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The pictures focus on
Yosemite National Park

Poetry and Recommendations for Yosemite

Beauty growing through the rocks

The Mountain Meadow

The fallen tree,
...bleached white
...by the sun, snow, and rain,
...lies peacefully
...in the alpine meadow.
Breezes as fresh
...as the beginning of time
...ripple the grass
...and the water of the mountain pond.
A hiking trail meanders
...toward the distant peak
...where snow still lingers
...into late June.
The melt feeds the cascading falls
...that catch and reflect
...the noontime brilliance.

The moments are there
...for all to seize.

Comments: On the right are the fallen tree and meadow where I sat and wrote the draft of this poem. The meadow is located in the eastern part of Yosemite. The Muses were dancing all over the log.


Time So Relative

Moths flit and flutter,
...dancing to the light.
Only a few days pass
...until the mating dance
...leads to their demise.

Humans enter the world,
...kicking and screaming–
...skin soft and supple–
...soon believing
...in their immortality.
Seventy or eighty years fly by–
...all too soon asking,
...“Where have they gone?”
The skin now wrinkled and creased,
...a canvas of the life lived.

Sequoias germinate
...from minute seeds
...smaller than a flake of oats–
...at eighty, mere toddlers.
By one thousand,
...the gnarled bark
...has been honed by wind and fire.
Another thousand or two may pass
...before the giants fall–
...three hundred years or more
...until returning to the soil.

All in their own time.

Comments: While in Yosemite, we paid a special visit to the Mariposa Grove, one of the 72 stands of Sequoias that still exist. These long lived trees were once found throughout the world. However, now they only exist in the Sierra Nevada Mountains located in California and Nevada. (Sequoias are the second longest lived organism next to the bristlecone pines that can live 5,000 years.) One cannot help but stand in awe of these ancient titans. As I toured the grove, I thought in terms of years and how we measure them. Then I realized how relative time is depending on the circumstances. Hence, the poem above. By the way, one of the favorite poems I have written is entitled The Elder. It is about a bristlecone pine.

Log where the poem was drafted
Trail toward the mountain
Rafting in Yosemite
The power of plants
Just outside Yosemite, a few miles from the East Entrance Gate
Into the park a few miles from the East Gate
Vignette: The Experiment

The major content of this vignette was emailed to me. I do not know the original author though it is based upon a newspaper article. I have rewritten it to fit into my vignette format.

The Scene: A street musician is playing his violin in a Washington, DC, Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. While there, he plays six Bach pieces for about 60 minutes. During that time approximately 2,000 people pass through the station, most of them on their way to work. Below is what was observed.

  • 3 minute mark: A middle-aged man notices there is a musician playing. He slows his pace and stops for a few seconds and then hurries to meet his schedule.
  • 4 minutes: The violinist receives his first dollar; a woman throws the money in the till and without stopping, continues to walk.
  • 6 minutes: A young man leans against the wall to listen then looks at his watch and starts to walk again.
  • 10 minutes: A three-year old boy stops, but his mother tugs him along hurriedly. Finally, the mother pushes hard, and the child continues to walk, turning his head all the time. This action is repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forces them to move on.
  • After 45 minutes: Only 6 people have stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32.
  • 1 hour: He finishes playing. No one notices. No one applauds, nor is there any recognition.

This is a real story. The Washington Post, as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities, arranged the entire scenario. Playing incognito, no one knew the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days prior to this, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the tickets averaged $100 per seat.

There are many possible conclusions. Perhaps one reached from this experiment could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments, how many other things are we missing?


Yosemite Falls, Upper and Lower
El Capitan on the left and Bridal Veil Falls on the right


Yosemite National Park

I have traveled in every state and seen many magnificent sights. But, I was not ready for the vistas I saw in Yosemite. I have heard about Yosemite for decades, but this was my first, but not, last visit. We arrived before July 4 so the crowds were minimal compared to what they can be. We were able to move about the park with little problem. The National Park Service offers free shuttles which are an added bonus. The west-central part of the park, where many of the most popular sights are located, are in close proximity making usage of the shuttles a wise choice.

  • Getting There: If you are coming down from Lake Tahoe, I suggest you take the back route via Rt. 50 to Rt. 395, taking you into Carson City, Nevada and then through high desert country back into California. A few hours later you will arrive at the East Park Entrance. The views are spectacular as you approach and enter the park. The traffic is also less. Since we were staying off park grounds, we used all four entrances/exits at least once. The East Entrance is by far the most scenery spectacular. Please note that you will drive 45+ miles across most of the park in order to arrive at El Capitan and Half Dome, two of the most popular sights. A suggestion, don't stay at the East Entrance, simply enter from that direction.
  • Activities: Besides walking the trails, seeing El Capitan and Half Dome, and simply chilling, be sure to add a visit to the Mariposa Grove of Sequoias located at the South Entrance. If you want to drive your car there, be there by 9 a.m. Otherwise, you will have to take the shuttle in since the parking lot fills up quickly. Expect to wait. The tour within the Grove by the Forest Service is worth the expense. Also, be prepared to be in awe.
  • Places to Stay: There are a number of places within the park to stay from rugged to plush. We opted to stay off park grounds. The pluses – less expense and broader eating choices; the negative, usually a minimum of 45-60 minute drive to reenter the park. Next time, I will opt for staying in the park. However, if you should choose to stay outside, there is a decent Comfort Inn, nothing fancy but clean with friendly service, in the small town of Mariposa.
  • Restaurants: By chance and a bit of research, we ended up at a small restaurant that was so good, we enjoyed two evening meals there. As we talked with staff and read more, we discovered that it was not "undiscovered." It has received reviews in the NYT and other national media. Savoury's Restaurant at 5034 Hwy 140, Mariposa, CA (Ph. 209 - 966 - 7767) is a definite recommendation if you are in the area. A brief synopsis of some of the dishes enjoyed: hard-crusted bread (10/10), candied walnut salad with homemade mango dressing (10/10), shrimp with apricot sauce (10/10), chicken marsala - sauce light, not heavy (9/10), Thai fixed halibut seasoned to request - incredible (10/10), steak salad (10/10), and the delectable lemon mousse dessert (10+ both times). If Bryan is there, ask for him to be your server. While there, also enjoy the tastefully arranged original art.
  • Next month, the focus will be on Hawaii.

  • Take a look at the new online book and gift page.

In the Mariposa Grove
Magnificent Sequoias
One of the tables at Savoury's

Within the park

Just inside the East Entrance

Note the hiker at the top – needed special climbing support to get there


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