Sunday, November 24, 2013

An emotional time at hand...

A very emotional 3 weeks have left me speechless (I know it's hard to believe)...Bill calls it writers block.  
The culprit could be the 2 cancellations of my knee replacement, being on the thresh-hold of the holidays, missing all our family and peeps, looking at the end of our time here at Joshua Tree NP or all of the above.  So I choose to let my pictures tell the story this time....

We took David McChesney's 2 day Advanced Photography Class and made a new friend in the process.  You will love David's work.
David (in yellow shirt) is "focused" so to speak.
Bill at Eureka Peak
The smog from LA....spreading over the most beautiful SAD!  
And why we are not likely to go to LA.
Working on new techniques at Ryan Ranch, JTNP

Capturing color and texture.

Jan (with volunteer Cheryl) likes going up high for the the end of class the other members were calling me: "Mountain Goat Jan".

                                                    Joshua Trees can be so simple...
And so complex...Blackrock Campground (where we are posted) sports the oldest,
most nature Joshua Trees in the park.

          Lighting is everything.                         Early morning Cholla Cactus (AKA "Jumping Cactus")

Class day #2 dawns....another beautiful one....and we get to practice on Joel:

The "Marine Sandpiper" ....later that week we heard both Joel and David (who plays the harmonica) showcase their talents at a local restaurant.  Boy were we surprised at how well they can sing and play!

Midway through day #2 I spotted this Nolina and HAD to climb up to get pictures of it....But, Bill had to bring me the camera, and look what he found 4 feet from me (10 inches from where our faces had passed)

Rule follower that I am, I remembered David's instructions and hollered down the swale "Tarantula".  David and several other guys came running.  The neatest thing (if I can figure out how to do it)... I took the 300 pix at high speed.  When I fast flash thru them, it looks just like the brown Tarantula is walking along the rock having a nice afternoon in the sun before he goes into hibernation.  

One of our favorite aspects of the job is the opportunity to connect with people...either in conversation or taking pictures for their benefit or in steering them toward neat things to do and see.  Tracy and her son Zeke were some of those people we were blessed with getting to know (albeit a very short time).  We hope she liked the series of  "Zeke on the boulders" that we sent them.

Sunrise another day, a day which would later find us hiking the High View Trail....but, in the meantime, we had important business to take care of .....we often have groups of Boy Scouts camping with us, and while we were on our days off, Dwight (our teammate) had the great idea to have them assist with the morning flag-raising.  The purpose of this was twofold: #1: encourage the boys to bed down at a reasonable hour in preparation for the early morning ceremony (scouts have a tendency to be quite loud) and #2: provide the "boys" with some real life experience at a ceremony they usually only practice with their troop leader.

Bill and Dwight are briefed by the Scouts.....

The flag is honored...."present colors"

and flies high!

Good times with new friends (well a year now), included a visit from Lisa......
And celebration of Connie's birthday with her hubby Jerry

   new seasonal Abby and boyfriend John and,
  (not pictured) Cynthia (our boss).  GREAT (spontaneous) fun!  Proof positive that there is great value in continuing to develop new friendships

That value was found in an evening spent with Margot & friends from Vancouver...

 and Mat and Pat from Montreal.  Pat is a wonderful musician and they are traveling for the better part of a year developing new songs etc.  Follow them on Facebook at Matandpatontheroad.

While between visits with these wonderful and inspirational young people we found time to hike a bit....

The High View Trail...
Came by the name honestly...
spectacular views....

1.3 miles round-trip....mostly verticle :-)  O shows where we started this journey.... 
The dark line in the photo, above the O, is a relative of the San Andreas Fault running across our valley.

Going back to the real world is inevitable.  
                                  After dinner with Connie and Jerry we came home to this :-(
On the upside......over dinner the next night Cynthia introduced me to this machine, which makes water a great deal more enjoyable.  Just in time to begin hydrating for my knee replacement surgery scheduled for 10:15 AM tomorrow.  After 2 cancellations, at the (literally) last minute, I am not holding my breath this surgery will take place, but I will soon begin the fast JIC.


We are wholeheartedly committed to living our retirement out in an active and productive manner with the National Park Service, our home away from home.  This does not make the missing of dance recitals, birthday's and holidays any easier.  We pray the grand,s and our kids, feel our prayers and our presence!

Stay tuned....Bill is in the mood to file a post!

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