"There are two sorts of curiosity... the momentary and the permanent. The momentary is concerned with the odd appearance on the surface of things. The permanent is attracted by the amazing and consecutive that flows on beneath the surface of things."
One of my favorite things to do is travel along the Pacific coastline here in the Bay Area and take all the gorgeous scenery in. There is a particular spot, on the San Mateo County coastline, that I enjoy and am awestruck by, no matter how often I see it. It's Devil's Slide just south of Pacifica, California. The short stretch of highway has been featured in film, but it also holds an interesting spot in history. As you come down the steep highway slope, you can't help but be awestruck by the natural beauty, but you might also be caught a bit off guard by just how narrow and steep the slope is. If you are going south on HWY1, you have the ocean on the right and almost no shoulder at all. It's gorgeous, but scary at the same time.
Now, here is where it all get's really interesting, and ODD. As you turn the corner you see above, you come around the side of the cliff and off to the right, on a wider cliff over the ocean, you will see a really ODD shaped dwelling, or is it a garage of some sort? Maybe it's the worlds largest birdhouse? It could be a storage shack maybe. Ohh... I know, I bet it is a dream home of a wealthy eccentric, that found out they didn't fancy living precariously on not just any cliff, but Devil's Slide cliff. Could that be it? Ummm... well... no. That ODD little building is actually something much less spooky. In a weird way, that building might be described as a kind of lighthouse. Well, that's how I think of it anyway.
According to Wikipedia, it's called a Base End Station. These little dwellings were used in World War II by the U.S. Coast Guard Artillery as part of the fire control systems for locating the positions of attacking ships and controlling the firing of seacoast guns, mortars, or mines to defend against them. Wow! It is sometimes easy to forget that during that era, the enemy could pretty much walk, or swim, up to America and give us the WHAT FOR. I don't remember hearing anything about this kind of thing in history class, and I don't remember my parents mentioning it either. But can you imagine what it must have felt like to see it being built for the sole purpose of coastal defense?
Suddenly the natural beauty of the ocean, and the sandy beaches and the amazing wildflowers of the California Pacific coastline, has this strange, ominous, watchtower of sorts, heavily armed, and ready to fire on ships and submarines that might come to do us harm. I can definitely see the need for it, and I can see how it must have been a relief to know it was there looking out for us, but at the same time I think I would have felt really sad that it had ever been necessary at all. I think the people who lived in that area, during the 1940's probably felt the same way we do now, when he are faced with some of the choices that needed to be made in post 9/11 America.
The earliest of these Base End stations were built in the late 1800's and were used until about 1946, and then were closed, later to be sold off to private land owners. There is perhaps as many as 100 of this type of structures surviving across America, the ones inland used primarily for early detection of fires, but there could have been a number of different Base End operations sectioned off per floor. I am not sure when this Base End station was built on Devil's Slide, there isn't a lot of information about it, but it's seems it was sold to a private owner in 1983. It's possible that the state of California owns it now, as there is currently a bridge and tunnel is being built to replace the Devil's Slide section of roadway due to erosion and frequent landslides during the winter months.
I will miss driving on Devil's Slide after the new bridge and tunnel through the mountains opens. I love that drive, especially on sunny summer and autumn afternoons. The water below can look like crystal. It shines and seems to be so calm you could walk on it. And the natural beauty of the wildflowers and the occasional awesome bird, can make for a relaxing, peaceful drive. I understand the need for the bridge through the hills, it will be safer and more reliable, but as you know I am hopelessly in love with the Bay Area, and I hate for anything to change. Especially if there is a change that there might be a negative environmental impact. And believe me, there was some debate about that, but after many years of impact studies, the bridge project was a go.
The bypass is scheduled to be finished this fall, and after that time the only access to the Devil's Slide area will be by trail for hiking and for bike access. I will be looking forward to taking that on in the summer of 2012, and perhaps at that time I will finally be able to see the Base End station up close. And you know, I will have my camera in hand!
