Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Today is Mexico's Independence Day and Bicentennial. I'm off to the village tonight for a bit of Fiesta!!

Just returned from The States where I took care of many final disconnects and to connect with my friends from HS at our 50th reunion. Before I get into that though I want to catch up on some of the action down here before I left on the 7th.

On the 31st of August The Sea was real flat so kayaking out to The WZ was a must. I got out before sunrise, greeted Grandfather Sun and then meditated. Very soon I heard the blows of Dolphins and spotting their location was able to kayak with them for a while….always a treat! Then I returned via The Reef, doing my laps and viewing all the life beneath me. Suddenly I saw a couple of rays down about 20 feet below and looking closely realized they were a new species for me. When I turned to my left I saw another 50-60 coming right at me so I got a real good look. For sure they were a new species. For an old biologist this is always special. When I got in I identified them as Pacific Cownose Rays. Totally harmless and quite different than The Mobulas I see every day. The picture below is not mine.

I keep having to change my report on The Red Skimmer (dragon fly) migration. They did finally do the big one on the 2nd of Sept., much later than last year. Both the temperature and the humidity were considerably higher that week and I suspect that that was the mitigating factor…not surprising. There are more insects in general but still only one scorpion that I have seen (almost stepped on him at night while wandering around barefoot). The scorpions here are not lethal but do give a damn painful sting, and having been stung three times in the last 6 years I know it would not have been pleasant. I just cannot stand to wear anything but sandals here and even they are restrictive.

Vicente saw a Humpback in the area on the 2nd of Sept. and my friend Antonio saw 3 Fin Whales around the same time as well as another Humpback. I’m not sure how rare that is but it is unusual. I would sure love to meet up with any of them while kayaking.

I was down at the beach the other day and had my camera in case of something special to photo and while there I saw a bird I couldn’t identify. I took his picture and when I looked in the field manual it turned out to be a Willet. It is a fairly large shore bird and about a foot tall when standing. I got these shots before he flew off, beautiful upper wing pattern, no?

The night before leaving for The States I stayed at the relatively new Holistic Community Center Raices y Brazos (Roots and Arms) in San Jose. While there I was treated to a most beautiful and rare experience. A Humming bird had her nest at eye level in the courtyard of R & B and I watched her feed her babies from a foot away. I did not have my camera so didn’t get a shot but this is what I saw.

Now about the reunion. I graduated from Menlo-Atherton HS in Menlo Park, CA in 1960. A good high school, relatively new and close to Stanford University so we were treated to the energy that emanates from such a prestigious institution in our midst. I however was not much of a student and though not ignorant, I was not particularly motivated. Nevertheless I kept my grades up enough to attend a State University (Washington State U.) and played sports, had a sweetheart and partied regularly.

My family moved to the area in 1951 to take advantage of the excellent schools there. One of the very pleasant things about the reunion was the fact that most of the people attending I have known since the 4th grade. My very first “girl friend” was there, the one who gave me my first kiss and changed my life forever.

I can’t relate all the wonderful things that happened around this event but I can say that if you miss seeing your old friends by not attending your 50th, remember; you are getting older (83 of my classmates have died) and it might just be worth saying those things to dear friends that you always wanted to say but were held back by convention. No need to say nasty things, they are just your own inability to forgive and release.

I do want to mention just a few things though so here goes. I couldn’t afford to rent a car or stay in motels so I called upon friends to help out and here’s what they gifted me: my ex, Susanna Pepperwood gave me a ride from SFO to Ukiah after dropping off a dear friend, Susan Janssen put me up for three nights and lent me her car while I raced around Ukiah with a list of 20 “to accomplish” items, Juanita Riddell worked tirelessly to get a venue at the college for my lectures, Jim Mastin helped to make that happen, Rebecca Kress gave me a lift to San Bruno so I could catch the train to Palo Alto, John Erving (a special friend from the 4th grade) picked me up and he and his beautiful wife Kristine put me up for two nights while driving me to the two reunion events I attended, my son Zack who came down to visit and had the poise and courage to attend the pre reunion cocktail party, Dick Burns, Geoffrey Powell and Bob Beckstrom who drove Zack and me to The Oasis (a classic college hangout we all used to go to for beer and burgers) and then back to John’s after a rousing visit, Sheri (Smith) & her husband who drove me home after the reunion party, Bill Symon (another of the “special” friends from the 4th) and his delightful wife Gloria who took me in for the next night and drove me to SFO the next morning, Stephanie Doran (a new friend) who picked me up at the SJD airport with my car and got me started on my trip back to El Cardonal. Each of the above events was filled with love and mutual appreciation……I am truly blessed by The Great Mystery.

As far as the reunion itself, I don’t think I stopped talking, listening, hugging the entire time. Too many people to mention you all but to Sheri, Lia, Vicki, Bonnie, Gail, Frank, Cynthia, Susie, Rex, Jeanne, Clive, Sue, Sam, Terry, Bob, Carolyn, Stephanie, Kent and those I mentioned earlier…..”Que les vaya bien” (may your path go well)!

You all know where I live now, come on down…and thanks for the memories.

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