To Observe

Observing a deer in the grass.
(photo W Hayes)

Yesterday our son Wiley showed me a geode he had found. I didn’t ask where. I was impressed from the start. Maybe you don’t know what a geode is? Heck, I don’t even know if I am spelling it right. It is a hardened glob of molten lava. This one was a little smaller than a baseball and roughly spherical. They are spewed out of a volcano and traveling maybe miles through the air cool and form along the way. There is an outer shell and if cracked open they can be full of beautiful crystals. This one had white quartz crystals inside.

I’m so jealous, what a find! We have volcanoes all around us with the closest being Mt Rainier which is approximately 50 miles as the crow flies. Guessing that is where it came from but how long did it roam around waiting for Wiley to pick it up?

But it is more than random this meeting, the guy has a knack. He is very observant and highly tuned in to the structure of things and slight variations set off alarms. He has always been a wiz at finding four leaf clovers. He can pretty much do that in his sleep. I may have found a few in my life but it is hard work for me and not fun. Several years ago he noticed a structural difference in a nettle plant that set it apart from others of it’s species. It was growing along the side of the Camino here and I don’t know how often I had passed it not seeing. It was a genetic variation and rare.

Well, what am I getting at? Yesterday we were talking about St Luke in the Bible, the physician, and his knack to observe and report details. I am thinking basically about beauty though and how it is tied in with observing. Cris, the dear, our CSABC, recently quoted D. Whyte on the topic.

“Beauty is the harvest of presence. Beauty is the cultivation of presence.”

stuff to contemplate loves, Felipé.

This Happened And Then That Happened

William observing.

Ah, Saturday and just got done with my Bible Guys class on Zoom. We took on one of Christ’s miracles, Healing A Man’s Withered Hand. The story is told in three of the four Gospels. Matthew, Mark and Luke reported on it. It is interesting to me to see how the three accounts vary depending on the author’s sensibilities and priorities. Luke was definitely attentive to the details of the physical situation and that lead to an good discussion. He was the physician in the motley crew that Jesus picked to be Apostles. I asked well, what do we know about what it meant to be a doctor at that time in history. We had to admit that we didn’t know much but that this ability to observe and capture detail seemed to be his superpower.

It wouldn’t hurt us to practice becoming better observers. I remember after getting back from Spain I could see an ant wink. Moving at three kilometers per hour did a lot for that. And observation and paying attention, which we know is important, are closely related.

Ah, and I need to report on more news about my clinical trial. I did say on Thursday that they could shut down my trial because they might consider it too expensive to keep it open for the last participant. Felipé, last man standing or last man walking. Anyway we heard that we got financial aid to cover the cost of the drug if we had to start paying for it. Clinical trials are a freebie. So, slipped through that wicket. Another celebration!

I have been working on the Elk Hotel which is our expedition tent. We, Wiley, Jamesie and I, are trying to get our gear organized for a couple of hunting trips up in the Cascade Mountains. One in September and one in November. We totally missed any trips last Fall as we were all too busy. Now we are doubly motivated to make it happen this year unless the area slips back into a Phase One Covid Response which would probably cancel it all.

Had a great Zoom yesterday which was a Phil’s Camino documentary QandA with the Cancer Support Community in San Francisco. It was fun and rewarding. There were too many attendees to run it as a standard Zoom so we were on a panel and the host asked us the questions submitted. So we weren’t actually seeing the real folks. Which worked but is another degree of separation. Anyway, I kind of swashbuckled my way through that. And you will be able to see that if you wish as it was recorded and I may be able to get you the link here in short order.

So, kind of a newsy post today. Remember today Annie has the Zoom with some or all the pilgrims from Walking the Camino, Six Ways to Santiago.
It was already this morning and then is at 3PM Pacific.

after while crocodile loves, Felipé.

