Hope in the age of COVID-19

March 19, 2020

Except for a very few centenarians, this time of the novel coronavirus is unprecedented for all living humans.  Easy to get pulled down by the weight of it.  Beauty is God’s creative gift, and an antidote to hopelessness. Herewith my modest way of ameliorating the uncertainty, disquiet, fear, dismay, whatever troubles you in this troubling time.  I will reach into my files each day and seek out an image that speaks to me about the world as we would have it, and send it on.  I hope it finds favor, and lifts spirits.

Moonset with wave and bird

Dawn moonset, seabird, the folding energy from thousands of miles away

Day two

Today the seasonal sun is passing the yardarm with this earthly ship rocking on its poles.  Vernal Equinox here, Autumnal Equinox down under.  Appropriate to think of Spring, which officially begins at 8-something tonight Pacific Time.
This too shall pass.  Take care of yourselves.  Prudent lifestyle.  Take heart.
Julian Ladybug card

Julian ladybug

Day Three

Take your medicine.  Coronavirus #3.

Pelicans in a cloudy sunset

Sunset pelicans

Day Four

Could this be the pathway forward through this viral maze?  If so, it originates at the Citadel in Pamplona, España.
Stay strong.  Stay healthy.
Pamplona trail

Pamplona Citadel trail

Day Five

A little serene peace, with a dose of radiant hope anyone?  Smoky Mountains, North Carolina.
Be strong.  Be prudent.  Have faith.  Give thanks.  Savor your loved ones.
The road to Trip's place

A Smoky Mountains morning

Day Six

We’re in decidedly stormy times.  Trite, perhaps, but looked at from a different perspective, we can’t have rainbows without rain….and sunlight.  I see rainbows in the sunlight way people are looking out for one another.


Pot of gold at the rainbow’s end

Day Seven

There are coronas and then there are coronas.  This would be the latter.
Number seven in this series of virus disquiet-easers.
Take care of yourselves.  Wave from afar.  Scrubadub dub.
Total eclipse

Solar corona

Day Eight

Isolation is tough on us gregarious humans.  Sometimes nature offers up its own example of solitude.  A blazing carpet of spring wildflowers, and a solitary tree, leaves back, after the winter barrenness.   Focus not on the singularity, but the connectedness of colorful life, of which the singular is but one part of a greater whole.

This, too, shall pass.  Herewith, our colorful future.
Solitary tree

Solitary tree

Day Nine

Cabin fever starting to close in around you?  Then step out into these nearly 180 degrees of separation, La Jolla on the left, the cliff bluff near 9th Street, Del Mar to the right.  An August panorama with the sky that subtropical upper atmosphere from Baja occasionally provides.

8-31-13 sundown #4

August sundown

Day Ten

I cull through my files looking for images that speak to me in hopes they will lighten our load in these troubling times.  My file system is abysmal, so the results of the hunt can be all over the map.  Pure happenstance, or karma, or divine intervention, today’s choice?  A dark image for dark times.  You can see for yourselves the similarity to Mona Lisa’s smile, or, if you prefer, the Shroud.  Reflective light on the ocean at 05:56 of a setting moon on October 25, 2007— the redness a result of major San Diego county wildfires tinging the atmosphere.  That was a locally catastrophic time.  This is a globally catastrophic time.  I found this image in an area of my files I don’t routinely meander.  Happenstance?   Something else?  Ponder away.


Predawn moonset ocean reflection

Day Eleven

The lowly pelican.  An earthbound appearance only a mother could love.  But magnificent airborne gliding prowess, ridge-soaring mere inches above the lip of pitching waves, and here doing so six feet separated from one another.

Dawn Patrol Pelicans

Dawn patrol pelicans

Day Twelve

The desert as metaphor for these times of the coronavirus?  Looked at one way these are broken times.  But even a bumbling detective Columbo can see evidence of the beauty of hope for life resilient.  Our spirits may seem beaten down, cracked and fragmented, if we’re willing to embrace that.  But there’s much that has the magic and color of life in the opportunities of togetherness this presents, and which I see flourishing every day.  I pray that you do, too.  If you have faith, may it buoy you.  If you see humanist heroics, then embrace that.  Or maybe both?
Be Strong.  Be Healthy.
Desert Wildflowers

Desert wildflowers

Day Thirteen

A pre coronavirus epoch.  But a lad minding his parents’ admonition to stick around.  Granada, Nicaragua.  I love Latin America’s color fearlessness.   Our courage is likewise called upon.

