Travel with friends

sunset over the ocean at Fort Bragg

I can’t write much about this picture. I have been really lucky to meet some great people to hang out with since I left England, and the California coast is an amazing place to hang out. The perfect combination seems to be friends, location, and having dinner together.

Here is a poem by Don Blanding from his 1948 book “Mostly California”:

Sunset Wines

The sunset’s azure cloth is richly stained
With ardent wines as though the day-gods drained
The casks of Life, then lifting goblets high
Shattered their brimming goblets on the sky,
A great defiant gesture of farewell,
A pagan rite so splendid that its spell
Enchants the watchers who, each in his way,
Shares the libation to departing day,
Drinking through mortal eyes the god-wine spilled
And goes his way with thirsting heart fulfilled.

The happy watchers choose from sunset wines
Bright Burgundies distilled from magic vines;
They see confetti cloudlets through a rift
Of darker clouds like restless flakes that drift
In Goldenwasser and they taste this Midas gold,
Or sip the bright champagnes of light that hold
Bubbles of laughter, froths of mirth that float,
Sufficient wine to please the shallow throat.
Drunken with color, warm with joy they go
Leaving the sad dark dregs of afterglow.

The lonely ones who watch the sea at dusk
Choose the harsh flavor of the briny musk
Brewed of long shadows, chilled in wind and mist.
They know, these hearts of drought that sorrow kissed
How this long somber hour of dusk discloses
The sweetness of the Wine of Bitter Roses
They seek the subtler flame, the hidden savor.
With masochistic joy they taste the flavor
Of secret tears, the saline hint of blood.
The lotus flower rooted in the mud
Yields a liquor they crave, an anodyne
For aftermath of too much love, a wine
Fragrant with sad nostalgia’s dark bouquet.
For them the absinthe rather than tokay.
Elusive flavors teasing the tongue
With haunting aftertaste like songs once sung
And half-forgotten, haunting the sick heart.
They are secret drinkers, drawn apart.
They know that thirst deep-smouldering in the mind
Is heart-blood of the wine. They seek to find,
Like the mystic suppliant who begs
For crusts . . . realities among the dregs.

Don’t criticize what you can’t understand

junk made into the shape of a strange face

Art is subjective. I have often found it difficult to appreciate. I like things to be in proportion and for lines to be straight.

When I see something that looks even slightly off-kilter, I start to feel uncomfortable, which is weird, I know.

Realizing that it doesn’t matter much whether I like someone’s art or not was freeing. Previously, I felt like I should have had an opinion on whatever I was looking at. Now, I think that if someone’s art moves you, that’s a good thing, but if it doesn’t, well that’s ok too.

If somebody gets something out of anything anybody created with intention, then that is art. I think.


Surface of a pool reflecting at night

Take time to look at yourself. Think about how others look at you. How bright is the light that you leave behind? How dark are the shadows?

I realize that I was never the best me I could be, but by realizing that I wasn’t always right, losing arrogance and stubbornness, a better me sees I can improve.

If you don’t see any areas of improvement for yourself, I can’t imagine how that must feel.

I expect it’s a pretty dull place, perfection.

See beauty every day

sunset over the ocean

If you take the time to look around you, you will see something beautiful every day. It could be the sun setting over the ocean, a pattern you like in the grain of a wooden table, or a hummingbird hanging around for an extra second or two just for you.

Even the coldest hearts take pleasure in something, something can make them smile every day. Pay attention to what is around you and feed your mind and your heart.

Take time to laugh at yourself, and make other people laugh too. Why y’all so serious?

Be still

Stationery ceiling fan lit up in a dark room

Things move pretty fast these days. We are inundated with information, piped directly to our cell phones in our pockets, only a short reach away from our eyes. It is easy to take too much in, even without trying too hard.

Bright screens and flashing lights demand our attention and interrupt our sleep. Our family meals around the dinner table are losing to whatever is more important on our iPhones. We are permanently connected but rarely giving anything our full attention.

Read a book in the bath, sit and drink tea in your garden, play cards with your friends, play board games with your family, share a meal without your devices in your hands.

Take some time to be still, even if it is just for one five hundredth of a second every now and then.

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