Sonoma Fires

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Map of the Oakmont Fire threatening Spring Lake, several miles to the east, at the Ledson Winery area. This is the fire activity on October 16th.

The fires around Sonoma County are frightening. The Ledson Winery,  the one I wrote about in The Art of Getting Lost in Sonoma, is standing dramatically against a backdrop of flames in the Oakmont Fire!  My mom’s apartment  is just two miles away from this fire and she has been under mandatory evacuation orders since October 9th, and she’s sick so I worry about her. Her neighbors at the retirement community were evacuated to the fairgrounds or to their family. We wait for the rain expected on Thursday to stop this madness…

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The Wind is Like Fire … a Poem

waterfall and mountain painting, by Irene Rowley

The wind is like fire
tapping treetops, rippling leaves
and touching me now.

I wish I could stay
Forever floating in the valley,
From mountain peak to waterfall,
As quiet but strong as a canoe.

My spirit went into the forest
and found the treasure of my own
warm and beating heart
inside pure waters where
there is no death,
Oh no.

Where there is but rebirth and love,
and the love of children
hopeful and hungry — and
The sound of my own song.

~ by Irene, about a recent hike in the Sierras.

I Walk with Three Kings

A Mazatlan sunset from my last travels

This is the season of the Three Kings from the East, the season of visions and quests, despite political unrest, or perhaps even because of unrest!   (p.s. That was a veiled reference to a new USA president about to take office.) I think that a starry vision is timeless and spaceless, and can bring the peace, that nations and politics can never bring…

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My Green Lake and New Year’s Wish

 

Irene with brothers and sister at Green Lake

A flashback to my childhood – Irene with my brothers and sister at Green Lake .

Green Lake came to my mind this winter as a cherished place in my heart, where I was happy and could lay down all my worries, and could relax; a place where I matter and once laughed and played; A Holy Place in the wilderness for camping. We all need places like this to hang onto.

I recall that as a child, I loved hiking with a backpack to Green Lake in the High Sierra Mountains. My heart belongs in Green Lake, a wilderness lake nestled thousands of feet above the valleys. I was dazzled by lights, and reflections on the lake during the day; and dazzled again at night by the brightest moon and starry night. We could see every star and meteor shower with greatest of clarity from my sleeping bag with my brothers and sisters, because we were high above the city lights and the smog, breathing thin and crisp mountain air. Oh how I loved camping there. At this time of year Green Lake is surely swaddled in snow and frozen over. But as soon as the spring and summer comes, the snows will melt and the trails will beckon the humans again.

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Holiday Trees and Handprints

my handprint in a birch treeI have this handprint cutout on my fridge ever since Thanksgiving, when  I visited my brother Walt, and his six kids. We all made these handprint cutouts for a little “Thanksgiving Tree”. This is a very simple and scrappy idea for any family gathering or holiday. On each finger of the handprint, we were told to write something we were thankful for. Here are the five things I wrote:

1. Trees
2. Family
3. Creative mind
4. Arts and Crafts
5. Music continue reading