Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Basketball :(

Basketball :(, originally uploaded by inyopfc.

Rocky Oaks Sunset

Rocky Oaks Sunset, originally uploaded by inyopfc.

Rocky Oaks Sunset

Rocky Oaks Sunset, originally uploaded by inyopfc.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Leaving California, Part I

I've been meaning to leave for a long time.

About 8 years, really, when I think about it.

I have been very engaged in California, in the hills and small towns and mountain thunderstorms and cold summer fog... but nevertheless I've been meaning to leave.

The thing is, it's always different when it is really about to happen.

I remember telling my friend Judy once, while driving on the freeway, that I didn't understand why I didn't love the hills anymore. I looked up at the dry hills and felt only old memories, a summer too long between rains, and a life that keeps leading me straight towards the places I vow never to spend time in again. Judy told me sometimes places are like people... and if you don't feel love, you can't just make it appear.

So I left. I roamed the desert that summer, then drove all the way across the country and back. I intended to return to California after this trip, but only for a little while. But life being what it is, a little while turned into five years.

When I first thought of moving to Vermont, it was not for the same reasons I am going now. Quite the opposite, in fact. A little over a year ago, while I was visiting Eli in Atlanta, Sara told me she was considering going to graduate school in Vermont and asked me if I'd like to move out there with her. I thought about it, and talked about it with Eli. I thought about it some more on the plane flying home. As the plane crossed the desert and sunk into an all-too-visible layer of smog, as the long, dry summer stretched out in front of me, no rain, no water in the washes, I decided. Yes, I told Sara, I would move to Vermont with her.

Five months later I was there, in Vermont. The leaves were changing color, I was told it was 'past peak' but it was stunningly beautiful and I can't even imagine what 'Peak' fall foliage looks like. I was in Vermont to visit a graduate school program that, somehow, I had never even heard of before Sara thought of moving east. My trip was amazing. I couldn't believe I had found a group of people so excited and engaged in the same things as I was. I decided right then that I had to try to pursue this course, no matter what. I had no idea if I'd be accepted to the program or not, but I sure was going to do everything I could to get in.

I flew reluctantly back to California, to a long, relatively dry, difficult winter. Somewhere along the way, in between dusty windstorms, Sara told me that she wasn't going to be going to Vermont after all. A couple of months later I received a call notifying me that I'd been accepted to my grad school program at UVM.

Ending relationships is certainly not easy. The first time I had to do so was much more tumultuous. That relationship HAD to end. This time, it was different. It wasn't that we certainly needed to be apart, but that our lives and hearts and paths were pulling us in different directions. To be honest, I'm not sure which is harder.

I'm leaving California soon, and now that it is finally time I am realizing that I DO love California... the chaparral, the hawks circling around outside, and even the horrible suburban mess that I care enough about to want to make better. When I drive through the pass that separates our coast from the rest of the continent, cross the San Andreas Fault, enter the desert and cross to the rainy eastern side of the continent... I will be setting forth on an amazing two years... but I will also feel loss and separation caused by circumstances and unpredictable, twisting paths of life.

Who knows.   I might come back to live here again one day... but I might not. My goal, and my hope, is to enter Vermont totally open to the experience, with my past behind me, ready to fall in love with the first snow of winter, with warm summer thunderstorms crossing lake champlain, with fireflies, with water flowing everywhere I look... maybe even with a new person.

We'll see, though. These things are not easy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Camping/Fishing Trip to Rock Creek

Last weekend I went camping at Rock Creek with a bunch of my friends. We camped at French Camp at the base of the Sierras and went fishing. I caught zero fish, though Emmanuel and Josh each caught a fish big enough to eat. The only thing the fish would bite on were moths we found hiding behind some papers at the campground bulletin board... the fish mostly shunned power bait, salmon eggs, fake worms, real worms, and just about anything else.

Fog pouring over the Santa Monica Mountains on the drive out.

The Sierra Wave, a neat cloud formation that forms in the Eastern Sierras and the Owens Valley.

A storm over the White Mountains. As of June, these mountains were still getting occassional snowstorms.

The Sierra Wave and Mount Tom.

Ravens in Coso Junction, unconcerned with snakes.

I won't be back up here again before I leave, and I don't know when I'll be back again. It's one of my favorite places.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Unusual June Storm

Coastal southern California almost never gets rain between May and October. This year, though, we've already had one weird 'storm' and we may have another. This one didn't bring much rain most places but did bring over half an inch in Santa Barbara and on Sandstone Peak.

storm clouds

rain on PCH, near Solstice Canyon.

after the storm passed, I ended up driving back into it to attend a meeting.

The storm looked neat as I got closer to it.

There's a rainbow here, but it's a bit hard to see.

There's a slight chance of rain tonight too. We'll see.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Palm trees

IMG_5251.JPG, originally uploaded by inyopfc.

one living, one dead. Rocky Oaks

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Post-Fire Recovery

IMG_5233.JPG, originally uploaded by inyopfc.

A tiny swale in the San Bernardino mountains, a year and a half after a major fire. In this area, however, most of the mature pines were spared. There are as many flowers under the trees as I've ever seen, and lots of water, perhaps because less trees are struggling for groundwater (or perhaps it was just a good snowpack). We found water in this little gully in early June, and lots of flowers.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Rim Of The World

IMG_5198.JPG, originally uploaded by inyopfc.

This is the view to the southeast from 'Rim Of The World Highway' near Lake Arrowhead, CA. On this day it was foggy in the valley and clouds were building over Mt San Gorgonio (to the right) and Mt San Jaciento behind it and to its left.

There were no thunderstorms on that particular day. However, since that time there has been unusual weather across California with severe thunderstorms in some areas and rain almost everywhere (including Malibu which as of right now has had .1 to .5 of rain with more possibly on the way.). I'll have some storm pictures later.