Twas the Fifth Day of Christmas

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Twas the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a star fish and chocolate chip pumpkin bread.  The star is so small, yet a wonderful reminder of awe and delight.  I go to bed each night under stars in the sky, near star fish in the ocean, and a special star sitting in the wreath at my front door.

We had dinner with a dear friend last night, in the Marina district of San Francisco.  We parked the car next to the Palace of Fine Arts where I recorded the Nutcracker earlier this month for Westlake School of the Performing Arts.  It adds up to serious holiday spirit.

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Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco
I’ve always wanted my sweetie to sit down with me to watch a random movie on any weekend morning.  It’s hard for her, given her proclivity to get things done, not waste time, but she turned on a dime.  But last night our friend told us about John Oliver’s last show, that we managed to miss. Before going to bed last night I watched the last show on my phone.  A call to action, if ever there was one, for those of us who still cannot believe that Mr. Trump is our president elect. We watched it together, this morning, while the pumpkin bread backed.

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May the little star above light your way today.

Rushing Water Held Tightly in Place

This is flash-fiction-sort-of-memoir prose that I wrote after a fishing trip with my brother a few years ago.  We try to hit the Owens Valley every year or so for fishing, coffee, and sometimes snow. Aren’t all fish stories fiction?

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We paused at the rim. The chill air was alive with spring sage. The water below, a dark ribbon. A lone string of fog, floated by, as we scouted our descent into the Owens Gorge, some 500 feet below. It was carved by years of river flow. Just water, gravity and time. Allen pointed to a bend in the river, maybe 400 yards from us on the far side of the gorge, his voice, waxed paper on a gritty floor said “Let’s try there?” I’d follow my brother just about anywhere, especially when there’s fish at the end. We picked up the pace, not a race, just a quickening heart-beat, our feet knew what to do. It was slow work. We watched our steps, lest we tumbled or jumbled our gear on a crag. And we’d heard there might be snakes as the gorge warmed up.

We turned the first bend and heard the kingfisher before we saw its streak of blue and white flight. The bird’s cackle brought a sparkle of light, as the first trout rose and splashed, just ahead, where the river turned. We looked back up. Why did it always look steeper going down than from the bottom?

The water made its own music as it flowed free. Loud and boisterous, then a meandering melody that always seemed to slow me down. We walked carefully on rocky river stones. My brother was a bird sitting on a branch, just watching. His clothing all tan and green, straight out of a fly fishing magazine. This stretch of water ran clear, over smooth rocky bottom, golden green, mossy streaked, and then there was a flash of tail, and another. The sound slapped our ears. The fish were out. They were feeding on the surface.

Allen was the first to assemble his rod. I wasn’t quite ready to fish, still too much in my head, so I got my camera out and made a couple of test shots to check aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. I’d ease into fishing this way. He started with a look around. What would catch him? A branch behind, the reeds in front? He started in close, with a short roll cast, barely upstream. The fly tangled on a reed and with a flick of the tip of his two weight rod, the fly flipped over backward and landed softly in a tiny eddy just downstream from the reed. Schwack! A solid 14 inch German-Brown trout flung itself against the parachute Adams, but left the fly unscathed and still floating. Allen looked my way and laughed.

He took two steps, and casted again, just ahead of the reeds. I managed to get a shot of the fly landing softly right behind a rock. It looked perfect to me, but he picked it up for two short false casts, to dry the fly. Then fluid poet on a rocky river, he slipped the fly into the seam at the head of the pool. The current curved the fly like a crescent moon as a tail flashed, a mouth grabbed and the rod tip pointed instinctively to God.

The trout reared its head and exploded from water, turned gently and seemed to hang in the air, then came down with a splash. It sent spikes of spray. It landed hard a wet crash. The line ripped off the reel spraying Allen’s glasses and face. A quick swipe from his sleeve and he sees the fish heading down stream. The fish, heavy now with the weight of the current, headed straight for a log. Allen ended it. He pressed his palm against the reel. Pulled the fish to a stop, a moment before the log. Will the line snap? With one power move the fish could set free, but the line held, the fish tired. He reeled it in quickly for a moment of fame and an upstream release so this fish could meet another day.

Daily Prompt: Fishing

Twas the Fourth Day of Christmas

spiral-ornament-1Twas the Fourth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, snuggles and sleeping in late.  It is frosty outside, though the bird bath didn’t freeze.

The Christmas ornament reflects back to our front yard where a California Poppy has started early. The poppy is my harbinger of spring, and it’s way too early.

Here on the coast it rarely freezes, but the photo below shows a time when it did.  My son grabbed a handfull of frozen bird-bath water for one of my all-time favorite shots.  It does get cold here.

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Twas the Third Day of Christmas

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Twas the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a turtle swimming from a reef wreath.  Perhaps it was scared by the storm’s worrisome wind, scattering lawn chairs and spinning our chimney cap ’til we thought it might take flight.

We find turtles without trying.  Last summer we found them while paddling up the Lagunitas Creek, out of Point Reyes Station.  After our paddle we stopped by Spirit Matters and found a lovely Kwan Yin seated on a turtle.  This past September, on our trip to Kauai, we found turtles while exploring the reefs at Tunnels on the north shore.  Turtles are magic in that when we find them, we are always in an environment that makes us smile.

Spread joy and good cheer.

Twas the Second Day of Christmas

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Twas the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a kiss on the cheek, south wind and an inch of rain.

The sea horse is out of focus.  I’m on my fifth try and focus has evaded on each.  So I’ll focus instead on the nature of this tiny creature.  While traveling with my lovely in Kauai this past September, she kept gathering objects for Molly.  It did not strike my noggin that these items were for a wreath.  I do not know why.  Maybe 85 degree weather and blue sky seemed out of place with Christmas planning.  I’m not sure if the horse is from Kauai, but I did see a photo of two riders on sea horses of sorts, riding in 3 feet of water toward the Hanalei pier.

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photo courtesy of Lorrie Meyercord

Merry Christmas to all.

I forgot the first day of Christmas.

untitled-5Twas the first day of Christmas (yesterday) my true love gave to me, a very busy schedule and the promise of rain.  This year we have a wreath, made with love, from our dear friend Molly. It’s an interesting wreath that I’ll share with you, a bit at a time.  Today it’s a chair and a sand dollar.

I’m sitting, watching the rain, thinking of star fish from the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve a few miles down the coast.  It’s a moody place.  The fog has its way with many a day, but blue skies brings smiles to more than the tourists.  Sea Lions smile and bark at the sun, though they seem pretty pleased when the fog settles too.  Whales breach outside the reef, while at low tide the reserve shows off sea urchins, anemones, star fish, and more.

Happy Holidays far and wide.