All posts by Dana Smith

Author and Entertainer

Show Biz Bargain Basement Fire Sale

showman Ohio

Banging Another Out

The wanderlust in the heart of a street performer is curiosity writ large across the world. Many buskers remain moored to a city for decades while other acts travel town to town from one place to the next. In summer I preferred roving from the northernmost Canadian cities and as autumn took hold head south and winter in the border towns along the Mexican frontier.

Weather dictates the terms of our doing business. Rain, wind, sun and shade influence our day’s receipts. The 7000’— over one mile high elevation— in Flagstaff, Arizona slows a fleet paced act to another rate of play. A thirty minute set on a stage in the sun with no shade in triple digits? That’s working for a living.

Troy small

Where Drifting on the Long Dusty Road Ends

A one way trip from San Francisco to La Grande, Oregon (one state north of California) measures seven hundred miles. Most of this distance is traveled across long empty stretches of two lane highway. The towns of Alturas, Lakeport and Burns are drying up. Ranch and farm operations that you’ll see are scattered across the landscape if and where water can be found. Eastern Oregon is mile upon mile of Federal land. By the time you arrive in La Grande, Oregon it occurs to this gypsy showman that had I gone east instead of north I would have been one quarter of the way to New York City by now. That is butt on a seat, eyes out the windshield, foot on the pedal non-stop daydreaming while driving. Myself, I had been ordered to head for the small time.

Castle Valley

Castle Valley, Utah My Place…

Much of the experience of drifting the desolate long distance stretches of the American West is dependent upon whether you are comfortable in your own skin. Do you carry a good set of hand tools? Can you swap out a bad water pump for a new one? Have you got the talent to wrangle a blown transmission out from under your truck and slam in a replacement in time to get to the next show? If you know how to keep misery at bay you’ll have a properly inflated spare tire, jack and lug nut wrench all close at hand, ready to go, no questions asked. You change your own oil and filter. You adjust brakes and keep an eye and ear out for mechanical issues before they pull you over on the shoulder of the highway and put your crazy-heart and at-risk-soul in a fix you’ll never repair your way out of. Windshield wipers are in good order, all the lights work and you know how to speak deferentially to the officer of the law as is required. A busker knows how to chain up his rig like right now in the event there is snow. Crossing a high snowbound pass is an opportunity to relish. You might want to keep you day job if bone rattling sleet and snow isn’t your thing.

blowout

Excuse for Pity Party Fueled Cold Beer

You’re not just driving to a destination. You are heading to a specific date and time where you will appear as promised. You are the performer and you have agreed to go into business with an event producer. The presenter could be a fair, festival, library or school. There will be a person to meet you. They may or may not have any prior experience, most don’t and the few that do are seldom experienced in booking variety acts in general and variety acts with a street performing background never. Fulfilling the contracts basic promise to perform in a particular place, at a specific time, for an agreed upon interval on a clock is the entire job. Some acts won’t appear without a retainer. A producer’s signature on a contract worked as far as I was concerned. With services rendered and the agreement fulfilled the fee is then paid. Any act worth a salt lick knows what customer satisfaction feels like once that check is handed to you. Walking out to your waiting rig, the show gear loaded up, gas tank pegged full, you fire up your engine, you take off in a cloud of dust rolling eight hours and four hundred miles, there’s no time to waste, you’ll need to be there first thing, opening tomorrow. In four days time you’ll have a hard time remembering where you had been, but never forgetting what you’ve done…. That kind of life out of a show trunk and suitcase, that’s real road doggin’…

Edited Red Star

Northbound to Home Port-Emery Cove

Ana Nuevo One

Of Misty Shores, Sea Elephants and Lone Gulls atop Buoy

Sailing is exhausting. I was in my bunk within an hour of our arrival in Monterey, immediately after squaring my registration with the harbormaster’s office early that afternoon. I woke up long enough to eat. I went back to my bunk. I was out until the next morning. Weather ahead was unsettled. We would remain in port Tuesday. Conditions turned to our advantage on Wednesday.

A short walk from our slip first thing before our departure we perched on stools and ate breakfast. LouLou’s Griddle in the Middle a waterfront favorite was  on Municipal Wharf #2.

