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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Clouds Do Not Deliver


video
Morning drive to post office. I now live on a dirt road. Third visit to set up rural mail. No box at the ranch. Above is second gates into my new home.

One post lady doles out boxes. She was in today but needs to verify I can't get mail. Neighbor "Duke" says, "it's free because the U. S.  Postal Service won't drive our road."

Mail lady, "I'll check with supervisor."

Her counterpart suggests I contact the US Postmaster General for service.
Dear Megan Brennan: Glad you reduced price of stamps, please send rain.

 Left in limbo, waiting for refund checks.  Search begins for commercial post box near my office instead or relay mail from Wyoming via Pony Express.

Waiting for plumber to show between 10 and 12, scrolling the internet sitting in my car - have service at the Highway. Because there are several gates I have to sit in my car 5 miles from house for any service call. Satellite cable install window was 8:00 AM- 3:00 PM.  They showed up on second appointment of all day wait. Honey sat in car with me for company. Under old growth oaks we watch trucks speed by on the highway.

Daily the sky threatens to give a down pour but only delivers a dribble on dusty windshield. A drop blends the pine sap on the outside of the windshield. The spots don't change the corduroy lines in the dirt road behind me dredged by the Road Maintenance Gentleman.

Other projects ahead- trying to sell and trade cars for suitable four wheel drive. Bought a Subaru and looking for a Jeep Wrangler two door. Jeep Wranglers are popular.  They demand crazy prices and few are available. Car dealer acted like I'm asking to buy a Rare Barna fresco. When I said this he became angry.
"Okay so you aren't my car guy. You've never been to Pinacoteca Nazioinale."



I love those muted peach, gold, and
dusty tones mirrored in the hillsides
where I live
Barna of Siena around 1550

Next issue on yellow paper list...
Many to tackle on the road ahead.
Living off grid on a ranch joys.

Caroline Gerardo copyright May 25, 2016

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Joy Arises

Joy Arises

Recite rosary daily.
Sleep is not with me.
Opened memory boxes hidden in the garage.
Attempted to lighten my load of belongings.
I photographed their muddy artworks,
throwing out the dog eared originals. As I lingered
over my children's photos - pictures of ponies and
streamers in gold green and auburn revealing
- colors of time.
Boxes worn.
I cut down to two tattered boxes.
Label: "IMPORTANT FRAGILE"

Piles of trophies, sports jerseys and awards
posed for pictures. Filed them in icloud and
Google photo in case I lose sight of the images.
Thirty Yearbooks now in storage for
my kids homes of their own. When I peeked,
I couldn't recall the names signed with faces.
"Hey buddy you are great!!!" Love,Tanya.

High School reunion is marked on my calendar.
Hope to make it to my first one this year in July.
Will I match peoples names with their images?

A boy promised take me to prom then never showed up.
I know his name, not saying it, never hold in
your mind an unpleasant event.
Let it fly and begin again.

Happiness isn't dusty boxes or antique silver.

Letting go half the things I filled in my house.
Grateful.
A big gesture to
mark this change.
Downsize to a simple path.
Not juggling two jobs, writing at dawn, fighting
with tenants to do what's right.

A joy gift to mark my new life.
I placed an advertisement on #Freecycle with pictures of
my family room furniture. Freecycle is a website where
members post their requests or offer free items.
It Read:
All this for you. A single mom deserves these.
Borrow a truck or two and strong helpers.
Be prepared to accept everything.
Don't text me. Call to make arrangements.
Many texted, emailed and few called.
Each with their requirements.
"I can come next week, but I only want the
antique table." - I didn't answer.
"Will you deliver to me?" Nope.
"Is that a real Tufft table?" Yep.
The right call arrived. I gave them
my address. She asks, "what do you want in
return?"
"For you to be joyful."
They arrive with two funky trucks.
Grandmother's chairs, dining table, ikea
sofa with two new covers, mid century modern
coffee table, Tufft table not in great condition,
Regency writing desk, and linens flow from
my house to their vehicles.
The daughter jumps up and down.
Their excitement makes me giggle.

I am lighter. Ready for my new life.

“It is in the nature of things that joy 
arises in a person free from remorse.”
The Buddha (Cetana Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya)

Caroline Gerardo copyright c   May 3, 2016




Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sunflowers




Google enhanced the above photograph. 
Computer algorithms decide an image is artistic and fixes it? 
Auto Awesome was a branding name now disappeared. 
Google Photos and cloud storage for images is wonderful.
Will my sunflowers below become Van Gogh trembling pics?
Happy Day to you 
Caroline Gerardo copyright ©  2/26/2016






Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day Poem


Thank you earth
paint green blue
river becomes ocean
teach us to
respect your
nature and fear
of random
power.

