A Floating Rorschach Test: Mud On the Move

Near my house is a place called La Tuna Canyon that has nothing to do with fish. I’ve lived here for a decade but never wondered how that name arose, until I began this post. I want only the best for my readers so have now investigated. Turns out La Tuna is “Spanish for, among other things, prickly pear.” Such an intriguing definition.

 Among other things. Where was I? Ah yes, La Tuna Canyon. Recently I took a hike there, and looked back down at my house:

View from the trail up La Tuna Canyon.

View from the trail up La Tuna Canyon.

Actually my house, down in the valley, is probably around the bend out of view. It is hard to tell with all the trees. It surprises me that the valley’s trees came with the housing tracts. A century ago, the valley was all fields and brush:

The valley in 1927.

The valley in 1927.

 (I got this photo from a site that has many swell photos of long ago Los Angeles.)

I continue to digress. On my hike, I turned a dusty corner like this one:

Mudtrail

 

And I came upon a mud puddle, drying rapidly:

MudPuddle

There was not much water remaining, and on the surface, mud flecks floated:

Mudflecks

The flecks were like floating islands, and in such interesting patterns and shapes, I had to snap some photos.

As I snapped, I noticed the flecks were moving! The water rippled in a light breeze, and that was enough to send the flecks into eddies and surges:

At first the motions of the flecks suggested plate tectonics. The flecks are an infinite variety of Hawaiian islands. Then I realized that in another few hours the water would be gone, the mud solidified, and now the flecks seemed like vacationers, desperate for a last bit of fun.

As I watch the video now, I remember when I was a kid, eating the last morsels of cereal swimming in a bowl of milk. I would pretend each Cocoa Krispie or Cheerio was a being and I was the royal monster, hunting it down. Among other things.

I’ve never seen mud flecks like this before. What do they look like to you?

(The WP Weekly Photo Challenge wants to see On Top.)

 

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Critters, Co-Existing

I love to discover creatures who are not pets in the spaces that humans pretend to claim – although the experience is always bittersweet, because it reminds me of how invasive my species can be.

Walking Stick on a sidewalk in Pasadena, California.

Walking Stick on a sidewalk in Pasadena, California.

Toad on a walkway, Punta Gorda, Florida.

Toad on a walkway, Punta Gorda, Florida.

Gecko on a restaurant wall at breakfast-time, Punta Gorda, Florida.

Gecko on a restaurant wall at breakfast-time, Punta Gorda, Florida.

Apparently geckos are omni-urnal (?). Here is one on the wall of an outdoor bar, late one evening, also in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Apparently geckos are omni-urnal (?). Here is one on the wall of an outdoor bar, late one evening.

Green Lynx spider on a wall outside my house.

Green Lynx spider on a wall outside my house.

Sidewinder leaving a trail in Griffith Park, CA: hauling ass to escape from all the hikers trying to snap photos and otherwise ogle it.

Rattlesnake fleeing a trail in Griffith Park, California: hauling ass to escape from the numerous hikers and mountain bikers who have stopped to snap photos or otherwise ogle it.

Young alligator fleeing our car in Arcadia, Florida.

Young alligator fleeing our car in Arcadia, Florida.

The WP Weekly Photo Challenge is to show “one”.

Before The Day Gets Used

The WordPress Daily Prompt asks: “6:00AM: the best hour of the day, or too close to your 3:00AM bedtime?”

Neither. Both. Sometimes.

alarmclock-clock-broken_~u10900682

Don’t shoot the messenger.

My answer has changed over the years. It used to be that I was only up at dawn if I was still up from the night before. If I could set my own schedule, that would probably still be true.  Actually, what I would prefer is to sleep a few hours at night and the rest of my hours in the afternoon. Afternoons are useless. I like afternoons about as much as Camus’ Stranger likes Sundays. But I digress.  Somebody told me that 4 hrs night/4 hrs afternoon is a paleo sleep schedule: it’s how our distant ancestors slept. Alas, not sure when or if I can give it a try. My sleep schedule has rarely been up to me.  Jobs, schools, doctors, repair guys – they’re the ones in control.

Nowadays, half my body clock seems to be permanently broken. I can still stay up until all hours and most nights I must force myself to go to bed at a decent hour. But – after so many years as a night owl trapped in an early bird world – I cannot sleep in. Period.  So I am now quite familiar with 6 am.

Fortunately, 6a is a marvelous time of day, when all is fresh and full of potential.  In my household, I am the only dawn enthusiast, which makes 6a a “me” time of day. You will find me writing then. Or exercising at my outdoor bootcamp class. Or hiking.  Hiking into a sunrise requires a bit of planning – it all changes so remarkably quickly. The photos below were taken scant minutes apart. Every single day, the world starts in this beautiful way, whether we are there to witness it or not.

A couple minutes before 6a.

A couple minutes before 6a. Goodbye to night.

A couple minutes after 6a.
A couple minutes after 6a. Hello to day.

Clock photo from fotosearch.com

My Birthday Week (I’m Milking It!)

If I must acknowledge getting older, then I prefer to have my birthday celebration spread out over days. This year I’ve got a birthday week – and if I count the concert with a friend in November, I’ve got a birthday season!

Hiking at dawn! It has been too long.

Hiking at dawn. It has been too long.

Highlights this year are two dawn hikes (my first hikes with my new hip), a trip to the beach, and dinner at a favorite restaurant. My kids also gave me a book of dustbowl-era political and social photographs:

My kids got me this book.

Looks like an interesting book and its photos are unforgettable.

It’s an awesome book but what really makes it special is the thoughtfulness with which they chose it. (They figured it fit with my love of Woody Guthrie and my recent interest in traditional bluegrass.)

At last, hiking again!

Repeating Landscapes

Reflections and shadows make the world more intriguing. This is true in people as well as terrains, but I don’t have photos that demonstrate this for personalities.

August’s full moon was so bright that it cast shadows on my car and produced enough light for me to take this photo:

That bright dot is the full moon, reflected in my car hood.

That bright dot is the full moon, reflected in my car hood.

An easy hike up Malibu Creek in southern California leads to duplicate images in this still and reflective pond.

Can you find the water line?

Can you find the water line?

Look in the pond and see the sky!:

Pond's-eye view of the sky.

Pond’s-eye view of the sky.

A tree’s reflection in the pond:

Another pond's-eye view

Another pond’s-eye view

The current Weekly Photo Challenge wants photos from an unusual perspective.)