Sunday, June 29, 2008



“The men of experiment are like the ant; they only collect and use. But the bee . . . gathers its materials from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own.”

~ Leonardo da Vinci

Somebody please tell me that summertime is the season to be busy... holy cow...

Gardening, work, the kids, work, baseball season, work... and I'm so far behind in getting my garden worked. I know summer eves go late but after standing and walking all day on the job I'm tuckered out and motivation to keep working is hard to find. But I'm getting there, I've planted trees, blueberries, flowers, dug new beds... but never got the vegie garden in so I'm guessing that it will be a job of preparing that in the fall for next spring.

The Eugene Emeralds' season has started and it is revitalizing. There is something very special about baseball at this level of the minor leagues. The players are very young, most just out of college, a very few fresh out of HS. But they have a dream. And we here in Eugene are lucky with our old Civic Stadium. It is a beautiful old ballpark facing out from homeplate to the southeast with the south hills in the background. But it is the people... the kids especially... that make it a joy to spend 2 or 3 hours watching a bunch of men hit a ball with a stick (they're hoping they can hit the ball) and running around. And for a photgrapher a ballgame is a wonderful event to shoot. Here are few from a recent game where the players wore pink uniforms on a night dedicated to a local cancer fund:

(l to r) Austin, Colin, Dave, Jaxen, Dawn, Olivia and Connor

I worked a show at Eugene's Cuthbert Amphitheater the other night. After working all day I was looking forward to seeing Taj Mahal. One of my longtime favorite blues musicians, Taj Mahal is someone I've never seen live. But I was so tired I didn't stick around for the show. I did however take my camera so that I could get some pictures of my friend Amy Wray's husband, John Shipe, who was the show's opening act after the original scheduled opener Susan Tedeschi had to cancel. I met Amy Wray when she joined the (too) short-lived Airship Radio Theater (see my post on ART here) and I somehow along the way enticed her into joining Harmony Event Medicine as one of our volunteers (Amy is a nurse). I had never met John and hadn't heard his music. I'm glad I got a chance to hear him perform and to take some photos. He is a talented young man, check out his website and listen to his tunes...

It was interesting that evening because we had the Eugene PD plus at least one Lane County Sheriff deputy on patrol both inside and outside of the venue, plus we reportedly had ATF bomb sniffing dogs go thru before the show's patrons entered. All the extra security (?) is because Eugene is hosting the Olympic Games track qualifications down at the U of O's Hayward Field. While the political nature of these Olympics has slipped waaaay below the public radar screen I didn't even try to get a press pass so I could do some photography at this nationally prominent event. And I love track. I haven't taken photos at a track meet since I was an under-motivated, under-achieving runner in High School.

Speaking of which... next summer is my 40th HS reunion... an event in August I'd really like to attend. There are many, many folks I'd like to meet up with again. 40 years... wow... my how time flies. That was so many lives ago.

I managed to get out in the woods for another day of stalking waterfalls a week or so ago, here are a couple of images from that hike. God, I love Oregon's forest (I hope it shows):

Plus these from here at the farm, where they have been bailing the recent cut of the fescue (these are 6 string, 1,000 pound bales):


My last blog post was a bit different than my usual trivial bantering (like today's post) and it drew both praise and criticism. If ever you have comments feel free to email me or post them here. I've a tough hide and can handle disagreement and critics. In fact I'm better at dealing with criticism than praise. I'd love to hear from you. It would be nice to see some visitors fill in those big blank areas of Africa and Russia. Maybe I'll need to do a post on Darfur and the old Soviet Union. Not that I enjoy writing on depressing topics but I remain amazed that tragedies like those ongoing events in Africa can remain so... unchanged and ongoing. Another subject I'll be tackling soon is the rise in veteran suicides. Did you know we now have more vets committing suicide each year than have died in all these years of George Bush's Iraq war? As a vet I can go there (criticizing the Bush war) without too much personal angst or worrying about those who are die-hard Bushites.

On a last note... we had a set of thunderstorms pass thru last night and I would have enjoyed shooting some lightning photos. But... dead batteries in the camera cancelled that. However this evening holds the promise of more, so... I'm hoping.