A Friday Pilgrim Farmer John

I sat down at my desk and keyboard to start working on my SubBlog for Felipe for this 7th day of August, 2020. I happened to glance at my wall calendar to confirm the date and saw that the month displayed was FEBRUARY! Does that not just speak volumes for what this crazy year has been like? Five months of the year eclipsed without my need to consult the yearly calendar! Nothing to schedule ahead for, no date to “work around” for competing activities, no week-long events that have been part of our life flow forever.
I at least have the advantage over so many others in that the seasons dictate my life flow more than days, weeks, or months. Spring, for preparing and feeding the land and for planting the seeds that will become, hopefully, our financial livelihood. Summer, which we are now just reaching the apex of, for tending those growing crops, and keeping in check all those other growing plants that, if in the wrong place, have become “weeds”. Fall, when all of that tilling and tending and watching-over is transformed in short order to the intensity of harvest. A nervous “weather-eye” always present to predict a calamity that can, in a pitifully short time, derail all those carefully laid plans for a smooth harvest. And Winter, for 40 years our most difficult season, as livestock require more care and feeding then than at any other time. But, semi-retirement has lifted that burden, and now it is more plan and regroup time, and if things go well, some get-away time.
Which brings me to the actual intended theme of this post. I”ve been thinking frequently lately about the “seasons” of our lives, and it dawned on me, maybe a little too clearly, that I’ve entered “The fourth quarter”. Even if I live to be a hundred (not likely or even much desired), I’m in THAT quarter. (My much-weathered tree image above could relate to that condition.) And this thought subject relates to one of the (many!) things that fascinated me about our Hero Felipe. Those of us in my age bracket who are blessed to enjoy “good health”, can be fairly confident that we have a good dozen or so years left to enjoy and experience all that life has to offer. In contrast, for most of the last decade, our Phil didn’t know if he was in the “last quarter” or already thrust into “overtime”. This evokes the emotional scene from “Phil’s Camino” movie where he searches for that elusive “Just one more line”. But, to his lasting fame, he has handled it like a veteran quarterback who relies on carrying out the game plan all the way to the anticipated victory. He was smart enough, and humble enough, to listen to and learn from all his “coaches” and side-line advisors.
And, just as importantly, it was up to him to decide just what “victory” would look like, what “victory” would mean to him and his family and his Camino Following scattered all over the world. Reading his Blog all these years we get to be inside his brain as he dissects all the elements of his condition. How he looks at all the individual components, and how they can fluctuate from good to bad to unknown to indifferent.
And keep in mind, this is all going on during Phil’s “fourth quarter”, and the clock is running, but is the clock for him or against him? In our own personal world, there are so many times when we urge the clock to Hurry Up! And then there are times when we beg it to Slow Down!
Phil and I both benefit from the long ingrained knowledge/faith that our Last Quarter here on Earth, is just a warm-up practice game for the never ending really big show that comes after that.
To close this out, how often have we missed the “big game” and know how it ended, and are really bummed that we missed it, but in the interest of saving time to see it, we just tune in to the “Fourth Quarter”. I didn’t even get to meet Phil until both of our Fourth Quarters had started, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

Semper Fi,
Pilgrim Farmer John

(Thank you John, you are a very important part of this whole lashup. Or maybe it just wouldn’t be the same without you. Very nice post but I wanted it in February! Look at your calendar once in a while! Hehe!)

Light Rain And 60 Degrees – A Progress Report

Last afternoon on my escape back to the Island.
(photo P Volker)

Back from the Institute and back from the big city. A little glitch in the weather as we speak. But the good news is that I am back on the clinical trial. My pancreas numbers had snapped back to the OK zone after three weeks of rest allowing me to continue. Yea, so proud of Nugget and the crew.

It seems that I am the last participant in this trial, last of 40. Dr Gold thinks that they will shut it down in a month or so because they can’t afford to keep it going for little old me alone. That’s the prediction. So, there are still ways to obtain the drug so that he can administer it to me. If I were the anxious type I would be all afluster by this drama but I’m good.

Scan again in three weeks. How much fun can one guy have, right? So, there are hurtles and wickets to go through but we continue. Maybe the important part is that I get to continue and see all the folks that I have become friends with at the hospital. It is fun now to go in and mix it up every three weeks.

A walk here in a half hour. The little bit of rain has settled the dust outside. It will be cool walking today. I have missed some laps in the last few weeks when it was too hot to get them all in.

OK loves, Felipé.

A Few Hours

We have a broad canvas to start to work on.
(photo P Volker)

I have a few hours this morning at the ranch before I have to jet off to Seattle and the Institute. We will see what kind of news I can drum up from Nugget and the rest of the gang. Three weeks ago, where we left off, I was grounded because of bad numbers. I will give it my best shot today and we will see.

The sky is blue and the sun is starting early. Yesterday I did notice some leaves starting to fall, the start of the slow slide into Autumn. The wet early summer is over and the dry Mediterranean summer is upon us. We go on relying on our trusty wells to provide enough water for our needs.

It all seems so calm here. I am thankful after seeing the video of the news out of Lebanon. Obviously prayers are needed for those poor inhabitants. And of course medical help and supplies. But what a year. It is all so sobering.

Where do we fit into all this chaos? What part do we play? What do we hold that is helpful now and at later stages. It will be a long slow crawl out of here to the other side. I can’t help but think that our pilgrim knowledge and sensibilities will play a part. Just for the positivity of it at least and who can deny that.

It is Martin Sheen’s eightieth birthday here yesterday or today. I personally owe him so much for my introduction to pilgrimage and this whole world that I have entered into afterward. And the same for you. His film was a very important link in keeping a certain flame lit. Thank you Martin and a very very Happy Birthday to you!

Off I go.

happy Wednesday loves, Felipé.

Annie’s Event Saturday August 8th


Ladies and gentlemen! Drumroll please! I am pleased to announce that our Pilgrim Table zoom call this Saturday, August 8 is a reunion of pilgrims who walked the Camino and were filmed as part of the award-winning documentary film Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago. Yes! We will have two Pilgrim Tables that day: 9 AM and 3 PM Pacific Time. I will post the zoom links one half hour before each start time at Pilgrimage in Place on Facebook

I also send out an email the night before to our email list. Come and join our Pilgrim Table and find out how everyone from the film is doing these days! You can view Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago on Amazon Prime. 🙂

Please let your friends and family know that this historic reunion is happening! Share this far and wide, and let’s see how everyone is doing! See you all around the Pilgrim Tables on this coming Saturday, August 8!

