The Journey is a State of Mind: Guest Hosting for #WQWWC #5 New Beginnings

My long-time blogging friend is the first guest host of #WQWWC. This week’s topic, “New Beginnings” has many facets, your life, your goals, a new year full of promise.

Autty shared a beautifully illustrated raw and vulnerable story of her life and her hopes for the future. Share what matters to you using quotes that reflect the meanings you choose to highlight in “New Beginnings.

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A Day in the Brine

For a long stretch of time, I nuzzled through the moon-bathed Past like a mud-caked armadillo. Without thought, an armored little automaton, I snouted through nests of blaspheme vine and toppled barbed-wire fences, scrabbled about pale, mortuous spines of driftwood, and plashed into oiling, mist-cloaked swamps.

It seems my mind went on pause sometime shortly before she died.

“My characters are drifters and searchers and they look for something. The journey is a state of mind for them.” -Wim Wenders

Something wound round me, protective, choking, like a strangler fig. A pinhole sparked through the muscled arms of roots, providing a strange, light-and-shadow-view of the world.

The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” -John Milton

I always loved dead and withered things. The the smell of sun-baked bones and the exhaust of moldered leaves glinting like tar…

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Brandywine, What Better Name for a Relaxing River?

Winding Through History on the Brandywine

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WordPress Photo Challenge H2O

Everything in Delaware winds. Driving from the airport in Philadelphia, I turned off the freeway onto a state road and headed towards Hockessin, DE. It felt like I had entered a land of make-believe.

Even state highways were paths through a deep, mysterious forest. And water showed up at almost every bend.

The day after I arrived, mom’s cousin Hal suggested a drive to the historic district of Wilmington. He knows I love historic buildings and babbling streams. This spot along the Brandywine was the perfect stop.

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You can never say corner in Delaware, it seems. Points are obliterated in curves, drown in the gurgling streams. How could this pastoral scene be part of the 9-11 Battle in 1777?

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Mr. Dylan Duck stands on his rocky lookout over the Brandywine surveying his family activities. Donovan and Dana Duck discovered something fishy in the Brandywine.

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The twenty-mile lower stem of Brandywine Creek winds lazily around the historic district of Wilmington, DE. Maybe Dylan’s ancestors watched for Redcoats.

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Possibly Dylan’s ancestral family watched Peter Minuit who founded New Sweden in 1638 along the Delaware River and inland to the Brandywine. He died in a hurricane on his return trip, but his colony remained. I can imagine the Swedes lounging with their feet dangling in the stream sipping a mug of home brew on a beautiful September day after harvesting crops all day.

Gossip Along the Brandywine in 1644

Overheard by Dylan Duck I

“This here is mighty fine wine, you’ve made, Peter.”

It’s not wine. It’s brandy, Beatus. Made from this gurgling stream right here. It’s the water that makes it tasty.”

Brandy? Wine? Whatever. It is delicious. ” Abram added.

“Sounds like a good name for this river to me, Brandywine,” Beatus said.

Don’t tell that old Swede, who built the grain mill, Andreas Brainwende. He thinks this stream is his, and we should call it the Brainwend River after him,” Peter said.

Brainwend, Brandywine, his hearing’s so bad, he won’t know the difference.

“You got the water in just the right place, didn’t you, Peter?” Abram said.

Yeah, a couple miles from here the creek pours into the Christina River,” Peter told them. “Ah the beautiful Christina, named after our queen. She’s a spoiler.”

“Yeah, she looks sweet, but looks are deceiving, so I hear.”

“Shhh, you two! Someone might be overhear you. You don’t want to mess with our governor!”

“I’m talking about that brakish water two miles yonder at the confluence of the two rivers. Christina’s waters would make a brandy that even you wouldn’t drink, Abram,” Beatus said

“You don’t think much of my tasting skills, Beatus?”

“Not so much.”

“OK, fellows, better finish it up here before you get us in trouble. The wives will wonder where we are.”

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Hey, Marsha,” Hal called interrupting my reverie. “Haven’t you seen ducks before? What are you doing?”

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What looks like placid waters now, once powered grist and gunpowder mills. Mills fueled the industrial era before the onset of steam-powered machinery. The DuPonts made their fortunes here. Ah, this was the place to learn history.

Ah, this was the place to learn history.

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I could see that it was no wonder why many nineteenth century builders used stone to construct Wilmington buildings along the Brandywine. Mmmm, I wanted to put my toes in the cool water and feed the ducks, sip some wine and…

“Marsha,” Hal called again. “What is so interesting down there? Come up here. I want to show you something about this old post office building.

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How do you ignore a 91-year-old retired engineer who was tired of Dylan and Donovan, the dark-feathered ducks, and wanted me to move on to something more mathematical? More than likely he wanted to go home and eat, my stomach reminded me that it was getting late.