If you can, feel free to join in with this week's Round Robin Challenges, I know Karen would be thrilled to have you play along. Just click the link at the top of this post, to be redirected back to the official Round Robin blog. You can also find a list, and the links to, the other participants in this challenge!
"At night the fog was thick and full of light, and sometimes voices."
~ Erin Bow, Plain Kate
Fog. If theres one thing the Bay Area can count on, it's fog. I LOVE fog, well, let me qualify that, I LOVE fog when I have a camera in my hand. I don't drive in fog, don't care much for how it affects my arthritis, but if I had to choose my favorite atmospheric condition for doing outdoor photography, it would definitely be in the fog... in fact... the foggier the better!
"Derive happiness in oneself from a good day's work, from
illuminating the fog that surrounds us."
I think fog brings out more colors and shadows which would be obscured on a bright sunny day. I enjoy the fact that everything can seem reasonable and focused one moment, and the next moment you can almost feel like a ghost is creeping up on you, outdoors, in the middle of the day.
"Under the thinning fog the surf curled and creamed, almost
without sound, like a thought trying to form itself on the edge of
Don't get me wrong... I have also had some wonderfully spooky conditions, usually late in the day, as a sunny day will slowly transition to a foggy one. The light within the fog can make it difficult to focus sometimes, and it seems like the only reasonable thing to do is call it a day, but if you can be in the right place at the right time, the mist can be used to set a more lighthearted feel to the photo you are doing.
When I think of what I love most about living in California, especially the Bay Area, I think about all the wonderful micro-climates that tend to keep it all interesting. And I love that you can always depend on the fog to keep things cool. Driving in fog... not so much... living in the fog... meh... doing photography in the fog... there is nothing like it!
"Fog comes in on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor
and city on silent haunches and then moves on.
And Now... The Mamas And The Papas
Be sure to stop by and see what JR is posting, I just know it will be something amazing!
Garbage. We all have it. Some have more of it than others, some have less, but one thing is for sure, we all have it.
I mean I think that me a universal truth.
Here is what I am getting at. Remember a couple months back when I shared with you about the odd neighbor that moved onto the property where I live? At the time I was almost completely sure the new neighbor was perhaps a ghost. I was only kidding with you a little bit. There was a part of me, that kinda believed it on some level, because at least it would explain his odd hours, and his strange lack of... well... life.
Since that time, I have finally seen the neighbor climb the stairs, and to my profound relief he was carrying a bag of what appeared to be laundry. Ghosts don't wear laundry... right? So he must be alive! And anyway... ghosts do wear clothes, they just don't do laundry... it's a fact. So, why would a ghost carry a bag of clothes up the stairs to his apartment, when everyone knows ghosts are not known for having a particular fashion sense?
Okay. It's not a ghost. But the oddities continue. Remember when I shared that the new tenant had never once taken his garbage down on the usual Thursday garbage day? A fact that I thought was kinda odd because who doesn't make garbage, especially after just having moved to a new apartment? Well, now it has been 2 more months since that post, and still no garbage. NO garbage since moving in at the first of May? That's odd... right?
Okay... no garbage. But he is now coming and going at while still rigidly scheduled times... leaving at 4:30 am, arriving back home at 8:00 pm is a little more normal than his original hours of arriving home at 8:00 pm, and leaving again at 12:30 am. Those are much healthier hours I think... but to do that every single day, Monday thru Friday, and on major holiday's like the 4th of July? Really? That can't be healthy.
Here is another thing. The other night, as Alan was leaving for work, for an overtime night, he saw the new tenant coming in at the usual 8:00 pm, and as he drove past him on the long driveway, Alan waved. And as he did so, the new tenant glared at him, as if to ask... "What the whoopteedoo do you want?" Alan, looked away, because it was a really awkward moment. The new tenant continued on up the driveway road, got out of his car, went in his apartment, and no lights came on for the rest of the night. NONE.