I Thought…

Salvador Dali working on beauty.
(off FaceBook)

I thought that we could make up some signs like the road crew uses to put up along the byways here on beautiful days. All official looking they would read “Beauty at Work”. Like you had better slow down and pay attention here!

As far as this pilgrim is concerned they could have put up one big sign for the whole of Spain when I was there in 2014. “Be Aware Beauty At Work” or “Beauty At Work On The Trail Ahead” or just “It’s A Beaut!” You know what I am talking about. You experienced it. But what was that? It wasn’t Spain, it wasn’t 2014, it wasn’t just me. It was we were put in the right frame of mind to receive it. We were worked over by St James bigtime. Little did we know what we were getting into.

The funny part of this is Nancy from Kansas City originally didn’t mean it like all that. What she was saying three or four days ago was that she got a new job at a garden center and she had a bunch of different types of butterflies on the plants she was working with. She was saying that there was such “beauty at work”! And Felipé saw that and ran away with it creating a whole world. But wasn’t he right in a certain Felipé way? Sort of a win-win for Nancy and Felipé.

Well, I am off. Pasture to mow, noxious weeds to cut. Walking at 4.

certain loves, Felipé.

“Beauty At Work”

Here is a beautiful booterfly!
(photo W Hayes).

“Beauty At Work”. Nancy from Kansas City had that up on FaceBook with some pics of beautiful butterflies that she had taken on one of her treks. It tweaked my mind. The way she put it tweaked my mind the way a friend from a different culture would describe something in a great but unusual way.

The butterflies in her pics were going about their business the way butterflies do. And yes they were beautiful butterflies. What is the problem Felipé? Well, I think too often, I think something or someone is beautiful in a static way. All they have to do is set there and be admired. It makes that being or object truly into an object.

But the butterfly is beauty in it’s movement also yes. It’s transformations were beautiful to get to this point. Just as dance is beautiful and well as a photo. Just as fireworks are beautiful. Also there is beautiful in the way things perform, a horse running, a race car working perfectly or a sailboat smoothly cutting through the water on a broad reach.

Last evening before bed I was working on an Atlantic Magazine article on artist Alexander Calder entitled The Sculptor That Made Art Move. I have always been intrigued by him and his moving art. That fit together nicely with Nancy’s “Beauty At Work”.

One thing that everyone knows and that is the idea that Calder put in an art form and that is the mobile. So, I have to tell you guys that I once created a famous mobile or maybe an infamous mobile myself. This was back at Forestry School in Syracuse, NY, at the University. This mobile was gazed upon by a future president of the United States or at least a future Vice President. I had produced a piece of art out of uneaten breaded veal cutlets from the dreaded dorm cafeteria and wire coat hangers, a mobile, and it hung in our dorm hallway for a couple of weeks before I was asked to take it down. Well, Paula, our dear five foot tall cleaning lady wasn’t going to be able to handle that task. So, yea Joe Biden our dorm floor councilor may or may not remember that pinnacle in contemporary art but I sure do. Sure as heck it influenced the trajectory of his successful political future. There you have it art history according to Felipé.

Well it was a fun post, thanks for stopping by. It is Wiley and Henna’s second wedding anniversary tomorrow so we are putting on a dinner for them tonight. Time flies!

August loves, Felipé.

Sorry About….

Junk on the windowsill.
(photo Cap’n Crunch)

Sorry about the rant yesterday. Sometimes I crave those quieter times when it was just us and the newspaper, the one on paper. But things are more exciting now for sure. Keep on the sunny side Felipé.

Right now I got the dishes done, had a shower, had breakfast and am looking out the window at the blue sky writing to you. Catherine will be here at 9 so we can do our walking rosary. Then to St. John Vianney’s at 10 for Communion. All mapped out and God willing it will happen.

We had an exciting Zoom Friday with a bunch of the Bureau Chiefs and Catalina our Historian. We are trying to push the book project forward. This is the condensed version of six years of Caminoheads blog. Pretty exciting really.

Steve-O our North West BC will be here in person this evening for an overnight stay. We will catch up around the campfire. Alperfect.

Jen one of our regular walkers and good friend came yesterday evening and did a plein air painting out is the south pasture. The predominant grass is high and has a particular red tint which is eye catching in certain lights. I love the concept of plein air, to work in the outdoors, out of the studio. Old time baseball and football were plein air. Most of my life has been plein air also come to think of it.

Speaking of which, come by if you want to pick some berries. They are coming on heavy. I made shiny new picking cans yesterday for you to use. You need a handful of juicy blackberries on your Cap’n Crunch.

off I go loves, Felipé.