Some people love loose ends. There are possibilities with loose ends, but also possibilities when the ends are stitched together. And as Heather says: Everything. Takes. Sooo. Long. To. Do. We can correctly infer from her words that we have other things we need or want or would rather do. It's the same in a traffic jam: what is the hold up? Will we ever get where we are going? We'll never get there. For certain, we'll be late. And we left an hour early! It's a hanging loose end coiled with anxiety, and unless you have all the time in the world to meander along highways, you realize it's at least a terrible inconvenience. There are probably more possibilities if you could just move a wee bit faster than a crawl.
First in the loose ends department are the loose bookends. Through a series of lucky events and also some very unfortunate ones, our book gathering group disbanded indefinitely. Each of us is deep in muck and loose ends of our own; rocking new babies, hosting guests from Portugal, settling into big, grand old homes, securing corporate donations in fund-raising events, and creating around the clock for that high-pressure-gallery group show. (One of us is also sitting on pins and needles awaiting word on her doctoral dissertation, and that's very consuming time-wise.) We'll meet up again when summer coasts to its Indian Summer end (and I think it's okay to say that, but just in case that phrase we all grew up with in California is offensive, let me say when summer coasts to its prolonged end).
Another loose-end is the end of the SLR era, which I'm not entirely letting go of - my gorgeous 30-year-old Minolta, with its Leica lenses isn't going to be packed away forever. In fact, it has an appointment for a cleaning and checkup; but meanwhile, I've caved. I need a grab-and-go handy as my iPhone, and so I took the plunge with a beautiful Nikon superzoom that I'm waiting for breathlessly. It should be here this week. Meanwhile, with iPhone in hand at San Jose Summer Jazz Festival last weekend, I took some nice shots. Here's one that is almost iconic, just the way I always think of San Jose.
There is the kind of loose end that won't be tied up until there is a cure, control of the disease, and no more new cases. I'm talking about AIDS. Like most of you, I've lost several friends to AIDS. Of my own losses, one was a happy and joyous young man I'd known since high school; two I met in college, and one while I was a teacher. In the more casual, and possibly more promiscuous time (according to Peter, who is gone now), of the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was only the beginning of the nightmare. It played out for my friends in such a hard struggle, a long and difficult time, before they left this world. I spoke at a recent dinner honoring those who steered the community forward toward more safe sex as well as remembering those who succumbed to AIDS. The event was well-attended, raising a good amount of money. We all wore the symbolic red ribbon, and one of the speakers explained the humble origins of that powerful symbol. Here's an article that details the interesting history of the AIDS awareness ribbon: http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/awareness/.
Our neighborhood doe who lost her fawn last week is still passing through each morning and evening. I'm grateful to see her; to notice her strength in going about her business of feeding on the oaks and grasses and thistles. Where for weeks there were does, fawns and one 6-point buck grazing on my hillside land and the rugged, undeveloped woods next to me, there is now only the one doe who lost her fawn. I still am haunted by how it must have been for her, that first night alone in her grassy nest, without her constant companion. She looks fine; but she doesn't linger on the hill or at my rear property anymore. And I haven't seen any of the others (including the two, I suspect, orphaned fawns) in a week. It's grown eerily quiet, and I miss the constant activity of their grazing within view. It's a loose end for me until I sight each of the ones I saw in the distance so often for so long.
Our weather is a stubborn mule, refusing to rain. The fog comes, clouds come, a few drops fall; but no rain. It might be close to 85, 100, or 110 in different places in California; then strong winds come roaring in, sometimes tropical and sometimes chilly. I guess the weather is at loose ends, too, except for that no-rain-no-matter-what stubborn streak. But the air, the sky, the light and shadows are betraying, and giving us reassurance that autumn is near. We are at the cusp of change.
Do you know Food 52? You should. The recipes are divine - well, the ones I've tried, anyway. I always think of cauliflower as an autumn food, but summer cauliflower is a thing. It really is. And Alon Shaya has a recipe for whole roasted cauliflower that is a meal unto itself. You'll feel complete, with no loose ends tugging at you, when you eat this beauty. Find the recipe here: food52.com/recipes/24387-alon-shaya-s-whole-roasted-cauliflower-and-whipped-goat-cheese. This is the kind of small comfort that helps when life is all loose ends.
And here is one loose end that has happily been tied up: our work for the Salt River horses of Tonto National Park in Arizona. These beauties will not be rounded up by the National Forest Service. The plans were to round up the 100 horses there, and auction them (and some worried, euthanize them) to open the land for cattle grazing. From the governor of Arizona to the senators and thousands of people across the nation, protests were blazing. Other solutions are being explored now - birth control and possibly securing them with boundary fences. But not removal - and oh! We are all so grateful, no matter what the reason was why the federal government changed its mind. But we'd like to think it was because of us.
That's the housekeeping round up. Many loose ends. Change. Adventure and unease, followed by sweeping happiness and gratitude. It's why my blog is sporadic. Don't lose heart! I am still here. A couple of you good people have offered to write a bit and it's been a while since you were last here - so look for guests. Oddities, curiosities, words of wisdom, and bitter southern wit. All shall be coming forth, along with me, in the final dances of summer.