Twas the Ninth Day of Christmas

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Twas the Ninth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a ribbon of spun cloth and my 100th Follower, All Things That Dogs Blog.  It’s set in a retro Apple framework.

My brother and his wife raise Guide Dogs for Guide Dogs of America.  Our mom was legally blind by the time I was twelve, but it sure didn’t stop her from catching us poking each other or grabbing cookies from the jar. She said she had eyes in the back of her head, and they seemed to work just fine. 20-20 hind sight, I’d guess you’d say.

I’m sure she would love to see Bev and Allen’s current Guide Dog in Training, Bud.  Hats off to them for guiding 17 Dogs into service. So go Bud, Go.  You’ll be number 18 if you keep your nose clean and pass all your tests.

Bev and Allen have brought unwavering love and devotion to train all those dogs who bring their skills to those who cannot see.

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Bud – Guide Dog in Training.

I am grateful for my vision.  I am grateful for my family.  I am grateful to be alive.

 

Twas the Eighth Day of Christmas

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Twas the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, the most splendid early morning light on this, our Winter Solstice.

We drove down the coast for breakfast, our usual on Wednesdays, before my lovely baby-sits our little grand daughter.  Driving south on Hwy 1, 7:30 a.m. light spilled over the hills to set Pedro Point aglow, reminiscent of the haunting light of a solar eclipse.

Later I received a text from my friend Sue, with this photo of little V at the Christmas tree.  It speaks for itself.

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May you find time to bask in early morning light.

 

 

Twas the Seventh Day of Christmas

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Twas the Seventh Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a turtle and some thoughts on current events.  There are two turtles in our Christmas wreath.  I found the first on the third day of Christmas.  With all the horrific news, this turtle may want to pull inside and hide in a hole.  Or maybe it’s me.  But why?  Compared to Allepo, Berlin, and Turkey it’s pretty darn tame outside.  But the news seems slanted toward one catastrophe after another. I bring it home, over and over.

Then I remember to breathe and an old adage springs from my subconscious.  When I don’t have time to meditate two times a day, I need to meditate three times a day.  Or when I don’t have time for one walk, I may need two.  And when current events pile up and spill on the floor, maybe take time to do something fun.

So I printed a nice photo for my dad’s Christmas Present.  A simple photo in a lovely little frame of him, me, my son, and his daughter.  Four Generations, you can see it here.  I’m not the first in the family to pull this off, but it’s the first time I’ve been in the photo.

May you find time to make yourself happy.

 

Twas the Sixth Day of Christmas

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Twas the Sixth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a stunning sunrise and a low hanging crystal.  The low part of the wreath is almost out of sight from from my six foot height.  But I crouched down low to get the shot, and was slow to get back up, what with the morning chill, and it’s crystal clear outside.

It’s clear that I am a lucky man.  We’ve gone out with friends, the past few days.  Have taken walks, and gotten our heart beats hopping, heating up the gym, or in my lovely’s case, biking and hiking up our hills.

We saw the SMUIN Christmas dance performance last night at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.  These are, to me, extreme athletes, with balance and poise.  It’s a magical experience to watch them move to music and each other.

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I am grateful for my life.  I am grateful to be alive.  Peace be with you.

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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