Despite the endless coffee stain, it was the magic of family and friends that kept 2018’s light burning. So this is a thank you to a long list of kind people who have made a difference during my personally challenged moments.
Jalama Beach also offers a look into California history. The Jalama Creek estuary, as noted by one of the signs posted, was once a Chumash Village. Both grandchildren actually found that interesting, especially when they learned that the chert we found on the beach was collected by the Chumash and fashioned into arrowheads and blades. That led to a hunt for what my grandson thought would make a perfect carving stone. He found one, but decided to leave it on the beach.
A few years back, a man of Filipino heritage, a licensed pharmacist, purchased a local drug store. An elderly woman, clearly of Caucasian heritage, approached this pharmacist with a rant about how she was sick and tired of “all you Chinamen taking our jobs.”
This is not a politically right or left issue. I’ve watched both sides delve deep into intolerance, belittlement, and yes, hate.
“What island am I on?” I asked myself. Outside is a leader belittling countries of dark-skinned humans. Outside is a legion of angry white men at war with themselves and a changing world. Outside is a living contradiction of faith. Outside we’re told that it is us versus them. But I was on an island where ethnicity and social station did not matter. This island’s mission was human kindness.
Through these 12 months, a medical cancer did strike my friends and colleagues. It was as if a deluge of rogue cells from what I call cancer-world rained on many people I know. And at the same time it never dawned on me that, I, a breast cancer survivor, should have kept my umbrella at hand.
This time last year I wanted to gather my own tribe around my dining room table. I craved their ways of thinking, experiences, wisdom, crafts and talents. But the problem with “my tribe” is we are not very tribal and gathering these folks at one time is akin to herding feral cats — which is why I love this weakly defined tribe.So, instead, I hiked the desert, wandered through the forests, listened to the rivers and ocean, bought mounds of books to read and ponder, and took to what I’ve always done at challenged life moments — threw words on paper in hopes of sorting it all out.
It can be lonely on these less traveled roads. Guideposts are few and far between. The silence, however, is magic. It puts a lid on the cauldron of word soup chatter (social media). With each blind curve, truth reveals itself like nakedness in the mirror. And it is not always pretty.
Spotting scope zeroed in on a nesting female peregrine falcon, director chairs set up for conversation near the base of Morro Rock, it takes less than 15 minutes before a person asks, “Are you Bob?” or says, “Bob, I brought my family to see the falcons.”
“Welcome back,” Bob Isenberg greets, as he readies to share his personal excitement about the recently hatched chicks on a Morro Rock State Preserve ledge. There, a 5-year-old female peregrine falcon (falco peregrinus) that arrived on the Rock three years ago with an ID tag stamped “23R” that tracks her beginnings at the Moss Landing Power Plant, has taken on a life-partner and set up a new eyrie (a bird of prey’s nest), one never used before, as noted on Isenberg’s website pacificcoastperegrinewatch.org.
23R’s arrival joined the only other nesting peregrine on the Rock — an older female that hasn’t produced viable eggs for the last three years, according to Isenberg.
Enough of this world and all of its crooks and liars crushing the light out from the morning headlines! A high octane call to take to the road fuels my inner nomad. Drape me in beads and hats. Pack my bags (minimally). Climb aboard Gilda, the 1997 VW EuroVan with 136,000 miles already journeyed