Here are some of my favorite photos of gifts from the Mother….
Here are some of my favorite photos of gifts from the Mother….
I spotted this great challenge this morning and thought I’d join in.
Picking a tree photo has proved impossible because I photograph and write about Trees I’ve known and loved all the time. (If you go to my site and look up Trees, you’ll see what I mean.)
I am so connected to many, many trees, maybe because growing up in the smallish ocean-side town of Pacific Beach (San Diego), in our front yard, we had the tallest tree in the entire town. That tree was a huge part of my life. I experienced it as a living being, a friend, and that has informed my experiences with trees ever since.
I wrote this story about it years ago.
Not just a Tree
By Kathie Arcide 10-07
For fifty years, there was a Star Pine tree in Pacific Beach that could be seen from almost everywhere. Rumor had it that this particular tree was, by far, the tallest in this San Diego beach community, and the surrounding area for that matter.
The true story about the origin of this tree is a well-guarded secret, but for a good cause; to prevent sibling rivalry.
Here is the part of the story that can be proven. It seems an unusually forward thinking young man moved to the West Coast from Coffeeville, Kansas in the late 1940’s, and wisely bought a piece of property close to the ocean.
He had it all planned; settle in to his new job as an aeronautical engineer at Convair, build his new house and get it all ready, and then, begin his search for the woman who would become his wife.
The only thing missing from the homestead he was creating was a large tree on which his future children could climb. (Well, that and a storm cellar, which, being from Kansas, he believed, was an absolute necessity. But that is another story.)
Here’s where the secrecy starts. This man eventually had three daughters. Each of these daughters has a different tale about the origin of the big old Star Pine tree that dominated the property, as well as the Pacific Beach skyline. I am the oldest of those daughters, so here is my version, told to me by my Daddy when I was very little.
The yarn goes like this. When my father met the woman who would become his “one and only”, she already had a two-year-old daughter; ME.
In order to welcome me into his life, we went shopping for a tree for the front yard of his newly built home. We had to look around a bit because he had many specific requirements for this tree.
1) It had to be a future climbing tree.
2) It had to be a pretty tree; none of those Monkey Tail trees that my Dad thought were inferior.
3) It had to have the potential for providing shade.
4) And most important, was that at the time it was planted, it had to be exactly the same height as his new little daughter, “so that the tree and I could grow together”.
So we found the Star Pine that occupied the front yard of this home in Pacific Beach for many years. Well, “occupied” is a relative term. It grew to become massive and regularly needed a “trim” to prevent its branches growing into the bedroom windows and overtaking the house completely.
This tree really saw some life, let me tell you. I am now in my fifties and some of my fondest (as well as harshest) memories are of sitting way up high in this old tree, for hours at a stretch; sometimes reading, sometimes privately watching the neighborhood, stretching from the West to the Pacific and to the South to San Diego Bay. Sometimes I’d climb the tree with a little friend to enjoy a picnic lunch, and sometimes I’d hide up there from my bothersome little sisters, or from my imperfect parents.
The Star Pine was where I would “run away”. My favorite thing, a guilty pleasure now I see, was that from high on my perch, I could hear everything my parents said when they would come out into the yard, worried and looking for me. I loved to eavesdrop on my Mommy and Daddy while they discussed how much they loved me and how very much they would miss me if I never came home again. (Now, of course, I’m sure my folks knew I was up there in that tree all along.)
And then there were those times when that old Star Pine tree was utterly a place of soul saving refuge.
As much work as raking up the shedding needles and branches? was, Dad loved that tree and so did we.
It was a landmark of sorts. One really couldn’t miss it as it could be seen from most angles throughout the town. It should have been left to live out its life in peace, just as our father did.
He is gone now, having lived a wonderful, fulfilling life in his cherished, self-built homestead. Pacific Beach flourished and filled in around him, but somehow retained its small beach town atmosphere.
When Dad passed on my sisters and I made the very tough decision to sell our childhood home. We idealistically tried to require the buyer to promise NOT to cut down this magnificent old tree. He agreed, but if you are ever in San Diego, don’t bother looking for 1361 Wilbur Ave. The TREE is no longer there. The man who bought the house professed termites and immediately had the tree removed. He also did other things to the house that, other than the address, make it no longer recognizable as our childhood home, our Father’s dream.
But some part of my Daddy is still there, his spirit and energy strong. And so are his three beloved little girls, frozen in familiar childhood poses, arguing over whose myth about the origin of the tree is really the truth.
Ah, such a subjective theme.
In this context, we’re talking visual beauty…that we can capture with a camera…or at least, try to capture.
Maybe it’s because of my father’s lessons about being able to find something amazing to look at anytime, anywhere. (I just wrote this story about that.)
Or maybe it’s because I have spent so much of my life around people who are blind, including several up close and personal relationships, in which I was often called upon to describe something beautiful with words. (I often fell woefully short. I mean, YOU try describing an Abalone Shell with words!) Maybe my awareness of visual beauty just became heightened.
In any case, in my world, absolutely anything qualifies.
So picking photos for this topic is a challenge. I’m going to go photograph the first thing that came to mind (mostly because my son and grandsons just brought me souvenirs from their Spring Break trip to Hawaii).
Be right back. (7:22 AM, 4/20/19)
I’m Back. 9 AM. That was both a fun and frustrating experience. Delightfully fun to experiment. And frustrating to realize there is just no fully capturing the amazing beauty of an Abalone Shell…at least not with my camera equipment.
