Falling Water/Crumbling Sea Cliffs

All-State Insurance Company will no longer insure homes in California due to risk of wildfire and high cost of reconstruction. One sure thing Californian residents all understand is our state no longer can count on historically normal weather events. After two decades of lower-than-normal rainfall this year the Pacific winter storms unleashed record breaking storms on the state. When LA gets more rain that Seattle over the course of one winter you know you’ve entered some kind of portal of climate induced change.

The view from the veranda

In my neighborhood trees and fences were toppled in this year’s fierce windstorms. When the wind wasn’t blowing the streets and fields were flooding. Typically, mild temperatures this winter instead were decidedly cooler. The snowpack is melting, rivers are swelling, and there is still the threat of flooding along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. 

Up and down the state the powerful rain and waves have undermined the hillsides, homes in San Clemente have been lost, railway tracks have been blocked by landslides, the sudden unforeseen repair costs to the streets in Santa Cruz’s Sea Cliff district are swamping the city’s budget. 

NOAA is forecasting El Nino to be arriving this summer. Record heatwave events followed by wildfires have the state’s firefighters on high alert. Then, as our climate has grown slightly warmer and drier there is now a slightly higher incidence of lightening and with it the risk of fire. 

The current forecast has almost a one foot rise in the sea level, this makes reports coming from Greenland and Antarctica seem all the more worrisome. Between coastal erosion risks and the nearby forested mountain wildfire risks it makes a California citizen wonder where in the world should they go— 

And it is this damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation that makes for what I think could be a very compelling comedy. A good plot will have your characters trapped between a rock and a hard place— two equally bad alternatives. 

A Little Something to Call Home

You could do it tragically but what’s the point, we already know what that looks like. What we don’t often see is how a character rises to the challenge, there’s no prevailing over circumstances so much as coping with them.

Most of us put the mess out of our mind. That’s one way to do it. Another is to become an active participant in the crisis, to start doing what you can. Clear brush around your home, drive a little less, choose fire resistant native trees when you landscape, forget all about living in that dream home overlooking the Pacific. 

We’re all busy recycling, composting food scraps, installing drip irrigation, charging our new electric cars, and recaulking our double glazed energy efficient windows. 

On a personal level you want to be sure to protect yourself, I’ve suddenly become aware of these high performance ultraviolet light blocking hoodies. The name of this game is thin breathable fabric, a hoodie for hot sunny days, one that shields the top of your head and in some styles also comes with a protective face cover. This is next level protective survival gear. 

Our nearest reservoirs are full to the brim. Our hillsides are slathered in wildflowers. There is so much to be thankful for, our winter rains have pulled most of California back from the brink. 

One might think that the energy transition, as the decarbonizing of our economy continues, that what we want to do is not just do more but do more faster, the sooner the better. A nasty feature of capitalism is that the old energy system is still in place, still resisting calls for the transition, still doing everything in its power to slow the changes and when they can halt them completely. Precious time and money are wasted. Capitalism has a number of flaws and none is more confounding than their well-funded ability to resist needed change.

Ready for Renovation

That isn’t funny, but a character trapped between this tightest climate corner modern man has ever faced does offer us a chance to laugh at ourselves as we rise to the challenge. I’m not quite finished with my current manuscript, The Last Drop, I’m busy beginning to outline a new plot that involves this California coastal resident living on the delicate ocean overlook as these common forces all of us are attempting to cope with begins to undo and alter the bucolic Saturday garden party and barbecue life they have spent their long life paying for and dreaming about. 

I’m a huge fan of nightclub settings, Casablanca, Cotton Club and my favorite of favorites Victor Victoria provide a plotter many opportunities to move a cast of stressed characters in and out of a story. I will turn my attention to these films, study them closely, outline their plotting, compare mine to these classics, and spend the next few months plotting until the plan is complete and writing may commence.

Now onto Sunday’s adventures in gardening—


Colorado River Agreement

Much has been written this week about a new agreement over how California, Nevada and Arizona will divide their allotment of water from the Colorado River. After a big ballyhoo and a promise to cut water usage by 13% we learn they are just pausing negotiations now while preparing for the mother of all water fights coming in 2026.

