Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Bull Whip Kelp

We headed out to Trinidad Beach on Sunday for another mind-calming, therapeutic walk. It was a beautiful day, and we saw monsters (!) in the harbor.
Part way up the trail, looking north

Top of the trail, looking north at the same beach
Heading down the other side looking southeast at the harbor

What are those crazy monsters in the sea

Our first look at Bull Whip Kelp, native to the west coast
We've seen lots of Giant Kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) in Monterey Bay, but this was our first look at Bull Whip Kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana). Another reminder of the crazy awesome beauty of our earth.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Walking A New Trail

Lately we've noticed that even when we're out walking at the marsh we can't seem to stop worrying and talking about our current political situation in our country. So many things loom on the horizon. Things like Korea, Russia, the Middle East, climate change, tax reform, the Senate race in Alabama. It has all gotten so distracting that the poem Peace of Wild Things seemed no longer true.
That red dot is where we were walking. The Hammond Trail goes five miles along the ocean here.
So we decided to walk a new trail. We drove just a bit north up the coast and walked a short part of the Hammond Trail.
This view is looking across the Mad River and out to the ocean. If you click on the photo you can see the waves. We stood there a while and breathed in the calm ocean air.
This is the view looking north. You can see Trinidad Head and the river making its way to the ocean. It was good to look far into the blue of it all.
The birds flew and dipped into the river. They moved in unison, and their shadows flitted on the river like a ballet in a mirror. No words.

We walked and walked. We saw a harbor seal, or I should say s/he saw us and slipped into the river as quietly as could be. I waited for it to pop up again, and when it did it looked right at us and slipped back under. It was a brief encounter between our two species. And yet it reminded me that Wendell Berry had it right. We can still come into the peace of wild things.

When we got home we both realized and reveled in the fact that we had not thought of politics for at least an hour, and it felt good.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Almost Wordless Wednesday: The Sky Is My Ocean

We don't always have the beautiful ocean outside our windows, but we do always have the sky. So sometimes the sky is my ocean. All photos taken this month just outside our front door looking east.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Remembering Reminiscence

It's been a week since we arrived home from our ten day journey south and back. I've been thinking about our time with my mom in the memory care facility and thought I'd write about it here. Because of her wandering behavior she is in the locked part of the facility called Reminiscence. The fellow residents are all in various stages of dementia and Alzheimer's. Some need a caregiver for every move they make from their rooms to the dining hall and back; some have their heads down all day long; some play games at the dining tables between meals; some walk around on their own with walkers. No one can leave without knowing the code to get out.
My mom laughing at the news, which she said seems to be all about sex lately!
It sounds bleaker than it is. The caregivers there are truly remarkable human beings. We were struck by their calm demeanor; their compassion; their non-stop work like a day care center for elderly in Depends.

We did have some interesting, weird, and a bit disconcerting (bordering on traumatizing) experiences while we were there, but it was just a regular day for the staff. On the first day, we sat in the little comfy living room area with my mom. It has a music player and a cabinet full of things to distract idle hands. While we were there we heard seriously loud screaming coming from the dining room across the hall. A woman was screeching, "This is my house. I bought it. I want everyone to get out of here. Get out!!!" She yelled that on the top of her high pitched lungs over and over. It was absolutely wild. It went on and on. The staff intervened; she persisted. The staff tried to get her to her room. She persisted. My mom decided she'd heard enough and wanted to go back to her own room. In the hallway we crossed paths with the screamer. She yelled at us, "Get out of here. This is my house. Get out!!!!" My mom, of course wanted to engage, but we quietly moved her on. Yikes.

The next day, while we were sitting in the same living room area with my mom, the same woman started screaming in the hall. SCREAMING. She had to be constrained by one of the bigger caregivers. She had to be stopped from trying to go into a restroom that was already being used by someone. The battle was fierce, like a holding back a wild creature. Another very disconcerting moment for all of us.

And still the staff was calm and attentive. It made us feel like my mom is really in a good place.

We "met' several other residents. There was one who said the exact same thing to us over and over, everyday for five days. "I want to go home. I just want to go home. I tell them, and they won't help me. I just want to go home." She said it us in the dining room. She said it to us in the hallway. She said it us on the patio in the afternoon sunshine while the hummingbirds came to check out the flowers and feeders. She said it to us in the little comfy living room. She just wants to go home; it's a fairly common lament for Alzheimer's patients, even those living in the homes they've been in forever.
My mom dancing with a caregiver
One of the highlights of the visit was seeing the entertainment provided to the residents in the afternoons. You would be surprised by the lovely performers who come to sing for an hour after lunch. They bring speakers and equipment and really put on quite a show. They offer maracas and tambourines to the residents, and they sing all the old oldies that the residents know and love. One of the things that I've read about Alzheimer's is that music somehow stays familiar even when so many other memories have faded. Residents in wheelchairs with their heads down, who never look up, would sing a refrain right on cue when the microphone came their way. It was truly beautiful to see. That, and other residents rocking their shoulders in perfect rhythm and motion to the music. Not many would get up and dance, but my mom did with one of the sweetest caregivers. I'll confess that I stood in the hallway and had a rather nice little dance with one of the residents (who swears he doesn't really live there, and really will only be there for two weeks, and wouldn't we like to come to his real house and stay with him!).

This is life in a memory care facility. We were both saddened and enlightened by the experience. I'll tell you this, it made me want to volunteer at a local facility, and maybe I will one day...maybe I will.