Blue wall boy

A lad in the ‘hood

Day Fourteen

Our home is getting more face time with us these days.  Not to mention our personal space, not just a place, but a state of mind.  Or should that be state of mine?  An opportunity to make the best of getting close to what’s important in our lives.
Anasazi room

Anasazi prayer room

Day Fifteen

Restaurants closed, takeout and food delivery are proliferating.  Sit-down dining exemption.

Incoming food delivery

Food delivery

Feeding time

Feeding time

Day Sixteen

As a child I was frightened by dragonflies, given their prickly appearance and erratic motions.  But there came a day when I somehow broke the code that they never attacked me.  In fact they always stayed a safe social distance away.  They were cautious around me, not the other way around.  So then I could start to look at them for the magical creatures they are, designed with their own version of PPE.  Exoskeleton.  Facial eye protection.  Gossamer biplane wings to carry them on their duties.   And color boldness, always a positive with me.
Our doctors and nurses look pretty scary in their PPE, and I hope I don’t have to meet you up close and personal on this current battlefield, but I recognize that, like with the dragonfly, form follows function.  And you caregivers are our heroes.
Take care of yourselves everyone.  Be Strong.  Be Safe.  Delight in the vibrancy of any dragonflies you may encounter this Spring.


Day Seventeen

Reflection—optical or mental? The color spectrum has temperature, as do bodies, and in mirroring the act of a clinician with a thermometer, taking the temperature of the time, metaphoric for a societal or even global HOWGOZIT.   These are truly confounding times.  A lot of reappraisal and priority realignment going on with us all.   How to look at all this—day to day or farther out?  Like balancing on a SUP, it’s easier to stay stable if the gaze goes to the horizon vs. looking down at your feet, or, if you prefer pilotspeak to waterman, starting your airplane’s landing flare is a more stable and less phugoid wobble if the vision is not at the touchdown zone, but somewhere between the far end of the runway and the horizon beyond.   Clearly there are circumstances when the here and now are our ineluctable focus, but when we can, I think it helps our internal gyro to not forget the longer view.  Individually and societally.
A new moon minus tide wet mud view of the sunset going on above and beyond to the horizon.   Some puddles and surge swirls and some kelp to avoid.  Here, the up close as a lovely mirror of the farther out.  Warm, not feverish color temperature.  Worth reflecting on.  There—ending a sentence with a preposition!
Golden Reflections

Golden reflections

Day Eighteen

About now, anything rising is worth applauding.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve failed, trying to get an effective moonrise time-lapse.  The idea is to park the lens where the moon will come up, maybe ten minutes before it does so.  The azimuth is readily available online, ditto the time. But it never seems to work, the moon a few degrees off, which is enormous with a 600 mm lens.  And the time is always predicated on the horizon, which is about ten minutes earlier than actual rise over the mountains looking east from coastal Del Mar.  But sometimes there’s a still waiting to dazzle, and if the exposure works out the colors are just so juicy it makes you want to cry.
What’s that got to do with the corona virus?  I haven’t a clue, except both are round.   And the stay at home edicts are closing off lots of trails and venues like the one used for capturing this image.  You know, the head shaking in this is part and parcel with coronavirus reality these days.
Guess that’s it.  Stay Strong.  Stay Healthy.
Moon over Mt. Woodson

Moonrise over Mt. Woodsen

Day Nineteen

During this coronavirus tumult, our lives are changing daily, if not hourly.  Assumptions we’ve used for years no longer fit the new reality.  It’s hard to navigate our days, our beliefs, our fears, our annoyances.  It takes regular reassessment of our mental and emotional latitude and longitude, to see where we are, where we might be heading and to even get a grip on what our personal destination might look like, encompass.  Sometimes that might involve following in others’ footprints.  Sometimes navigating our own singular path.  I wish to remember to take it easy on myself if I get a little disoriented or need to verify that I’m staying on course centerline.  Wise to be patient with ourselves and those around us.  Wherever we go, we leave a little of ourselves behind.  I’m seeing a lot more of that being good and unselfish than before we awoke to the all-in-this-together realization of present.  Do this for yourselves and those you care about: pause and look back over your shoulder at your footsteps in the sands of your time, then turn forward and see what is before you.  Square your shoulders, adjust if needed, and go forth with hope.