Until next time

Kay sh'nuk sh'ma

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, June 16, 2008

photos taken... and not...


“Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

Is it then that we are lazy? Is cooperation too difficult a task? When the truth -- the example that surrounds us daily -- is in plain sight how can we miss it? Peace, the cooperative association of life, exists as a very real and palpable entity. We touch it, we live it often... but cannot maintain it amongst ourselves.

“Peace will not come out of a clash of arms but out of justice lived and done by unarmed nations in the face of odds.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi


If angels can dance on the head of a pin surely we can balance clouds on the tips of our noses?

When purity surrounds us, perfection walking by our sides nudging us at every turn, whispering "pssst... I'm right here..." do we really want to ignore it? Is WalMart really the pinnacle of our dreams?

What is it that gives us such a big head? When our sun is but one among stars so numerous their numbers remain uncountable, numbers greater than all the grains of sand on all of our world's beaches, surely in such a light we might take a moment and reflect on our insignificance here in the infinite...?

Surely the notes of our music are significant evidence of the very real beauty which we can create?

And when we sing, sounding angelic in our choirs, or touching upon hearts with our words in song, how do we also let thousands of our relatives starve each day? And really they are our relatives, each one, family...

Whether we choose to see, or not, the glory exalts, sometimes blazing in radiance...

... sometimes displayed soft and mute...

and sometimes in nature's fractal arrangements of the most basic of elements, in patterns unfolding in infinite, intricate grace...


Aah, but it is in those photos that go untaken...

... arctic geese flying overhead, white wings hardly seen in a cold winter's fog... the patterns of mown field, grass cut, laying in lines and being baled, farmers with tractors working in a near-summer's early evening, low sun's light casting shadows... an elk standing nose in the wind... a flower's unfolding of petal and fragrance...

that remain as my witnessing of heaven, here, always as much here, as there...


“Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

~ Hermann Goering


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

back to the beach... but not just any beach... the Perfix Beach...


“To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.”

~ Isaac Newton

Here are some of my older images from the Guadalupe Dunes and Perfix Beach. All taken with my old Pentax film camera and Kodachrome slide film. Mostly from the late '80s but I have been Guad Dunes to Point Sal fan for years and some are from the late '70s as well.

Interesting that just south of Point Sal lies Vandenberg AFB. A US military missile facility that I have come to know... fairly well... we have a personal relationship that goes back a ways.

Mostly tho' it was Pt Sal State Park that got me going to that part of the coast. And then it was going to the Guadalupe Dunes (north of Pt Sal), at the west end of Hwy 166 (which is also Main Street through Santa Maria)... that hooked me and kept me exploring its many, many moods.

All seasons look different at the Dunes. My favorite time of year was around Thanksgiving and Christmas -- when the rain would come and then be followed by sunny days -- because the rain would compact the sand and it made it easy hiking. But it didn't really matter because the place was always beautiful and the best thing to happen there was the banning of ORVs. That act changed that whole section of coast because the only access was by walking. But on some days even the ORVers' trash took on the specter of art...

Admittedly it could be the sand itself... the line of dune edge after a windstorm reshapes it...

or the play of light from the low sun on the dunes. A time of day that few saw (or see) because the Dune road was locked at sunset (and still is if my memory is correct). And it was that light, the last 1/2 hour of the day, when the sky was cloud free and the air crystal clear, that would bring me to ground - sacred ground.

This place is a place I have dreamed, in deep detail, never anything but beautiful... once even flying over whale and dolphin and foaming waves sitting astride a pelican... it was never boring spending time there. And I was in shape and able to get up and down the dunes w/ ease... there was always something new or surprising... or just beautiful. Beautiful is a word that fits the place...

... no matter which way one turns, its there again. And this... place, is one of those places where I could not walk without feeling a kinship with the indigenous families who once spent a fair share of their year living -- generation upon generation -- and sharing these same vistas...

and that sand, always new patterns...

But the end point was always... the beach... that wonderful stretch of ocean meeting the land, here...

where I could fish, alone...

or not quite alone...

or maybe spend a day just sitting on the porch...

With eternal gratitude to those who cared for this place... who care for it still...

“You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

~ Jon Kabat-Zinn


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Spring(?) and miscellanies...