I don't know what to think. I suppose he is just some guy that has recently went through an emotional trauma of some sort, but it's a little creepy to be sure. Hmmm...
Any thoughts? Theories? Guesses? Speculations?
Pretty soon I will share with you about the other new tenants that recently moved onto the property. I promise it is a much more fun story to share. Basically about the most normal part of living around other people... the noise that means that not only are you alive... you are embracing life to it's fullest. You will get a giggle from it, I promise.
Now, how about some music. I hope you have been enjoying the music videos this week. It feels good to set life's absurdities to the music in my head. But feel free to tell me if you hate it. Okay?
And Now... The Doors
When You're Strange
Now, go see what the awesomeness that is JR has been up to with his camera!
"Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you. You must travel it by yourself. It's not far. It is within your reach. Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know. Perhaps it is everywhere... on water and land."
~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
**Before I begin, there is a link I would like to share with you. My friend Laura has written about a different perspective and element of the terrible tragedy in Aurora, Colorado last week. It's times like this, that I find myself dwelling on only one aspect of a tradgety, without considering the total situation. There has been a lot of people in the media drawing attention away from the overall responsibility, by faulting, to a degree, some of the victims, and the asking irrevelent questions both of which only serves to distract from the obvious questions. Laura has taken one of those judgements and answers that judgemental question from not just opinion, but from experience. If you can only read one blog post tonight, please skip mine and go read hers. It should be read.
Okay, now about this picture. I went out for a walk in Tilden Park a while back, to clear my head, and just be in peace. A day that had started on a sad, lonely note, was finished with a great deal of peace. The whole park is absolutly stuinning, but I love the Botantical Garden in the park the most, because all through the year you are treated to the best of the native plants and trees of California. It is sectioned off to reflect different areas of the Golden State from the desert land to the amazing redwoods. Guess which is my favorite? If you guessed the redwoods, you get whatever is behind door #1. The dark little path you see, is the rock trail that goes up to a small collection of amazing redwoods.
It is quiet, and cool, and just walking through there, tends to comfort me unlike anything else, well, except autumn LOL. I love the redwoods, and I am going to do some more pictures of this part of the park, hopefully tomorrow, so perhaps I will bring you a look at the trees this next Sunday. Cross your fingers for me! If all goes well, perhaps I will head up the giant redwoods up north, while we are on vacation this fall. It will be all new terrain for me, and I could use the challenge.
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
~Victor Hugo William Shakespeare
Okay, another Monday done. Closer to our month vacation in October. Sigh. I am short-timing it I think. I woke up with a lot more energy today, the Fibromyalgia pain is better, and the while the sun was out today, it wasn't unbearably hot. In fact, it was just about perfect outside. I even considered going down to Oakland and greeting President Obama at the FOX theater, where he was attending a fundraiser. But the traffic would be a nightmare, and the barricades wouldn't let the average guy or gal get very close, so, in the end, I decided to stay home, and work a little in the garden. There is a lot going around in my brain. I wish President Obama would come to Bay Area sometime when he doesn't have a fundraiser to attend. It's depressing that access to the president goes to only the highest donors, or is it bidders? Either way, there is something wrong with that.
I put some music on today while I was in the yard. I LOVE Carole King. Jazzman was one of my favorite songs as a young one. While I was listening to it today, it reminded me of a photo I took at Union Square several years ago, just before Christmas. I love the street performers in San Francisco. They are awesome, and really set a mood sometimes. The man in the photo above was an pretty great musician. He had a real talent. It was amazing to sit and listen to him, as shoppers went scurrying by and folks dressed to the nines walked toward the Theater District. San Francisco is magical at Christmas, there is music everywhere. Today would have been a good day for the Ethereal Musician today to out playing his tunes, you know, that guy with the saxophone who can sometimes be heard in the yard.