Our short order cook put to rest any concern that a high fat diet was anything to fear. Not the seated customers, not the line of people waiting, indeed not one person appeared the least bit concerned. Life is short and eating at LouLou’s makes life shorter.

whale tale

Sighting a Mermaid

We topped off our fuel tank. The fuel dock clerk grew up in Salinas, moved to Pacific Grove  abandoned his car and walked to work now. He’d lucked into an affordable room. That’s a lot of good fortune in the land of sky high rent. This is life on the West Coast. Californian’s want to get rid of their lousy commute, live someplace we can afford so we may devote our free time to staring at our beguiling smartphones.

A pod of killer whales ,we counted six, congregated a hundred and fifty yards south of the harbor entrance buoy. We throttled up. Crossing Monterey Bay would take three hours. Sky was slate gray, the ocean darker, forbidden charcoal. Steaming at speed out of the haze appeared a fishing vessel, first one and then another, there was more boat traffic than we’d seen since Morro Bay. Fishermen were headed westbound.

Our spirits ran high. Two days sleep had restored our spirits. Seas were modest, not steep, the motion of the boat was comfortable. Soon we were off the northernmost headlands of Santa Cruz. Not long after we could see Davenport. Once Ana Nuevo was on our beam we had the temerity to imagine Half Moon Bay as being not much further north. Pigeon Point put the lie to that foolishness. Forging ahead at six knots asked for patience. Once in sight of Pillar Point we deluded ourselves that we would have her on our stern in short order. Four hours later we had only then passed the Pillar Point Safe Water Buoy. We had been underway for eleven hours.

Crewman

Strapped In for the Long Ride

Half Moon Bay’s fishing fleet was out in the overcast night running their powerful deck lights. Fishermen further out to sea over the horizon gave away their positions as lights bounced off low clouds gathered just above where they toiled. The night was  aglow, dotted here and there were islands of white-lighted radiance. Compared to the Big Sur coast the bustling fishing fleet was to our welcomed advantage. Anxious to arrive at home port, we would cling to anything to distract us. By now I was aiming four miles ahead to the Colorado Reef Lighted Buoy. On a northwest course we tracked the thirty fathom line. Fourteen miles further we would intersect with the Main Ship Channel Buoys that marked the entrance to the San Francisco Bay.

Ten miles off the coastline as we approached the mix of northern swell colliding with what would be a monster ebb kicked up, the sea state was in transition. I had been so fixated on weather I had not spent any time consulting the Tide and Current Tables. We would be passing beneath the Golden Gate Bridge while the ebbing current was running against us. The precision of our running against the torrent was a classic ditzy-brained sailing blunder. Whatever the word is for the opposite of luck that’s what I have. When it comes to approaching San Francisco Bay’s entrance I am preternaturally disposed to nail my arrival at maximum ebb. This is a sure bet and mortal lock. I am fated to suffer going against the grain. It is coded into my monumental stubbornness.

North Tower

Inbound Beneath the Gated Wonder

We would crawl into the bay. We had been underway for sixteen hours. If conditions had been in our favor we would pull into our slip in just over an hour. A more languid processional arrival was ordered by the forces aligned in my cerebral cortex and synchronized with tide and current.

In voyaging down and back up the coast the prudent mariner has a great many rules to abide, much as the Dude abides, so too shall the dudes arriving in the early morning hours of the morning of September 6, 2018 give their full attention to living in harmony with all the astronomical forces unleashed by the tensions gripping earth and moon. The City’s skyline was a luminous eye quenching martini, a feast of spangled skyscrapers, an urbanized shadow puppet, a yarn, a plotted twist, a grand welcome home.

Home Port

Jeweled Home Port

Plunging ahead near Blossom Rock Buoy there were two promises within one hour of my grasp. There were a great more many rules, a vast number of skills, there was unsolicited advice, deeply disturbing testimonials, but mixed with all of those myriad of other matters buffeting my attention there were two more existential promises I had wanted more than anything else to make good on. First and most important was, don’t get killed.  And if I did survive the first promise would I please second of all, not sink the ship.

For the final three nautical miles I kept close eye out, vigilance is a sailor’s best defense. And just to be that much more sure I’d make good on the twin pillared promises I hustled below and turned the switch to my bilge pump to the on position. After fifty-two days outbound we put into Emery Cove. The time was zero-four-hundred hours. My summer of sailing off the coast of California was now a thousand glorious sea miles off my stern.