A lot can happen in the next three years the most important perhaps is that if Biden wins reelection negotiations in 2026 can’t harm the career of a lame-duck President. Expect these negotiations to be all but impossible to follow. 

Agriculture Scaled Well Pump

Our climate emergency is the unfixable driver at the heart of the Colorado River’s problem. Worse still is how our meat-centric factory farming industry has squandered the waters of this river. It is best to remember that what goes into a human being’s stomach is hardwired into our brains, it is the superhighway of culinary want and desire.  The vast majority in our world eat meat, even as vegetarians and vegans expand their percentages, meat remains wildly popular. Then, there is the cultural impact of changes that switching away from the holy trinity of alfalfa, dairy and meat production will have on our rural population.

The global energy transition has interrupted some of our world’s most powerful industries. Fossil fuels, automobiles, solar panels, wind turbines and the scaling up of the production of lithium batteries are all big and important drivers to our economic life. There have been warnings by climate experts about the threat of drought and flooding in this climate altered world. Water scarcity has hit key regions of the world, other parts it has become too warm for some crops to propagate, sometimes too hot to grow at all. 

Dairy Operator

The Colorado River basin’s biggest problem is the legacy food production system started in the 1800’s is no longer feasible given our growing population in the Southwest. Gross domestic product isn’t everything, certainly there is more to life than how much our economy produces, but even still there are limits to what purposes we put to water and what we receive in return. Today in our current politically stalemated circumstances we use 80% of all the water coming down the Colorado River to produce a return on that water of somewhere around 4% of the region’s gross domestic product.  That lack of return on investment has remained unchallenged by the great power of Big Agriculture’s lobbying prowess and the cowardice of our political leaders.

Parker, Arizona along border with California

I leave you with this picture of the Colorado River near Parker, Arizona. Take a look, now imagine most all that water is dedicated to some thousands of farms and ranches while a very small sliver is left for the use of the regions 40 million citizens. There is a lot we have to do to insure our survival on this climate emergency fated planet, high on that list is reforming the nation’s water distribution system on the Colorado River. This is the real deal—

Biography · Screenplay

Saguaro Bloom

Tucson like much of the west got plenty of rain this winter. Monsoons of last summer were well above normal too. You can tell by how swollen the saguaros look. The tops of the cactus are covered in buds, some having bloomed while I was in town with many more to come.

Creeks that never run are showing signs of life. It’s just starting to warm up. Like much of the West Coast Tucson has seen a spring with lower than average temperatures. 

I was south to Patagonia to visit the Cobb’s; he and I go back a long way. His wife I met later, and is a terrific kid raised by a woman poet who has only just passed. For years he clowned on Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus, this was a tent show most thought would never end then it does, and you wonder why you never saw it coming. Patagonia is the perfect spot for a misfit, and I mean this in the best way, living beneath a canvas show tent changes everything you thought you knew about impermanence. Veteran show people that have spent decades touring know a thing or three about where to go when the shows are finally over. Picking a high desert town along the Mexican frontier famous as one of the United States top birding spots starts an old clown off in the right direction. 

Saguaros blossoms

In the morning we enjoyed coffee then I rolled east to Sierra Vista for a look at the United States Army Intelligence Training Center. It’s there somewhere behind a gate with a guard standing at a barricade that military undercover agents are trained. To get a sense of life in the spy in training program I eyed the local strip mall, RV Park, and Elks Lodge parking lot. Sierra Vista unlike Patagonia is a rather beleaguered affair. There is exceptional desertscape in any direction but somehow a funky low slung sprawling town captures a certain dire energy then amplifies it with like this Marshall amplifier of sorrow for melancholy. Trust me it would take some getting used to living in Patagonia, but all of us have what it takes to do that much. Pulling off a full-time stint in Sierra Vista I’d rate as putting almost any halfway well-adjusted citizens mental health at risk. Depression, car repossession, eviction, and low job performance ratings would very likely soon follow your arrival to this place. All I can say is that all those good souls that make Sierra Vista their home deserve our respect. They have proven themselves resilient and for more flexible than anyone reading this blog. Our military spy graduates must literally weep for joy upon graduation. Risking  getting shot at, poisoned or thrown in prison looks pretty good after suffering a few years hard time here in Sierra Vista.

