the winds of change are howling through our streets. standing here at the intersection of social justice, the coronavirus, and last week’s earthquake the boat is rocking. i’m just here breathing it all in. good thing my seat can be used as a flotation device.
the jacaranda trees rise above the streets opening their purple parasols under all who stroll beneath.
meanwhile cottage life continues. golden apricots gather in a bowl on my kitchen table. a hooded oriole family dart from tree to tree. there was a squirrel in my freezer last week. she fell from a power line and i collected her before someone could run over her. a real dilemma about what to do with the body. trash was out of the question due to heat and service day was 5 days off. burial was also not an option. so the freezer it was. move over trader joe’s pizza and frozen bananas.
i’ve started a virtual 480 mile camino de santiago mission. each morning’s walk translates to miles walked on the camino. i’ve just let the pyrenees and am making my way southwest across spain. the app is called MY MISSION. you can can go on a pre-set mission or start your own. kind of fun if you ask me.
i wish i had begun my virtual trek back at the end of march when i began daily walking in earnest. i’d be much further along. i do savor my daily check-in. finding my location on the map to see where i’m headed and how far i’ve come.
the oleanders are blooming en masse along my fence. and i am inside on this hot blowy day writing a letter to you. clanking out the words onto a screen. soon i’ll press publish and start reading & responding to your comments. i like knowing what you’re doing in your gardens, cabins in the woods, rowboats, forests. perhaps at this very moment you are climbing a tree or tending to your bees. eating a tomato. reading a book.
i’m still here. journaling on the porch in late afternoon. i deposit all loose thoughts onto the pages of my notebook. anchor them to the paper with my pen. occasionally i even open my sketchbook and draw. the other day a map, a bird, some letters.
virtual school is over this week. i had my last zoom meeting with the young punks. culmination each year is always such a perfect ending. months upon months of life at sea – squall after squall, waves washing over the bow and stern, kids getting wet, getting sick. then somehow they develop their sea legs. life onboard begins to resemble something that does not look like chaos. we start looking for whale spouts, birds, rainbows. land is sighted. the captain peers through a telescope. the end is near. except our journey halted prematurely. an anchor was thrown overboard. 33 hot air balloons arrived and ferried us off in different directions. some of us headed for land, others drifted back towards the open water. that sounds ominous. unintentional i assure you.
let’s forget about school for now and read a poem.
by Linda Pastan
Just looking at them
I grow greedy, as if they were
freshly baked loaves
waiting on their shelves
to be broken open—that one
and that—and I make my choice
in a mood of exalted luck,
browsing among them
like a cow in sweetest pasture.
For life is continuous
as long as they wait
to be read—these inked paths
opening into the future, page
after page, every book
its own receding horizon.
And I hold them, one in each hand,
a curious ballast weighting me
here to the earth.
on my bookshelf
i’m finally listening to BECOMING. everyone was right. it’s good.
IN PRAISE OF WALKING. okay. not as good as i had hoped, but don’t take my word for it.
my latest novel, HARRY’S TREES, so far so good, but can’t hold a candle (so far) to THE BEES, one of my top reads of the year. compulsively readable. hated for it to end. THE BOOK OF DELIGHTS. what can i say? it’s utterly delightful.
sharing is caring
the power of a wave goodbye as seen through the lens of a daughter’s camera over a period of 30 years. moving.
contour drawing on the diary project. we love these. we do do do!
i’m a new devotee of ross gay. he is marvelous as this video will attest.
Hi Ms MaryAnn, just wanted to leave a comment to say thank you for sharing all of these wonderful, inspirational, creative adventures with us. I just found your blog space through Pinterest pin & I couldn’t be happier. I really find reading your adventures enjoyable and inspirational. Thank you for your time & energy & thank you for continuing to blog through this COVID time. It’s really inspiring to keep going on days I don’t want to!
Hi, Mary Ann – A fellow Spanish teacher and I are also traveling the virtual Camino (we are “las maestras”). Maybe we will meet somewhere along the way! We are just about to reach Estella. One day, I want to do the real thing, so this is training for when that day arrives. We just wrapped up our final week of distance learning and the next weeks will be devoted to how to do more of it and get even better at it in the fall, just in case . . . ugggghhh. I am going to check out Ross Gay right now. I always appreciate your recommendations and the poems. Cheers and happy summer to you!
P.S. Your squirrel just reminded me to tell you about our adventures with 4 baby groundhogs who have set up residence in our barn. I planted my garden on Memorial Day weekend, and they ate most of it a few days ago (dug under the fence!). My husband is having difficulties trapping and relocating them as he doesn’t want to split up the family.
Have you read A Salt Path? It was sooo good. There’s another older book about walking the edge of the UK but I can’t remember the name of it. When I did it out I’ll send you the title.
Mary Ann, for some reason it’s been way too long since I checked out what you’ve been up to! I have several months of catching up to do over coffee, not really a hardship. I’m just sad that your travel journals will have to take a break this year (probably), I know here in the uk travel isn’t really happening even within our boundaries. I did your online Full Tilt Boogie class some years back and still have a couple of gorgeous journals to show for it! Here in the uk we are still teaching online (and physically to small groups) for another 5 weeks yet. I’m really over it, there’s only so much computer time I want or can face. Look forward to seeing creativity from you this summer!
