I’m Being Followed by a Long Shadow

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Or actually, maybe I’m following it.

I’ve noticed this long-shadows meme on Facebook lately.  I kind of like it.  Here’s my version, taken in Acton Park.

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Bonus shot: Please study this sign before you see a horse coming at you on the trail.

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The Action in Acton Park

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This morning I wanted to walk in a flatter place than the fire road around our neighborhood, so I drove down to Acton Park  to try out the lap track.  I was surprised to read that the park was actually dedicated in 2005 (the same year I started this blog!)  It feels like it’s been here just 4 or 5 years.  Anyway, I’ve only really been down here once before.  We tend to favor parks with trails to parks with tracks, but I have to say that this is nicely done.

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So official!

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Big heart shaped rock along the trail.  There were probably a dozen people out using the park to strengthen their hearts this morning.  Some of them ran. Not moi!

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That’s Parker Mountain in the background. Last fall Hydra, Kitty and I hiked almost to the top of that.  But not quite.

And no, this photo is not color boosted.

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The aforementioned pavilion.  Friends of Acton Park sponsors several programs, like Friday night line dancing, outdoor concerts and movies, and a “Pick Your Pace” marathon which you can complete over the course of several weeks.  I hope they do it again next year.  It’s probably the only way I’ll ever complete a marathon!

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The little church across the road.  They just painted it this year.  We used to vote in the community hall here, but now we vote in our neighborhood’s club house.  125 years is a pretty long time for this part of California.

After doing a few laps, I walked over to the new location of Acton Market, which is really terrific.   Actonites tend to be a bit shy about change and have resisted some big developments, but this store in the heart of the little town is most welcome.

Walking in the World

  P1020787I would have missed this if I hadn’t gone for a walk.

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks at work, with long days chock full of unusual queries and requests for lots of research done on an extreme rush timetable….which creates lots of loose ends that are a bit difficult to keep track of. Some of it’s kind of fun, figuring out new things.  Some’s just work.

But I’ve gone out early each day for the past week to get a solid start on my 10,000 step daily goal and it is transforming my attitude.  No matter what happens, I have images in my head–and sometimes in my camera–that I would not have otherwise captured.

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Among the nice house in Toluca Lake, this lovely ranch style spider home.

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That magnolia tree bud thing that BikerGrrrl IDed last week, on the tree.  You see evidence of the flora that inspired the Craftsman movement in architecture all around Southern California.  I love it.

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The light will never be quite like this again.

I’m walking during some of the time I was reserving for writing, so a shift is still going on.  My new writing group is inspiring me, though, and I feel a new project in the making along with the many I touch on at any given time.

I have long felt that I had to devote myself to just one writing project at a time, furiously, but this little book Steal LIke an Artist by Austin Kleon was offered as a KIndle special last week and I’m reading it verrrrry slowly and it’s loosening up some of my sedentary processes.

It’s good to keep moving.

Where I’m Writing From

 

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Took a hike this morning with a plan to sit somewhere along the way and write.  As it turned out I waited till I was nearly back to our place before selecting a little juniper grove with some long shadows in which to pause.  It was about 8 a.m. when I stopped here, after about 40 minutes of wandering around the fire roads.

Hyrda was up on the peaks at the same time.  I’m still babying my knee a bit.

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The view from where I lay.

This juniper was undoubtedly stripped during the fire that we evacuated for a few years ago.  The ones whose shade I enjoyed are probably decades old.

It wasn’t necessarily a very productive writing session, but it was an interesting little writing date with myself.   I like to write in strange spaces some times, like museums or grave yards.  It’s distracting, but maybe in a good sense.  It’s good to just be somewhere and react to it.

I have a bit of a jones for new experiences.  While I love some aspects of hiking the same trails around our house for years, like seeing changes as the seasons progress, there is nothing like a new road or a new trail for pulling me along.  The need to see around the next bend becomes an imperative.  It draws me forward.  My ideal hike is a loop or a long trail with a ride waiting at the end so I don’t have to backtrack…though the view is often markedly different on the return along a mountain trail.

Going off the fire road up to this little grove gave me a different perspective for a while and made me feel I was much further from home than a few hundred feet!  It’s good to change things up.

 

 

 

A Dam Fine Evening

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My nephew, DBeans invited me out for a mystery tour on Monday evening, saying only that he had something he wanted to show me.  He brought me to one of his favorite photo shooting spots, the Collamer Dam just outside of little Collamer, IN.

