Dense — Spring, Yellows and Whites


Spring in the Back Yard, 2017

After a wet winter, the back yard is dense with color: yellow rose, and flowering cherry are in full bloom while the oranges continue to ripen and our camellia opens new blooms daily. This is a great time to be outdoors.

Ode to the Present

as smooth
as a board,
and fresh,

this hour
this day
as clean
as an untouched glass

— not a single
from the past:

we touch
the moment;
with our fingers,
we cut it
to size,

we direct
its blooming.
It’s living,
It’s alive:

it brings nothing
from yesterday that can’t be redeemed,
nothing from the lost past.

Ode to the present, Pablo Neruda (translated by Ken Krabbenhoft), Odes to Opposites, Bulfinch Press, 1999

I encourage you to read the original, Oda al presente, at the Neruda website here. The first lines of the untranslated original follow:


como una tabla,
esta hora,
este día
como una copa nueva
—del pasado
no hay una
con los dedos
el presente,
su medida,
su brote,
está viviente,
nada tiene
de ayer irremediable,
de pasado perdido, …

Cheers, Carto

But “dense” has many meanings that inspire bloggers: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Dense.

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Wishes — A Poem by Robert Frost


Winter oaks in the hills above Stanford, Arastradero Preserve, 2017

Today the winter oaks are dark against the sky, but in a few weeks, as they turn spring green, the woods will take a softer look. Here is a poem about dark trees and a boy’s thoughts about an uncertain future.

One of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,

Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.

I should not be withheld but that some day
Into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e’er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew–
Only more sure of all I thought was true.

—Into My Own by Robert Frost, A Boy’s Will, 1915

You can find the poem on Bartleby dot com. The poem may have been Frost’s reflection on his own future, but the thoughts and uncertainties of youth are universal.


Follow the link to WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Wish.

Posted in Photography, Poetry | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Path — Walking on Windy Hill


Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, Portola Valley, CA, 2016

Out for a walk on the path to Windy Hill; it’s the start of winter, but the grass is green and I think of spring.

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.
Spring Morning, The World of Christopher Robin, A. A. Milne, 1958

Happy Holidays, Carto

WordPress bloggers were challenged to come up with a post for Path. Follow the link to read 100’s of posts from all over the world.

Posted in Fantasy/Adventure, Photography, Poetry, Travel | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Look Up — Afternoon Sun in Memorial Church


Memorial Church, Stanford University, 2016

It’s intermission, the sun is streaming into Stanford’s Memorial Church and the iPhones are out.


Don’t forget to Look Up now and then.

Cheers, Carto


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Partners — Brexit 1776, Hamilton (the musical)


Say No To This, Maria & Hamilton (duet), Hamilton: The Revolution, pp. 178-179 (click to enlarge photo)

A slow recovery from pneumonia is more pleasant if you take a good book from your library and play some music — I’ve been listening to Hamilton (the original cast recording) and reading along in Hamilton—The Revolution. Two hours of glorious, Tony award-winning music that is also a dramatic, history lesson. The story has fighting, sex, scandal, intrigue, and, of course, there is a duel or two.


Act I, “I’m a stranger in this country…”, , Hamilton: The Revolution, pp. 12-13. (click to enlarge photo)

Act I. This is a story in which the black first president is in an awful pickle: the war with England is not going well. In fact Washington is about to lose all his marbles in the battle for New York. But, an impoverished immigrant from the Caribbean steps up to win a great battle. The home team goes on to win the war and exits from the British Empire; that’s Brexit 1776, and that’s Act I, which is just one hour of the music. There is more to come after the intermission.


Act II, “Am I more of an American than [the native born]”, , Hamilton: The Revolution, pp. 146-147. (click to enlarge photo)

Act II, the President and his cabinet must now govern the rag-tag collection of unruly states that were the USA. Money is a problem so Treasury Secretary Hamilton creates a national bank by making an unusual partnership with slave owners Jefferson and Madison. Then, at the peak of his power, Hamilton has a messy affair that leads to blackmail and bribery, but “no laws are broken”. The scandal is covered up, but emotions run high, the suspense is unbearable. I’m going to listen to Act II again.

Our relationship with England sunk pretty low during the rule of King George III, but has warmed over the years and today we are allies on the world stage. Yesterday, our friends on the other side of the Atlantic decided by a simple majority to exit (Brexit) from the European Union. They decided to go it alone, and things may be difficult for them. I wish them well and expect that they will do fine. I could suggest that they, too, listen to the musical Hamilton. That may cheer them up and steady them for the times ahead.


To check out what other bloggers are writing on the theme of ‘partners’ follow this link: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge:Partners.

Posted in History, Music, Theater | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Curve — American Buckaroo in Action


Buckaroo Working a Roundup, 96 Ranch, Paradise Valley, NV (photo: 96 Ranch Web Site).

This buckaroo is all business. The loop of her lasso curves through the air, and that calf is sure to be branded (or marked) before returning to the herd. The scene is the Stewart’s 96 ranch in Paradise Valley, NV. Paradise Valley is in the remote north of Nevada, far from the lights of Las Vegas, and, make no mistake, the 96 is a working cattle ranch.

For 20 years from 1945 to 1965, Leslie Stewart (owner of the Ninety-Six Ranch) allowed ethnographers to photograph and document the workings of the ranch. This study, known as the Paradise Valley and Folklife Project, now resides in the Library of Congress, and much of the work is available on-line in the digital collection: Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada.

Wire Gate in a Barbed Wire fence, Suzi Jones, 1976, Buckaroos in Paradise, Library of Congress.

Buckaroo and His Gear (detail), R.E. Ahlborn, 1978, Paradise Valley Folklife Project Collection, LOC

Buckaroo and His Gear (detail), Carl Fleischhauer, 1980, Paradise Valley Folklife Project Collection, LOC

When you can’t get out to take your own pictures, it’s nice to have the internet and the Library of Congress. Follow the link to see the full photo of the Buckaroo.

Cheers, Carto

To see where other bloggers found curves, follow this link to WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Curve.

Posted in History, Photography | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Face — A Self Portrait


Self Reflection: Snapshot of an interactive Video Mosaic, MOPA, San Diego, 2016

That’s me standing in front of the Self Reflection video mosaic, one of the exhibits in the interactive digital gallery at the Museum of Photographic Art, San Diego (MOPA). My image is blended interactively onto a background mosaic of mug shots from the “7 Billion Others” project. The exhibit works like those concave silly mirrors in the Fun House; it’s irresistible.


Some of the “7 Billion Others”, (Detail from above photo), MOPA, 2016

Seven billion and counting; that’s how many humans are sharing the planet. The“7 Billion Others” project was photographer Yann Arthus-Bertran’s attempt to better understand the inhabitants of the planet, starting with the African country of Mali.

MOPA is in beautiful Balboa Park in the Casa de Balboa building, along with the Model Railroad Museum and the San Diego History Center. The current exhibit at MOPA is Trilogy: Black and White photographic prints by Mexican photographer Flor Garduño: Bestiaries, Fantastic Women and Silent Natures.

Enjoy yourself in the Interactive Digital Gallery, and then take a reflective tour of Ms. Garduño’s photographs—they are stunning, and beautifully mounted.

Here is a link to a short video of Self Reflection.

Cheers, Carto

Follow this link to read the many entries in WordPress Photo Challenge: Face.


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