Edited Red Star

Sailing the Coast of California

Sweet Seas Avalon Three

Mooring in Avalon

In the summer of 2018 I sailed down the California coast from San Francisco to Catalina Island. For crew I enjoyed the company of my wife and two friends all jumping aboard along the way. Once in Southern California waters we hopped from harbor to harbor. Twice we sailed to Catalina Island and then after back up the coast on a course that took us out to the Channel Islands before making the final long uphill passage to home port.

Even in the midst of the very pinnacle of a late August summer a raucous Pacific Ocean can be frequented by Small Craft Warnings. Humbling gales, near gales and impenetrable fog’s can bedevil a recreationalist sailor. Dodging the adversity of such inclement conditions I planned to slip into and out of protected harbors hopscotching my way back up the coast. The professional meteorological consultants at Weather Routing Incorporated were enlisted as an insurance policy, to save this sailor from his own miscalculations, the bet being this helpful advice would reduce the chances of my being caught off the coast in an unmuted blow. For the week ahead Weather Routing Inc. provided me with a comprehensive weather report and then by telephone each day advised as I picked my way northward.

Anacapa

Panorama of Anacapa Island

The initial turn and the first forty miles from Avalon were undertaken in a steady hull speed inducing breeze. As I boasted on that leg, “The gods are great!” The seas were smooth, air was warm as dolphins came bounding toward us to play in our bow’s wake. Our first leg was auspicious. From Los Angeles’s Marina del Rey to Oxnard’s Channel Islands Harbor, a distance of fifty miles was pragmatic; we motorsailed and bucked against steep chop for the last two hours.

The next morning our sloop romped under full sail out to the Channel Islands. Morning overcast and haze yielded to a blue sky. Dark silhouettes on the horizon began peeking through the mists in time lapse revelatory boat speed. Materializing before our eyes were the surreal other-worldly cliffs of Anacapa Island. As we drew closer the khaki colored sheer vertical guano streaked bluffs invoked a sense of the epic. This is the mythological world of Venus and Aphrodite; nature as conundrum, stunning and temporally transformational. Winds dropped. Seas settled into a lull. Serenity took grip. Two silent sailors set motionless basking in the warm sun. While eating lunch my wife rendered our shared verdict. “This is the best day of sailing in my life.”

Anacapa Leaving

Approaching the Other World

Putting our boat and minds back in order we made ready to turn and beat north in a stout wind tipped with white capped seas. We bound close-hauled beneath a full mainsail across Anacapa Passage to Santa Cruz Island. The anchorages at Scorpion, Little Scorpion and Pelican Bay were full up. Exposed to a swell wrapping around the northeast headlands  we set one hook in Prisoners Harbor. Had I been on my best game a second hook on my stern would have been set to help fend off the incessant rocking but light was dimming and the day was at end. Here was as best as we could do with what time we had before darkness set in.

The next morning in a dead calm we motorsailed to Santa Barbara. Without having to tire from beating against wind or wave was under the circumstances fine. In the days and miles ahead a less benign Pacific Ocean would be certain to kick up and tax our resolve. We would for the first time in four days return from the sea and walk on land.

Edited Red Star

 

Sleepless Nights

Beating

Windward and Northbound

The shrill howl of the wind in the shrouds kept waking me. We were holding at Cojo Anchorage waiting for the winds to drop. Passage north through Point Conception was timed to advantage our trip north on this chance.

Winds finally dipped but not until we’d hoisted anchor and strapped our safety harness on. We sailed close to the wind due west. One beyond Government Point we were exposed to a much more moderate sea than we’d expected to find. Winds remained down at 20 knots steady from the northwest.

For two hours we kept our course offshore fourteen to eighteen miles until we turned back pointing now toward Point Arguello twelve miles north of Point Conception. Once tacked we were ready to gain precious miles of latitude up the coastline. Within ninety minutes we’d sailed ten miles. Since the day before when we’d left Santa Barbara sixty-eight miles behind us we’d gained not one degree of latitude.

We’d been anxious about rounding Point Conception. Stories of mariners halted by heavy weather had haunted our minds. We’d amplified these tales of sailors who had come before us. We’d taken seasickness medication and strapped our safety harnesses on. I was at the helm and my first and only mate stood at the ready on the mainsheet.
solitude at cojo

Solitude at Sunset

As is true of most sport there is a degree of danger. Batters are hit by balls, gymnasts twist ankles or worse… in all sport when stepping up to the plate whether or not you win or lose the game has the potential to injure those on the playing field.