Tuesday's footprint

Footprints in the sands of time

Day Twenty

I was having a tough period last night at bedtime, just one of those times.  I had selected an agreeable image for this morning’s missive, but ’twas amiss for where I was.  Go to bed, revisit all of this in the morning.  A muse thing, awakened at 4 o’clock to find abated rain and shaded light beckoning.  Oh, but I love clouds and light.  All is not darkness, even in the time of coronavirus.  And darkness has its own illumination.
“Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.”
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel
Find resilience where you can.  Give yourself room to have some moods.  Listen to the messages, take in the visions.  There is light amongst the darkness.
Light, swathed in clouds

Light, swathed in darkness

Day Twenty-One

We keep hearing, and I keep seeing, that we’re all in this together.   There’s a symbiosis in that, each of us a supporting cast member in this global drama.  Some have named parts, others walk-ons.  There’s the individual scene and the big picture into which it fits, just like pollinator and flower, two scene members of the larger Spring.  Spring, as in the hope of regrowth.  Returns every year.

Cactus flower polinator

Cactus flower pollinator

Day Twenty-Two

For Christendom this is Holy Week.  Yesterday was Passover for Judaism.  For many their faith is a bulwark against the uncertainties of life in the time of coronavirus.  For the ancient people of the book their vision of Yahweh was a burning bush.  For me, a less discussed aspect of Christ’s import for humankind was that he quite literally put a face on God.   For Christians its much more than that, of course.  Nowadays these theological musings do not suffuse the thoughts of many who just want to make sense of what they can see and touch.  We’re all different, including what to make of the impact of coronavirus in our lives, personal or universal, but we are all in this together.  Beauty helps, I think.  As is, or as a stand-in for Deity.  You’re call.

Torrey burning bush

Torrey Burning Bush

Day Twenty-Three

You know that “corona” means “crown,” right?  Here’s a large crown.  Not made of thorns, though the buttresses around the periphery look like they could dig in.
Good Friday.  Such a peculiar name unless you remember the empty cave on Sunday.
This virus has been disruptive, just like He who came to the stable.
This virus is changing many assumptions of life in fundamental ways.  The status quo will be different after this.  I continue to see kindness being displayed in very refreshing ways.  Let’s remember to take that with us going forward.
Stay Strong.  Stay Healthy.  Give thanks for each new day.  Share that with someone you love.
11-2-19 dawn cu #5

Cumulus Crown

Day Twenty-Four

It is Good Friday evening as I pen this for tomorrow morning’s post.  I appear to be traversing my own mental Via Dolorosa, having one of my “spectrum” moments.  Things are pent up inside me right now, my thoughts calling from diverse directions.  As always, when I sit down to write, I have almost no idea of what’s coming, but come it does.  I never could write like they taught in school, the rigorousness of an outline.  It’s a bit like walking a tight wire, but I’m used to it, and I think I’m following some sort of pathway intension.
Good Friday, the “good” about the most bizarre verbiage imaginable for us who now ponder his day two millennia back.  Him, knowing it was coming.  Pushing the religious leadership’s buttons to go where He was destined to go, leaving this mortal coil in the most egregious way.  Betrayed, abandoned, beaten, forced to carry his own cross so that He could be nailed upon it, a thorny crown jammed upon his head in mockery.  Does it get any worse?  A great deal worse than the inconveniences of coronavirus sequestration.  Exterminated, and then rushed to a cave ‘cause the end of the day was coming and observing the Sabbath was holy.
I’ve culled the files for a cave picture that somehow relates to coronavirus and our coping with it, and importantly which speaks to me with this mindset I have.  Not very set at the moment, my mind.  As ever, it’s mood-driven, for better or worse.  A real challenge sometimes, but magical to behold when it aligns, just so, and I get a front row center seat for it all.  Anyway, this is what jumped out at me.  Full moon in a cloud lacuna.  That which glows, surrounded.  A cave?  His cave?  You’re call.
Will this world-shaking event push the pundit bastard executives and legislators in Washington to finally put away their political polarization and begin doing the country’s business?  I’m not very sanguine about it.  You?  We’re all probably noticing that the policymakers closer to home are more aligned with our needs, wants and fears.  And our essential workers, first responders and medical caregivers certainly are.
Like I say, I’m having one of my moments. Sorry.
Not to worry, I’m fine, even as the pressure of all this needs venting du jour.  Oh, and I bet if you look in your mirror, you look about as overgrown as I do.  I can hardly wait to sit back down in Dave’s barber chair.
I wish, nay, pray you well
Cloud cave moon

