Saturday, March 26, 2016

Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

The path to Vilabertran changes throughout the year, season by season, and day by day.  Sometimes there are surprises such as outstanding clouds or fields that were full of corn one day and bare the next.  But this week I had an unpleasant surprise, and it was not the result of a harvest.

Lately, as I’ve been waiting and hoping for some poppies to pop up, what has been springing up instead has been alyssum that’s been growing along the sides of one section of path.  Alyssum is a weed; late last fall several of the fields were covered with it.  I looked it up to see if it were perhaps being grown as a crop but it turns out that no one wants to eat alyssum, not even rabbits.

I was enjoying the alyssum.  It added a nice spring touch to my walks and my photos.  When I saw two city workers taking weed whackers to the sides of the path, it never occurred to me that they were going to work their way over to the flower-lined section and whack away the pretty flowers.  But when I came back on Thursday, the flowers were all gone and the edges were bare.

Most civilized people would agree that flowers are a good thing -- that they make the world more beautiful.  But people around here don’t seem to know or appreciate that.  I am angry so I’ll say it.  If you want streets with colorful flowers, cafes and bars that are nicely decorated, places that lift your spirit and encourage you to relax, go to France where aesthetics are considered important.  Here they don’t even leave the wildflowers in peace to make the world just a little bit more beautiful. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


On my walks, it’s the clouds I like most.  They’re part of the view and active participants in the scene.  Within a few minutes, clouds sometimes radically change the light and the mood.  There are the puffy clouds like the ice cream castles Joni Mitchell sang about; streaky ones that look like someone took a grey paintbrush to the sky; or they might be very dark.  Those very dark clouds aren’t gloomy.  Gloomy is the nondescript grey across the sky that doesn’t make for interesting photos.   Dark clouds may be blocking the sun, but they’re dramatic.  It’s even more dramatic when you see them coming and think to yourself, uh oh, I should have brought something waterproof. 

Ice Cream Castles



It’s the sky that sets the tone – drama, mystery, light­-heartedness, or threat.  Clouds don’t keep me from setting out on a walk as long as it isn’t actually raining when I leave the house.  Then again, I have been known to get soaking wet before making it back home.

You're Probably Going to Get Wet

Rows and flows of angel hair 
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere, 
I've looked at clouds that way.

But now they only block the sun, 
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done, 
But clouds got in my way.

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Always Different

I walk through the fields to the village of Vilabertran three or four times a week.  Sometimes I go alone, other times with one or two (sometimes more) friends from the dog park.  One person who comes to the dog park but who has never gone for the walk asked me once if it isn’t boring to always do the same walk.  Well, for one thing, there is no other walk through fields where you don’t have to walk alongside a highway or take a car first to a starting point.  But in any case, boring?  I don’t find it boring.  It’s different every day.

I take photos along the way, but there seems to be one spot where I tend to stop more often.  Sometimes I think to myself, what are you doing?  How many photos do you need of the same thing?  But when I see something beautiful I want to take a photo, and in fact, they are not of the same thing.

The view from the same spot is always different.  Sometimes there is snow in the mountains, others there isn’t, or you can’t see it for the fog.

Sometimes the fields are green, sometimes golden or brown.

One day the corn is high, the next day it’s gone – the farmer came, cut it all down and took it away.

Sometimes it’s sunny, sometimes cloudy – it’s the cloudy days I like the most.

And then there's yesterday and today.