For twelve hours we made more miles north. We had to tack back out off the coast several times. The first three hours gave way to a less fraught sea state. Winds eased for some of this period. Within three hours range of Port San Luis the afternoon breeze kicked up and the mix of chop and ocean swell made for an uncomfortable sloppy passage.

The boat seemed all the more capable. Our confidence by now greater than before we’d started off this morning. We still remained humble to our task. Based upon the seas we’d transited this morning we believed we could sail the boat through what was kicking up in front of us. We had that much determination. Doubts remained at the ready.

Much more sailing is ahead. Conditions have deteriorated and we are holding until Sunday afternoon in Morro Bay. Next leg is 24 hours north nonstop. This is a chunk of coast with few places of any kind to anchor. Most are described as suitable for emergencies only. We’ll take turns at the helm while the other crew member sleeps. One hour here, one hour there, neither member of the boat is to be left alone too long.

pelican on wing

Alone on Wing

Our passage on this leg will test physical endurance. Winds are expected to be on our nose, seas to eight feet in height, and surface chop short and average. The risk is if this sea surface chop steepens it can make northward progress more tedious and weary perhaps even sicken the crew.

For now we are on a mooring back and forth to town to get exercise and purchase provisions. We’ll sleep and catnap in preparation for Sunday. By midday Monday we’ll hope to tuck into Monterey while we wait for the next chance to complete our passage from Catalina Island back to San Francisco Bay.

I expect we’ll find more pleasure than peril in the next one hundred and eighty miles. With each mile sailed we gain a degree of experience, slightly more surefootedness, a sense we are skillfully making our way. Then, like that even that slight bit of hubris is examined for its power to entrap and trick a crew into unanticipated mishap.

Stay humble, keep a hand on the wheel and the mind focused to the task. Making a safe passage requires a persistent unwavering humility. Even with all of that in this sport where anything can happen to a boat and her crew a healthy dose of circumspection may not be enough.

buoy off montana de oro

A View Back from Where We’d Sailed

Edited Red Star

Character

Sweet Seas Avalon

Jeanneau Sloop’s Southernmost Mooring…

Avalon, Santa Catalina Island

Moitessier 1958, Sailing to the Reefs, “The deterioration in the weather was sudden and without warning— it was just a simple call to order to remind me that winds are not always favourable and that fine weather never lasts for ever. As always when I am obliged to move about on Deck at night in a squall of rain, I came out of the cabin swearing that God’s providence is a myth.”

To one degree or another admitting where our talents lend our sailing advantage is a must. Knowing what we are best and worst at is to keep our wits about us.

I am quick to change sails as the wind builds. Although I’ve suffered from sloth and torpor and been meted out punishment for the inaction.

Point near Avalon

Long Point, Catalina Island

The Length of the Trial

In preparation for the passage north from Los Angeles to San Francisco I’ve noticed a particular form of grit seeming to have been found inside. I’m determined that I will return my sailboat to her home port. I have suffered bouts of grave doubt but have fended off the demons for the moment.

Characters

Character Enhancer Seated to Left

An old now deceased sailing companion had brought his Tahiti ketch from Baja back to San Francisco’s Bay View Boat Club many times. Carl’s strategy was simplicity itself… patience.

Rather than have his will broken, rather than attempt to advance to his destination he opted to rest, wait, and pick his spots rather than have Mother Nature punish his boat or his backbone.

Carl exercised patience and judgement. His sailing skills were sufficient to the task. Pragmatism and common sense was perhaps his greatest talent—-but hardly his only. Of course he had made careful study of the weather patterns along the West coast. He knew as much as his mind could hold. Tides, currents and where the next place to anchor north of his present position was built into his plan.

dolphins on bow

Escort Services

I had once ignored Carl’s advice and in my haste wasted hours beating against a current. As the current slackened a fresh and rested Carl joined me in San Pablo Bay for a sail back to San Francisco. I arrived exhausted. Carl returned unruffled and rested.

We will see what we see in the next few weeks. I’ll pick my way north with my sage sailing friend in mind. I’ve a good twenty days to make a trip that ought not take more than three under the better circumstances. Toss away two rough days waiting at anchor to advance one good day seems sensible.

In that light provisioning and a second hand that can abide the captain’s strategy will bring the capable sailboat safely home.

