word cloud created at wordie.com

My word cloud created at http://www.wordle.net

Yesterday Stephanie Condon posted her thoughts on the political blog, CBS News Political Hotsheet comparing the words in President Obama’s speech on national security which focused on the closing of the Guantanamo prison with those of Dick Cheney’s speech on the same day. In a picture there are a thousand words. That is literally true in the word clouds created from each speech.

It is not difficult to tell I am fond of word clouds. (see previous post) So I went to http://www.wordle.net and had a go at it myself. I have been writing a business plan recently and after going on and on for 15 pages, I wonder if my word cloud may not say it better?

Upper Yosemite Falls

Upper Yosemite Falls

LAST WEEKEND I went with my friend, Bill, to Yosemite National Park. The awesome beauty and grandeur of this natural wonder in the Sierras is so astounding that it almost hurts. It wasn’t the first visit for either of us, but like everyone else who has traveled here more than once knows, each visit produces its own astonishment.

I love to take photographs here, as is true of nearly all visitors since Ansel Adams and this weekend in early March was especially generous to those of us who made the trek into the wilderness.

Standing awe-struck at the edge of Mirror Lake I heard the sounds of three more photographers beginning to set up behind us. They hoisted tripods with heavy cameras and long lens, along with bulging bags of more equipment on their shoulders as they hiked up the trail to this scenic point.

Rock in Mirror Lake

Rock in Mirror Lake

I had just snapped a few shots of my own with my Canon A80, a 5 year old digital point and shoot, so it was with great humility that I spoke with a straight face to these determined outdoors men.

“Hey guys, don’t worry. I already got a great picture of that rock.”

I waited a moment for a laugh, or a smile even. Alas, my dry humor, lost apparently, in the serious undertaking that is photography at Yosemite.

Later, on Sunday afternoon as we reluctantly headed home we drove around a corner and saw a small crowd at the pull out, the last scenic view of the valley before the exit. Of course we jumped out too, and soon realized the photographer’s dream that we had stumbled upon.

I lamented only for a moment the fact that I was ill-equipped for the scene. The full moon rising, perfectly aligned over the Bridalveil Fall, was a glorious accent to the sun’s last stoke of light, glowing on the wall of granite above us. As I steadied my so-called camera the best I could, I took my picture and felt again the ache of ephemeral beauty.

Full Moon over Bridalveil Falls

Full Moon over the 620 foot Bridalveil Fall

Follow this link for more “great pictures” of Yosemite on my Flickr page.

Marjorie Ellen Baer

December 31, 1953 – October 6, 2007

MEB 1953-2007

I just spent a few magical summer days relaxing in the California Redwoods of Sonoma County with my family. What a treat this retreat was, where satisfaction meant lots of sleep and food and books and a clear night sky. Through the canopy of the tallest trees on earth the night sky held the universe for me. Literally, I could see the Milky Way. As a tribute to these living giants, I uploaded a picture I took in Cazadero as my new “custom header” (on this blog).

Also I wish to extend a warm thank you to Marjorie, for her generosity in offering this place to my family. All our heart’s prayers go out to Marjorie who bravely faces daily challenges from a tumor in her brain. My love to Ruth and Marjorie’s family and the amazing community of friends who have rallied together to care for her as she struggles to hold on to a conscious life.