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“Did you notice the way the sun is casting a shadow on this stairway of Breck’s Mill?”

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Hal scores again – something I would not have noticed without him.

The shadows had crept up on me as time swirled dreamily down the stream. But the sun was dipping in the sky. Strawberry-rhubarb pie in the fridge was beckoning us to come back to the 21st century and go home for dinner.

What wonderful, lazy afternoons do you remember sitting by a gentle stream, or lovely lake, waterfall, or even a water fountain?

Does water make your mind wander, too?

Catch more water pictures here.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

Reward: What Does It Mean To Me?

I think accomplishments reward me.

2015 ride home126Frankly there is no reward great enough to recompense a person for the amount of effort they put into a project.  For example, why blog? Is it because someone rewards you? Of course not. Most of us blog to communicate with the world, to share what’s happening that’s important to us. My last blog told the story of  Bob’s old barn, I fell in love with it just in time – it’s coming down. It was rewarding to take pictures and tell the story.

2015 Hengst Barn106I took the picture below of this same path Saturday on my way home from Visalia. It has changed. History is all about change. Today it looks like this.

2015 ride home128This crane cleared out olive trees, and the barn will come down soon to make way for a new field of fruit trees.

Today I met with a friend, Laile Di Silvestro, today who is helping me heal a sick and injured website for San Joaquin Valley Council for the Social Studies. My reward for the three and a half hours that we labored is a website that works a little better, a closer relationship with a talented and generous person, and –  totally unrelated, but I’m counting it as a reward – beautiful weather giving me scenery to photograph.

2015 ride home110Seriously, you’d think it was mid-summer in Montana to look at that sky. It’s a bit chilly, but not enough to deter anyone. We’ve all been praying for rain. That would be a reward.

2015 ride home105A few of these clouds rewarded us with a light drizzle, but not much rain. Most of our water comes from wells pumped from underground aquifers or nearby irrigations ditches.

 

2015 ride home104These pumps may not look beautiful, but water is a huge reward.

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And we are rewarded by food, not only for us but for the cows that provide one of my favorite foods – cheese. Tulare County is one of the largest dairy producing counties in the world. We probably have more cows here than we have people. Most of them live near Visalia and Hanford in large dairies of up to 5,000 cows. Talk about a lot of work. If you don’t like cheese, it might not seem like such a great reward, but I love it.

2015 ride home119This is the dairy I used to pass everyday on my way to and from work.

2015 ride home117Those cows probably aren’t praying for rain, but I’m guessing that the people who live in this house on that dairy farm are.  I hope they get their reward. 🙂

 

For more entries about rewards click here.

 

 

Relaxing After Work

A technician told me the other day that he didn’t mind driving home 35 minutes from work.  When he had lived 2 minutes from work, he always took a drive out into the country to relax before he went home.    His story inspired me to take you on a drive with me as I relax on my way home from work.

You are seeing rural California at its best.  The temperature is a perfect 80 degrees.  The air smells fresh and clean.  You can open your car windows, forget about air conditioning, and let the wind mess up your hair because you are going home.

I stopped along the way to take these pictures, and walked out into the middle of the street.  I could take my time snapping pictures because there is only evidence of human habitation here – telephone poles, garbage can, and, of course, groves and groves of trees, not so many real humans.

The foremost crop in this part of Tulare County is citrus.  Oranges have just been picked for the most part, and although there are still a few in the trees, they are small.

Without irrigation, this area is very arid.  I took this picture on  May 22, 2012, and the hills are already brown, and there are not even any weeds growing along the side of the road.

This is one of my favorite turns in the road.  It changes season by season, but is always beautiful.  Dark clouds, sometimes a heavy downpour, come occasionally from December until maybe as late as April and create a dramatic skyscape for the snow-capped peaks.  In early spring the white peaks of the Sierra Nevada contrast with a bluer sky.  On a windless mid-summer day dusty air hides the mountains, and in the fall the few deciduous trees turn orange and yellow.

Coming from the Midwest, and later the Northwest I had to develop an appreciation for the color brown.  In the Central Valley of California water comes from wells, reservoirs, and we also import water from the north.  A few years ago many, many trees died because farmers couldn’t get enough water.  Now those groves have been replanted.

You can see the drip irrigation hose wrapped around the first tree and stretches to all the trees in the row.  Some types of groves are flood irrigated periodically instead, but this is the most common method of watering citrus trees that I have seen in this area.

I grew up in cities.  I love them, the activities, the lights, the people, but my technician friend was right.  When I lived there, my family and I always took drives into the country to relax before or after going home.  Now I relax by going home, but have to go to cities  so I don’t turn into a vegetable.  I am blessed to have both in my life.