He calls me Dainer, I call him Doctor

Back in Tucson I stayed with a rascal of a friend living for the moment in a casita in the back of a larger Sonoran desert estate. I was introduced to his landlord. You’ll get what I mean when I explain that she was raised in Beverly Hills, her father a producer and mother an artist, then married a talented handsome man, he was quite the success in the option trading business, and like that they moved to Malibu raised a family then bought this winter retreat in Tucson. At first it was all a lark, once that sense of larking was lost the Malibu couple realized how much happiness warm winter days added to their life. 

Thunderstorm downpour

My friend’s landlord is a fine spirit, she’s lost her husband to dementia five years ago. Bouncing back has required some work, but the nerves eventually do cool, and the inevitable trackless track of time lays out its familiar stripe on the day-to-day life we all must use, she hates to cook, loves to collect Mexican folk art, and knows good things happen when you pour a snazzy rare mescal for guests. I’m taking notes on all of this.

Bagdad, Arizona copper mining town

Some trips to Tucson hit me, if you take Speedway starting as far west as you can then go as far east as you can you’ll end up almost out to Saguaro National Park, the drive is 20 miles from the freeway to the park. Every kind of expectation will be met on your drive out Speedway. You’ll see every kind of offering. Mexican food purveyors dominate, but there is more of everything on this boulevard including congestion. My first visit to Tucson back in 1974 was to see a place of 100,000 people, today there are more than a million. Don’t try to make sense of all this growth, there is none to be had. Mankind is busy doing its man meets woman makes more men and women business. From the looks of things if more is better, we’ve done swell at jamming this planet with Jimmy Durante’s friends, enemies and relatives.

All in all two weeks of wandering the Southwest landed me a telling detail to finish up my screenplays first best effort. I’m tinkering with the script until forever but that’s another story. The thing is I have a copper miner parked along the side of a highway for his help, he gave me a key clue to where I was at that moment and what was so good about this place, it was to do with all the wild cats that lived in this region, supposedly the biggest wild cat population in the whole state. Most of us wouldn’t mind seeing a wild cat. In general most of us really only want to look, you might imagine some of the regular guys from the copper mine might be inclined to want to do a bit more than look. But, hell that’s a crap ending so I’m settling on being a regular kind of non-lethal cat encounter guy, you know live and live. That’s the story and I’m sticking to it.

Biography · Screenplay

Swabbing the Decks

Mother’s Day begins when I drop the wife at Oakland Airport to fly to Portland to hang with her daughter.

I had imagined sailing out to Clipper Cove for a night on anchor. I thought I’d do a quick spray off undo the mooring lines and go. Once I started spraying the boat off the reality of an unrelenting winter of rain tossed a wrench into the works.

Little bits of dirt cling to the deck, there is this fiberglass feature called non-skid, little dappled sections of deck that traps tenaciously grippy dapples of dirt that are removed only by intense brushing with various kinds of brushes.

It’s a dirty job, someone has to do it, there are no “nasty” women within my global reality so instead the man-splainer did it, all the while I explained to myself how necessary cleanliness is to boat-li-ness.

Boating neighbor Will Smith dropped by to chat, not that Will Smith, but odd that you ask the Will Smith boating neighbor that did drop by enjoys my father’s name. My pop was Will Smith, sometimes earlier in life Willee Smith, properly pronounced Willard Smith, but few of us say the name Willard aloud in polite company, fearing the wrath of some unforeseen event.

You might ask how long does it take to scrub a boat to within an inch of its life or your life— scrubbing commenced at 11 and went on without letup until 4. The boat didn’t cry— Uncle— but after 5 hours of rigorous manual scrubbing with tough, thick, strong bristled brushes I had to raise the surrender flag.

A quick walk up to Gus’s to stock the boats empty cupboards and upon return a great layabout will be the grand agenda item for this now so much cleaner day.

The Lefty O’Doul Draw Bridge siren has just sounded. Halyards are clanking against their masts, and all that is right and good about sea lions barking blots the incoming fog.

