Black Clouds and A Purple Lady

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The rain around here has stopped for now and the dark clouds that have hung over us for the last few days are thankfully leaking sunlight. They say we have gotten as much as 6 inches of water dumped on Petaluma from the last storm. However, that is not nearly what this region needs. There would seem to be more rain coming soon. Good news for the environment, bad news for our walks.

This morning on our hike around our favorite 2 mile marsh loop trail, the walkers and runners were out in force. They tend to be the usual assortment of fitness buffs, dog owners, bird watchers, weight watchers and just plain tourists like us. Three-quarters of the way around the loop we ran into a happy chatty lady dressed in a LOT of purple who told us the story of how she got her hat.

It seems one day she was riding the ferry into San Francisco when she struck up a conversation with a young girl who was wearing a pretty knitted hat. The woman asked the child where she had gotten her hat and was told by the girl that mother had knitted it for her. The mother was sitting nearby and introductions were made. When the mother was asked whether she would knit a hat for for our purple walker friend the mother said yes and a few months later this hat arrived in a package with no return address and no bill.

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The other thing the purple lady told us was that she owned a balloon company that had just received international recognition.

Needless to say it was a fun walk.

Headache (sh*t happens)

Having a real bad day!

He’s having a real bad day!

Rain Yea!

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Sonoma County has been suffering from a very severe drought for almost 3 years now and Sarah’s favorite birding place has been essentially dry and empty of the water-fowl that winter here every year.

However, thankfully, a deluge of rain has fallen for the last 4 days and the dry marshlands are beginning to fill up with water and because of that, their usual winter residents are returning. We got completely soaked this morning but it was worth looking at the almost magical transformation the rains have wrought.

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There is something about flowers in February

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We’re currently in Petaluma, California and it’s raining like hell. A flash flood warning was just broadcast by NOAA and 3 to 6 inches are forecast before this is all over. Everybody around here is happy about getting drenched, because the drought in the western states has been terrible. Winter should be the north bay area’s rainy season and as far as the locals are concerned, it can (and probably should) keep raining for weeks.

Yesterday was my wife Sarah’s birthday and her son and daughter-in-law, who live in Boston, sent her these lovely flowers. Her other son, who lives near here, also brought her some flowers. They were lovely too.

Nowadays, the flower trade is a booming global enterprise and it is very likely that some of the blooms in this arrangement came from South America. Ecuador would be a good guess.

We like to think of ourselves as environmentalists and California is certainly on the cutting edge of that movement . Yet when it comes to celebrating a happy occasion, especially in the middle of winter, flowers are often the gift of choice and it is my guess very few people would have it otherwise. Carbon footprint or no carbon footprint we seem to crave these lovely things.

Changing the habit of getting flowers flown in from thousands of miles away will be hard but I’m afraid it needs to be done.

For now though I thought I’d share a little beauty and try to stop thinking gloomy thoughts.

Always On

Where is the quiet?

Where is the quiet time?

You see it everywhere. People clutching small electronic devices….staring at them, tapping them or talking into them.

I do it, god knows, but I’m becoming increasingly convinced we need to back off a bit from this growing obsession because it’s becoming an addiction. Facebook will still be there in an hour and that flashing light on ones cell phone doesn’t mean the world is coming to an end.  One can take a walk and leave one’s phone behind. And checking ones email at a meal with friends should mean that it’s your treat.

Being always connected is not good for us. Studies are already beginning to confirm this.

Why? Because it chokes off the creative side of our brain by tempting us with a never ending stream of relatively meaningless entertainment.

There is a little quiz on the FAST Company website that asks some probing questions about how a person relates to digital media.

 http://www.fastcompany.com/3012552/unplug/are-you-a-digital-addict 

I took it and didn’t like my score. The next step is doing a somewhat lesser version of what a recovering alcoholic learns to do which is admit we are becoming powerless about how we using social media. 

And then take some corrective action.

No Water Around Here

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California is in the clutches of a VERY severe drought. It’s obvious everywhere. No matter where you look, the land is brown and parched.

Last year these ponds were filled with water and teeming with all sorts of ducks, swans and geese.This year there are very VERY few birds, maybe a few hundred when last year there were many thousands. It is scary how parched everything is.

We are so arrogant when it comes to nature. We think we can bend her to our will and whatever consequences might happen we can fix those too. 

It is hard to see these empty ponds without fearing for the future.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Object

Green Pig

Green Pig

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