While wildfires blaze from Northern California
To Big Sur.
The Sunday before I left Redding, I took this picture with my phone of one of the fires I could see from Keswick Dam Road.
It was Sunday, June 22nd. The thunder storms had come and gone leaving behind many lightning sparked fires. Little ones like this were left to burn while firefighters battled several, much larger, blazes. By the next day, you could not even see as far as the first row of trees, the smoke was so thick. Going outside of my apartment was like being next to a smoky campfire with the 95 degree breeze blowing the smoke in my face. The news papers, TV, Radio and internet were advising people to stay indoors. Schools were closed, outdoor events canceled, people were being evacuated and roads were closed in the outlying communities.
Monday morning was dark with smoke outside as I packed the car, checked the mail, gassed up the Buick and was on the road to Richmond by about 1:00 PM. There was no relief from the smoke along the way, but it got lighter as I approached the Bay Area. I stopped in Richmond to see Marian and Leona. We would meet again in Carmel Valley to mark Chrissy's birthday, (She would have been 56).
I drove on down to my friend Garie's place at Rippling River. It was good to see her again. It was smoky there because of the Indian fire in Las Padres national forest.
Tuesday we went out to dinner with friends at the new Volcano Grill restaurant in Carmel Valley Village. This new place is at the same intersection where Chris was run over and killed. It's a small village.
The next day there was a small group of people gathered to remember Chris on her birthday in the crafts room. Just outside is the tree we planted so that part of her can stay at her home of 30 years.
Later I went out to dinner at one of Chrissy's favorite restaurants, and had a nice time talking with Marian, Julia, Alan and Leona. The food was good and the company congenial. We made plans to meet in the morning for breakfast at the Chatterbox.
Then it was back to Garie's where we played with our computers. She has windows and I have a Mac. It takes a lot of time to do anything with windows. It would drive me nuts if I had to use that junk all the time. I am so happy I have a Mac.
Later we watched the movie, "August Rush". It explains a lot about gifted musicians, and those who are not as gifted.
Sitting at the park, in the Buick, looking at people. People at the pool out for a morning swim or a day of fun with the kids. A young family has claimed a spot beneath the trees with a bench in the shade. They have festooned the trees with colorful balloons and put a cheerful table cloth on the table. A birthday party at the park. A special place for a special time that will be theirs always.
Which is my insight for today. Chris and I had our special spots that held great significance for us. These places and things belonged to us. "Ha!" These people will never know the meaning of that tree, that spot by the roadside, those places we claimed as our own discovery.
A woman walks up to Alan while he brushes spar varnish on Chrissy's bench. She is affixing clues on trees and benches in preparation for a game to entertain the birthday party goers. One day in the future, they will return to see what new people are doing in their special place.
We tend to do this. Claim a spot, a tree, a bench, a restaurant, a house, a street, a town, a state, a nation, a planet as our own. All lifeforms seem to keep track of their special places.
Leona waits in the car.
Coco waits on the grass.
Alan tells me how painting the bench is a form of meditation for him.
He can paint or wallpaper without it being a chore or some task of drudgery. I understand.
We have our birthdays on May 21st. He is younger than I am, but he is Chrissy's older brother. He tells me that we have much in common. He is right. We look for answers. We want to know.
I am making amends. It is one of the steps in AA, to make amends, ( corrections, changes, apologies, righting wrongs, atonement, reparations ). When I was drinking, I had a bad attitude toward Alan and his friend Don. I am sorry.
I read a story about an Indian brave who would do hateful and unkind things to others in the tribe. One day he went to the medicine man and asked; "What is wrong with me?" The medicine man told the brave that his heart contained two spirits; "A good wolf spirit and a bad wolf spirit." "They battle to control you". The brave asked; "Which one will win?" The medicine man said; "The one you feed."
Thursday night I spent in Richmond at Marians house.
Friday, Leona, Marian and I recorded songs for a new CD. We hadn't played together in a long time, but after a few tunes, we were the LMP Trio again. I packed up the equipment when we were done and we went out to dinner before my drive back up to Redding. The sun was a red ball in the western sky as I drove north. The California wildfires now numbered 800. It was 62 degrees when I left the restaurant and I had the A/C on to filter the smoke. When I got to my apartment in Redding and opened the car door, I was blasted with 88 degrees of "campfire" smoke. It was good to be back home.
I started editing the music we recorded and the combination of equipment I used captured the tonality of each of our instruments with sparkling clarity and separation. When I am finished editing and mixing, I will put a couple on my myspace page.
I took another picture of the fire with my phone today;
Still burning, but I can see the stars tonight. I am feeding the good wolf.