remembered many interesting experiences around spiritual places.

Sagrada Famila (Sacred Family) is difficult to describe. It is old, it is new, and like the medieval cathedrals Notre Dame and Chartres, it is being build over generations. It required my full attention.

Sagrada from town

The cathedral sprouts from the ground in the middle of Barcelona, Spain. It’s got a McDonalds, a Five Guys, and a Starbucks right across the street, which I found both disturbing and amazing that those three companies could pull off that venue.

There are stories of Christ’s life carved around the outside of the cathedral. The final cathedral tower will be the Christ tower, supported by four internal pillars, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Due to complete in 2026.

Late afternoon light streamed through the cathedral, setting the place aglow. My wife went in ahead of me, to get our audio tours. She came out in tears, and simply said, “The Light.”

sagrada orange light

 

IMG_7868

The ceiling felt familiar, like I’d seen it in a science fiction movie, where people from all walks of life live together in peace and harmony. It gave me hope.

sagrada ceiling

We sat in the nave, to meditate and pray, but it was difficult to stay in that little space when this enormous sanctuary was all around and it looked like Christ was coming in on a parachute.

Sagrada Christ centered

There is so much color and structure to the inside of this cathedral, yet no statues, other than Christ on the cross.

Sagrada detail 1

 

sagrada detail 2

Architect Antoni Gaudi designed the cathedral. His work can be seen all over Barcelona. A whimsical style and from what I can gather, structurally brilliant. After Gaudí’s death in 1926 the construction was continued by architects and craftsmen who had worked with him, according to his plans and plaster models.

The story of Christ’s birth is told on the oldest side of the cathedral. It is adorned by an enormous supporting cast of story-telling statuary.

Sagrada birth

The story of his death is told on the newest side of the cathedral. More modern, more angular.

Chris Sagrada outside

I began a series of blog posts about our trip to Barcelona, Lisbon and the island of Madeira with a post called Why I’m Tired.  I hope you’ve enjoyed these images and thoughts as much as I have getting them down. Photos shot with iPhone 8plus and edited in Snapseed.

 

Blog Posts

Why I’m Tired

It’s evening and the tunes are starting to flow through the cool night air. A sparkling sound from the big thumping Sonos speaker gets my head in the game, gets my fingers to moving, and finds a beat that is hard to ignore. Some kind of lethargy has taken hold, and a bit of real-time fatigue, set in motion by a 24 day trip to Europe where we toured Barcelona, Lisbon, and the island of Madeira. If I’m honest I’d say the biggest trouble is that I’ve shed my jet lag but left my heart and a large dollop of my energy nine hours away. Maybe getting it down on paper with a few photos to support, I’ll be able to return to my bay area digs, heart, bones, and spirit.

Last year my wife and I started reading Dan Brown’s book Origin, and while I found the premise interesting I did not find reading it particularly rewarding. The story had its engaging moments, especially the artificial intelligence bits. I didn’t finish it. On return from our adventure one of my friends asked how I enjoyed Barcelona given that I’d read Origin, and I was clueless about her meaning. She said the book is, at least in part, set in Spain. I had not noticed that.

We already bought the book from Audible so I downloaded it and started at the beginning. The opening scene is at Montserrat (serrated edge) monastary, where we traveled to view the black Madonna. Now I have a book to read, but this time with a bit more attention.

We took the metro to the train and rode north out of Barcelona through small cities and farmland, toward a towering mountain, with steep crags at it’s pinnacle.

montserrat 2
looking up toward Montserrat

There are two stops for Montserrat (serrated edge) train station. We took the first for the gondola. The second, I believe, is serviced by a tram that rides a track up the mountain. I’m not positive, but there may be a walking option. The station was the launching point for the gondola that moved us up to the monastery in about 5 minutes. It’s steep, but follows the contour of the land so is never that far from the ground, but looking back down into the valley, it’s a long ways. We were there in October. It was cool on the mountain, but overall, the temperatures were quite mild throughout our trip. Not so, I hear, in the summer months.

montserrat 3
Looking down from gondola

When we entered the grounds I was trying to imagine how they built this place. It’s work getting things up the mountain now, but around 1025 AD? It’s a long way from anywhere, and it’s up a mountain. Would be fascinating to go back in time and be a fly on the wall, to see them making measurements, cutting stone, hauling heavy materials up a steep, rocky mountain.

montserrat inside

 

Note the people standing above and to the left of the crucifix. We stood in  line for our turn to get there and see the Black Madonna.  As we stood in a slow moving line along the inside wall of the cathedral we could look out into the sanctuary and get an up-close viewing of the architecture. Our Donna, below, with the Black Madonna.

2018-10-04 17.23.34

There’s a beautiful entry with expansive views over the valley below. We heard about a series of hikes that are available, but that will have to wait for another day.

