Archive for June, 2007

All my geese in a row

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

…info about the music
My idea of beautiful honking.

Yet a new sight for this So-Cal infused newbie: geese on the beach.

I actually never knew that geese liked salt water. But there we were together on the sand, enjoying the day and the view. Quite the tightly knit social group, the 20 honkers paraded into the water in an orderly, single-file row, paddled calmly for a few minutes, and then just as neatly landed by my side on a different part of the same crescent beach.

They had no fear of me whatsoever, like every creature on this island so far except for my kind UPS delivery fellow, who shakes in his boots every time he unloads a box with a few new holes in it, knowing it might not make the grade for sign-off. I don’t know what it is about the extra leg of the trip for packages to get onto the island, but a large percentage of them arrive worse for the wear by the time they’re ready to be put on the local truck. Too bad there isn’t a way for orders to just glide effortlessly across the water and land on my doorstep. Like these fellows, they could just honk when they arrive.

On air

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

…info about the music
Come fly with me…

The previous post showed you Lopez Island by foot; here it is by wing in a photo I snapped out the window of a puddle-jumper taking me off island to Seattle very early in the morning for my NYC trip last week. The bay in the foreground is Fisherman Bay, and eating dinner at an adorable shoreline restaurant just above it, I stared out to my own home, just 4 miles directly across the San Juan Channel:

As with everything in life, it’s wonderful to get additional perspective. In this case, no matter what the vantage point, I celebrate my great luck in living and composing here. Who knows what new perspectives the upcoming notes will bring.

Filling up the vessel

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

…info about the music

Otherworldly music for this somewhat otherworldly place.

As is obvious at this point to anyone who sees my [professional-face-of-Alex] website and reads this [definitely not professional] blog, I’m a big believer in the idea that no matter how much work is waiting to be done, taking some time and having a life is really, really important. As I see it, artists are vessels who constantly pour out impressions and expressions. We have to make sure that we fill ourselves up again, otherwise we may be left with little to say.

Yesterday Charles and I took our personal vessels onto a larger vessel, and went on a little excursion over to the island that waves back when we gaze across the water to the east: Lopez, a beautiful and rural member of the San Juans. We grabbed the ferry (squint and you’ll see it beyond the picnic table) and, as a New York tourist might enjoy the Circle Line around Manhattan, we had great fun on a slow ride as the boat stopped at Orcas and Shaw islands prior to making its Lopez landing. Camera in one hand and map in the other, I tracked our passage carefully, trying to memorize as much of these waters as I’m able since at some point soon we’ll be in our own boat making this trip. While navigational charts are essential, being able to look up and simply know which of the hundreds of islands, atolls and big jagged boat-threatening rocks I’m looking at makes getting around a lot easier. And less damaging to hulls and helms-person egos!

Among the lovely places we walked around was the Spencer Spit, pictured above and here, at the very tip of it, looking straight into the rock wall of Frost Island.

And at the other end of the spit, I looked up and saw this magnificent creature:

He/she (sorry folks, I’m still not good with this part) deserves a far better photo opp than this, but I’m completely enchanted by being surrounded by so many bald eagles and I couldn’t resist.

Later in the day we saw an immature bald eagle– still all mottled brown, no white head and tail feathers yet– eating something on the side of the road (downed bicyclist? naw, too difficult to swallow the helmet) and as large as a full grown wild turkey. And moments later, we saw a full grown wild turkey when we stopped to gaze at a house we had considered buying last year that we had seen on the internet. As we commented on the potential for wood rot and other problems in this old-but-really-charming structure, the huge bird landed right in front of us on the balcony railing. Charles and I proclaimed “it’s a sign!”. A sign of what, we had no idea, but decided that maybe the house… would have been a ak automobileauto al loanalabama loan home to value loansloans alaskaloan amortization period$1000 cash loans advanceconsolidation debt loans 00 down bad loans credit home Map

The meaning of home

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

…info about the music

Variations on a memory.

Words do little to describe how glad I am to be back from Manhattan.
Above, a serene photo courtesy of my Treo, from yesterday’s ferry ride back from Anacortes to Friday Harbor.
More telling than my prose.