“When any government, or church for that matter, undertakes to say to it's subjects, this you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motive.”

~ Robert Heinlein

Wow. An historic moment. A milestone guaranteed to spawn a million conversations. An occurrence that will raise the hackles of bigots across the land... a black man will be representing his party as candidate for President. I'll be damned...

Now, do I think it will matter? Nah. Personally I think our "two party system" is but one party that likes to pretend it is two. I truly believe that the time has come for voters to -- as they did to the Republicans in 2004 -- dump the bums and prove that it is, really, we the people who hold the power in this country.

I believe that we the people have relinquished the power vested to us by our founders, in exchange for the ease of allowing government to not just govern representatively but to dictate to us the boundaries of our lives while expanding the bureaucracy's powers at our expense.

Remember the film Brazil, by Terry Gilliam? (if not... rent it)

a graphic and strangely dreamlike look at bureaucracy gone amok... well, thats my view of where we've come to today. A very strange world in which we operate under a mountain of rules and regulations which no sane man or woman could ever understand or even begin to fathom. And we've allowed our Constitution and its primary Bill of Rights to become the tool of government, open to its own bizarre definitions of the intent behind the words.

When it comes to the Bill of Rights, they are a pretty common sense group of Amendments, consisting not of language scrambled by legal twistings and fine permutations but presented in a manner easily compehended, with the intent of controlling not the people by government but of the people having a tool with which we control our government.

And while I'm sure the Supreme Court justices are ok folks

I seriously question their interpretations of a very common sense document. But what do I know? I'm just a barely educated forklift driving middle aged (...sigh...) longhaired white guy Vietnam era veteran with an opinion...

I do know that I love this country and I don't like where we've allowed ourselves to be led to... as we stand on the brink of a new depression... and it breaks my heart that every real leader who has stood for peace has fallen under an assassin's bullet... and I sincerely hope and pray that an epidemic of insight sweeps across the land and infects us all with the virus of compassion and tolerance.

But hey, thats just me.

In my posts awhile back on the Olympics I posted the picture of the "tank man"... an iconic photograph that stands in my memory. Last night I watched PBS' Frontline story on "tank man." Excellent, excellent piece. An indepth look at that 1989 peaceful protest by the Chinese people in Tiananmen Square that gave me a larger picture of that story and why people should not just boycott the Olympics but continue to expose the Chinese regime as the brutes they are. And for my Chinese visitors... I don't protest you. I protest government power that goes to excess in abuse of civilians... anywhere. Like here in the U.S. One of the points that continues to stick in my craw (not craw, CRAW!) about the U.S. drug war is that we imprison black males at a rate nearly six times greater than did South Africa at the peak of their hated and universally condemned regime of Apartheid.

It would be nice to hear the Dems young black male presidential candidate Barack Obama mention that somewhere down the campaign trail.

I went up to Opal Creek a cuppla weekends ago with son Alex. Last year at this time of year the bear grass and rhododendrons were almost done with their blooming. This year there was still snow when we got to the old mill site. And not just a dab here and there but about 2' of snow. When I told brother Marty about the snow he asked if I had seen the Opal Creek website pictures. I hadn't but then I went to the site and wow, they have had just a bit. 7' in camp. But go and look for yourself.

Alex and I didn't hike all the way into Jawbone Flats. Instead we went past the old mill and turned north into the backside of the Hewitt Grove and went stalking waterfalls. Once into the woods it was a rare sight... all the ferns and salal were pressed flat from the weight of a heavy snow pack. Nary a flower in sight. The duff was soaked, and it was like walking on a sponge. Which of course it was. Part of why we fought so hard to save that forest back in the day.

At the parking lot we saw a pair of hikers loading up their backpacks including several bottles of water. We ran into them on the road near the head of the Opal Creek Trail and I mentioned I saw their water bottles. I told them about the quality of the water in the valley and how all drinking water in camp came not from spring water but from the creek and that the forest was one of nature's best water filters.

Here are a few images from that meandering:


“Knowledge is awareness, and to it are many paths, not all of them paved with logic. But sometimes one is guided through the maze by intuition. One is led by something felt on the wind, something seen in the stars, something that calls from the wastelands to the spirit.”

~ Louis L'Amour