"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Climbed a mountain and turned around

Start of the trail up Mt. Lassen
Wildflowers everywhere. And mobs? swarms? flocks? of butterflies, even up at 10,500'.

Pristine, icy Lake Helen far below. I touched the water there once on another trip and it felt colder than the snow from which it had melted. A swimming pool for a higher order of beings, perhaps.

Since this hat was the replacement for one that got stolen on an Amtrak to Salt Lake a few years ago, I was not about to risk it being blown away into the void. Chin strap - check.
There is always room at the top, if not solitude.

Near the crater at the top were a lot of these lumpy boulders that looked like they were warm when they landed, like great big cookies shot out of the oven (though the cookie-shooter is a hard to find optional feature on most kitchen ovens). To use the scientific terminology.
Mt. Shasta through the haze, over the rim of the Lassen crater. It looks like it's the only thing left in the world from this perspective.

The whole hike, including the pause at the top to send some text messages and update my Facebook status, took three hours. It's a steady climb up for 2.5 miles but not technical and all ages of people were moving up or down the trail. Sneaking off during the week sometime would likely offer more of a serene hiking experience, but on the other hand, one can't help but be glad that people are out showing their kids what the world looks like from the top of a mountain. And a volcano to boot.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Red River Valley

After about 20 years of playing the guitar without really knowing what notes were in the C or G or Dm7 or F# chords I was playing, as all along I've been playing by ear and using chord charts and reading tabs, I am at last learning to read standard notation for guitar. It's really not too hard so far to pick it up because I can read music, just never learned how to translate notes on a staff to places on guitar strings. I don't know why it took so long to get around to it. A client who plays classical guitar loaned me an old copy of "Mel Bay's Modern Guitar Method Grade 1" to get started and also recommended the "Carcassi Guitar Method" published by Carl Fischer, which I just ordered on Amazon. The latter looks like something that could take awhile to grow into. Meanwhile I can work on When the Saints Go Marchin' In and Aura Lee and 'From this val-ley you say you are lea-ving...'

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Memory Bike Lane

I've been doing more thinking about riding than actually riding lately, though hoping that between the Tour de France (Go Levi!!) and what I hope will be a series of awesome photo-rich recaps of this year's NCAC (no pressure, Heather), I'll get motivated again. Highly recommend having a look at Heather's recap of Day 1 here or with the link over the sidebar...maybe you'll get motivated too.