But no. It was not to be. Maybe he was in Oakland, standing at a barricade, greeting the president. You never know.
So, in his absence, what's a girl to do? Why go to YOUTUBE of course.
Ladies and Gentlemen... Carole King
Go see what my friend JR is up to, I know it's something amazing!
"Whenever I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it goes away."
~Robert Maynard Hitchens
Just a short post tonight. I want to share a little humorous situation, that will hopefully bring you a grin as you begin another week on planet Earth. Most of the time I am a pretty even tempered person, but when things like what happened in Aurora suddenly present themselves, it can be difficult to pull out of the funk it leaves in it's wake. Fortunately, I have my Alan, who always makes me feel better, and I have Dylan and Hendrix who make me laugh daily as they do their best to figure out their world as well!
Here's what happened. I went outside the other day, to check on the gardens, and clear my head a bit, when I came back in, my orange tabby, Dylan, ran past me, and didn't stop until he made it as far under the bed as he could go. I didn't think much of it, until I glanced into my office, and saw my desk chair swinging around and round in a decent spiral.
I thought about it for a second and then realized that Dylan had hightailed it out of my office, so he wouldn't get scolded for getting on my chair. It was kind of funny, how he thinks he can get away with it, if he can just cover his tracks. Well, he almost did this time except for one thing... the internet footprints he left behind! Look really closely at the picture above... see it? Yep, Dylan had stood up on my chair, stretched his front paws onto the computer keyboard and typed... HELP, HELP, HELP, HELP, HELP, HELP, HELP, HELP.
Thank goodness the Help tap on AOL doesn't immediately contact 911 dispatch. No telling how much fun THAT would have been to explain!
Dylan is a goofy little cat. I have seen him stalk, then attack, laundry, shoes, my purse, the remote control, my hairbrush, a small bag of jelly beans, and my personal favorite... an unopened box of black pepper. LOL. Dylan can be a handful, but goodness, he might just be the most beautiful cat I have ever seen. He is my baby!
~Me :) Now, go see what Jama and JR are up to today!
The tears I feel today I'll wait to shed tomorrow. Though I'll not sleep this night Nor find surcrease from sorrow. My eyes must keep their sight. I dare not be tear-blinded. I must be free to talk. Not choked with grief, clear-minded. My mouth cannot betray The anguish that I know. Yes, I'll keep my tears til later... But my grief will never go.
~Anne McCaffrey, Dragonsinger (Pern, #4)
Okay, I am okay. I was going to take a little time off, but I slept really well, and when I woke up today, my body wasn't in nearly as much pain as it had been. Sleep... solid sleep... is usually the key. I have to admit, getting stuff off my chest didn't hurt either.
I was pissed off. I am still pissed off. I expect I will still be pissed off come November 6th... Election Day. I do know that the process of blogging has been amazingly cathartic over the nearly 9 years I have been doing it. I processed the death of my mother. The death of some good friends. The death of the best cat ever.
But I have also shared my great joys. Dylan and Hendrix. My photography. The new friends I have made. The ridiculous situations I have found myself in. The amazing Twitter friends I have made, who make me smile every day.
You know... LIFE. It's an absurd system. When you hurt so bad you can't breathe... you have to get back up. When you are grieving, you have to get back up. When you are frightened... you have to get back up. When you miss a friend who you have lost... GOD DAMN IT...YOU STILL HAVE TO GET BACK UP.
Yeah, I am still pissed off. Until something is done, until one of the winner's running for president grows a pair of balls and stands up to the NRA I will be pissed off. Sometimes it feels like there isn't a moment to spare. If anything like what just happened in Aurora, Colorado, happened to Alan... look out. If it were to happened to me, again, look out. I will not roll over and die. If my death is inevitable, then so is the gunman's.
Never underestimate the power of a truly pissed off woman!
Please go now and take a look at the photography posted by my pal JR. Ooops... my awesomely talented pal JR. :)