Edited Red Star

 

Overtaken By Wildfire

Lake Four

Outline Interrupted

Plotting my novel I set a date in September 2015 to attend the dirt oval races at the Calistoga Fairgrounds. The motorcycle races were canceled and the fairgrounds instead were transformed into an emergency evacuation shelter for the victims of the Valley Fire. On September 12, 2015 the fire erupted burning 70 thousand acres, destroying 1955 structures and killing 4.

The outline to my novel changed from the Napa County Board of Supervisors and the political machine funded by Big Agriculture to wildfires and the impact climate change was having America’s premier wine growing regions.

Napa County One

Bedrock of Civilization… An Engaged Citizen

I completed the outline and in November 2015 began the first draft of the manuscript. At the same time the County Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission for Napa County was facing increasing pressure to roll back approvals for further expansion. Nearly 100,000 oak trees had been slated for removal to make way for three new hillside developments. Real estate prices continued spiraling higher. American and international oligarchs had turned their attentions to Napa and opened their checkbooks. The citizens were no match for the well funded international consortium of investors and agents that had descended upon the valley to pick over what few parcels remained. Protest was listened to and then ignored. The industry would not be stopped.

After five years of persistent drought Sacramento’s state legislator finally muscled through a new water meter law. In the next two decades we’d finally know how much groundwater was being pumped from the wells across the state.

great-tree.jpg

This Tree from Space…Looks like Toast

I continued writing my fictional account while real world events leaped beyond what I might have imagined. Trump is elected. The United States withdraws from the Paris Climate Accord. Voter suppression visits Napa County. An initiative is disallowed placement on the ballot for November’s election. Suspicious behaviors and curious interlocking interests between judges, county officials and most powerful winegrowers in the county derail the citizens efforts to protect the county’s natural resources.

I continue writing a novel focused on the local business and political players unchecked expansion up into the hillsides. By now the draft is nearing completion. It is the summer of 2017 some 8 months later. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria devastate everything in their paths.

We have an apartment in the Los Angeles Arts District. For a post Labor Day getaway weekend we go to Ojai in Ventura County. We hike three trails over three different days. The week after the Northern California Firestorm burns 245 thousand acres, kills 44, hospitalizes 185, and destroys 8900 structures.

happy hikers

Things Not to Do During Fire Season

My wife and I decide hiking in fire steep fire prone canyons might no longer be a safe or smart activity. We rethink the defensible perimeters of our two Northern California homes.

Activists in Napa County after evacuating Calistoga return. The hillsides of what are identified as wildfire zones, has altered the politics of the well funded possible. Everyone and everything was under reconsideration.

By strange quirk of coincidence while the state’s drought had been broken there remained one length of coastline south of Santa Maria and north of Oxnard that the storms had passed by. Maybe next year, the fire season was winding down, it was the end of the year crews had finished their work and disbursed back across the landscape.

I missed my deadline. I’d hoped to bring the novel to a close by November of 2017. I still had the last chapter to complete.

writers desk

Pleading for the Powerful and Connected to Help

Then, on December 4th a fire broke out 48 miles east of Santa Barbara. A month later a fire that had started in Santa Paula burned through 281 thousand acres and before finally being brought under control menaced the city of Santa Barbara and wrought untold destruction to Montecito.

The novel I had outlined in 2015 was completed by the end of 2017. My editor and I finished our developmental and copy edits. I sent the manuscript out to my trusted core of preview readers prior to sending it out to acquisition editors.

There were problems, many problems, my fourth novel was not ready for prime time.

I was preparing the sailboat in San Francisco for this summers roundtrip to Santa Catalina Island. I am in the midst of this seasons sailing now. There wasn’t sufficient time to prepare the boat and repair the manuscript. By February the decision was made. Put the novel in a drawer.

In the last two weeks I finally opened the drawer. I’ve not written a word. I am reading.

Initially I’d imagined a pastoral piece, spiced and drenched in culinary cleverness. A sendup to our foodie’s in Northern California. I’d accommodated the ongoing drought and hadn’t anticipated the relentless wildfires.

Last weeks fires in Redding were awful enough. Now, today the Mendocino Complex Fire has surpassed total acreage burned of any fire in the states history. 283 thousand acres burned.

