Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Rainy Sunday

Last Sunday I waited and waited for the rain to stop. I was desperate to get out, to walk in my beloved Gardens. Finally, I just put on the rain gear and went. Somehow the Garden in a gentle cleansing rain is a blessing. The usual Sunday crowds don’t materialize; in fact it was kind of deserted, the way I like it. You see things you would not notice were it not for the rain. And a poem came….

A Rainy Sunday

Softly, the rain invades
my worried world,
its whispered touch washing
whatever’s in its wake:
Sated trees, shining
with sweat laden leaves.
Dainty droplets dangling
off pine needles
and holly berries.
The once anemic Bronx
River swollen into
Even Le Sportsac is
soaked to the skin
mindless of my efforts.

September Sunday rain
doesn’t ruin
a garden walk.
It brings the path
into focus.

© E.M. Ramos 9/27/2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

California Treats

Spent a few weeks in California with my daughter and her family last month. California is fascinating and I can see why people love it despite the fires, earthquakes, smog and mudslides. Each road brings a new adventure and unique beauty –breathtaking ocean views from twisty mountain roads, giant Sequoia forests, the awesome wonder of the desert – and so much more. I discovered some new places well worth a visit on a trip north from LA with my daughter and grandsons.
Fort Ross, about 100 miles north of San Francisco, was once a Russian fort, a stop off on the way to Alaska. It’s on an inlet of the Pacific that was deep enough to load their ships. I liked the photo ops through decaying fences, the Russian Orthodox chapel and the museum displays of 19th century artifacts. A fairy tale-like kitchen, workshops to make all the metal and wooden tools the fort dwellers needed (no malls in those days) and a room for spinning and making cloth. An arsenal plus cannons intrigued the kids; there was plenty of room to run around too. And trails down to the beach.
On our way back to Burbank, we stopped at the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. This is a Victorian mansion with a fascinating history. In the late 1800’s, Sara Winchester, married to the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune, lost her only child and was widowed 15 years later. She consulted an occultist who told her that she needed to buy a house (with her millions) and keep building on to it to quiet the spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifle. So she kept hundreds of workers and craftsmen busy night and day for 38 years! The result is windows facing nothing but walls, doors that open to a three story drop, and tiny winding steps to accommodate her arthritis. There’s even a staircase to a ceiling. The genuine Tiffany windows, vintage wall coverings, floors and fireplaces are worth the price of admission. And there are many strange stories about the recluse who lived there. Like the SF earthquake that toppled the top three stories of the mansion and trapped her in her bedroom.
These “treats” can be enjoyed by young and old alike. If you are in the vicinity, look them up.