Archive for February, 2009


Thursday, February 26th, 2009

[IMAGE] Chesterman Beach

[IMAGE] surfer

[IMAGE] beach

…click to listen:

…about the music

Jazz at the beach.

Well, Tofino, plus the wild, mountainous midsection of Vancouver Island one traverses to get there, is nothing short of stunningly beautiful. Like so many of the villages up here, summertime tourist crowds swell the size and the local economy, altering the vibe for a four month period of warm air and long nights. But the rest of the year offers a peace and solitude that few July visitors can experience. Wintertime on a beach is always magical to me.

I remember when I lived at Paradise Cove in Malibu, and this time of year I’d have a mile-long stretch of sand, cliffs and raging tides all to myself. I’d walk up and down the empty beach completely alone, occasionally wondering whether a bomb had gone off in Los Angeles and I was the last to know, and perhaps the last person left standing. My twisted psyche sort of liked this thought. Experiencing that kind of solitude within reach of one of the worlds’ busiest cities is fascinating. Experiencing it as I did this past weekend, many hours of travel away from any such metropolis, is another fantastic form of isolation.

Surfers, like the fellow who looks like a black smudge in one of these photos, come to Tofino around the year to feel the first push of the Pacific against a right-hand land mass. Tsunami warning signs and evacuation route information are everywhere. And so are reminders of California’s Malibu, my home for 14 years, as nearly every car we passed had a surfboard or two strapped to the roof, and bicycles sported board racks instead of kick stands. Home again. Just a little colder. And apparently, grayer. No, I did not bring an antique black and white camera. But the light, which showed my eyes plenty of forest green in the trees and a hint of pale teal in the sky, played tricks with my lens, to nice effect.

I think I saw more Bald Eagles in three days than ever before, and one of them was kind enough to pose for me outside the deck to our room on Chesterman Beach:

[IMAGE] bald eagle

Looking at this noble image, I can see why it won out over the turkey for the U.S. avian representative!

Tacoma and New York beckon early next week, but I have more photos to post so I’ll be back on the blog soon!

Object lesson

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

…about the music

Water. Items.

Here are two lovely views from a couple of afternoons ago on South Beach. I’m facing the Olympic mountain range across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which is where I will be headed tomorrow as Charles and I venture east, (ferry to Anacortes) then south, (drive to Edmonds) then west, (ferry and drive to Port Angeles), then north (ferry to Victoria) and then finally west again (drive to Tofino. ) A mini vacation that I have now officially dubbed the 2009 Pacific Northwest “Wheel and Keel” Winter Tour.

I like objects in or near water. I like the contrast. I like the tension and unspoken conversation between substances comprised of very different elements. I like the drama.

So now I’ll get to be the foreign element, as I traverse through some wilderness and see some extremely gorgeous parts of this planet. I’ll be another object at the sea.
And I don’t object to that one bit.

A ferry lovely trip

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

…about the music

Water voyage.

I love taking the ferry. If I didn’t love it, I’d be living in the wrong place, since ferries are the primary method of hopping off this bridge-less island. This week I got to ride four of them: one to Anacortes and back when I drove down to Seattle, and two days later, one from neighboring Orcas Island and back, when I went to a friend’s concert. You can’t spell “hooray!” without: a-h-o-y!

I returned from Orcas early Sunday afternoon, on a day so clear and bright that it was hard to believe it ever rains here at all. There happened to be a sailboat regatta that day, and the ferry captain had his hands full as his huge vessel Yakima barreled through the channel into oncoming and, occasionally, clueless traffic. Two boats in particular appeared to come closer to the ship than I might have dared. One was rewarded with an insistent and loud honk of the big horn. The other, on a potential collision course with us as he crossed our bow, necessitated the ferry slowing down to allow him room to pass in front of us rather than… uh, under us. Rules of the watery road are that vessels without power have right of way, since they often can’t quickly maneuver. That being said, it’s not the wisest thing for a 27 foot sloop to tempt fate and try to partner dance with a 382 foot long, 73 foot wide, roughly 2000 ton powered behemoth of the sea.

But physics-defying proximity has its payoff to a camera-toting passenger like me, and I was able to get a few nice pix like all of these, as I stood at the bow with nothing but a tennis net separating me from the sailboats and the chilly Salish Sea.

Upon closer inspection of the above snapshot, fellow sailors will appreciate the subtle humor in the alignment of the passing sloop, and that of the sign on the ferry’s port side:

The arrow should have been pointing UP!

I’ll post more sea-oriented photos before week’s end. And then, I’ll be off on a short adventure to the wild western coast of Vancouver Island for the weekend, which means a round trip of five ferries! Hooray!

Which is Pig Latin for “ahoy,” of course.

Shore enough

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

…about the music


Bright, clear, searing sunshine today. Stunning, as it floods the woods and glares into my eyes as I type this. I snapped the above photo a few days ago at the end of one such afternoon; I love the clarity of light as it offers clarity of thought on my walks.

No such grace and clarity exist for the characters in a haunting short story titled “Luvina,” penned by the late Mexican literary figure Juan Rulfo. Thursday night, anyone in the Seattle area will have a chance to come hear the fabulous pianist Ana Cervantes perform my piece of the same title, along with a number of others commissioned for Ms. Cervantes’s latest CD on Quindecim Recordings, Solo Rumores. The music reflects the bleak world of grim, hopeless desert poverty that Rulfo describes in so many of his writings. My outward reality of sunshine, joy and ease, is sobered by a profound inward sympathy for those who will never know such pleasure.

Serenity at week’s end

Friday, February 6th, 2009

…about the music


Back on the island, with these vistas of the Puget Sound and its guardian snow-capped Olympics accompanying me home yesterday afternoon. Just wanted to share.