Cloud cave moon

Day Twenty-Five
Here we are.  Easter Sunday.  That dark, sealed and guarded cave, now empty.  The dark cave as metaphor for life in the time of coronavirus?  Not empty.  Still rather dark.   We’re all tired of the uncertainty of life as a people with this virus hanging over our heads.  Certainty eludes us.  A desire for light over dark is palpable.  Spring is the time of light, of life renewing.  Observable.  Certain.  Why is that?  Just the tilting of the earth on its axis, more time in the sun, warmth nurturing life?  Not wrong, and quite enough if life as you stub your toe on it is sufficient.  But are there bigger perspectives here?  I’m not trying to persuade you, but the tale of the stone moved, life escaping the body, the denial of death as comeuppance for living an earthly life?  That’s ultimate big-time light overcoming darkness.  Let it shine, if you believe.  Savor the life resurgence of Spring if that is what resonates with you.  Whatever, I have faith that we will get beyond this, that light will overcome the darkness.  Then let us go forth with the positive takeaways from surmounting this scourge—caring for one another, we vs. me.  Find commonality with others and embrace that there are powers bigger than us.
Easter Blessings.  Joy to life.  Tom
Easter morning poppies

Poppies of the field, considered

Day Twenty-Six

Doesn’t it seem that often the little things denied are those that loom most large?  For me that prominently includes barefoot on the beach, stopping to retrieve treasured gifts from the sea.

Seashell and sand

Seashell and sand

Day Twenty-Seven

The degree to which I get out—while honoring the virus restrictions—exposes me to the affinity we all have for associating with family and loved ones, everywhere evident when crossing paths with other walkers.  This social isolation thing is unnatural, and can’t be behind us soon enough for me.

Two dolphins, cavorting beneath the prow of a boat while underway off the coast here.  Playing together, at decidedly less than six feet.  The fun of their association glowing from them as happy radiation.  Like Pavarotti, holding a long High C.  They’re doing it because they can. I’m looking forward to more of that.

Dolphin Formation

Dolphin company

Day Twenty-Eight

Tides.  Four a day, each different from the last and the next, while also common with them.  There’s the back and forth we can see, and yet more below the surface we cannot, until ebb tides reveal what they may.  There are seasonal changes as well, and of course the lunar monthly effects, not to mention the impact of storms.  If you’re a water person like me, these changes quite literally impact daily comings and goings, what to do, when and where.  And all of that affects my moods and energies as well.  See any parallels here to a coronavirus tidal impact for the day, for the season, for life more expansively?  I’ve mentioned many times how I’m witnessing a below the surface change in people caring for one another, the we vs. me effect.  Have you noticed that with this existential tide, people are generally not rushing pell mell to the barricades knocking others out of the way?  There’s a civility in which humankind ought to take consolation.  It’s compelling to focus one’s gaze to observe features in all this which reflect new ways of looking at old realities, as well as new realities that have changed the bedrock.