You want a boat, you best be ready to scrub off the dirt trapped in the non-skid, ready or not it will test you.


Plot as Epiphany—

What can you learn from creating plot— maybe one thing is the emotional bang you feel when you fire the last point into the story and this final act reveals what all the unresolved previous actions had to do with anything.

Two Cactus Enter a Garden— then what happens

Authoring a plot, using your imagined story-making powers to build a list of seemingly unrelated actions is not a skill that can be acquired by thinking about things. You have to test your theory, you have to build the plot, write the story, then see for yourself how well or poorly the thing holds up. 

Some long fiction writers don’t work from a plan, that seems brave in my mind, instead writers follow the truth of each scene to the author’s sense of truthfulness, this process culminates in some previous unviewable epiphany once the sequence is built and by force of the plot the characters fall into line with the truth you’ve made of them.  

If there is any fun at all, for my money it is fitting the plot together by doing the work, seeing how your instincts for a good narrative have served you, the little tickle in the mind for a workable ending is tangible, a great ending to a story is emotionally sublime, a personal best, a summit to be savored. 

When I build a plan, it comes together at the outset in a jumble. There are character sketches, settings and sequences listed by cold blood. I like to use a large sketchpad and doodle elements then draw lines between that join the elements into what I believe are relationships. The relationship a character has with a car, house, or mountain. The relationship a liar has with the person being deceived. If you are ordered by a superior to carry out an action and you disobey your orders how does that relate to what your character has done, is doing and plans to do—

Pancho Villa

As the plan reaches a certain richness, once enough elements have been defined, you never have it all, you only have enough clues to go on, you may glimpse a promising resolution, when the thing really pops, when I’m really into the thing, when I dig it and think it the perfect fit, I can double down on the plan and because I’ve done the work can sell myself on the story.

I work backwards from the ending at this point. I work knowing that what comes out of my characters mouth in the first scene has everything to do with what happens in the last. Ok, now everything has an exception built into a story, and one matter that must be tested again and again is the balance of suspense and surprise. A good plan needs to be plausible yet uncertain, possible but not bulletproof. So, a good plan may require some obfuscation, you’ll want to hide clues, misdirect, even dare I admit this defy your characters predictability, your central character goes against the nature you have captured in the tale. 

Colorado River’s a story about 40 million people—

Our world’s ongoing climate emergency isn’t going to get better soon. Players on the world’s stage continue to act in their own interests and unwilling to act in the best interests of humankind. This is a terrific entry point to write comedy. Finding the funny is discovered in the weaknesses we discover in our characters, and the inevitable sorrows that fuel these misguided characters generate can be of benefit in our fight to save ourselves. Laughing at the folly of certain powerful special interests relaxes our minds and the epiphany in that laugh allows the idea itself to gently enter our imagination, allowing us to see with clarity the truth of what we are up against. Folly when you are not caught up in it can be fun to witness.

I’ve got this idea. Nightclub owner has a house along the ocean. For many climate related reasons his home on the cliff is being eroded until the home is uninhabitable, it eventually falls into the ocean. Same time at his nightclub are all kinds of equally displaced patrons. Immigrants coming up from S America because of drought, musical acts traveling to play at the club suffering climate related events along the way. There may be delays getting to the gig because of storms. There can be heatwaves, wildfires, and floods. You get the idea. We are learning more and more that climate events are inescapable, it is a global event, it is wreaking havoc everywhere— this inescapable element I see as funny, and worth building a story around. I want my central character to formulate an escape from everything, until the last scene when the one least unforeseen climate event undoes their best laid plans. This is a lifeless, early elemental list, and it is the flesh hung onto these bones that makes a story come alive. Early story development is a lifeless, painful trek—

You can play the game yourself, or you can wait and enjoy, hate or not be moved one way or another by what I come up with. That’s the thing right there, for most doing a story about such things is optional, it doesn’t feel like we have to do it if we don’t want to, and then there are some of us that feel the project is an absolute must do, we literally have to do this work to be happy. That’s a hell of problem right there—

Biography · Screenplay

Let’s Talk City Buildouts—

If Phoenix is a hot mess of a beast, Gilbert is the sizzling distant unknown reptile nobody has ever heard of. I’d come in from the south, drove through Coolidge, then finally the long straight boulevard into downtown, the very beating heart of this anonymous gargantuan valley town..

