Friday, November 7, 2014

Beginnings and ends

Sometimes it hard to look at change and decide if it is an end or a beginning.  One end is another beginning.  Beginnings and endings are at times sudden and others happen in slow motion - a change may take a second or decades.

I love the new beginning each day.  I get up before the sun – make coffee and breakfast – read the news – talk with Judy about plans for the day… We check to see who is feeding at the bird feeder and listen for White Crown sparrow songs… Isn’t it grand to have a new beginning each day?!

Ah Sunrise!

November is the start of the season of first rain in Northern California… So far one inch has fallen since the start of the rain year in July.  Waiting for the new beginning is exasperating… I get impatient.

This time of year trees can no longer  hold on to the leaves of summer –leaf nutrients are sucked down into the roots, color changes from green to golden and brown and they fall.  For the leaves it is a new beginning… they are soon digested into compost, and the minerals and cell chemicals will be taken up by a myriad of growing things “next season”.

End or beginning?
Granny Smith Apples and Persimmons  are ripening – also Quince… The new crop of oranges are slowly gaining in sweetness…  I love picking fruit from my trees. I share some of the fruit with my resident Scrub Jays –actually they help themselves. But they never take too much – Except I get really pushy when it comes to them eating my figs.

My beloved Granny Smith
For Republicans this is the start of new possibilities in the U.S. Congress.  I ask them only to remember to not be driven by the wishes of the wealthiest 1% in America.  Remember  the “ tired, your poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” Remember the destructive effects of low wages and hunger on the vitality of America.  Remember that the environment should trump private profit.  Remember the quote on the Statue of Liberty:

"Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and under a just God, can not long retain it."
I end my trekking around on a kneeling scooter today!  The scooter has been  a blessing but is so cumbersome. I have graduated to a 'black boot' - which is lighter and can be removed for showers and sleep at night. I was told to walk on it.  But this is a new skill to be learned - right now it is painful and even with a cane I hobble along slowly.  I start physical therapy next week... I am eager to get myself back into condition for hiking mountain trails again!

The storm system that drives this wave occurred 1000s of miles away in Asia- but the energy travelled rapidly through the water  all the way to Hawaii
Some beginnings are gradual – I see my interns and student teachers about every other week – but that's long enough to see the implementation of new ideas and the results of willingness to try ‘new things’.  A quote I heard this week: “ The only way to learn how to do this job is to do it.”  Kind of a good formula for life in general.

It is the season of migratory geese, flocks of crows, white pelicans – some of each will stay around all winter – but the others have built into their brains cold weather destinations.  All the birds seem to know what they are supposed to do in this season of change.

Transitory pelicans taking a break - Monterrey

I feel a little sad to end a book that I like a lot– I become so involved with the lives of the character!  When I ended the “Century Trilogy” (a series of 3 books based on the history of the 20th and 21st century, involving 4 different generations living in 4 different countries). I felt like “What? You mean there isn’t any more?...”  I know and care about these people!

Now I have a new beginning – Have you ever laughed with Aasif Mandvi – a serious/humorous comedian on the   show…?  Aasif has an absolutely funny/serious book called “No Lands Man  (My Indian friends will find it especially funny for some of his inside jokes about growing up Indian in England and the U.S.)  Remarkable man.
Words of wisdom
We are now well past the equinox so each evening the sun leaves us about one minute sooner – and we humans compensate with more lights in our homes or warm fires burning in fireplaces.

In our backyard the population of insects is nearing a seasonal 'extinction'– Summer was good for them - they increased both in variety and number. I can sit and look out when the sun if just right and see unidentified insects flying past continually – non stop… Of course many have been controlled within their own food webs systems– other insects, birds, lizards… but colder nighttime temperatures will stop more bugs.  Some survivors will find a safe place and lower their metabolism to near zero and wait out the cold days.   Others survive in the form of egg clusters hidden in safe locations or buried in the ground.

The universe in a drop of dew

The only constant  in our known physical universe it is change.  Things do not cease to exist when they change form – a muddy wet swamp is transformed into a pristine cumulous cloud, solid granite mountains change into a white sandy beach, oil buried deep in the ground is made to travel up a pipe, transformed into gasoline and turned to release its stored carbon into the air in the form of CO2.
Change happens slowly in Bodie

Natural roses are so much more satisfying that plastic or silk roses.  Is the beauty of natural roses in their transcient-ness?  From bud to first flower – then mature flower – then to fallen petals… But oh the fragrance that a silk rose can never match.

Change happens rapidly in a thunderhead
This week marked the sad death of a close nephew of my daughter in law Marila and son Peter. The nephew, Bryan had visited us twice, and we knew him as an inquisitive, thoughtful boy as he was growing up.  The fatal accident occurred at night, on a country road in Northern California. He was only 23, travelling with a friend, and both killed.  We grieve with our daughter-in-law, his parents and grandparents and the many who loved him. It is a sad tragedy for one so young, entering his best years. Bryan was special.