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Forty Miles on the American River

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Today I changed up the routine a bit, took advantage of the beautiful weather and hit the river trail on my bike. Ahh, yes, fresh air, sunshine and solitude. Just what an ailing psyche needs after weeks of putting the needs of others before one’s own. My goal was to surpass the mileage of my previous ride, a milestone attained with far less effort than it had the last time I rode this trail.

Stopping to take a couple of photos on the river, I turned back at the twenty-mile mark and headed home to resume my supportive role of friendship. Then, it happened. Thirty miles into my forty miles on the American River, and still ten miles from home, the hypnotic drone of my dirt tires on the hot asphalt suddenly changed its tone… this could mean only one thing… I had a flat. This likely occurred during one of the three times I launched my mountain bike off the paved trail and onto a single track dirt path for a little off-roading.

In my haste to embark on this journey of self rejuvenation, I neglected to take a spare tube, my multi tool and enough water to sustain me had this unforeseen event occurred. Thankfully, my tire pump was mounted to the frame and after airing up each mile or so, I was able to ride another four miles before the tire would no longer take air.

My forty mile ride ended as a thirty-four mile ride and a six-mile walk… Still, this was a good day.

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Live. Love. Write.

Live.  Love.  Write.

Ah, yes… finally, the twisting, turning road of my scholastic endeavors that I have been meandering down has at long last delivered me to a mile stone in life, a point from which I must map my next journey, navigating once again to new and exciting destinations.

Live.

Love.

Write.

This is my mantra. A saying first seen on a decal somewhere… out there. An adage that now adorns the lid of my circa 2010 laptop, displayed proudly for all to see each time the mood strikes me, lifting her top in one public space or another to caress her keys, breathing life into the minion that inhabit my fictional stories, my beloved characters, living breathing things with lives that I create in the theatrical productions of my mind.

Imaginary worlds with illusory lives born of a distorted observation made through a raindrop streaked café window nestled in a tiny mountain town somewhere… out there.

Story lines imagined from scenes casually witnessed strolling along downtown streets, thwarting the unvarying, yet humble requests “can you spare some change.”

Requests made from soiled, weathered faces… familiar faces that have regularly infiltrated my peripheral vision over the years, only diversity being the depth of their creases—lines etched of years of hopelessness and despair.

Each day I escape. I must. I have for years; a compulsory break, if you will, from the monotony of the gray fabric walls that desire to restrain me, to hold me captive eight hours a day—five days a week. My escape is not so much an escape from as it is an escape to. A quest for the solitude of my own creative mind and to, if only momentarily satisfy my insatiable desire to rendezvous, to quench my thirst for the very intimate relationship I have with my laptop, her keys worn shiny and smooth from our incessant love-making…

Ah, yes, The Writing Life… Infinitely solitary… Intimately gratifying… If I do nothing else on this earth, I will continue my pursuit of my passions and…

Live.

Love.

  Write.

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Grandma’s Persimmon Tree

Going to see Grandma's Persimmon Tree

I sold a print of one of my photos the other day. The same one that I have sold a dozen times before, and is a piece that remains my best seller. It’s called Grandma’s Persimmon Tree. I sold it to a woman who worked in the same building as I had for the past several years. One day in passing our conversation fell upon photography and our mutual interest in the artistic medium, so I gave her my card. That in and of itself is not unique, but what sets this sale of one of my cherished photographic art prints apart from its predecessors, is the emotional impact it had on my customer. She called me a few days later and said that she fell in love with a black and white image on my Web site and she simply had to have it. When she took delivery of the print, she became emotional and a tear ran down her cheek. The image signified something in her life and until she saw the photo in person, held it in her hand, she didn’t realize the impact that it had on her.

A few days later, she called me again and said that she was so moved by the photograph of my grandmother’s persimmon tree that she wrote a poem about it and shared it with me. OK, I am no poet, nor do I “get” most poetry, but her words struck a chord with me. Her poem seemed to epitomize what that tree, a tree that has been standing in that same spot on my grandparents farm for as long as I can remember has always meant to me.

I was really quite moved by her poem and casually said to her on the phone that upon reading it I was compelled to jump in the car and go see it, and half-joking, I asked her if she wanted to go. She enthusiastically said yes, she would love to go see the tree that she was so moved by. So, not having been to the property that my great-grandfather built a home on and where my grandparents lived their entire lives before passing in 2002 and 2006, and not knowing if the beloved tree would even still be standing, we hopped in the car last Saturday and took a road trip… a quest to see Grandma’s persimmon Tree.

I am happy to report that while the house has fallen in disrepair with its screen door hanging by one hinge; the barn leaning precariously to one side, its Douglas fir walls bowing with age, Grandma’s Persimmon Tree is still standing tall. Her overripe November fruit that was out of reach for picking, dripping off of her branches like giant decaying blood drops, but the old girl is still there… She is still and will always be, Grandma’s Persimmon Tree. A&V Johnston Headstone_acidburn12<