Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mindful, Day 58, Mary on the Mountain

Cairns seem to be everywhere when I hike around these mountains. Mary on the Mountain is yet another that I came across. There is something about these tributes, offerings and arrangements that touch me. I think how others come to these high places like I do and stop to offer up a prayer, and offering or a moment of connection to something. Or maybe its none of those and just a chance to rest and play along the way. I guess it doesn't really matter - each person is getting something from either the building or the viewing that is satisfying.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Mindful, Day 57, Look Left, Look Right

Onyy two more days here to enjoy hiking, blue skies, warmth and time to languish, read or create. This fallen tree shot from our hike yesterday at Morongo canyon clearly shows me our last 2 months (look at the left branch) and our main branch (look right). We will rejoin our home life soon which is fuller, bumpier, and more intense then life here. But I need the left branch to balance the right. I am so thankful that we are able to come here every year.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Mindful, Day 56, It's all Good and it's all Gold

Today I reading one of my favorite blogs, On Being. Parker Palmer, one of the writers, was looking at what he has learned in his life as he welcomes his 78th birthday. The whole column resonates with me but especially these lines near the end.

“It matters not to me whether I am resurrected in a loon calling on the lake, a sun-glazed pine, a wildflower on the forest floor, the stuff that fertilizes those trees and flowers, or the Northern Lights and the stars that lie beyond them. It’s all good and it’s all gold, a vast web of life in which body and spirit are one.
I won’t be glad to say goodbye to life, to challenges that help me grow, to gifts freely-given, to everyone and everything I love. But I will be glad to play a bit part in making new life possible for others. That’s a prospect that makes life worth dying for.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Mindful, Day 55, Dancing with the Tires

Someone, somewhere, at some time, was proud of this trophy. Not any more.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Mindful, Day 54, Just in Time to be Too Late

The desert flowers are getting ready to bloom...right after we leave in 5 days.  It's been fun to watch things develop but the real outburst will begin in March and it should be spectacular this year because of the rains - more rain this year then the last 4 years we have come to the desert. Mountainsides are green, grass growing where you least expect it and the wildflowers and buds on cactus and trees getting ready to open. What a beautiful sight.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Mindful, Day 53, Along the Way


Hiking yesterday I come across yet another little cairn. I never know what I will find along the way. Why make this one in this space? Nothing specific about the area it was in that would call to you. Maybe just stopping to talk or rest and keep hands busy? This one reminded me of a little snowman, something I don't want to think about as we head back to the cold and snow (most likely) in the not too distant future.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

MIndful, Day 52,Going in Circles

We are off today to take a bus tour as part of Modernism Week in Palm Springs. It will be fun to see some more of the  mid-century modern architecture with a guide. This photo is definitely NOT a mid-century modern construction but I like all the overlapping lines, circles and shadows creating secondary images. I like when happenstance creates imagery.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mindful, Day 51, Challenge

Yesterday I met a personal challenge for our time in Palm Desert this year. I hiked the entire length of the Art Smith Trail which turned out to be about 15 miles when I was expecting about 11.  A slight miscalculations on the length estimate by the ranger at the Visitor Center. I have been doing longer and longer hikes to get ready but this was the last day to fit in such a long hike.  I wanted to leave early but we were entirely encased in fog until about 11 am.  As I went up and over and around the mountains between Palm Desert and Cathedral City I got high enough that the air was still white and full of moisture. These are photos from near the end of the hike in an area that leads to Cathedral Canyon - aptly named on this day. After about the first 4-5 miles I was totally alone - did not see any more hikers but, thankfully, at one point some mountain bikers came through from the other end and I could check that I was still on the right trail to the right end. Just kept breathing and putting one foot in front of the other for a total of 33.6 thousand steps. Worth every single one.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mindful, Day 50, All Buttoned Up

