Mount San Jacinto in the morning

This is only a design in the sense that I put two photos together in Photoshop. The image on the left is stamped 7 a.m. on October 15, 2016. I remember this was the first time I noticed the plant growth on the top of the mountain. Before that, it seemed all the images were barren. I thought maybe it was because the sunlight was hitting the plants just right at that time of the morning. So this morning, I found the USFS webcam image from the same time on the same date (image on the right). I am happy to see the plant life has endured through the hard hot summer, and is just as bright is this morning’s sunlight as it was a year ago.
Perhaps a message of hope as well as endurance. If these plants can survive the rigors of the seasons, we can make it through our challenges, too.
In any case, I love the view from the mountaintop.


Full Moon October 2017

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the moon rise over Mount San Jacinto this week. It was our Harvest Moon this year, due to the October full moon being closer to fall equinox than the September full moon. First I saw the sky over the mountain become slighter lighter. That’s where I focused my attention. Presently came the first bright bead of light from the edge of the moon. Then it rose to display its glorious beauty over the dark mountaintop. How I love the view from my front porch.
When I was done presenting the moonrise, I imagined my blue angel face on the bright moon. And so here she is, bringing us moonlight.

1960s Playlist

60s Playlist

I love music. I especially love the old songs. Even when I was a kid, I loved the old songs. I spent many afternoons sitting cross-legged on the floor, next to the portable phonograph with a stack of 45s. And I would play them one by one. The A side was the hit. Most people never heard the B side, but I always played it at least once, because if I like the A side, maybe I would like the B side, too. And because of that practice, I knew all the words to Elton John’s Skyline Pigeon before it was ever on the radio. Skyline Pigeon is the B side of Daniel, and I still have that 45.
When I suddenly remember a song I used to like, or can’t remember all the words, or who sang it, I turn to YouTube these days. More often than not, I can find the recording I’m thinking of, plus a few related ones that are fun to listen to and appreciate. Then one day I got nostalgic, and I put together this little tribute to those days gone by.
However you put together your playlist, just keep on singing.

Letting go, or let it go

National Forest Red BalloonRed Balloon Yosemite
When Samuel Gompers was asked, “What does labor want?”
He responded, “It wants the earth and the fullness thereof.”
I was contemplating the phrase, let it go, versus, letting go recently, which somehow put the image of the red balloon floating away in my mind. Thus I was prompted to return once again to Photoshop to see what I could do with this idea. At first, I was drawn to the landscape on the bottom, which is of Yosemite National Park in California and appeared in my Facebook newsfeed. Then I remembered driving past another forested national park on a road trip, so I retrieved one of my photos and added some artistic effects to the landscape on the top. The balloon itself is my own creation that started as a simple shape and evolved into a shiny globe and trailing string. I think the one on the top is my favorite; however, since they share the same theme, I present these designs as a pair.
I wanted the balloon to represent the release of a worry, a care, something just plain unpleasant. Something that may be standing in the way of new opportunities. And the idea that whatever it is can simply drift away over the vastness of the landscape, of time, of space. It can remain a memory, good or bad, yet no longer be a hinderance.
Finally, I stumbled upon the opening quote. For want of the earth and the fullness thereof, may we cast our cares to the wind and may we embrace all that the Earth has to offer.

Remember who you are

Remember Who You Are
The Lion King movie talked about how the past kings, our ancestors, watch over those on Earth. This idea really appealed to me because of my love for the night sky, the moon, and the constellations. There was a scene where Simba was feeling very lonely, and his father appeared to him in the night sky, leaving him with the words, remember who you are. Those words were somehow very important to me. I remember Disney had a limited promotion featuring the graphic from that scene, and that quote. By the time I realized how much it meant to me, the promotion was over and the items were no longer available.
The scene and the quote have stayed with me, resurfacing from time to time. Here, I’ve borrowed the lion image from a friend. The constellation is an opensource graphic. The rest is me, compiling the images and the quote into what you see here.
When things seem to pile up and we become overwhelmed, it helps to remember what we treasure in life, people and values, and how it shapes who we are.
Remember who you are. Stand firm and tall. And keep moving forward.

Magical Moonlight

Moonlight is Magic

I stepped outside one evening to find the moon playing hide and seek among the clouds. Its glow lit up the edges of the gaps and cast multi-colored lights in a halo. I gazed long enough, I hoped, to implant that image in my brain to recall at later moments.
Back at my Photoshop, I retrieved an image of the full moon and a cloudy sky, hoping to marry them into some semblance of my memory. I was using a Distort filter to make the gap in the clouds more natural when I was called away from my work. Upon my return, I was surprised to see the profile that was now present in my design. I turned the different layers off and on, seeking the source of the profile. Finally I realized it was no one layer that bore the profile, but the combination that created it. By now, the original purpose of creating this design had given way to the enchanting notion of this mystical creature with the golden crown dancing among the clouds in the moonlight. At that moment, the only thing left to do was to cast a rainbow upon it, amidst the starlight that now resembled falling snow.
Please share with me the magic that is moonlight.

Song Sung Blue

Song Sung Blue

Two things are going on in my mind here.
First is the background. It’s a variation of a photograph of a small garden at the side of my house. When the sunlight hits it just right, the pinks and the greens just glow. I made a different design featuring fairies. After that, I kept coming back to that photograph, trying this effect and that effect, and really liked when this one turned blue. There’s a space there, just right of center, where I feel like I could get lost in this blue garden as if it would take me to a new dimension.
Second is the text. I was finishing junior high school in May of 1972, when Song Sung Blue was released. I thought it was the first I’d ever heard of Neil Diamond. All I really knew was that to me it was a happy little tune that I enjoyed so much, I went out and bought the 45-rpm. In fact, I still have it.
So I think it was a matter of time before the blue garden and the song title and lyrics came together, here. My tribute, I suppose, to my first favorite song by my favorite singer.
“Before you know it, start to feeling good. You simply got no choice.” – Neil Diamond