Until 2010 was Artists Parking Lot—

Three lanes in each direction for 20 miles will change how you see a boulevard. All the usual big box suspects were there, then there were all the plus plus plus strip malls.

Back in California up in the Bay Area because of the layout it is hard to run boulevards to this 20 mile length. El Camino Real starts up in San Bruno and terminates in Santa Clara. Over in the East Bay Mission Boulevard gets honking along in Oakland and sputters out just beyond Niles.

Gilbert is on another level. There is no obvious break in city limits. It is one long comprehensive aggregation of something profoundly present yet awakened to a sense of commerce and design that seems almost cruel.

Inner Circle the Stage 5th an Mill Tempe, Arizona

Here is a place where an electric bike helps. On a hot day, and they are all hot days in Gilbert just walking one nearly one third mile long block may be something you will never recover from. Because of the scale of the thing if you don’t drive you don’t exist, or better yet that’s all you can do is exist because you certainly can’t get anywhere.

If you wanted to foment a sense of isolation, a sense of being lost, a sense of feeling that the manmade world surrounding you in some odd way is aimed to dishearten you this would be the place to come see how the discouragment is constructed.

Man-splainer’s Breeding Ground

What makes a small place like Patagonia feel so sublime is that it allows none of it in their town limits. You got the local cooperative style grocery store, coffee joint, bakery and gift shop. You want to attend a spiritual function you drink at the Wagon Wheel Saloon where the tequila is intended to help you find your very own personal hangover and God.

All New and All Taller than the Rest

Tubac is a bit bigger, Bisbee too. Place such as Jerome is just too dang near Sedona. These better pieces of Arizona are right-sized.

I put down a long unbroken string of appearances at the Tempe Festival of the Arts. My initial appearances sputtered along more failed experiments than rousing successes. Then, about 2000 the festival producer got serious about presenting my kind of act, street theater, and I went on an unbroken twice a year stint, 3 days in December and another 3 days at the end of March that took me through 2012.

The cancer of progress struck Mill Avenue in Tempe where the festival was mounted. All the local mom and pop stores were shutdown replaced with slicker franchise style businesses. Gutted the soul right out of Mill Avenue, you don’t have to take my word, pretty much everyone agrees the place that was has been killed off, a death by a hundred devastating good intentions.

I’m no bean counter, I’d guess the building boom in the surrounding Mill Avenue area has to exceed $1-billion. I can count 20 skyscrapers and there are probably more. Those pesky mid-rise type buildings have given way to genuine twenty plus story honest go gosh big money mosh pits.

Nothing to do I suppose but pick up and move elsewhere, then again where is a good soul to go— Las Vegas is terrifying, forget LA, Tucson has its own issues.

Traveling the last few weeks I’ve had a good shot at seeing what’s become of Pasadena, Redondo Beach and a next to nowhere place like Bagdad, Arizona. One sure thing I know is that it has been more miss than hit out here in the building a place game. I wonder what’s so hard about making place. Not entirely sure but making one that works is a might bit harder than we’re ready to do something about.

Biography · Screenplay

Nine Arizona Touchstones

Platter in Tucson

Nearing late afternoon in Tempe, late April touching 91 degrees F, waiting to pickup Eileen coming in from Denver.

Crow, a street performing friend lives in Tucson. After blueberry pancakes this morning drove to his place for coffee before heading north. Married to a Korean wife, she’s visiting family and is away, when she returns will travel to Port Townsend to work as a sushi cook for summer. Crow’s wife is more than qualified. Crow will join her but she’ll fly and he’ll drive after a few weeks— once the misery of missing his wife sets in.

Linda hosted the impetuous one and the van she doesn’t much understand in her circular driveway since Saturday. Before pushing off this morning I cut off a few rare cactus leafs and have them stored in a box ready for transplanting when I get back to California.

