Sunday, February 27, 2011

Where my feet take me



Between rain and a threat of snow in low-lying Southern California, I walked up the little mountain in town to an old stone tower. It makes me feel I'm in another land, one I visit for escape, even the dark kind.

Lots on my mind--death of loved ones, uncertain future, fear that I will never get where I'd hoped to go. I spent considerable time on this walk intrigued with stone. Watching newly-released, underground springs glisten over granite boulders, finding soil and rock slides that will continue as long as the ground is saturated, marveling at the varied moods even stone can trigger.
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Is it inanimate? I think not.
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As I stood under a stone bridge, I noticed the picture-perfect scene of freshness it framed--lively, scudding clouds, tender new grass (this is February in SoCal, remember) and, again, the punctuation of jutting, sprawling rock.
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I once heard piles of weathered boulders described as woolsack, presumably for a resemblance to sacks of wool. I'm not a geologist, but they sometimes do look like a jumble of sacks.
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Stone gives the world texture, substance, history--forged in the beginnings of earth time, breaking down to allow new life.
There is so much going on when you look closely.



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Late in the day, I saw this
but took no photo:


white ghosts of mountains

flicker in and out of the

drifting cloud bank


and this:

bare branches, storm-stripped.

through the lattice of their limbs,

piles of dusty-pink clouds
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And, as it always does, Nature pulled me to my feet, gave me a staff and said get on with it.

34 comments:

The Words Crafter said...

I love stones....stone houses, bridges, piles, formations.....

I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.....

Nicole MacDonald said...

Lovely - you're so lucky to have such a tower in your vicinity :)

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Char said...

a beautiful traipse through the ruins. lovely photographs. there is something so wondrous in traveling alone.

Jemi Fraser said...

Beautiful photos. Nature really can heal and help and guide.

The Golden Eagle said...

Wonderful photos!

Hannah Kincade said...

Beautiful photos! I love finding things to take pictures of and then not taking pictures. LOL! I'm horrible at remembering to take pictures.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

WordsCrafter: I don't know what it is that attracts me to stones but I love to study them--the variations of color and texture and, sometimes, the incredible size.

Nicole: Isn't it a wonderful structure? It's part of the Friendship Bridge that I have a photo of on the sidebar, which was built some hundred years ago as a monument to peace. I love its mystery.

Char: I get so deep in my thoughts when alone, and I see with more clarity. I often get inspiration for my stories or blog posts when I walk.

Jemi: That is so true for me. I'd shrivel up without nature.

GoldenEagle: Thank you! I used to take my camera, but it became a hassle. So, for the blog, I mostly use my cellphone. It may not have the precision and lens capacity of my camera, but it's always with me whenever something intersting turns up.

Hannah: I'm pretty compulsive now that my cellphone has such a good camera in it. I hardly ever don't have it and hardly ever don't shoot. It's been great for the blog. :)

Suzanne Casamento said...

Love this post! Awesome how nature can actually move you to "get on with it."

Also LOVE the second haiku. Beautiful.

Yat-Yee said...

Gorgeous pics and observations. I love it that you go for walks and find stones trying to tell you stories. Hope your heavy heart got a lift.

storyqueen said...

I am mesmerized by the stone tower. There are so many stories inside, I just know it!

Oh Tricia, I needed these stone pick-me-ups today.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Suzanne: Nature really is a tonic and motivator. And thank you--at first I kicked myself for not shooting that picture, and then I thought, capture it in haiku. Glad you liked!

Yat-Yee: Oh, I did get a lift, and thank you so much.

Shelley: Isn't it a marvel? It's got gaping windows and stands like a lonely sentinel atop the ridge. :)

Anne Gallagher said...

Your pictures could be used as a setting for a story. They're so beautiful.

Donna said...

Okay, that's my all-time favorite post. You take us with you, just as you do ... will ... in your novels.

Wen Baragrey said...

Those stones do look just like the wool sacks I used to play on in the shearing shed. They were the best playgrounds.

Stephanie Thornton said...

That stone bridge picture is lovely. I can't wait for spring and new shoots of grass. Spring is perfect for new beginnings.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Anne: I love that comment. I believe stories are everywhere and we uncover them.

Donna; Thank you. So glad to have you along on the journey.

Wen: Oooooo, that's wonderful to hear. Now, my imagination is going wild.

Stephanie: I'm in need of new beginnings and am gearing up for a biggie. HOw about you?

Faith Pray said...

Lovely words, Tricia. Stones that have been here before we began and long after we leave - spectators and reminders of the solid and beautiful. I love your word pictures and photos. Beautiful.

Bish Denham said...

I've often felt there is a stone consciousness. It is slow and deliberate. They give off a certain kind of peace. In our brief life times they can be relied upon to stay pretty much the same. In a world of change, like the stars, they give comfort, solidity.

jbchicoine said...

Tricia, your outings and photography spark more than just your imagination! I enjoy your excursions, too--just like the view under and through the stone bridge, like a portal into somewhere wonderful and outside of my own experience. Thanks for taking me there!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Faith: That's what I love about them--the sense of historic weight. I feel the same about huge, old trees. Thank you so much for the comment.

Bish: Exactly. You chose the perfect words to describe it.

Bridget: Oh, thank you so much! It's wonderful to feel that my little moments of wonder are seen that way by you and others. :)

Lydia K said...

I love seeing this kind of beauty in the natural world and old architecture. Great post. Keep the pictures and poems coming--they're wonderful.

Tracey Neithercott said...

Gorgeous photos. I'm sort of jealous that's right near you. And I love your no photo descriptions. Beautiful!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Lydia: That makes me smile. Big as the outdoors. :D

Tracey: Thank you so much!

Talli Roland said...

Beautiful photos and even more beautiful words! So atmospheric -- on both counts!

MG Higgins said...

So many times I've held stones and felt a spiritual presence inside. Love the scene of the greening hill and drifting clouds. Brings back lovely S Cal memories.

Anonymous said...

I love your short, spontaneous poems about what you saw on your walk. And those pictures, awesome! There is something charming about walls, towers, roads built out of rocks. The photo of the sky framed in the background is a great shot, Tricia. Your encounter with nature renewed you, and your posting, in turn, renews and inspires others. How cool is that?

LynNerd (Lynn)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hey there, Talli, thank you!

Mel: I think that's why people carry stones sometimes--there's a presence of some kind. I'm glad to bring you a bit of SoCal to NorCal.

Lynn: Very cool, when you put it like that! Thank you.

Paul Greci said...

The natural world can be so healing.

The poetic way you described what you saw transported me. Thank you!

Yvonne Osborne said...

You certainly have interesting paths to walk. Am I jealous? You know we're still snowbound here in Michigan. Sometimes our words don't need pictures and rocks are anything but inanimate! You rock!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I would love to be able to see the world through your eyes. So refreshing, so beautiful. Your photos are amazing, as always. They remind me of England, actually. Of the Peak District.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Paul: Nature is my balm, and thank you for saying that.

Yvonne: I think you are my sister scribe in nature. Glad I can take you virtually out of the snow for a bit.

Carolina: Oh, that's interesting that they remind you of England. I've written two fantasy novels that have UK-sort of settings and this little mountain with its haunting tower and many boulders has given me tons of inspiration.

Niki said...

A beautiful post Tricia and such a wonderful place for you to escape to. We have a long shingle drive and the best time is walking down to the letterbox and listening to the crunch of the stones under my gumboots. :o)

Suzyhayes said...

So beautiful! I feel like I was there with you!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Niki: Oooo, I can hear the crunch from your words and can imagine the wonderful walk to collect the mail.

Suzy: Wish you were! :D