Caroline Gerardo 4/22/2016
Earth Day Poem
Copyright © 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Los Piños Peak Isn't Getting Old


Spring hits the Cleveland National Forest. Pampas whips a fairy wand at the entrance. Pampas grass is invasive. Wildflowers won’t endure without rain. Promises of El Nino didn’t bring nourishment to the mountains above Orange County. Still the endangered survive.
Past San Juan Capistrano driving where I have searched for a new home, without success. An advertisement in Craig’s List teased me for three nights. “Ranch house behind locked gate on Ortega Highway, cheap rent, need distinguished person who cares for nature.” River stone walls and fireplace in the photographs ring a hopeful lighthouse; I will find the right place. Meanwhile, I hike to bring on exhaustion sleep that doesn’t dream.
Ortega wiggles. Memory of hosting a birthday party at Casper’s Park overnight makes me smile. First other mothers volunteered but on Saturday night it was a huddle of eight boys, four pup tents and me. Flash lights and ghost stories murmured until I announced, “coyotes need their sleep.”
Stop at Candy Shack, “this week no passes are necessary.” Free entrance washes a glowing prediction for my hike. I squint looking for Main Divide on the left. Often lost, I make a u-turn and find the narrow road. Stay right on Long Canyon. Pass Blue Jay and Falcon there’s a gravel stand, parking for nine cars.
Five water bottles, first aid kit, para-cord, and a weapon are in the backpack. Los Piños Peak blocks the morning sun. Visitors who plan a trip to Orange County don’t think of gripping pine trees. Forest has englemann oak woodlands, fir groves and waterfalls. A Bell’s vireo sings. Hundreds of varieties of sage survive in these mountains. Bees know today the purple, azure and golden flowers are showing their magic. The trail changes from smooth to rough rocks with sliding sledge to slip your feet in seconds. It’s difficult to keep eyes on the ground ahead when the landscape bursts spectacular. Horkelia Cleveland opens her white petals to greet butterflies. Two hours walking alone. Wind drums dry Manzanita. Dodder with creepy rust cobwebs sucks life from plants. I can rally a group to carry machetes in here. Mind jumps when toes stumble. With no audience; no shame. If I fall I won’t mention a band-aid on wrinkled knees.
An uneasy feeling warns. Mountain lion bait. Bear bait. Coyote bait. A popping sound now as terrain transforms from steep shale to scrub oak. Morning glories don’t follow me. A skipper butterfly dives in front. Sun warms the wild rose hip cream on my legs. Rub my lips together to spread the flavor of lemon peel and cinnamon. Drink of water, one bottle over the tongue. Ahead, coulter pines and incense cedar groves call. Step careful for poison oak, you are wearing shorts. Soon my feet crunch on the soft needles and the toes are thankful for the break. Follow up the ridge line to the top of Los Piños Peak and on to Bell View Trail. Canyons offer peeks on left. The ocean is sparkling ice. At the next bend Lake in Elsinore and Hemet wash the horizon.
Too far to u-turn at three hours, fear of tics and snakes perks by a buzzard overhead. Temperatures are warm but the wind clears sweat away. I am a third Native American, the cougar or the bear. Trick the mind to be strong. Straighten back upright as the Spanish word pin. In a groove moving faster. I hear music. Parsipop techno music and muffled laughter echo ahead. I gain on them. Peeks of a girl with poles, Givenchy day pack and entourage of friends speckled in front of her. I surprise them with my quiet walk.
“Good morning.”
“This is too hard.” She tells me frowning.
“You can do it.” I say.
She looks into my sunglasses to check if I am making fun of her. Her teen friend comments to encourage.
"نگاه مونیک او قدیمی، او به هیچ قطب پیاده روی."
Lifting my glasses I say, “You’re young, with the poles you are safe.”
“She knows farsi!” The girl says.
I pat her shoulder. The boy with the loud music dances his head. Another says, “We’re turning back.”
I march on and wave farewell. The teen said I’m old. My foot has a pin that wanders. The ache reminds. Every step brings new opportunities. Limbs not as strong but courage sees from a better context than when I was younger.
Fatigue sneaks up while walking under the sun. A break when you reach the summit. Shuffle steps as the lungs don’t tire but the gray green gravel has a way of tricking a fall. The sounds of their voices disappear and I am alone hiking again. Wilderness shows the dance to the top. Spotting the path ahead, a huge climb smiles a me.. Drink a bottle of water.
Hours pass. Joy of a summit; find a geo-cache box near cairns. I don’t open it. I won’t spoil the secret. Then sliding incline, I baby step to locate a rock that doesn’t fail. An American flag at Bell View Canyon is a tiny flicker. The butterflies stay at my back, cheering me on to hurry. Finish strong they chant.
At the end, a suburban neighborhood doesn’t notice. Remove boots. Release the pain. Rub the crumbs of skin mixed with dust and sage on my face. Where are those keys?
I’m out of gas. Last bottle of water goes in, barefoot foot on the accelerator; find a station that takes a Chevron gift card.



Los Piños Peak hike


Geo-cache I found up there

lupine on the trail in real 3-d they are gorgeous

American flag ahead at Bell's View

Caroline Gerardo Copyright April 16, 2016 do not use images or poetry without written permission