A return home on Easter evening after being away in the southern California desert. My wife and I spent some ten days tucked away in a mountain home in a small town near Palm Springs. I have not spent enough time in the dry desert climate to be able to appreciate what an early spring feels like. The days averaged ninety degrees and the evenings around the pool did not warrant putting on a shirt. So I have managed to brown myself pretty good, get in some reading time (a 19th century Danish novel titled Niels Lyhne,, about the melancholy life of an idealistic young poet), and generally goof off while partaking of the desert culture.
The seven-hour drive home brought me through some of the rolling hills of California that are still green, though ambitiously fading into the beige I’m accustomed to seeing. The Interstate freeway system that connects southern California with the north also disconnects me from paying attention to my surroundings because the road is so flat, straight, and efficient. Several roads cut off from the Interstate to the old state highway 101, and each leads through a section of California that has its own interesting terrain. I took the Highway 46 turn at Lost Hills, not much more than a stop for trucks and tumble weeds, and drove the hundred or so miles over to Paso Robles. This stretch of highway is popular for people living in inland valley towns like Fresno and Bakersfield, to escape the drudgery of intense summer heat and come play on the beach. I saw a stream of RVers returning home from Easter break as I headed west, against the dominant flow of traffic.
I need to be outdoors this time of year, looking at the changes in color going on in nature. Many of the California wild flowers are quite delicate and will not survive the summer heat, so their appearance this time of year is like that of a cameo actress who shows her face on screen or stage for a moment, and just as quickly fades from the drama of the story. My friend who manages apple farms in Chile tells me of winter rains in the Peruvian desert that caused flowers to bloom that have not bloomed in more than a thousand years.
Today is the first day in a couple of weeks that I have contributed much to this journal. I took the journal offline in a rush one night before leaving town for the desert. I had some privacy concerns. When I first began a public journal I had intended to use it for recording family history. The content then morphed into something different, and has continued to do so. I felt uncomfortable having all this odd mixture of information, some personal and private, mixed with journal entries intended for public view. Going back through all of my journal entries and assigning different levels of privacy to each of them has allowed me to better control them, which is something I should have done way back when. Now maybe I am more free to write without the fear of causing injury or insult to others, both the living and the dead.
I received emails from others, in which they expressed a concern for what had happened to me. I knew I’d be away for a spell of time. Pulling down Talking Stick and rethinking how I had it structured allowed me to take a longer view of what goes in. For my own notes, all of my previous entries are still here, but are now password protected. Some of these entries I am hoping to pull together into longer lengths in the future, and make available perhaps through an ebook format, but for today I am continuing with Talking Stick, and adding a new privacy level to help me manage any writing that I may want to re-purpose.