For a year, I’ve passed by a place called “Cornerstone” idly wondering what it was. Last Saturday, I finally went on a fact finding expedition. Basically, it is a tourist destination: a restaurant, four wine tasting rooms, and two high end gift stores.
It’s the gardens that make Cornerstone a worthwhile place to spend an afternoon. There are twenty plots; each the size of a triple office cubicle. Every plot contains a garden designed by famous landscape architects from the United States, Europe, and Asia. Naturally, I didn’t have my pocket Nikon Coolpix with me. I had to make do with the camera on my cell phone.
This week two strangers received joyous news. A match was found for a new kidney. Their struggle to live under the shadow of renal failure is over. The donor was my cousin Penny, who passed from this life January 4th when her life support was disconnected. One door closing opened two others. Life passes to life. Like water, life takes many forms and shapes that are beyond our ability to see. Penny lives in our memory, and in the lives of others as well.
Quentin, Who is Two
Quentin blew through the door (accompanied by his parents). They traveled from Canada to visit his great-grandmother Genivieve Duffin. He turned two in December, and is a full-fledged member of the tribe known the world over as “the Terrible Twos.” Watching this little guy chasing the cat, running back and forth around the living room, and grabbing for everything interesting that he saw, I found myself thinking “it is the terrible twos” because it is terrible to be two. Here are these little tykes, waking up to a bright and shiny world full of wonderful things to explore, and all they encounter are people yelling “NO” and “DON”T TOUCH, and “YOU KNOW THE RULES!” When you are two it’s only natural to explore and grab and touch and climb. How else does one learn to negotiate the world? Of course one doesn’t know the rules. Big people tell them something that makes no sense in their world, then expect them to both understand and obey immediately. At two, you are so small that people can pick you up out of the blue and carry you away right in the middle of something interesting. It takes a lot of grit to survive being two.
During World War II, when Russia, Great Britain, and the United States were allies, Eleanor Roosevelt became friends with a diminutive young woman from Russia. Her name was Lyudmilla Pavlichenko and she was a sniper with a confirmed kill count of 309.
Yaba! Yaba! that means “weighted by guilt” about two weeks going by without a post. Here’s the new news about living in Sonoma.
First I bought a bucket, then I bought a box: of worms. Not just any old worm, but composting worms. The bucket of worms came from a nursery in Novato. They were dud worms. So I ordered a box of worms from a world renowned worm farmer in Alabama (naturally I found them on Amazon where else?).
Two Thousand Seventeen crept into the second week of February, before I was finished with January. I’m holding on to my crown with one hand while running madly to stay in the same place: just like the Red Queen.
I lived most of January against a canvas of rain, rain, rain: except for the last weekend. I spent that under the cold, blue skies of the Sonora desert. Good friends “flew me” on Southwest from Oakland to Tucson. During the drive from Tucson, to their home in Oro Valley, I discovered the special beauty of that desert. Cactus were never on my list of “wonderful things in the world.” Until I experienced the Saguaro forests: amazing those tall pipes standing against the blue skies.
Most of Saturday was spent at the Pima Air and Space Museum. I am told its beginnings were humble. But the Mars family of candy bar fame took an interest. Their funding elevated the museum into a wonderful tribute to aeronautics. They are close to having one of every model of commercial and military planes. There was even a Stinson L-5, the plane my Dad flew in the China theater of WWII. In the interests of breaking up this text a little, I am inserting an old photo of this plane flying the a low pass between mountains. (Sorry about the tape marks).