On this cool and rainy day in our warm and sunny desert I feel the need to put on a shirt and button up. We are leaving here in just over a week so every day of sun and warmth becomes more precious and I am busy absorbing all the beauty around  me. Everyone here is anticipating a bounty of desert flowers in March which would be wonderful to see. The hills which have been beige for so long are green, there is grass growing in unexpected places. I have even seen some puddles! Amazing.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Mindful, Day 49, Sidewalk Calligraphy

Walking to the farmers market I see lots of interesting "arrangements" of leaf fall on the sidewalk. Here is what I did with it and more explorations to follow.  I never know where these things might go but I love the journey.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Mindful, Day 48, Another Barbershop

We took a drive up to the marine base in Twenty Nine Palms so Larry could check it out and get prescriptions filled. Twenty Nine Palms is not a large town but it seems to have more than enough barbershops. This one made me laugh. Sad to say that "Another Barbershop" was no longer in business. But worth a try and definitely a laugh.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mindful, Day 47, Up Close

The Valentine tulips are opening up more and more each day. This morning the sun hit just the edges of the petals and they were glowing. The closer I looked the more I saw. Instead of the glowing pink there was a beautiful gradation in the center, the small thin white lines fading into the pink, the edges  like velvet. Several years ago I photographed an amarylis bulb each day as it went from a bud through the inevitable drying out and fading away.  A whole lifetime recorded. Each stage beautiful in its own way.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Mindful, Day 46, Beautiful Blue

This shot was taken through the remains of a huge, old cottonwood tree that was broken and hollowed out. I love how the one open space focuses your eye on the blue, blue sky. And looking closer at the interior of the tree to see its structural beauty.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mindful, Day 45, Time Passes

We went on a docent led hike to the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve up in the mountains to the north of the Coachella Valley. This is another area where you can see a great range of both geologic change and landscape.  This hike follows another part of the North American plate faults (like the San Andreas which we visited a couple of weeks ago). Here it plays out in a different way. The two types of stone here represent stone that is 4 billion years old on the left and the "new" stone, only 133 million years old, on the right. The stone on the right was molten plasma when it worked it's way up thorugh the crack caused by the fault.  It's so interesting to see how our world was shaped up close and personal like this. How clear it all seems when someone shows you what to look for. And it certainly makes you gain some perspective on the passage of time - our time here is so puny in comparison.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Mindful, Day 44, Infinite Variety

A walk at the Coachella Nature Preserve yesterday takes us through such a vairety of landscape. From a cool oasis with a pond !!! to waving field of grass and up into the rocky foothills.  All in one walk. I am constantly amazed at how much variety there is in a landscape that, at first glance, seems unchanging and vast. It's all in looking closer.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mindful, Day 43, Bright and Beautiful

Desert agave, standing about 6 feet tall blooming up high on the mountain side. Just starting to open and glowing even in the cloudy light. It is so extravagant, especially in relationship to the more subdued landscape around it.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Mindful, Day 42, Surprise Viewing

On my 4th attempt to complete more of the strenuous Art Smith hiking trail I have an up close viewing of a group of 5 bighorn sheep. They are big - the size of deer! It was quite a surprise as I have only ever seen one at a far distance. This group was coming up from a wash where there was lots of new green grass, went over the trail, up the side of the mountain, posed one by one at the top of the ridge and then continued on their way! It was such a wonderful interlude. I spent about 15 minutes watching them and they did not seem the least concerned about me (thankfully).  The last sheep up knocked down quite a number of rocks at the top so I moved along quickly in case they the rocks were going to pick up speed and bring an avallanche down around me.  I still am thrilled to have gotten to see the bighorns this close. A great start to the day.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mindful, Day 41, Aglow

I woke this morning to the inside of the house filled with the most wonderful, buttery light. I looked out the window and the sky was absolutely aglow with the most beautiful sunrise. Five mintues later it was a pale blue. What a gift to start the day.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Mindful, Day 40, Patch Work View


