Oh hi. It’s been awhile. There’s no excuse really. Things have been quiet here as I’ve had nothing particularly notable to say. Life has just been rolling along and I question what’s really worth sharing. I had meant to post these Yosemite photos but I thought you might be tired of them already. Yet I’m posting them anyway, for myself if nothing else.
I’ve been saving my words for fiction; I’m working on another script. It’s not the first feature I’ve written but the first I’ve written on my own. It’s different than when Shawn and I have collaborated on scripts together as there is no discussion, no handing it over to let someone else fill in the blanks. Instead it’s all in my head. When I question something, I have to travel down some path in my imagination and see how it might play out. There’s no debating someone else’s idea, just an internal argument with myself about what works.
It is a struggle and a relief simultaneously to put the words down for a story. Relief because they are no longer swirling around in the back of my mind, haunting me. Relief because I’m doing something valuable, even if only on a personal level. A struggle of course because creativity and words are never easy, even when they are. Some nights I find trudging through pages is like wading through mud. Soon it will be finished though and it will be on to the next thing (or back to the last thing, however you want to look at it).
In the mean time, the blog has fallen to the wayside, but I don’t think this really affects anyone to be honest. I’m still around though and will continue to be, in case you were worried. Which I’m sure you weren’t.
I’ve always been an avid public radio listener. Now it is now pretty acceptable, maybe even a little cool, but possibly wasn’t as cool when I would arrange my Saturdays in college so that I could listen to the This American Life broadcast. Such arrangements are no longer necessary thanks to podcasts, even weekly shows can be consumed freely and in bulk.
I like to listen to stories more than music while I work on projects like quilting or editing photos. Audiobooks are the best, as they continue on for ages, but it’s an expensive habit and I usually consume my one allotted book per month in no time. So podcasts it is. I’ve listened to nearly every This American Life at this point and it’s really time I broadened my horizons.
Another recent favorite is Night Vale Radio. It’s fun to follow along with the absurdity of this fictional, supernatural town. I’ve just burned my way through all the episodes and am impatiently waiting for more.
Next on my list to check out is Sawbones. Exploration of misguided medicine? Count me in!
Podcasts have really exploded in the past year or so and I love it. Even friends are starting their own podcasts. I’m looking for new material though. What are your favorite podcast?
I’ve spent the past few days sick in bed. It’s been awhile since I’ve been so laid out that I couldn’t remotely function. The strangest part was not having complete control over my mind. Everything was foggy and slow, especially words. Mostly though it was utterly boring. Unable to do the things I wanted and unable to sleep, I just laid there, watching tv and movies, most of which couldn’t really hold my limited attention.
I did manage to watch the new COSMOS, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Maybe it was just the mentions of Sagan and the Voyager, or the story of little Neil deGrasse Tyson being extended such kindness by a great scientist, but the show really got to me on an emotional level. I’ve been fretting a lot recently about the destruction us humans have wrought on our planet and it was nice to see the bigger cosmic universe for a moment and feel small in both time and space. Not that it lets us off the hook but sometimes you just need a different perspective and a little relief.
Humans spend so much time looking forward or looking back. It’s not easy to be in the present when there is so much ahead of us and so much that we’ve left behind. I’ve been thinking a lot about roads not taken recently, mostly in terms of art. It is a topic I come back to often, having been trained as a painter and with my film studies through the lens of video art and critical theory rather than by way of story plotting and pitching scripts. I gave up painting at some point. It’s something that I occasionally feel sadness about. A tiny death to make space for other things. It’s not like I couldn’t pick it back up, but it’s the one thing that I’ve let go that I do experience remorse over. I consider what that path would have been, every time getting stuck on the fact that it’s painfully difficult for me to try to sell something that I’ve made. Which is pretty much going to be a problem with whatever I do artistically.
It is more comforting to think back on those things that I know how to do rather than those that I do not (I still need to learn to code or this craft or that), or worse the paths not explored (biology would have been a fascinating option). It’s a relief when I’m exhausted by the film industry to think about particular video art pieces that are rarely seen. The thought serves as a reminder that sometimes you just have to keep creating without experiencing any success for a long long time. Or perhaps never. Or perhaps just enough so that a girl in art school can watch a vhs of something you made in the library and never forget it.
photo from NASA, ESA, and D. Gouliermis (University of Heidelberg)
We planned a hike to Mirror Lake and around the interior edge of the valley. Because I thought the shuttle route would be closed in winter, we started a bit father from the trail head than we meant to and had to make a few river crossings to get to the start. Once on the trail, the path was a little bit like walking in an elven wonderland, with old stone paths and boulders covered in moss. It was warm and sunny when made it to the lake and little kids were running through the water. We decided to cross ourselves and head down the trail back into the valley. The water was calm but icy cold. We ate our lunch by the lake before heading back on the trail.
As we walked back, we came across a deer on the trail. All the deer we encountered were surprisingly docile but this one particularly so. I walked slowly past it, trying to keep my distance, and it just calmly continued grazing.
It wasn’t long before it started getting dark and we found ourselves at the Ahwahnee hotel. We ventured inside for a bit to check out the place. It was strangely reminiscent of the Overlook hotel with massive fireplaces and red elevator doors.
We walked around the village a bit more afterwards before driving back out of the valley with the most brillian pink sunset.
It was overcast when we arrived in the Yosemite valley on our first day. Since we had left so early in the morning, it felt as if we were in a sort of never ending afternoon without any discernible sun in the sky. It was surprisingly cold on the side of the mountains as we gazed into the valley from tunnel view. What the photos here don’t reveal are the crowds of tourists that surrounded us at popular stops like these. Buses of rowdy teenagers and groups of international travelers on photo tours quickly came and went around us at the viewpoint and bridalveil fall. There is solitude to be found in Yosemite, but you have to seek it out.
Once in the valley, it was a quick walk to the Bridalveil fall, which, at this point in the dry winter, was just a tiny stream of water that dispersed into mist before touching the rocks below. Signs warned of the danger of slipping on the wet rocks, but the falling water wasn’t particularly robust and visitors scrambled all over the rocks to its base.
We explored a little more in the valley before it got dark, checking out the camp curry tents and such, then drove the windy road back up to our cabin and settled in for the night.
It sounds a bit silly to say that I feel different after visiting Yosemite, but it’s true. There is something majestic about the place. It recharges your spirit to be in the presence of rocks carved over thousands of years by glaciers. Just the pure enormity of it all, of the time that has passed over this place, is awe-inspiring.