2018-10-04 17.05.58

 

Outside the cathedral the sun was getting low in the sky, casting long shadows across the valley below where we’d catch our train back to Barcelona.

2018-10-04 17.45.27

 

The ride down was quick and easy. Our car was full and it rode quite a bit lower than a fairly empty car that we pass on our decent.

 

montserrat gondola

 

I’m still a little tired, but I’ll renew myself and talk about Christ in our travels.

 

 

 

Mom and Dad Loved Morro Strand

packed-and-ready-for-a-beach-walk.jpg

My parents used to camp on the beach at Morro Strand State Park. We thought about packing their ashes in cute old suitcases and setting them on a camp table to feel the campground again. We imagined mixing their ashes, some of him, some of her, into beautiful bags and thought how fun it would be to walk along the dunes letting their ashes flow on the wind. We could walk through a flock of terns, who would spread the word that these two were back as they flew and parted the sky.

If we could get a moment at the shore to build a mound, set a sand dollar on the top, and let the incoming tide slowly dissolve it into the surf, that would be grand.

We’d hope two western gulls would perch nearby and watch the whole procession. But mostly we’d tune to the presence of their spirits.

 

Dog Days of Summer

 

dog contest 1

They came to Pacifica this past weekend and brought Hwy One to a jammed up stop and wait. They parked on the streets all the way up the hill to our place, and clogged the neighborhoods within a half mile of Pacifica State Beach. My son stopped by, and was not heading home unless he wanted to spend an hour in stop-and-go traffic.

We lathered on sunscreen and walked to the beach where we witnessed dog after dog leading their owners away from the beach. We chatted up a couple with a pair of retrievers in tow, who said the tandem contest was about to start so we hustled. Thirty people stood in line for the restrooms, hundreds stood on the sand watching the last of the entries paddling out. It was a guy with a blue mohawk riding a large board with a small dog on the nose. The dog had great balance, sticky feet that did not let go, and the surfer dude with blue hair knew what he was doing.

We wandered the crowd, rapt with attention for these last two rides, and seemed pretty darn well behaved. We got a couple of shots of the surfing duo then headed to the Pedro Point shopping complex to see if the new Cafe, Soul Grind, was open and it was. This was day one, and they were swamped, but it’s a great space, a cool owner, Jimmy, and has views of the ocean. AND they are going to roast their own coffee. Can’t wait to sip a double espresso in front of the fireplace while coffee roasts in the back and rain coats the parking lot outside.

I’ve started a short story asking where are the black surfers, and there they were among a line of yellow boards, yellow jerseys, learning the ropes. The story is morphing into an old white guy getting schooled by a young black girl with powers beyond his grasp.

I think it was spawned from working with Mat Johnson at the Napa Valley Writer’s Conference last week. A man with a black mom and white dad, Mat’s spent a bit of time bumping up against, and flowing to the other side of the divide that we’ve created. More in another article.

Let’s go surfing now, everybody’s learning how…

 

 

Back to New Brighton

It was Sunday late morning when Donna returned from yoga. “How about a trip to Santa Cruz and do a little paddling?” I asked, and Donna was game. She made us lunch to go and I outfitted the car with racks and gear. In an hour we were on the road south, through Half Moon Bay, on down to Santa Cruz and eventually New Brighton beach.

Swanton Berry Farm
Swanton Berry Farm

We stopped at the Swanton Berry Farm, not the one near Año Nuevo State Marine Reserve where you can pick berries, but a little complex on the east side of Hwy One a bit north of the little town of Davenport. Swanton has it all. Restrooms, hot coffee, berry pies, cobblers, and some serious chocolate. Payment is on the honor system, with a cash drawer sitting out to make change, plus an iPad for card transactions. The coffee was great, the chocolate truffles were rich and dark. We saved the pie for later.

We took the 41st Avenue exit and drove to the end for a restroom pit stop and a quick peek at the Hook, but for me, it was a chance to see if Sharks and Privates were breaking and they were. We tried to snag a parking spot in Capitola, but no game, no spots, wall to wall packed.

We pulled into New Brighton and showed them our annual Calif State Park Pass and in we went. An hour later we were warming up on the beach. Could have been the south of France, except it was sand, not rocks. We warmed up with plenty of shoulder stretching and then I fired up the GoPro and walked to the water. In two feet of water I just stepped on the board, then landed the other foot, but the water retreated, and the look on my face was pure surprise as I sailed over the nose and nearly collided with Donna. We laughed it off and had a ball. Donna saw a shark just a few minutes into our paddle. She paddled all the way to O’Neill’s house near Pleasure Point, then turned around and fetched me on the return. It was a calm paddle back, gliding over smooth water and emerald-green kelp.

 

 

After showers and warm clothes we drove into Santa Cruz and ate on a bench in the park across from Mission Santa Cruz. And that’s where we ate the berry pie.

mission Santa Cruz