I adore The Book of Delights! I need to unearth it and give it another read through.
My garden is the best it’s ever been. We’ll eat our first chard this week. There are already tomatoes and I do believe we’ll have radishes and lettuce before long. We planted many many flowers this year and the long established honeysuckle has never been so abundant or delicious smelling. And I’m wild for all of the color. It’s pretty luscious.
I’ve a friend who has walked the Camino and been back to walk additional sections several times. I’ve been needing to get moving and maybe this will be the thing. My watch thingy used to be a great motivator until it quit working. Maybe this.
maybe have a look at Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust, a history of walking….
all her writing is terrific… i’m rereading her A Field Guide to Getting Lost right now, and having a very good time marking up my already marked up pages..,
with love from another member of the Ross Gay fan club…
PS… the “power of waving goodbye..” was so touching, thank you for sharing!
Love reading all your tidbits of news! I’ve commented before (I’m the one from Salinas, Ca, lol!!)…. and I too finished virtual teaching last week, whew!! It was rather dreadful. I mean, I learned a ton about google classroom and some of the kids did okay, but I’ll never take for granted regular classroom teaching again. I’m happy to say that I’m not teaching summer school, which I did the last two summers. I’ve been enjoying doing a ton of yard work! We installed a DG, winding path on the side of our house. Now we’re in the planting phase and it’s looking so fresh and clean. For fun, I’ve been taking my teenage daughter rollerblading in the evenings in Monterey, along the path that goes through Cannery Row. We time it so that we’re in a good place to see the sunset. Enjoy the rest of your week and take care.
ROSS GAY!!!!! who knew? thanks for the video. must. get. book. I wonder if he would want to sit down with the moss sisters sometime and share stories of delights? Can you check? Talk about a smile. That’s one that could light up Kansas all the way from California.
Susie LaFond says
Well heck, i didnt know one could freeze bananas! Squirrels. I got way too many stories about those, like how one turned up in our laundry room last spring (there is a photo of him on my ig feed) and how he eventually left, which led to some major exterior repairs on our 2 story home last summer and how this winter he invited new friends who managed to get around previous repairs and gain entry into the 2nd story eaves at the roof line which takes me to right now, sitting here passing time while we wait to hear if we can take out a loan to replace our wood exterior with siding including soffits and fascia to the tune of 19,000 big ones. Squirrels. Gah! Its a lovely day here. 77 no humidity and a nice breeze is blowing. I’m reading Homesick by Catrina Davies Its a memoir about the authors search for her home in Cornwall England. I heard about it from an art peep, looked for it on amazon only to learn its out of print. Odd since its was published in2019, i found one on Abe books and promptly ordered it from Germany. Im enjoying it thoroughly. The author has a conversational style that is pleasing and not heavy handed. As always enjoy your musings and adventures. High fives for school being finished. Stay safe and well sweet Mary Ann
Thanks for mentioning Ross Gay. Mary
Lorelei Krebbs says
I finished The Bees and it was phenomenal! Also recently finished a book called “A Garlic Testament” by Stanley Crawford and it put in me a need to grow and learn more about garlic!
Garden wise, I’ve been in waiting mode mostly. Tomatoes are blossoming, I have a few already headed on their way to getting large and a few are popping their heads out. I have a single jalapeño flower and I’m waiting for my other peppers to follow suit. My beans have blossomed and I can’t wait to see them produce!
Mary Ann Moss says
oh i am thrilled to hear you enjoyed THE BEES. i want her to write more about animals… squirrels, house cats, butterflies, birds, wouldn’t that be awesome? Your garden sounds like it is flourishing and lovely. beans!
Hi, I always anxiously wait for your writings. Most times I do not comment as I feel I have nothing to add. However, this time is different. I have decided to treat this summer as an Artist in Residence at Casa Henderson (in other words my home). Each morning I say my prayers, write in my gratitude book, eat breakfast and embark on a day of art and learning. June and July are dedicated to Index Card A Day project. Instead of following the prompts, I am doing a study of Mid-Century Modern Art on 4×6 homemade index cards. At my age (70) I am considered a person who should stay at home as much as possible because of the virus; plus, living in the desert of Las Vegas it is the summer hibernation time from the heat. I am learning how comforting art can be. Next, I must learn to journal.
Mary Ann Moss says
Glenda dear, it is always lovely to hear from you. i didn’t know you lived in Henderson! Your artist-in-residence work sounds very nice indeed. we’ve had a lot of heat here in the last days, you must be scorching, but i bet it is nice to sit outside after the sun goes down! Thinking of you there working on your MCMA cards. go go go !