There are footings from a former railroad bridge up the river, and pieces of the old dam, which was associated with a mill, scattered around. DBeans has taken photos with a tripod  from the middle of this shallow river.

He is an intrepid and skilled photographer.  You can check out his work at Mind the Gap.

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The continuous flow of water over the smooth lip of the dam is mesmerizing and calming.

 

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It was a great time of day, the sun sending long fingers of light through the branches.

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Possibly my favorite shot of the evening.

 

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We crossed the road bridge that leads into Collamer to get to the other bank, where we could see a bit of what DBeans figures are remnants of the old mill.

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Wild tiger lilies abound.  There were lots of deer and raccoon footprints on the bank.

 

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Footbridge over a little bit of the river that may have been diverted to the mill, or may have been a natural tributary.  I have to say that looking at these reminds me of just how much mosquitoes love me.

I reminded DBeans of the scene from The African Queen when Katherine Hepburn gets swarmed by bugs and almost loses it: “If I start screaming ‘Mr. Allnut!  Mr. Allnut!’ you should get me out of here as soon as possible.”

There are SO many lovely shots that I can’t put online.  It’s gorgeous there.  But there are lots of skeeters, and I am their second favorite food.  DBeans says they prefer nectar.  Okay, nectar, me, everyone else.

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Detail of green stuff growing out of the footbridge boards.  Green stuff grows out of just about anything that sits still for an hour and a half in Indiana.

Thanks for a wonderful photo safari, DBeans!  It was one of the best parts of a very satisfying visit.

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I didn’t remember that these were very young milkweed pods until later this same evening when DBeans’ mother, my sister Pegerty, fed them to me.  She is very into wildcrafting.  I just love it.  She fed me lambsquarters for breakfast one day, and brought home some of these baby pods and blanched them for Kitty, John and I as we started yet another game of Acquire.  Hints of asparagus.

The silk that develops in the mature pods is a warmer insulation than goose down, and was gathered and put to use during WWII.  Pegerty made us all foot warmers stuffed with the silk for Christmas a couple of years ago.  So soft!

 

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No trip to the Midwest in summer is complete without a tornado warning.  The sirens went off in Columbia City so of course we all ran outside to see what was happening.   The wind felt erratic and gusty, and clouds swirled high overhead.  Sometimes the highest clouds churned toward a spiral while another thin layer of cloud scooted by beneath.

The separation of dark and light sky behind Pegerty’s neighbor’s house looks very like tornado conditions, but it passed after a few thrilling minutes and we went back to our game.

All This and the San Andreas Fault

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Hydra–perhaps inspired by our viewing of Iron Man 3 earlier in the day–keeps a boulder at bay, Big Rock Creek, CA.

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Good thing he had his hero on.  Moments after this shot, I found myself straddling this gap and in need of a tug.  I thought he said he stepped from one boulder to the other when in fact he leapt in a spritely fashion.  Too much nice camera equipment hung in the balance for me to risk a tumble.  He came back and helped, yay!

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Pretty sure that this is an antlion pit.  The antlion is waiting down at the bottom of the cone.

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Dragonfly, of course.

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Larger dragonfly.

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Larger dragonfly about to land!

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When I started zooming in and cropping, I discovered that the pretty little flowers were covered in spider webs.  With spiders actually working  in them. In fact, most of the shots included a LOT of bugs we weren’t even aware of.

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Why we came up here in the first place.  Nice to be around water.

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As promised, the San Andreas Fault!  I’m almost pointing at the notch behind me, which mark the path of the famous fault and continental plate boundary.  Hydra and I might be on different continental plates as he takes this.  Or, honestly, we’re both probably in the crush zone and would be in a lot of trouble if this thing let loose.

Whoot!  Another death-defying feat under our belts on a sunny afternoon.

Happy Hour is for the Birds

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Work’s done for the day.  Hydra cut the yard, I sanded a bench in preparation for painting. We decided to bring Dodger out in his travel cage and sit at the table on our little deck.  After the sprinkler ran, the critters came by for happy hour.

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House finch is on the fence.

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Disputes do sometimes occur.  “Are you looking at my sweetheart?!”

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The dove is aloof on the roof.

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It’s windy up at the top of the slope.

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So quiet that we can hear the raven’s wings beat the air as it passes over head.

Yeah, we like it here.