Tuesday, April 26, 2016


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

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

Monday, April 11, 2016

Home Made Ginger Ale

 candy ice cream old ginger syrup bottles

Ginger root chlorine free water love.
Hidden potion store caught by iphone.
You might call it a subconscious selfie.
Aging women duck posing sans lipstick. 
Are you also obsessed with jihadist poison?
Epicurious ginger beer recipe soothes souls.
The root is poverty, shame, and gnarly inside.
Eating slowly they say coke dissolves a penny.
But not ginger beer secured in ancient bottles.
Probiotic magically changes like our prayers.
Chanting joy in my garden heals the earth.
Rain feeds wildflowers up in the canyon.
Have a sip and sing to overcome hate.

Caroline Gerardo copyright © April 11, 2016  Home Made Ginger Ale Poem

Friday, April 1, 2016

House Burning

Wild chicken dance.
Maui feral birds, aren't edible, neighbor speechless mess. 
Arms flap she's at my door running in circles, "house burning!"
Put down panel of glass loading in the rental.
Thick green liquid is about to go in the trunk. 
Grab tool box, "here's a crow bar, come on."
Doors locked while bacon and eggs tremble.
Fire alarm shrieks from inside the kitchen.  
Flames belly dance out of pots on the stove.
All dam doors, garage and windows secure. 
Pound out the hinge pins from patio door. 
From the plastic chair I fail without anger.

"Call 911!" I tell her. 
Eggs invisible from the outside. 
Fumes fill house, mourning doves scatter.
My iphone4 is in my car two doors down.
I smash laundry room window with the pry bar.
Icy pieces of safety glass clang. Metal scrapes the window clean.
Reach, unlock the door, sirens approach. 
Inside smoky dark I locate a fire hydrant. 
A small hand held method to end danger.
Loud male voices shout,"Who is inside?"
"Me." I'm coughing."We got it from here."
 Neighbor stands under pink blooming tree.
Dancing and muttering, "house burning."  
"No everything is okay," I say. We hug.

I pick up two of the flowers from the ground
crushed by the boots of handsome firemen, hand her one.
Perfume carried in my pocket today.
"Thanks," I say. I'm late, appointment.
 Hustle the windows for glazing repair.
Will I love neighbors when I move? 
House built of kindness and compost
Creosote rail road tie in summer sun,
community tar hangs on my day. 

Caroline Gerardo copyright April 1 2016
Not April fools - this was my morning