An ebb tide revealing an altered bottom glowing in the warm light of sunset.
Marimekko Sand

Marimekko Sand

Day Twenty-Nine

The image, unexpectedly arrested my search.   The subject line leapt at me unbidden.  Last night, before bed.  I chose to await the morning before sitting down to my textual keyboard.
To be honest, I’ve literally lost sleep over this one.  Many many others have lost so much more.  It’s first light now, and I’ve been awake since two and change, ruminating.
It’s a question of statesmanship, of leadership, not politics.   I intend, not, pugilism.  But these are stark times.  They are what they are, and the demands are great.
Mt. Rushmore

George, Thomas, Teddy, Abe.  The Donald?

Day Thirty

Missive number thirty, for damn sake! Thirty days of this stultifying, lethal, and seemingly endless campaign.  It’s enough to bring tears with the darkness of uncertainty.  If you’re feeling some of that, you’ve good company.  Another day to straighten up, and redirect our attention to whatever works for each of us, to shed light positively on our particular pathway.
A rocky cliff along a narrow and wobbly trail in (currently closed) Zion National Park.  Mineral seepage palate on a stone face.
Weeping sand painting

Weeping stone palate

Day Thirty-One

Not very good with the anchor in the sand inertia of coronavirus sequestration, we Del Martians daily quest for moving about in nature venues not currently closed by officialdom, and fully in keeping with the social distancing realities in avoidance of an invisible foe.  Today that took us to a portion of the 2650 mile-long Mexico to Canada Pacific Crest Trail, near Scissors Crossing, east of Julian.
I had it on good authority that Spring had arrived along the trail, with cactus flowers especially resplendent.  One of the big reasons we went there, to macro in on the likes of this.
Cactus flower

Cactus flower

Elsewhere along the trail, I was stopped, well, “dead” in my tracks, gawking at this, no electron microscope needed.   But oh, my, it leaps out at me as visually parroting the coronavirus.  And while I was sizing up how to get in tight, lens not shadowing the shot…

Coronavirus flower

Coronavirus flower

… I flinched with surprise as two Navy Blue Angel FA-18s burst from silence with deafening roar, racing by, nap of the earth, at our elevation and a stone’s throw away, a blur of crackling power.  Now that was movement.   If this was a graphic novella, about here is where the plot would turn, and the species that could design and wield a technological marvel like the FA-18, would breakthrough, and its scientists, one of whom was flying the lead jet, epiphanize the creation of the salvation serum.  Instead, I fist-pumped while hollering “THE SOUND OF FREEDOM!”  You had to be there.  It was only after getting my heart back into my ribcage, that I framed up the flower above.

Blur Angels

Blue Angels

I’ll chalk up today as a successful nose thumb at living, sedentary, under impositions.  A day’s moving reprieve.
Somehow off and on during the day I kept thinking of this music.   There actually is a bizarre association code to be cracked, which I’ll share with you.  The piece is Take Five, composed by alto saxophonist Paul Desmond and included on the paragon-shifting Dave Brubeck Quartet album Time Out.  In my quirky mind the “time out” aspect must be cross pollinated with the lockdown of our lives in the time of coronavirus.  It’s merely a word association, just as is “take five,” both common expressions for a temporal hiatus from what we should be doing—living life with gusto and not bogged down by the plague.  In fact neither terms are an actual fit.  The album title refers to experimentation with different musical time signatures, and “take five” refers neither to a temporal break nor to five tries to get it right.  The reference is to the composition being in the syncopated contrapuntal 5-4 time, with bars utilizing 3 + 2 quarter notes.   I know.  You should try living within me.  Turn up the volume on your audio.  Smile your way to a break from virus pondering, and tap your toes in time to the music.
Day Thirty-Two

There are things afoot, media reported, or heard as scuttlebutt across the backyard fence.  Even in the most virus-devastated areas infection and mortality rates appear to be trending favorably.  Just as cabin fever has us all aching for even the most modest return to normalcy.