Holly J Hudson says
I am currently reading THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS of JANUARY by Alix Harrow, only in the evenings…a delight before bedtime. Otherwise my days have been consumed with mask-making for those who need them, 400 given away. Switching gears and making masks for school children, to deliver to school districts, no-charge. The best stash-busting project ever. Books on pre-ordered or next to read include: IT IS WOOD IT IS STONE by Gabriella Burnham & THE SWEENEY SISTERS by Lian Dolan. Love your motivational idea about logging walking distances over existing famous trails. We did a Country Walkers, one week walk in CORNWALL, eastern side, late May, 2019. One of our best of best trips ever. We flew to Dublin, spent 4 days in advance to see that city & to adjust to EURO time….one hour flight to NewQuay Airport (New-key)….headed over to Fowey. This town is stunning, small, peaceful and HOSTS a Book Festival in May. We attended & took a rock-pooling class in one of the town’s inlets and caught a glimpse of Raynor Winn who wrote THE SALT PATH….this town has at least 3 independent book stores. The walk continues with small towns and ends in Marazion. We stayed 3 more days to visit Launceston up near the Devonshire. I wish we could have visited the LOST GARDEN OF HELIGAN and other public gardens. It was so pleasant to go through Customs in NewQuay rather than the London Airports.
Mary Ann Moss says
i bow to your good-hearted mask-making ways. so very decent and thoughtful of you. xo
your past travels are giving me big ideas BIG! thanks for sharing. i am taking notes.
Holly J Hudson says
mask-making for 5+ hours/day beats having my fingers looking for food…. Honestly, Cornwall is worthy of a month stay. Our only concern was driving….it was so difficult in the countryside & in the tiny villages….the A-30, went smoothly. And, taxis are quite steep….perhaps you can negotiate a deal with a company.
Staying at a B&B in downtown NewQuay was ok, too….the public beaches are spectacular. We had a taxi drive us to the airport the next morning (it wasn’t expensive). Did you know that flying in & out of Dublin (& other international airports in Ireland) allows you to do all your Custom clearance in Dublin prior to boarding your flight to America? That was news to us….it meant we landed at Dulles, no passport control lines, we picked-up our luggage & waltzed out to get in line for our shuttle to our parking space….AWESOME. Please keep telling us about your reading list this summer in future newsletters.
Mary Ann, love your newsy posts. I just finished “Team of Five, the Presidents Club in the Age of Trump”. I enjoyed it. I also had listened to “Becoming” while driving long distances. It was very good and I also watched the Netflix show recently which again is very good. We just had some storms in front of a lovely cool front coming through, some wind, thunder and good rain, some lost power. I am also working on an environmental painting that has me painting animals at the moment. The squirrel was a dilemma well handled.
Till the next time….Robin Hawkins
Mary Ann Moss says
I hope it shall remain a team of 5 and that the former presidents rightly reject the newest member who may attempt to join them in november if we are terribly lucky. reject, deny admittance, just say NO.
i want to see the netflix BECOMING or whatever the name is. i have heard many good things about it.
your cool front and power loss sounds cozy.
Ok I need to get back to reading !!!
You are a font of wonderful knowledge! Your recommendations are always fabulous and today’s are no exception. Today, where I am in the UK it is grey and blustery and perhaps trying to rain but I am about to don my waterproof jacket and go for a wonder in the woods opposite to where I live.
Your posts are a beacon of light in a confused and frightened world and as I walk through the early days of my very deep grief for the loss of my little girl I thank you for bringing me some joy.
Yo are you write beautifully, and I am sending best wishes to you and my condolences for you loss x
Thank you. X
Vicki in Michigan says
I am very sorry for your loss. I send much sympathy from across the pond.
Thank you. X
Mary Ann Moss says
Oh dear Clare. How very sorry I am for the loss of your daughter. What a tragedy. I hope you find much solace and comfort on your walks. Thinking of you and sending love. xoxo
Thank you. I await your next marvellous post. X
Faith McLellan says
Hey, MAM, I’m walking to Santiago, too! Isn’t it clever and fun? I am way behind. Like you, I was walking in earnest a few weeks ago but now am often rooted to my office chair. Thanks for the book recs!
Mary Ann Moss says
FAITH!!!!!!!! screaming with excitement. BUEN CAMINO fellow pilgrim. i’m thinking of hanging out in pamploma awhile. i’ll wait for you there. xo
I so look forward to reading your blog posts. A little glimpse into your world so far away. I often skim down to the bottom of the post to read your book selection first, then return to the images and text. The books are a treat. I have a wish list on Book Depository named “Mary Ann’s books”, from which I order from time to time. No disappointments yet! Keep them coming!
I am about to return for the third time to your OMG course. A class I cannot get enough of, and need constant refreshers.
You are a gem.
Mary Ann Moss says
Oh Trish it is always a DELIGHT to hear from you and your life on the other side of the world. Glad you like the books I share. The ROSS GAY one is special.
I love your blogs and your art. Ive been trying to sign up for your gouache class, but the link doesn’t seem to be working. It asks for my current login in and password (which I dont have yet) and wont let me create A new one that would take me to the page to sign up and pay for the class. Is the class still available? Let me know what I can do to sign up for it. THanks,
Mary Ann Moss says
Fixed! I appreciate you letting me know so much, thanks!