Crab Shell on Beach Today (about 3″ wide)

Oh, Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.…

–Native American prayer, translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887

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Canyon Pool in Big Sur

I’m going through all my 85,000 or so digital photos in preparation for my book The Half-Acre Homestead, picking out those on the garden, home, kitchen, and tooIs, etc, and running across some long-forgotten shots, like this one.

I built a house in Big Sur in 1967, on land owned by Boris and Filippa Veren, who ran the Craft & Hobby Book Service. I was their caretaker and they let me build my house on their 40 acres. This was their pool in the canyon, Burns Creek, about two miles north of Esalen. Creek water flowed from a pipe into the pool so no need for chlorine.

I built the house out of mostly used lumber and shakes I got from old redwood stumps or short pieces left by loggers in the woods.

Each night after I finished work in the spring and summer, I’d go down to swim. I’d bow to the nearby family of redwoods, then bow in each of the four directions before jumping in.

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The English Cottage

This exquisite painting is from one of my treasured books, Old English Country Cottages, edited by Charles Holme, published in 1906. It’s a paean to the English cottage, with wonderful pen and ink drawings by Sidney R. Jones, as well as 14 paintings (such as this one) interspersed throughout the 168 pages. I picked up a tattered copy in London in the early ’70s. It’s apparently been recently reprinted, but it looks as if there are copies of the original available from Abe Books for about $30-$40 (from the UK).

Right now, “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis came on Sirius radio, such a lovely song. It’s 50 years old.

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