Monday I traveled further south from Tucson to Mexican frontier border region to visit friends that make their home in Patagonia. Dinner was a glory of simplicity, celebrated with three Golden retrievers, one still a pup— Patagonia verges on sacred-small town-eccentric-beloved-gift to all right and good about the American Southwest. Thank you Jessica and Geoff for your welcome.

Here in Phoenix for a spell, figure we’ll push off by Friday. There is a daughter and her near grown children here. We have by time been cast in the movie as the grandparents— I’ll get over this mistake. Push that all aside I do love my daughter, like her alt-dad she possesses a crushing humor— I prefer to think of her wit as the original source of gallows humor— she makes me laugh until my gut hurts—

Missing from this visit is spotting cactus wrens, none were seen. Maybe I’m an unlucky fisherman, don’t know.

One more impression— while passing back north Border Patrol agent asked if I had anyone else in my van with me while I was passing through a checkpoint north of Sierra Vista, I answered true— they believed me, probably my California plates, and let me pass without a search—

Biography · Screenplay

Casey’s Gift

Rivers that originate in Arizona are few, the Verde River begins its journey up in the mountains in northwest corner of Yavapai County. Once upon a time the river’s water was counted as one of the tributaries to the Colorado River. In modern times every drop remains here in the state and is relied upon for the survival of citizens, farms and industry. The Colorado River is ten to thirty times the size of the Verde, even with that the Verde in its own way is a resource to be reckoned with.

A Lifework

In 1970 a feisty self sufficient woman moved her third husband, eight children, two dogs, and a pair of traumatized cats to Northern Arizona’s Verde Valley. Life in Fairfax, California had become too complicated, too counter culturally perilous, there were risks trying to bend children onto a reliable course to adulthood. Haight-Ashbury was in a spiral downward, and if you wet the tip of your finger to test the wind for direction the breeze was blowing certain types out of the cities to relocate to more rural districts of America.

Casey Nelson moved lock, stock and barrel eight hundred miles east and south to settle for the rest of her life on the banks of the Verde River. There were buildable lots for sale five miles from the town of Camp Verde. In those days you took Salt Mine Road a rugged seldom graded devil of a road south five miles to Fort Lincoln. More than a century before canals had been built and the land in the estate was granted irrigation rights. Groundwater was hard as most of the aquifers in the valley, when tested results showed there was limestone traces but all in all it considered good quality and safe to drink.

Plans for a few homes were made. Back in the early 70’s building codes were near nonexistent; construction would commence with almost no interference from pesky city or county agencies, for reasons to do with money, experimentation and freedom conditions were promising, and the new homes would be up and ready in a matter of months.

Casey’s masterpiece would come later, her first two homes each provided her with hard won wisdom. The biggest of the two had a roof unsuited for the hot summers. It was poorly insulated, flat and insulating after the home was finished would prove prohibitively expensive. Still, Casey wasn’t discouraged it was the lot next to this home where her imagination ran wild with dreams.

Rare bird

Unlike the other properties this home site promised a near perfect setting to build along the Verde River. If measured the riverbed from the north to south bank was one-quarter mile wide. Casey’s plans set the new home on an outcropping rising a few feet higher than the banks on the rivers opposite side. In a flood the river in theory would spread out on the fields northern banks making any flooding of on the south bank unlikely.

The first test of Casey’s theory occurred in the flood of May 1993, afterwards hydrologists estimated the event to be a one in every five hundred year flood. There was another about 2005, and the last occurring last month in March of 2023. In each instance the waters came within inches of flooding the home, but based on Casey’s 50-year-old forecasts never entered her home.

If you talk to people in the Verde Valley it is common knowledge that Casey’s river home is likely closest to the Verde River than any other. Not in Clarkdale, Cottonwood or in Camp Verde has a home with better views of the Verde been built anywhere along this waterway.

In 2019 Casey passed at 95. For a half century her life was tied to being close to this river. Casey was not a boastful type, she didn’t construct the home for bragging rights, she created this river home based on her passion for living close to the natural world. The building is worn down, codes make remodeling tricky, could trigger regulators coming in to demand the home be raised higher, to avoid that problem only the lowest cost repairs may be made. Instead of removing and replacing doors and windows to comply most fixes will be done by repairing what is already there. All her family is determined to hold true to their matriarchs vision. The home is set on a river, it is an oasis, a place where time passes against the shade of cottonwoods, a sweep of irrigated green lawn, ancient mesquite trees and desperately contented sycamores. Casey left her family the world.

