Animals

Hot Day/Drink of Water
Striped Nibblers
As he runs away, one tail feather falls in the grass.
Mud Bath

The animals of Addo National Park outside of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I ride in the back of a Toyota Land Cruiser with three German tourists. Our guide plays reggae and tells us about the industrial outskirts of town as we make the 30 minute drive to Addo.

Pee now, once in the park you can’t leave your vehicle until you reach the lodge for lunch. Lions. Though there are only seven living on over 400,000 acres, they are not to be tempted.

An American tourist rolls down her window and asks our guide if we see the leg wound in the zebra over there? We do he says, I hope he makes it. She looks horrified by this lack of interference. We continue on. We see the lions, a couple, napping in the shade down below. Buffalo, zebra, and elephants, and so many more animals, living their life, ignoring us.

Oh, hi.

Summmmmer.

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For the first time in fifteen years, I am having a summer vacation. Like the analog kind I remember from the 1980’s and early 90’s, pre- summer jobs. Hence the infrequent posts. The heat has turned off my ability to think clearly and I find myself wanting to read other’s words (books!!) rather than write my own.

Pools, oceans, tents, hikes, streams, hammocks, books, gardens…

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Zucchini in the spiralizer, steamed lightly with tomatoes, basil, pine nuts and roasted chicken.  Smoothies blended with chard from the garden, peaches, and ice.

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Two weeks on Cape Cod, living out the summer of my daydreams. Ponds, rope swings, bike paths, and ice cream.  Surfer’s crowd each other as rare summer waves make an appearance on a Friday evening in Rhode Island. Thai food eaten in a VW bus in the parking lot at sunset.

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Small wooden sailboats in a harbor, near Woods Hole, MA. I love them.

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I’m home now. Late summer is upon us. Two weeks until school begins, though that feels exceedingly early. It’s hot and muggy in the desert. The monsoons are here. No plans to travel this fall, at least not far. Routine and rhythm kick back in. Jobs call. Vintage clothing to be photographed and sold. The occasional film set beckons.

It’s been a sweet summer dream. And now a new one begins.

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Summer

Strangely delicious Italian food in Gila Bend, Arizona, after a quick post drive dip in the pool.

A bunny stops, silhouetted in the light of San Elijo State Beach’s bathroom, and stares a me, frozen, and I begin to brush my teeth.

It’s been years since I’ve been camping. Lattes, croissants, and groceries a short walk away, just over the PCH and the train tracks. Not the camping I’m used to. Each night I sleep better than the night before, traffic and trains blurring into white noise. I envy the kids’ ability to shut it out completely.

Red eyes from days of sun and salt.

S’mores.

A quick detour to Williams, Arizona, on the drive home. The Grand Canyon in its late morning, early summer glory. The perfect knife found in a general store.

Open roads, canyons, beaches, and picnics.

The first summer I can remember spending off of a film set in a very long time.

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Water Birds

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There is a preciousness to water in the desert that the birds seem to understand. Instead of heading to the beach every weekend, which I still miss, I now make almost daily trips to walk along the banks of  the Rio Grande. I’m slowly making friends with its ducks, geese, and cranes.

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Next week I’ll make a quick trip back to LA for the first time since moving home. Besides earning a paycheck, I am most excited to walk in the waves and say hello to my old friends, the gulls, pipers, and pelicans.

It will be good to say a quick hello, before heading home to the cranes.

 

 

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Frozen Desert

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Iced over ponds and rivers, the smell of piñon smoke in the air, snow packed hiking trails; New Mexico is having a real winter, reminiscent of those I remember as a child. Back then, my dad would flood the yard on the north side of our house and create an ice skating rink. At night, I would tie on a pair of dull, too big skates and help him sweep snow off the ice. For the first time in 25 years, he flooded his yard last week.

img_0039There is piercing clarity to the cold light. Ducks honk overhead before landing in the Rio Grande.

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I opened a cookbook last night, “Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, and made lamb meatballs with roasted sweet potatoes and cauliflower. It was gooooood. And by 8 o’clock wondered aloud, is it too early for bed? I missed these dark days when I lived in LA, with its unending sunshine and great weather. Time to reset the internal clock, rest, rejuvenate, and contemplate. By the time daffodils appear sometime in late February, I will be ready for bike rides, sandals, and outdoor patios, but for now I am happy to hibernate and soak up the cold.

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Weekend

Wet legs. Sandy feet. Salty hair. Unplug. Drive west. Breathe deep. Get burned. Sit in traffic. $20 to park. Watch the longboard competition. Calm down. Another deep breath. 83 degrees. Cool breeze, salty air. Sunday. Enjoy. If you enjoy these posts, please follow Smagik.com and please comment and share.

If you play…

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If you play a piano and records in a redwood forest, does anybody hear?

If you climb a ladder to nowhere, do you arrive?

If you smile in your sleep, do you wake happier?

If you don’t go, will you regret it later?

If you throw out the map, will the path appear?

If you love them, will they love you?

If the fog obscures, is there a view?

Does it matter?

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Photo taken yesterday by me (as usual) outside of the Henry Miller Memorial Library and along Hiway 1, in Big Sur, California.

India Permeates

Back from India for almost four months and I am surprised daily by the ways in which it sneaks up on me and permeates my life in Silver Lake, a million miles away. Before leaving for my trip, I ran into a friend who hugged me and said “this is the last time I’ll ever hug you. You’ll be a different person when you return. No one comes back from India the same.” I thought he was being dramatic.

Ganesha, god of auspicious beginnings, remover of obstacles, patron of the arts, sciences, and writing, watches as I open my notebook, sipping hipster matcha, and begin to write.

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While there I became addicted to their creamy, homemade yogurt and learned that it is one’s neighborly obligation to lend starter to anyone in need. I buy a yogurt maker upon  return and begin experimenting with coconut milk recipes. Bring the milk of your choice to just under boiling, about 200 degrees. Cool until warm to the touch, about 115 degrees. Mix in starter ( being without a yogurt making neighbor, I buy starter at the health food store, though just adding already made, unsweetened yogurt will do the trick as well). Place in the yogurt maker, or slow cooker, or (if you live in a hot climate, like India, on your counter) and let sit undisturbed for anywhere between 4-12 hours. Cool and, voila, enjoy.

A man we met in Bundi, a healer in the guise of a skirt salesman, crosses my mind frequently. Karma, shakras, energy, numerology- he knew things about me I’d never told anyone.

Baby Krishna looks out over my books from his place on the shelf and reminds me to open my heart. Love. It’s the reason we are here, he whispers, the only reason. Love in all its forms.

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Family is the most important thing, says our driver, Lokesh. I agree and, now 800 miles away from mine, miss them terribly.

Feed the dogs on Saturday. It will bring you good karma.

After three weeks, I was ready to return to the familiarity of traffic lanes and avocado toast. But, little did I know that India had already burrowed into my soul and that within a few months I would feel the urge to return, to plan another trip, and that I had been changed forever. My friend was right.

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