There are so many ways to look at what has been happening to us individually and as a people depending on the perspective lenses we wear and the degree of personal impingement experienced.  Is the medicine as bad or worse than the curse? As to the pandemic time signature, would this plague run a temporal course very much the same with a less severe lockdown medicine?  So little is known in the midst of this battle, and great questions will be asked with the perfect visual acuity of hindsight.  Our policy makers and the policies promulgated have been imperfect, but it seems to me that any negation is not for lack of sincerely trying to get it right.  And our essential workers, first responders and medical caregivers daily show mythical courage at helping in the midst of dark confusion.

My faith view keeps showing me the beautiful light of common decency.  I’m witness to people helping people and society broadly in ways large and small, a manifestation of steely resolve or open embrace of soulful urging.  Different as a function of how you see it, each perspective valid to the particular observer.  But all of it showing light amongst darkness.

Northern San Diego County’s nearshore has been experiencing what is called a Red Tide.  Under daylight the ocean has a somewhat opaque burgundy tint from the infusion of marine bioluminescent plankton.  At night the darkness is illuminated by a surreal glowing blue light. Light that shows only amidst the darkness.  Another way of looking at the darkness of this particular night.

The attached time-lapse sequence and still were from last evening.  A sign of the lockdown times, I snuck in under cover of darkness to a bluff top overlooking the ocean.  Not full camouflage or blackface, but stealthy individual force recon, just the same.  Down closer to the water was an INS vehicle on duty, guarding against I know not what.  I found a place surrounded by high coastal scrub brush and began looking for light to share.  It was fully dark, my shooting beginning about an hour and a quarter after sunset, and staying with it for another hour.  The exposure revealing clouds, stars and surf, results from time exposure per shot and diligent post production work in the digital lightroom.  Modest results to report back to Division HQ, but yessir, there is light out there, sir.

Be strong.  Be healthy.  Witness kindness and human compassion all around us.  Ponder why it is so.  Give thanks.

Nighttime Red Tide Waves

Bioluminescent Light Amidst Darkness

Day Thirty-Three

Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Now, there was a populist.  The Great Depression.  If we don’t play it with leadership, this plague Black Hole could last as long, or longer.  Roosevelt pushed through the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corps.  Many projects employing many people.  How about putting back to work men and women in essential industries, with a broad definition of essential?  Agriculture, construction, manufacturing, infrastructure, healthcare, just to name a few.   Their dignity, our country’s gain.  Bang for the buck.  Short term, however long it takes to reignite the economy, then sunset.
A suggestion born of pride for this country.  Would policymakers get on board with this?
A proudly patriotic sunset

A proudly patriotic sunset

Day Thirty-Four

Last evening’s news lead story was a clip of mayor Kevin Faulconer announcing that San Diego parks were going to reopen today, April 21st.  From what I gather it is a sort of limited opening—open for individuals and small family units.  Six foot spacing and no group congregating allowed.  But life, as I live it.  Not the end of coronavirus lockdown but a beginning portent.  The first stage of removing the yellow taped affront to unfettered comings and goings.  Some would say the first step to a second round of infection, and they might well be right in crowded urban settings.   But I’ll take it as a waypoint in the flight plan to normalcy.
In navigation, you have a starting point and a destination.  Those are knowns.  Sorry, but it isn’t just what you’re told to do when you input a location in the maps system of your smart phone or auto hardware, it telling you to do it her way with a left turn in 500 feet, until somehow or other you get there.  I know, I’m a dinosaur who’s disinclination of doing simply because I’m told so is too much slide down a slippery slope.  Will this state of purposeful oblivion that is part and parcel with the unknowns of coronavirus stir a more hands-on grip on life’s tiller when the norms of late are in the rearview mirror?  An un-unkowing?
The journey we’ve been on has had quartering headwinds just like those here, at 11,500’ MSL on a return flight to the home aerodrome.  A mass of humanity below, over the northern approaches to the Los Angeles basin at the end of a day.  We’ll be at the end of this coronavirus course after passing yet more waypoints that we know lead to home.  For pilots, the flight back is nice, but the return to home is all the nicer.  We may have gotten here by viral accident, but getting there still requires conscious navigation, and a team effort, as it is for all of us.  The landing back home, not yet, but coming.
On course, headed home

On course, headed home

Day Thirty-Five

Bedroom window open, chilled ocean air carrying loudly the sound of the sea all night.  Just the right combination of elements.  Wave size surprisingly not always a factor, but tide, wind and direction, atmospheric temperature and humidity often factors.  An invitation to go forth and see what the new dawn conveys.  An early light misty glow of Torrey pines?  Trails now reopened in many places, Sawyer and I will scamper paths somewhere.  Well, he’ll scamper, I’ll nimbly plod.  The news, so breathlessly changeable in this time of the virus, but nature, ever beautiful is ever constant in her nurturance of the soul.  Join me in drinking deeply from that cup.

