Friday, September 30, 2022

Dear Beloved Sanibel...

         Dear Sanibel,
        It is heartbreak and anguish to see you shattered and broken. More heartbreak to ponder the human toll in the physical devastation. Dreams gone, homes, jobs life as normal wiped out.
        My pain is in memories only. Family vacations, anniversaries, book launches, special celebrations, times with friends and the dreams you launched. 
        Our girls grew up counting down until spring vacation and our escape from gray, cold and dark mid-west winters; there was excitement even in the wait until we could jet away. 
        We sensed life was kind when we first drove onto the causeway and felt the gulf breeze. So many years, so many of life's great moments, there on your shell tossed sandy beaches and under your thick canopy.
        Year after year Lana and I would walk your shore, being healed by the sun and Gulf, and be recharged to plunge back into life and careers.
        We watched as dear friends created a business, and converted a corner into an art and hospitality peace, and a piece of paradise. We watched our goddaughter grow as an island girl. We slept on the shop floor in our early vists and took pride in what Barb and Dave created.
        All of those grill nights, dinners at Jean Paul's, the Bubble Room, Mc T's and more. All of the laughter.
       Then precious Sanibel, you were where we planned to retire, and so we bought a house, and our dreams took hold. 
        In time our daughter moved there, we spent more vacation visits adding to the years of cherished time.
        My Sanibel Arcanum and The Sanibel Cayman Disc books were published and you helped me celebrate the success. The clippings and interviews and video tape reports now live in the archives of the Indiana Historical Society. All of those wonderful parties and book signings saved for the future.

        It was not about you, nothing about your tropical charm, but we changed focus. Our retired life was to be in California, another coast, another life, but so fondly and sweetly we remembered you, and our dear friends there and the thousands of memories. 
        Now we grieve. We are lucky, the memories remain. You dear precious Sanibel face another daunting time of rebuilding, repair, re-greening and rebirth so you can again be a haven of hope, laughter, peace, and memories. 
        We are sorrowed by the task that faces not only your communities, but the thousands of individual lives that have been altered.
        The Sanibel of my memory and the Sanibel of my novels was changing, as life does. But no one who has enjoyed your magic, your wildlife and wild nature, your devotion to the environment and love of birds can forget how special you were, and that was never to change. Nature will comeback. Ding Darling will again be a refuge and so too will you, precious Sanibel. You rare, east-west, barrier reef island, walking in the Gulf, you have endured for centuries, have taken hits, and have changed, but you always come back. 
        But for now, we hurt, we hurt for you. 

       See you down the trail.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Moved by the Mountains


        It had been 8 years since we visited one of our favorite places on the planet, the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada.

    Spectacular peaks crown the western rim of the vast Owen Valley on one of the great drives in the United States.

        We had booked access to Yosemite National Park, entering it from the east so we could drive the famed Tioga Pass. That thin line at mid mountain is the Pass, heading east.

        Rain fell overnight on the Lodge at June Lake. As we drove north in the morning we saw the surprise on the peaks to the north, the seasons first snow fall. 

    It was our first time to see fresh snow in Yosemite. In good years it becomes a winter wonderland, though we are not inclined to put chains on the tires and drive into the mountains.
    When the heavier snows fall, the Tioga Pass is closed until summer.

     We gave ourselves a couple of days to acclimate to the altitude before venturing out for a hike in the John Muir Wilderness.

        One of our favorite trails wanders along a creek as it winds upward to 4 alpine lakes. The trail head is at about 10,400 feet.

        With aging knees and hips we have begun using trekking poles and found them to be especially helpful.

        Lana and I are exhilarated by the beauty, peace and grandeur of the Sierras. My admiration for John Muir is always deepened as I think about how the Scotsman wandered and mapped the Mountains by himself.

            East of the Sierra is another story that tells us much about the state of the world. That's ahead in a future post.

        See you down the trail.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

The Tradition Resumes....

The parade kicks on Main Street in the East Village.

For the first time since the Covid pandemic, Cambria Pinedorado Days is back.
Here is your delayed annual photo log of a proud homegrown tradition, the Pinedorado Parade.


Everyone, even the eclectic entries are a star, but our favorite were the Grammar school students, teachers and few parents.  

     Thanks to the organizers, marchers, clubs, bands, Grizzly Academy, car buffs, and each participant and spectator.
You brought back normal!

    See you down the trail.