This statue of a Serrano indian marks the entrance to the Arrowhead Springs Hotel in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains. Well, it started out as a hotel, then was used as a navel hospital during World War II, then it was a hotel again, then it was used as headquarters for a religious organization. I'm not sure what it is now, or who owns it.
The hotel gets its name from the natural landmark on one of the hills behind it. It was frequented by the rich and famous for years; Elizabeth Taylor honeymooned at the hotel with Nicky Hilton.
The landmark is an arrowhead. The Serranos believed that it pointed down to the location of the hot springs, and considered it holy ground. It's certainly shaky ground...it's very close to the San Andreas fault line.
The arrowhead has been burned over to many times to count, but it always comes back. Nothing is done to maintain it. The arrowhead is also where Lake Arrowhead got it's name, even though you can't see the lake from the arrowhead and vice versa.
These photos were taken a couple of years apart. It's easy to get photos of the hotel from Hwy 18, but you have to take the Waterman Canyon turnoff to get to the hotel's driveway, and I kept forgetting.
Monsoon rains are falling out over the Mojave desert to the southeast of us, but nothing here. It hasn't rained since April, and that wasn't enough to even measure.
To the east and north of us, the Blue Cut fire still rages unchecked. (Lake Gregory is a tiny, light blue smudge just above the center, and to the left, of the photo, about 10 o'clock) and Lake Arrowhead is the large lake. (Photo from Rim of the World, by R. Lagler). At the latest count, 96 homes have burned. This monster of a fire moved so fast (10,000 acres burned in the first four hours) there was nothing anyone could have done to stop it. Right now, the area burned totals over 31,000 acres. No human lives were lost, but who knows how many precious animal lives were lost...I grieve for those little lives, and for the people and animals who lost their homes.
This is what the smoke looked like from Lake Gregory in the valley where I live. (Photo from Rim of the World, by M. Jordan). The Pilot fire, just over the ridge from this valley is still burning, but it's fully contained and nearly out, thank God.
Near the base of the tree in the first photo I found a little Hoary Tanaster (Machaeranthera canescens) blooming. They usually don't bloom until the middle of September, and are hardy wildflowers common in the San Bernardino mountains.
I am one of those who has no trouble imagining the sentient lives of trees, of their leaves in some fashion communicating, or of the massy trunks and heavy branches knowing it is I who have come, as I always come each morning, to walk beneath them, glad to be alive and glad to be there. ~~ Mary Oliver
I took this photo on a particularly beautiful morning in April of 2011. It's nowhere near as green here now.
A poppy (Argemone pleicantha) that a bug has been enjoying snacking on. I love these poppies; their blooms can reach 6 inches across, and their petals are so ruffly and delicate.
The following photos are not mine, but from Twitter and Lake Gregory Weather. It's burning right over the ridge from where I live. Right now, it's burned over 6,000 acres. So far, the winds have been in our favor up here and have kept the fire moving away from the mountain communities. Even though the winds are not strong, the fire fighters have not been able to get it contained. Not for lack of trying! There are hundreds of fire fighters heroically battling this blaze and many water-dropping helicopters and fixed wing fire retardant and water bombers. It's the terrain that's making containment so difficult. At least the temperatures aren't in the triple digits like they were last week. If you have any spare prayers and/or good thoughts please send them to the fire fighters and pilots...and to those of us who live up here.
Looking east across Lake Silverwood.
Looking from the Summit Valley side or the desert side of the fire.
You can see the smoke right behind the trees at Lake Gregory.
This was taken on September 8, 2015. The sunset lasted about twenty minutes, the clouds and light constantly changing. I was at the Red Rock Wall turnout on Highway 18 and, incredibly, there were only three other photographers there!
A Red Tailed Hawk perching in a dead tree on the mountain side. This seems to be a favorite spot for hawks to survey the area; I've been photographing various hawks in this spot for over forty years.
This one flew away in a rush, intent on dinner I suppose. I never stay to see that part, even though I wish them good hunting...I know everything has to eat, but I don't have the heart to watch or photograph the kill.
Looking east and north from a turnout on Highway 18. Big Bear has been getting a few sprinkles over the past couple of days, but Lake Arrowhead and Crestline have gotten nothing. It's just been horribly, horribly hot. Our high today was 95. So, of course, the air conditioner conks out! Because I have MS I have a really hard time dealing with temperatures over 80 degrees. The repair man will be here tomorrow, thank goodness! I hope it's more pleasant where you are...
The Grandmother Tree is just my name for her...I don't know if anyone else calls her by that name.
I don't know what made her trunk so gnarled and twisty.
...and so beautiful.
Fertile ground for an imagination like mine.
When I look at her, I am reminded of Tolkien's Ents, a race of trees that could walk and talk. I've never seen her walk, but I've heard her talk...on quiet summer afternoons, on bright autumn days, in rain storms and snow storms, on days filled with the hopefulness of spring.
I took these photos in 2007, with a little Olympus camera. The Grandmother Tree is still there, and she still looks much the same.
The skies in Southern California have been boring lately...blue with a bit of a haze. I'm looking forward to monsoon season...hopefully, we'll get some rain! This photo wasn't taken in the mountains, but in Summit Valley, down in the high desert.
A young raccoon was taking a nap on the roof of the cat's play yard...
She spotted me in the window right away and came over for a closer look...
But, she soon figured out it was just a human with a camera, and stepped up onto the roof of the house where she could nap in peace without interruptions by pesky humans and their cameras. (I apologize for the blurriness of the last two photos; there were spots on the window because I don't wash it often enough).
And some other Wildings, big and little, who kindly share their forest with me:
"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Young Steller's Jay
Common to high altitude forests all over the west
Copyright 2008-2016. The photos and text on these pages, unless otherwise indicated, are my sole property. They may not be reproduced in any manner for private or commercial use without my consent.
Our task must be to free ourselves...by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. ~~ Albert Einstein
June Was Adopt a Cat Month
But, there are always strays who need a loving home - so don't shop, ADOPT! Click the photo for helpful tips on adopting.
If they breathe, they live. If they live, they feel. If they feel, they love. If they love, they are aware. If they are aware, they have a soul. ~ Williams
I love cats because I enjoy my home and, little by little, they become its visible soul ~ Jean Cocteau
Feed the Hungry
I think we are bound to, and by, Nature. We may want to deny this connection and try to believe we control the external world, but every time there's a snowstorm or drought we know our fate is tied to the world around us. ~~ Alice Hoffman
What I'm Reading Now:
Click to read the synopsis
Give a Child a Book
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers.
Charles W. Eliot
A person who collects or is fond of books. Also, a person who immediately feels safe, happy, even euphoric, when holding a favorite book.
Boulder Bay, Big Bear Lake
Click to visit Big Bear
Lake Gregory, Crestline
Click to visit Crestline
Click to visit Lake Arrowhead
A Favorite Quote
"I don't want life to imitate art; I want life to BE art." Carrie Fisher
Where there is tea there is hope - Pinero
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. ~ John Muir, from "The California Mountains" (Lake Gregory at sunset)
A faery in my garden
The Lilac Fairy
"My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage!" Aunt Fran from 'Practical Magic', written by Alice Hoffman
I'm three-quarters Native American (Oglala Sioux and Cherokee), and one-quarter Northern Italian. I live in a little cottage with my husband and our furry "children" in a beautiful California mountain forest where we enjoy daily visits from the little wildings of the forest. I love animals (you probably guessed), painting, books, photography, nature, tea...and, I'm proud to be a Crone ~ I never thought I'd make it!