Misty Torreys

Misty Torreys dawn

Day Thirty-Six

Until Tuesday’s approved opening of San Diego area trails (but not parking lot access) a little creativity has been needed to get out in nature and put dirt beneath feet.  The annual Borrego Springs desert wildflower fix has likewise been off limits.  A second hike on the Pacific Crest Trail has yielded, well, a “revelation” as to nature’s golden Spring bounty, a flower-strewn interlude between mountains and desert.  Getting the fresh air and wildflower fix wherever it can be found.  I hope you are coming up for air where you reside.  Practice the non-congregating distancing and hygiene dictates, and limit your out and abouts, but maybe trade a little nature for one of those grocery store visits?
Feel breeze on your face.
Path of Gold

The path is paved with gold

Day Thirty-Seven

Phases.  Something that goes around and comes around.  As with the moon, which is “new” right now, its feline smile in the west at the end of the day.  The lunar calendar describing when Judaism celebrates Passover, Christendom celebrates Easter, and the Islamic umma celebrates Ramadan, which begins today.  This particular novel coronavirus is new to humankind, but there have been others, including the big ones like the Spanish flu, SARS, MERS, not to mention the vanilla flu, even the rhinovirus of the common cold.   History, and scientific pundits tell us that we will get over this one, but the pathway isn’t a straight and clearly defined one, nor does it appear to be particularly short.  We seem to be in a phase easing out of the worst of the societal medical uncertainty, followed by a similar clarifying of society’s economic miasma.  We’re not where we want to be, but at least we have some recognition as to where we are.  As a society.  Now, at the personal level, the phases are as different as the individuals and their particular circumstances.  Make the most of what little illumination we have now, and take solace in history and science conveying that the illumination, and with it, clarification, will continue to improve.  Peace be upon us all.

New Moon twilight

Twilight New Moon

Day Thirty-Eight

You ‘re looking at the silhouette of a 5,000 year-old tree, a tree that was already old at the time of Abraham.  Yeah, that Abraham.  It stands vigil in a grove of bristlecone pines in the rarefied air at over 11,000’ MSL in the White Mountains near the California-Nevada border.   Truly a Patriarch, whose perspective on having seen it all over the millennia, stands as testament to resilience in the face of the challenges of each new age.


Bristlecone Patriarch

Day Thirty-Nine

“Let’s be careful out there.”  The line from the sergeant conducting the daily briefing in Hill Street Blues has stuck with me over the years as on point and widely applicable.  Yesterday afternoon, giving Sawyer his end of the day empty-out walk along the cliff, we passed a few other walkers with and without dogs, but also one couple, and one single woman, who had settled in at their respective places in small open areas amongst the thick sea lavender.  Taking in the sun and reading books, stationary.  Two days before the beaches are slated to open at many places (but not Del Mar), and where the openings come with keep separated, don’t congregate admonitions.  Doing the most natural and pleasant things on a warm weekend afternoon, it nonetheless gave me pause as a hint of human nature’s inclination to come together.  Concern that I was seeing two glimpses of how challenging it will be to open the freedom of the outdoors without crowds resuming spontaneously.  We ache to return to normalcy, but given the state of affairs, normalcy of the past is not in the cards for some time to come.

Take care of yourselves.  Get out, but keep moving at a distance.

Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps

Day Forty

Lung power.  The wind in our sails begun with that first gasp at birth.  Powerful and natural.  Easily taken for granted until confronted with COVID-19 or other cardiopulmonary illness.  Loosening of lockdowns will provide more opportunity for robust respiration.  We can take advantage of that, feeling our internal sails billow, while plotting a sensible course in distancing and hygiene, that we avoid a return to the doldrums, physical or economic.