A patchwork of metal pieces creates a small wall and window with a view.  I wonder what this piece of metal will look like over time. The rust around the rivets will spread and create another pattern and possibly some holes. I collect vintage Japanese boro fabrics and this has the look of those remnants that have been put together for a utilitarian purpose. In their simplicity and directness of purpose they achieve a beauty all their own.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Mindful, Day 39, Tangled

I am still exploring the photos I took at  the Noah Purifoy Outddor Art Museum. I am taken with this structure made of wires, springs and odd pieces of chainlink fence. I love how such simple bits and pieces becomes something intriguing. As you walk around and under it the patterns are constantly changing against the sky. I think about working with such materials - how much of it forms itself because of its characteristics and how much the artist had to bend it to his will.  I think that he might have let it have its way! Now the wind is the change agent. If you stand here awhile it becomes muscial -  the wind interacting with the sculpture.  I am going to work with  details of some of these photos and see what I can see in a different way.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Mindful, Day 38, Reflections on Being an Artist

Yesterday we took a drive to see the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Art Musuem in Joshua Tree, CA. Noah Purifoy was an artist who dedicated himself to the found object, and to using art as a tool for social change.

I do not wish to be an artist, I only wish that art enables me to be.
 – Noah Purifoy, 1963

 This very large outdoor art musuem is entirely constructed from found objects. Most of it is slowly deteriorating in the climate. There are fascinating things to see and I am continually intrigued by how he saw the world.  I find that photographying his art/objects with my take on art leads to new ideas.

These photos of broken and arranged mirrors  on the ground include I what I can see reflected back into the photo. And then the whole figure/ground thing is going on as well. I iwll hsare some more observations as I reflect on them in the next few days. A link to the musuem is below.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mindful, Day 37, Layers

As things clouded up yesterday, I notice more and more layers slicing across the sky. So many tones of blue and grey gradually blending. I find it both soothing and powerful at the same time.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Mindful, Day 36, UnBound

Walking yesterday past the chainlink fence nearby, I notice the shadow of the links stretching and twisting into new shapes and patterns that are a variaiton on their original shape.  I have an upcoming exhibit opportunity that is title "UnBound".  This might be the start of an idea. One of the reasons to try and be mindful everyday - ideas abound if I just pay attention!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mindful, Day 35, Perceptions

 Today we went on a jeep tour up to the area of the San Andreas fault. It was a fantastic trip and changed my perception about what the San Andreas fault is.  In this photo we are standing at the juncture of the 2 underground plates and that little dry stream bed flowing toward the bottom is the fault.  I expected a grand event - a huge hole in the ground, a massive crack, something big! A good lesson - to let go of what you thought it was going to be and embrace what really is. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Mindful, Day 34, Give Me Light

 An early morning hike, a sunny morning, the cactus reaching up toward the light, glowing.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Mindful, Day 33, Determination

These are photos of battered and burned palm trees in an oasis. As I look at them closely I see more and more about how they try to protect themselves from this harsh environment. The layers of overlapping palm fronds and "bark" create a thick, overlapping cover. The materials themselves are dense and hard. In the first photo the palm is burned, missing it's top and covered in layers of dead fronds but it looks like it is still trying to survive.  I think of determination, I think of marks and scars adding to overall beauty and individuality, I think of how you just get up and try again to survive another day.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Mindful, Day 32, Trail Markers

This trail marker made me think how sometimes it is really hard ot know which path to follow. That the trail markers we get  in our lives are not always what you would hope for. That you sometimes just have to get on with it and see what happens down the road.

In this case, the path to the left turns out to be the right way to go to find the dead oasis which means I have gone much higher and further then I had hoped.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mindful, Day 31, A Room With a View

 I am taken with this structure - all that remains are the bare bones of what used to be what? A cabin, a trading post, a cafe? Sitting partway up the Indian Canyon road with a view in every direction. The light is beautiful pouring through the empty window panes and creating patterns on the floor and walls. I especially like the one small rectangle of blue sky so vivid in the corner. If only the walls could talk.