A volcano (Mt. Baker), a boat (the Washington State Ferry) and an archipelago (the San Juan Islands) are, to my senses, a vast improvement on a skyscraper (the Marriott in which I stayed), a subway (the #6 from Lincoln Center to SoHo one evening) and a few siren- and soot-filled boroughs (New York City). But that’s just me, now. When I was growing up, I was a quintessential New Yorker who couldn’t have imagined living anywhere else. I mean, what else could there possibly be to do and see and experience that wasn’t in the greatest city in the world?
Why leave?
And then at 21, I left.
And my world expanded.

I still love New York the way one still loves difficult relatives.
But my heart lives here.


Saturday, June 16th, 2007

…info about the music

Reflective, clearly.

This might appear to be nothing other than an old faded photo.
But to the contrary, it’s the utter clarity of shore rocks seen from under the water on the beach at Turn Point. And mostly everywhere else on San Juan Island, as far as I can tell. Even in the harbors, with all potential forms of muck and gunk and human interactions and creatures that grow and stick to anything they can glom onto, the water is this transparent. Walking on the docks is like a trip to the tide pools, but with better footing.

I leave early in the morning to spend a few days in my old home town on another island. A slightly bigger one known to most as Manhattan. Somehow, I doubt that the Hudson will offer these glimpses to the riverbed floor. But I’m willing to squint hard and look closely, with the hope of finding a different sort of clarity: the kind that comes when one’s past collides with one’s present, and a faded set of memories conjures a clearer view of purpose.
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Peaceable kingdom

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

…info about the music

“Vista,” for his view out the window.

Snapped this morning from the living room. Smudge, whose early roots are from the streets of downtown L.A., is still trying to decide what these creatures are and whether they chase hubcaps.on take me aha ringtonealltel ringtone wirelessfree 20 vx6000 ringtone lgj a arringtonalltel ringtone kyocera3310 nokia mms ringtonecollege accringtonringtone free download alltel Map

Where do you want to go today?

Monday, June 11th, 2007

…info about the music

Row, row, row your dinghy.

Someone on my beach has yet to answer the question…

Foxy [young] lady

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

…info about the music

A tune for this cute little heartbreaker.

An adorable neighbor was hanging out this afternoon on my dead-end road, awaiting handouts. No dummy; at about 5 months old or so, this kit has learned that of the handful of people who live along our sparsely populated stretch, one will give her a little dog food and the other will offer crackers. Fearless and too trusting for her own good, she trotted right up to me and gently took one of the latter from my fingers, then another, and another, never nipping. If she likes cat food, she’ll be in luck when she shows up in our driveway.

Humming along

Monday, June 4th, 2007

…info about the music


There are so many hummingbirds here that I’m beginning to have a hard time keeping up with their demands. Like junkies, they buzz around looking for the next fix and harrass me when I dare to walk too close and invade their space. I am losing count of the number of times I’ve refilled the sugar water, and I’ve only been here two weeks. More artistic feeders, hooks and stands worthy of this inspired environment are on their way via ferry to my doorstep, but for now an old studio stool and traditional feeder suffice. The birds couldn’t care less about the decor and furnishings; this restaurant is apparently one of the most popular in the area. I’m keeping the paramedics number close at hand, as I dole out works to every thin pointy beak on the block and watch as they risk falling into little diabetic comas. For some like me, being a dealer has its responsibilities.

Friday Harbor Friday

Friday, June 1st, 2007

…info about the music

Friday music.

Every day is a Friday here, in so many ways…. I shot this at nearly 8:00 pm at dinner outside overlooking the harbor. The western sun was so bright I actually had to keep my sunglasses on.
How Hollywood of me.

Light– the abundance of it, and, alternately, the lack of it– is a big thing up here. In the two weeks or so since I’ve settled on the island, I still haven’t gotten used to the short nights: it’s not fully dark until long after 10pm, and it begins to get light again around 3:30am. And we’re still weeks away from the longest day of the year. There’s so much to do each day that I work, as I always have, until 5 am, but then I find myself rising again three or four hours later. Each afternoon around 4 or 5pm, I crash for an hour, exhausted, then get up and start again. Charles calls this my “Alaska Brain” syndrome, triggered by almost endless light. I call it my “just moved in and need to get everything set up instantly despite the fact that it’s impossible” syndrome. We’re both right.

Tonight is one of those famous June blue moons, and as I type this I’m watching the orb arc slowly across the sky, filtered through the seaside forest that surrounds me. It is not blue; just bright white. Thanks to the 48 degree latitude, I can see this traveler just above eye level from my desk all night long, making its journey east to west. It better hurry, or the oncoming sun will collide with it.