North swell cove

North swell spindrift

Day Forty-One

The isolation of the novel coronavirus is one of its most unpalatable features.  A good reminder to physically or emotionally touch someone you love and care about.  Be there for them, and let them be there for you.

Hand Tree

Hand tree

Day Forty-Two

At its most visceral level this comes down to us and nature.  A stealthy bug that is mild for some, lethal for others.  Nature always has the stronger hand, it’s incumbent upon us to find a natural place in rhythm with nature’s power.  Admittedly hard to do with this bug, and learning that process and our particular place is evolving daily.
With the limited re-opening of the San Diego beaches and ocean, I got to the water’s edge yesterday, where nature offered low tide suck-out walls in the brownest red tide water you could imagine.  No solace for me there, but I did get in a nice beach walk.  Step by step return to the new normal.  I hope we recognize it when we get there.
Surfer sundown

Surfer sundown

Day Forty-Three

Skies have been dreary here on the coast the last few days.  Mirrors the dreariness of the coronavirus nexus.  Let’s color over all of that with some brightness.


Light vs. dark

Day Forty-Five


I’m feeling the drag of coronavirus fatigue, and just didn’t suit up for yesterday’s image.  Sound familiar?  The morning dog walk is simultaneously the morning surf check.  The waves aren’t visible on foggy mornings, but fortunately those are great mornings to wander the local canyons, the wetness suffusing the air with the smell of earth and chaparral.  The spider webs all glisten, strewn with a thousand tiny droplet diamonds.  And the Torrey Pines needles collect and hold water, each drop a lens revealing the bigger picture of the forest it inhabits and creates.  This virus isn’t tiny, but it is revealing things about human nature, both good and less so. More of the former I think.

Lens on it all

Lens on it all

Day Forty-Six

So many rotten things about this coronavirus.  Given its apparent infectiousness and lethality for many, plus the uncertainties and unknowns, we’ve all been living with lockdown.  Inert stasis.  Doesn’t sit well with many, where the preference would be doing something to make a difference.  Action. A version of that played out yesterday.  Once a year our church foregoes traditional services on Sunday and organizes Community Serve Day helping out with nonprofits all over San Diego.  That was early February this year.  In response to the pandemic, it has morphed into Community Serve 365, yesterday with drop-offs at three separate north county coastal sites where anyone in the community could provide goods needed by many, to be distributed by non-profits to their vetted needy.  Voluntary team effort.   Vehicles drove through and CS365 worker bees collected trunkfuls of items which were then taken to collection vehicles for delivery to the non-profits.  Food, clothing, hygiene items, paper products (yes, TP, facial tissue, paper towels).  The nonprofit recipients spanned the spectrum—Helen Woodward Animal Center, San Diego Rescue Mission, Jewish Family Services, Community Resource Center, Ladle Fellowship, and close to heart for Cathy and me—Casa de Amistad (Friendship House) and North County Citizenship and Immigration Center.  And this was just one of three organized by our church.  One of countless other similar caring outreach events across the county, state, country and globe.
I’m reminded of the line from the song about “them’s that got, get.”  Yesterday it was them that’s got, give.  We vs. Me.
Casa & NCICC donations

Help is on the way

Day Forty-Seven

The elusive green flash.  If you’re a SoCal beach bum like me, you’ve seen your share, but they are an inconsistent event, and very difficult to capture as an image.  I suspect that’s at least partially because some of the flash results from our rods and cones responding to that spectrum at the last moment of sundown.  But if your as-yet unfulfilled bucket list is to take in a green flash, here you go.  Green flash is better than coronavirus news flash to my thinking.

Green Flash

Green Flash. Blink and you’ll miss it.

Day Fifty

04:48 Muse call.  The overnight cirrus clouds had given way to a gauzy marine layer offshore.  Only a hint of the red tide luminescence with a full moon brightening the sea surface.  Still, aside from the hour, a nice way to start a day in the time of the plague.

05-07-20 moonset

Red tide moonset














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