Sunday, March 31, 2013

not to grow neutral

“….and I am left with these alternatives,
to find a new mask for what I wish to be,
or try to be a man without a mask,
resolved not to grow neutral, growing old.

Hand over hand eagerly I crawl
back to uncertainty.”

John Hewitt: The Modelled Head

This absolutely glorious bloom greeted all passersby at the San Francisco Botanical Garden and I thought it would be wonderful to share in wishing everyone a joyous Easter.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

marsh plants

In a now-dry section of the marsh, this beautiful explosion of potential life is still tightly attached to its briars is waiting for the right moment to propagate. 

Just a few feet beyond, the dampness has allowed thousands of buds on the marsh plants to nearly open.

I sometimes feel like that thistle, dry at the end of winter and ready to float freely into Spring. Other days, I feel buds pushing to open, my feet firmly planted in the rich, loamy soil that it has taken years to develop. And, I laugh. Still can’t answer reasonably…”this is who I am”.

 Photos are from the southern edge of the estuary into Tomales Bay.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

new beginnings

The first day of Spring. Just pausing a moment to think about how I (we?) make a point of renewal in certain events….New Year, Vernal Equinox, major birthdays, anniversaries of significant events in my life. Yet, every day, probably every hour, offers the opportunity to change my habits, thinking, or the direction of my life. This morning, I brewed my usual mug of good coffee. What if I had steeped a cup of a vibrant tea? Or, skipped the stimulus entirely? Would that tiny act be a new beginning?

Two photos from the street. Spring was anticipated by someone who planted the iris bulbs or planned the blooming street tree. And, their action created a sign of renewal for everyone passing by.

I posted a different tree in bloom a couple of weeks ago. It fascinates me to think that just a block away from the previous post, this tree has suddenly burst into bloom. The micro-climates in the City are amazing!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

free expression

What constitutes the rights of an “artist” to make a statement? Is it protected speech? Or, does it simply become an object, a thing, once it is created?

This new “expression” near my home covers part of a mural at a playground that had already seen additional “expression” by graffiti artists.

The first amendment to the Constitution is central to how Americans see our rights. Restrictions on expressing our opinions, ideas, hopes & fears are sometimes seen as unlimited. Yet, there are dozens of restrictions from incitement to a crime to defamation or obscenity.

Artists, whom I respect, in our community argue that graffiti is free speech. Yet, defacing the "speech" of another is a line that I am unwilling to negotiate. If freedom to make an artistic statement impinges on the rights of others…for speech, for property rights, for a livable community…should it be protected? When it is egregious disregard for community values and simply blatant egotism, I can't justify it.

And, when the building is finally re-painted as protection against the weather, is that an infringement on the speech of the muralist, the graffiti artist and the most recent shadow painter?

Monday, March 11, 2013


Everywhere in my neighborhood there is an explosion of Spring. 
Allergies are a main topic of conversation. 
Thinking about pollen and its essential role in propagating life ─ 
why has human sensitivity evolved in a counter direction. 
What does our immune system reflect about our disconnect 
with natural processes? 
No answer. Just a question.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

spontaneous smiling

Walking down Valencia Street yesterday, I realized 
that how I observe people, the place, the action has changed. 

The awareness came as I realized that in one city-block,  I had smiled 
at an overheard conversation of two young women discussing a potential boyfriend; 
smiled at the look of boredom on a child in a stroller; 
and smiled at the fierce look of a gentle bulldog on a bejeweled leash. 

The three smiles, spontaneous, without judging the observation 
is a leap forward for me. 

And, I think it can be attributed to the Small Stone project: 
being part of the observation, not making an intellectual assessment.

This photo has nothing to do with the musing above. I just like it. :-)