Monday 21 October 2013

north by north west

i didn't take many pictures in San Francisco this time
too busy
listening to the sounds of the city
the glory of foghorns
parrots around t-hill
the whirr of humming birds' wings
the slow drift of the fog
the espresso machine as it unleashes my Africano into the glass
at Cafe Trieste
two older men address each other lovingly in Italian

i sipped my coffee
thought about friendship

and how much certain friendships mean to me
a book i was introduced to by my friends John + Patsy Sangster
on Lopez Island.
i think
i may make this book compulsory reading
for all workshop attendees.

after coffee i headed north.
i could simply have driven up the Interstate 5
it doesn't go anywhere near the edge.
i love the edge
i took the 101

which took me through Fortuna
and past this magical old cinema

i took this photo for my friend Shelley
i wanted to build a fort for her
it was really really cold.
so i went wandering instead

while wandering
i began to fill my pockets with stones
having a vague plan in my mind
to use them in Portland


looking down at my pinny
with its bulging pockets
i remembered that somebody
[contemporary of Virginia Woolf ? or other rejected lover somewhere?]
sewed stones into her dress
and then walked into a river
it would be so easy to do in a place like this
in the fog
footprints would soon be awash
the continental shelf drops away in moments
that was not something i was about to do
the water was far too cold
and i am enjoying the wild ride of this adventure we call 'life'
far too much
then a figure emerged from the fog
wandered over, making greeting noises
showed me a handful of exquisite polished stones 
pulled from a pocket
fished one out
and gave it to me saying
"take this one, it's a lovely amber colour and have a good day"
the stone looked like a piece of cold honey
reminding me of the eyes of a friend
[they are like those of a wolf]
honey coloured unless sparkling with excitement
when they suddenly turn green
 i was already having a good day
but that reminder made it even better


later i saw mollis azaleas
growing right beside the ocean

in Australia these plants are mollycoddled
and protected. otherwise they shrivel in the hot north winds.
here they grow like weeds. sigh.

wandering further north
i found evidence of my people

i left a mark of my own

and now i am in Portland
for six weeks.


  1. such an intimate and tender embrace story made from a pile of rocks by 'your people '. so so beautiful. wonderful journey.

  2. What a lovely post. I love the rock people in embrace.

  3. that must have been a very special day....
    hope there are lots more to come.................

  4. india i love your writtten word , even the dictionary are nearby !!! have a wounderful time

  5. what a trip! your heart must be full, as full as your pockets, and more!

  6. I enjoyed this post and am very pleased you were having a good day while you filled your pockets with stones. I've had some of my best days wondering along a beach, gathering pebbles in the fog. Next time I'm gathering, I'll remember Virginia Woolfes contemporary.

  7. I love to read your stories in the morning......I'll carry them in my pocket all day...until tomorrow.

  8. wonderful post . i love being on this journey . have a good time in portland.

  9. Ditto on all the above.....I felt like a rock in your pocket as you walked the shore......and as for the flora along the edge......I felt exactly the same way seeing the Lantana in Australia.....thank you for sharing your lovely life!

  10. What a wonderful post. From beginning to end, you held me spellbound and it seemed as if I was there too. Thank you for that. Wishing you the loveliest of times in Portland.

  11. I agree with everything Jennifer has said above, a poetry post

  12. Fortuna??? Shoot, I wish I'd known you were passing through. That's where I live, and a virtual stone's throw from the highway as well. And yes, it was Virginia Woolf with the stones in her pocket. Enjoy the rest of your Left Coast journey.

  13. " like a piece of cold honey
    reminding me of the eyes of a friend"

    (love this)
    actually have a book [A William Maxwell Portrait] piled on a chair here with that Paula Fox "essay" about Maxwell. I will write the Cicero quote in it. "Even when they are dead, they are alive."
    (so why do we have this word: dead?)

    you don't have to answer that.

    a magical walk.

  14. There may be less light in the coming days of your residency in Portland [this being the great time of fog and grey] so I hope you'll glean any extra power you may need - even beyond hydrological - from that mighty Columbian.

    As for the book link, and considering my days of being a student are not over, I will take the word of a wise woman I trust who uses the word "compulsory" and place my order forthwith ;>]]

    Thank you. for all of it.

  15. foggy roads, open beaches and even stony embraces, should pulse with truth and life. Fog and mist quite often clear the way. Great post.

    1. And friendship can be rocky but the true ones will stand the tests of time and tribulations :-)

    2. Welcome to Portland. We are having our best autumn in your honor. Very good gatherings right this very minute. I am using all that you taught me! Windfall and proper harvesting. Glad you took the 101. And I am going hunting for the book. Thank you.

  16. You have such a gift for words.

  17. The 101 is a magical journey, and I am glad you got to take it to recharge after your time in California. Happy Portland journeys.

  18. The sharing was meditative, off the beaten path, 60's feel to it.

    Enjoy your Portland.

  19. Your blog posts are so beautiful and thoughtful. Thank you for the Cicero quote on friends. 'Even when they are absent, they are with us...' That is so true. Our friends leave handprints on our heart which stay with us forever.

  20. I am so glad I came here this morning. It's been a while. Your poetic post has me full of excitement to take on my day - I have shibori tied t-shirts in pots of eucalyptus and marigold to reveal and a shibori shirt to put in a pot of black walnut.

  21. I just bought World Enough and Time and a book called Eco Colour by this very cool lass named India Flint. Maybe you've heard of her? =) I also bought soy milk from an Asian grocery store (with only two ingredients) to mordant some fabric– definitely not to drink. Thanks a bunch!!

  22. Hwy 101: We are two Portlanders traveling south on it this very moment as I read your post about heading north. Off to visit friends!