Tuesday, December 12, 2017

SNOW, WILDFIRES, AND PHOTOGRAPHY

In a preceding blog, I wrote about plans to fly out to California to see my younger daughter Elizabeth, 52, receive her RN pin from Antelope Valley College, and I’m now in the desert country of Palmdale, California, a few days past the graduation ceremony. The night before my departure, fires raged in southern California and snow began to fall in southwest Louisiana! During the early hours of December 8, I began making frantic calls to the airport, to a motel in southern California, and to the California Highway Department, to see if Interstate 405, a major artery leading out of the airport, was open. The preceding day wildfires had edged the city of Los Angeles, causing this highway to close. “The 405,” as native Californians call it, connects to Hwy. 14 and Antelope Valley and a closure could have meant being stranded at LAX. Despite the uncertainty about the wildfires and falling snow, we decided to wing it. “Wing it” involved a delay at the Lafayette airport because the plane from Houston had to be de-iced; and upon arrival in Lafayette had to be de-iced again. You guessed it — we missed our connection. We sat in the Houston airport until 6 p.m., climbed aboard a United Air flight to LAX, and finally arrived at our motel in Palmdale at midnight, Louisiana time. I’m beginning to realize that I’m no longer a happy air traveler.


Joshua tree

However, Elizabeth now has her nurse’s cap, the fires have moved to other points in southern California, and we’ve begun to explore plant life, searching for several trees that will be included in my forthcoming book of poetry entitled Let the Trees Answer. The biggest find is that of ancient Joshua trees, and my grandson Joel photographed one for me to include in the book. We also visited Prime Desert Woodland Preserve, Lancaster, CA, 100 acres of untouched high desert, with two miles of hiking trails that showcase a diversity of desert plant and animal life. We were able to get shots of the Western Cottonwood tree to accompany one of my poems. The site had a plethora of desert plant life, and we trekked the dusty trails long enough to photograph all the trees I’d hoped to find while visiting southern California.

Western Cottonwood

Grandson Joel, 14, loves to take photographs, and I’ve included several of his subjects in this blog to encourage his interest. Joel was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis shortly after he visited me in Tennessee when he was seven, but he’s a cheerful trouper — plays basketball, swims, is an active member of a church youth group, is teaching himself to play a guitar using an “app,” attends “Elizabeth’s Home School,” and is a whiz with electronic equipment. He also spends time teaching Zeke, his African gray parrot, to talk; however, Zeke only talks when we try to watch a movie or television show. 

Joel at his mother's graduation
Temps have remained in the 30’s and 40’s here in Palmdale, but we’re still enjoying the abundant light from sunny skies that I’ve enjoyed periodically for the 34 years I’ve been coming out to this place my father once called “Diddy Wah Diddy.”



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