Of course, this post made me research the history, meaning and healing properties of the Abalone shell. What an amazing gift from Nature! Here’s one site.
https://www.energymuse.com/abalone-shell.html (this is basically an ad for jewelry, but full of info about the shell.)
And don’t even get me started on “creation”. I mean, the Abalone Shell! How in the world??? WHY in the world? Who first discovered the beauty hidden behind that “ugly”, rough exterior?? ETC. ETC.
Thanks for this Challenge. What a delight!!
Don’t you just hate it when a favorite fellow Blogger simply disappears?? I know I do.
I doubt I am anyone’s favorite but on the off chance that someone missed me, I thought I’d check in.
I was suddenly quite ill and unable to post for these last 15 days. Way too complicated a story to share but the most significant thing about it all was that my reaction to all the many medicines they tried was way, WAY worse that the illness itself!!
I was one sick puppy!
I’m climbing out of the hole slowly and will begin posting again (just as slowly, I’m sure.)
Thanks for your patience and let me know if you are still there.
With Much Gratitude for your continued reading,
PS I’m working on figuring out all the lessons from this experience. I always say never waste a good illness or accident. Try to learn something from it. I’ll let you know if I find something “post worthy”.
Ola, the Wonder Dog, left us this week. She hadn’t been herself , activity-wise for a while, but her essence never changed.
“Ola” (the African definition, not “hello” in Spanish), was rescued as a precious puppy, by my sister and her husband more than 10 years ago. Soon after they brought her home, they left on an amazing trip abroad for several weeks. So James and I got to be Ola’s Foster Parents while they were gone.
We seriously bonded with her during that time. I mean, look at this face! Who wouldn’t??
John and Lenore had wanted a young dog while their elderly one, Lily, the Three Legged Miracle, was still able to teach a new dog the lay of the land.
This family lives on a glorious piece of land on San Juan Island. The property includes lots of acreage, a large pond with a variety of water fowl, a Bamboo Farm, and arguably some of the most beautiful and prolific vegetable and flower gardens in the Northwest.
And they live in what James and I lovingly call the Hobbit House. Built by John, using lots of found and custom designed materials, it is so fairy tale-like, you are transported to another world.
I write about this place, our second home, often. Here’s one example:
When they chose Ola as a puppy, they wanted another smallish dog that would not overwhelm Lily, and they predicted Ola was another small, lab mix’ just like Lily.
Being very familiar with Rottweilers and Pit bulls, I took one look at Ola’s sweet face, and said “Uh oh.”
Not many months later, Ola had grown into a HUGE, beautiful, regal dog, over 100 pounds. But she still seemed guided by that angel on her chest.
Lily immediate adopted young Ola, and trained her to be a “stick right close to your Humans” dog.
No fences in the Hippie Valley part of San Juan Island. Dogs (and deer) are free to roam and except for the occasional “play date” with a neighbor Dog, both Lily and Ola were right there, watching over the homestead, 24/7.
Lily left us not long after Ola joined the family but the two of them had some really good times together before she died. She taught Ola how to play Tug O War with ropes and sticks when Ola was still very young.
And she trained Ola to leave the cats alone (probably for her own safety!)
Ola became such a big part of our house-sitting experience all these years. For several weeks at a time, she became “our” dog again. No matter how much time passed between our babysitting jobs, she would greet us with 100 pounds of enthusiasm!
She hung out with us where ever we went,
and stayed close to us at home.
Yep, she was our dog…..But only until her real parents came home!
Ola was always within feet (or calling distance) of John and Lenore during their daily routines.
Ola was one of the sweetest, most gentle dogs I’ve ever met. I will miss her so much. I can only imagine how long it will take her family to get used to the huge empty space she leaves behind.
Good Dog, Ola. Good Dog…
OK, another stretch for me. Hope you enjoy this.
Here are some of my favorite Shadow photographs, taken over the years, followed by several of the moon, both last night, and this morning as she set on the western horizon.
And my FAVORITE Shadow photo…my grandson dancing with his…
(This photo always makes me thing of the amazing and beautiful Whippets on https://whippetwisdom.com/. Worth a visit!!)
Last night I went looking for a perfect spot to watch (and maybe photograph) the Moon Rise…a Trifecta of Nature, as it was a full moon, a “Blood Moon” and it was happening on the Vernal Equinox.
Don’t get too excited. All photos taken with Galaxy S8+ phone camera or my point and shoot Canon. So no National Geographics winners here.
And, if you scroll down and hit “play”, I’ve even provided a background sound track to enhance your viewing experience.
I settled in and at first, I was disappointed because right about the time she was due to appear on the horizon, and contrary to my phone’s weather app, the clouds rolled in.
I almost gave up but decided patience just might pay off.
So glad I waited.
It got more and more interesting…
And then, I woke up at 5 AM this morning with Cat Stevens in my head, the moon on my mind…and shining right into my eyes. So I hopped in my car and drove to a place I knew would have a great view of the Moon Set.
The shot I was most hoping for just was not going to happen…too misty. From this vantage point, on a clear day, you would see the moon set behind the Olympic Mountain Range! If you look closely, you can almost see them…..
I had a truly profound time last night at our little local Blueberry Farm and Lake, and this morning at Sunset Hills Memorial Park. (Yes, I watched the moon set, while sitting respectfully in my car, in my pajamas, in the cemetery. Best view by far, in my city!)
Thanks for joining me. Let me know what you think.