Biography · Screenplay

Collecting Surprise

A Collection of Objects as Human

Traveling can be inconvenient. Entering Arizona was a longer jump, followed by a series of shorter jumps from town to town. Arriving at each place there is a setting, a building, people and their things. This is a picture of just one object in a home filled with thousands upon thousands of carefully collected objects of art.

The Whole constructed with Many

One fascinating coincidence is that there are plans to sail up to Paradise Cove off Malibu. The owner of this object spent much of her adult life in a home there. Traveling took the husband and wife to the Southwest, then further south to Mexico. One object after another was purchased. Furniture, rugs, chandeliers, vases, platters, sculptures, wood carvings, clay figurines, tile and paintings.

Their home is filled to the brim with the objects of art they have collected. If I were to fill my home with even a fraction of these objects and then after invite my wife to see what I’d found she would have asked me to seek counseling, at the very least from an interior decorator while looking for a good auction house where some percentage of this cresting wave of object upon object might be sold off to the highest bidder.

People, people who need people—

What is most extraordinary is that there are glorious souls in this world with the time, money and inclination to collect. My host described how her mother had become an world recognized expert on the Japanese art of wood block printing. Over a lifetime she had collected many prints, then she was invited to curate a show of Japanese wood block prints for a major museum, a book followed, and her reputation and expertise and legend was forever fixed in this one specific medium.

Lady in a Hat

Vases that stand five feet tall, weighing hundreds of pounds, covered in ceramic glaze fashioned into a storyline, if you can study each figure, each clue, you may discover the story and meaning the artist has with great effort attempted to leave to the future. I counted at least a dozen of this size, another hundred perhaps half as big, and another two or three hundred again half the size of the largest examples of this vase storytelling art.

Today is Sunday. I will get another opportunity to see more of this vast collection. I’ll walk for exercise, eat with friends tonight, and carry on as usual traveling further south to see one of my street performing/circus acts friends on Monday in a town where the script I am working on there is set a few scenes.

Pancho Villa of Course

Every stop on this trip that began a mere 9 days ago has been filled with surprise. In my appreciation for one friend where I stopped who had helped me sort out a loose wire to my inverter/charger I said— you know, you make a terrific friend— and his reply — so how much money do you need— I thought fair enough, somewhat surprised by the response but not entirely, I backed a few steps back smiled and said— not too much, in fact I need none at all, but I did want to express my appreciation for sharing time with you—

Not just collecting surprise in this instance handing some out—


Sedona for Dinner

Dinner Scene

Arrived at home built on a rocky bluff overlooking Oak Creek in Sedona. Brock and Kate’s place was built by the two back in the 1980’s. Brock and I are the same age. He’s currently been getting three bulldozers back into running condition. That’s been mostly about fueling the machines up with fresh diesel, new batteries and then troubleshooting. Some people have all the fun, Brock has none but he does know how to get a D8 sized 40,000 lbs. “dozer” to come back to life.

Building on Bedrock

Since the pandemic hit Sedona has been overrun with visitors. With so many people working remote many decided to take advantage move here and mix business with pleasure. As far as destinations go Sedona is a terrific pick with one big drawback— it is crawling with visitors. Camp Verde is 35 minutes away on the other side of the valley, visitation by tourists is not the small towns problem.

Today like yesterday will be used for a long walk. A flatter, longer, quieter piece of terrain is in the cards. Put on sunscreen, wear a hat, take a walking stick to chase away unwanted troublesome barking dogs. We’ll walk through juniper, cedar, cottonwoods and ash. Water is up still so finding a place with a good crease with a creek is what might work best.

Last night included the company of five good dogs. That’s a lot of canine company. That’s a rural life for you.

We’re off after our long walk to get under the shade of some sycamores, we’ll barbecue tonight, most of us have our heart set on a salad but mesquite wood cooking too, maybe throw some potatoes into the fire. We’ll see.