My story describes the fictional fate of just 2500 acres, a place the size of two and a half Golden Gate Parks. The Valley Fire, Northern California Firestorm, Thomas Fire, Carr Fire and Mendocino Complex Fire together describe an area of very near one million acres.

dulcet tones

A Passage Only Half Complete

We are in the midst of the hottest week of the summer in Los Angeles in a world that is breaking records for the hottest summer ever in Europe. My characters in my novel are ordinary. They care about the world they live in but the written characters possess no tangible influence on the levers located at the seat of power in the county government offices. Keeping pace with the changing climate, trying to make sense of the chaos back in our nations capital, trying to explain the threats pressing down on one small wine growing region in all the world has somehow and in most all ways been touched by the out of control global forces. Humanity and the uncontrollable nature of wildfire are this seasons outsized forces pleading with us to wake up and change. Whether we like it or not, whether we want to or not, changing the way we organize ourselves on this fragile planet is coming. I’m writing about that change now.

Edited Red Star

Don’t Cry for Me, Catalina

Catalina Four

Paddle Board- Bikini- Beach

Sailing from San Francisco to Avalon, this was the long planned passage, a tribal escapade, journeying to the harbor of the living-breathing Santa Catalina Island—- a offshore destination where exists an alter paced island ambience— the much admired oak barrel aged amber liquids bottled and called booze, in all things swaddled in near nothingness called a bikini; mingling amidst the sun-gilded bronzed visitors and residents who have by happenstance roved here to this storied island— separated by nothing more than mist and fog bank—- one half-day’s sail from the buzzing Southern California megalopolis— where by arm’s-length from the mainland reside the formidable sum of forty million of western civilizations quirky and traffic hazed.

Catalina Six

Running with the Big Dogs

I pet my peoples dogs, admired their dinghies. I relished the glorious knowing transcendence, our group-oversharing, our unyielding sanguinity— a fair-weather native birthright, people tested in gridlock but unbent (until fenders have clashed,) a citizenry resplendently aglow with a can-do- window tinted willingness to rise against all ill-tempered obstacles identified as too hot or too cold. All our thermal moderation, all evidence of material insufficiency, all former physical attributes once celebrated as character traits vanished by American Express fueled scalpel and suture. This is not self-help on steroids, this is what only a modern day banking system- financialized surgeon enhanced imagination can buy. Chins, cheeks and noses are chiseled into appealing compliance. Veneers for teeth, fitness centers for a cursory quick do over of gut or bicep. Hair and nail salons are cheek to jowl from Yreka to El Centro. My people start the day in circuit training end the day on a yoga mat. Kale salad and our first of two hibiscus infused martini’s are sipped at sunset with more often than not a second or third present-life-partner. The brilliant oranges and atmospherically moody ozone and carbon enhanced reds bring to climax another Left Coast Topanga Canyon sunset.

Lacey in July

Performing the Mightiest Little of Dogs

My sailing began on the Alameda Estuary. In 1980 I had come off the road from constant touring. I had weathered five years out of state crisscrossing the nation chasing dates playing my juggling act to infinitesimally diminutive audiences. I heard the call of home. Born in Oakland and raised in the Bay Area. Northern California of the seventies and yet to be written eighties was fern bars, funk bands doused in magnums of Napa sparkling wine. We were the world’s glitzy, garrulous— glamorously libidinous. A person born in California tested the complex multidimensional iterations of the sprawling romantic endeavor described more or less as love.

Catalina Seven

Summer Winds

Decades, children, homes all came and went. Some vanished, some were sold and some simply moved out. All the while I was playing the streets of Fisherman’s Wharf a swelling population compounded like some interest bearing retirement account. The long wet winters are memory. A dryer and warmer climate has taken hold. We don’t much like to do dreary, wet or cold. It’s so awful we invented Palm Springs to help the most averse among us to not have to ever have to suffer such inconvenience.

Catalina Two

Cozy Lagoons Nestled in Hillsides of Prickly Pear

And to this leading edge of all that is left of the era of enlightenment, as we all sort through the digital catastrophe, the computer chip disrupted economic rollercoaster madcap E-ticket ride to mostly rags or in some few circumstances riches here at this island outpost I arrive to take measure of my fellow countrymen. I am here to shoot my curiosity arrows into the heart of others minds, to gauge temperament, to discern what remains of what we have in common. In less than one year three historic sized conflagrations have leveled thousands of buildings, terminated the lives of good people helping to shape the expectations of what Tesla, lithium and solar panels can bring to our fragile future. Dusk is spent rocking gently at anchor. I see you fellow citizens. I see your spirit, I see our challenge. I want to shake your hand, hold you in my arms and convince you that we can do this. Together, we can do this, starting here and starting now. Come September and my return to my harbor… it is time.

Edited Red Star