Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Echos of the Past

Following Changes

Sunday, we drove to Cohasset, California, 15 miles northeast of Chico on top of a forested ridge with canyons on both the east and west sides. Originally used by the Maidu Indians in the summer, it also had occasional visits by the Yana, Yahi, and Wintun Indians until the 1800’s when the European invasion of trappers, gold seekers, and lumbermen blew through with the typical results. Prize winning apple orchards made a brief claim to fame in the early 1900’s but as the soil and water was depleted, farming and people moved on. Today, 750 people reside in a slowly declining community. The store, gas station, fire station, and school all have been closed, and the only remaining business is an antique store, the site of this gas pump. The owners' granddaughter said she thought the gas station was active when her grandmother bought it in 1966, and long before it was built. a stage coach station, but she wasn’t sure. It’s California, always changing, never still, always changing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mustard Hill

Mustard Flowers

Spring Road

Spring Day


Spring in Northern California is always unpredictable and uncertain. Last week, I was wearing sweaters, this week, shorts, you never know about the next week. What is certain is how beautiful everything is outside, the spring flowers, the orchards blooming, everything so green and lush, not yet the summer browns that are coming soon. Words seem inadequate. I’ll show some photographs I’ve recently taken. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wagon Wheel in the Sun

Do nothing

I’ve just finished reading The Tao of Pooh. The last chapter is called, “Nowhere and Nothing” where the author, Benjamin Hoff  attempts to illustrate the concept of the “empty mind” .  He describes through the Pooh characters the art of doing nothing. Christopher Robin says in answer to Pooh’s question how do you do nothing? “Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, What are you going to do, and you say, Oh, nothing, and then you go and do it....it means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” Hoff uses the books of Pooh to explain Lao-tse’s writings in the Tao Te Ching. He goes on to quote the forty-eighth chapter of The Tao Te Ching, “To attain knowledge, add things every day, to attain wisdom, remove things every day.”  Every day I hear people, including myself, complain about how much they forget, how many times they can’t remember the names of people, places and things. We are a nation of people frantic about their forgetting, yet it’s in our forgetting that we have a chance to clear our minds, and just be. Do nothing. Sit in the sun, look into the eyes of a loved one, do nothing. When I pick up my camera, it's a way of reminding myself, by the things I focus on, to just be, and although I often times click the shutter, I often don't .

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Concow Forest

Cemetery at Nimshew

Angel on the ridge

Spring Drive

Fun is getting in the car on a Sunday (or any day really), and going for a drive with Sam and my camera. It's a time to be together with not too many distractions, and it's a time I can really concentrate on seeing. I love to focus on looking. Looking for beauty, looking for a visual treasure in just what is, that's what I love. Sometimes I don't need to photograph anything, just the joy of looking is enough. We always seems to stumble upon wonderful discoveries by accident, like the cemetery at Nimshew, tucked away in the hills overlooking a ridge. Sometimes we try and find things, like the burned forest at Concow from last summers devastating fires. Sometimes it's a found sculpture like the pulley among the spring wildflowers in Beldon. Always its fun, relaxing, and brings great joy. If I could only do this, be in those moments, that's what I  would be and  what I'd do.