About Me

My photo
Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, California, United States
Gazing into this abyss called Life and wondering.....what's next !?!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 54

Great day today. One where everything felt smooth and purposeful and connected and effortless. My jeans fit right. My hair wasn't flat. And I didn't burn the popcorn. I don't question these days. I simply enjoy them.

Here is an effortless shot. Yet another bit of my world......

 2012 © Diana Shay Diehl

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 53

21 years ago today, "It's an Aubrey!" My oldest of 3 children was born. There was a time motherhood never entered my thought stream of "The Great Plan". Fact is, there aren't really any plans. Ideas maybe. Seeds planted. Steps taken. But if you really want to ride the waves of Life, don't etch those plans in stone. Trust that the sudden veering off the path will be a good thing. Something you need - but you just don't know it.

I loved being pregnant, all 3 times. The first time was magical. The amazing dependent life growing within me that would eventually become quite independent of me. My body didn't do the birthing thing well times 3. But when I got over that part, the rest was great. I cannot imagine my life without children. My own in particular. I have many childless friends - by choice and by circumstance. Some are fellow teachers and amazing, loving ones as well. Others are 'playmates' who just don't get what I do, as a mother or a professional. I think they believe my life is harried, chaotic, full of disappointments and frustrations and pain ALL the time. How can you do that?? they often ask me. I am grateful there are people who know parenting - biological or not - just isn't for them. And I mean that kindly. I see, far too often, the results of people having children who weren't ready and probably never will be. It can be heartbreaking. Strike that. It IS heartbreaking.

So, on this day, 21 years ago, my heart was opened. I had the privilege to be part of an amazing journey and am thankful that I took the opportunity offered to me. My daughter taught me about unconditional love, perseverance, tenacity, kindness, acceptance. About not letting others' opinions about you sway what you think about you or judging people because they don't think like you. I witnessed her pull through situations with grace and humility that would have made me crumble. She is my favorite travel buddy. My chillin' at the mud pools pal. My tea at the end of the day friend. I know she will always have my back.

Today, she is on the other side of our country. Fully planted in her own life. Making her own story. And what a wonderous story it will be...

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about."
~Angela Schwindt

Happy 21st Birthday, my menehune.....

©Diana Shay Diehl / North Rim: Grand Canyon National Park

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 52

Okay, so I can't stick to a photo-post a day. Hence, the title change to "...one post at a time...."  I guess that covers my ----.....

My apologies for being AWOL of late. I needed to give myself permission to be still. Heal. Detach. I injured my ribs last week - part coughing fits from the residual effects of a flu I endured. Part boulder hopping while having one of those coughing fits. Add my inability to say no and allow others' projections of discontent to roll off my shoulders and my body was a knotted mess.  A little down time. Some quiet reflection. A lot of sleep. A better diet. And a dash of a few moments well spent with people who know me and love me anyway and I'm good to go. In fact, the only 'pain' I'm feeling is just under the right rib cage - and only when I cough. In time, this too shall heal - and it is well on its way. I feel the energy stores filling up and ready to roll.....

Here is a new direction I am headed. Impressionistic photographs. No 'Photoshopping' or other 'tweaking'. Just using the camera as my paintbrush.

My absolute favorite country road on a dreary California winter afternoon......

© Diana Shay Diehl

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 51

Doesn't look like we are going to have a prolific joshua tree bloom this year, again.  I have seen a couple of tight blooms scattered in my neighborhood - well, like maybe 3 blooms total. The lower elevations have a few that are opened a bit more fully.

Another teaser of spring:

© Diana Shay Diehl

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 50

An exciting find in the hills where I live....quite a lovely pop of color to compliment the more muted tones usually found in a desert setting. It's not as drab as one might think..... These warmer days, after our bout of winter last week, are apparently teasing out some delicate beauty among the thorns. Finding unexpectedly sweet surprises like this warms my soul. Nature. The ultimate healer. As close to God as one can get.

I believe these might be a type of hedgehog cacti. Some common names are Mojave Mound Cactus, Kingcup Cactus, or Claret Cup Hedgehog. If I discover otherwise, I'll be sure to update the correct information.


© Diana Shay Diehl

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day 49

Not much to say today. Just shades of blue...

©Diana Shay Diehl / Cambria Farmers' Market

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 48

A few shots of my day. I explored a new-to-me area in the park - Ruby Lee Mill and Porcupine Wash (which is along an inactive fault line called Porcupine Fault). This part of the park is different than the main, more popular area at the higher elevation. This is where the Colorado Desert mingles with the Mojave. The vistas are sweeping. The rock formations from plate lifting activity and years of flood waters are pretty amazing. Lots of mining history in the area as well. We saw our first early spring blossoms today as well....thick stemmed, healthy Canterbury Bells (Desert bluebells) are just beginning to show their rich "plumage" - ready to invite the pollenators in to keep the species going.

Slogging up and down deep sandy washes wreak havoc on the calves. Mine are screaming right now. Another great day in my wilderness....

The crew assembles by pictographs...

Looking east towards the Eagle Mountains from the remains of the stone cabin....

Self explanatory. I thought the date was pretty cool....

Panoramic view to the southeast....the well is just below the etched rock...

A side wash we had to hike in for a bit before hooking up with the wider Porcupine Wash...

Desert Canterbury Bluebell.......a sign of spring....
All images ©2012 Diana Shay Diehl

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day 47

Today was one of those rare no-particular-plans-for-the-day kind of day. Time for sleeping in - which means getting to stay in bed past 6am. Time for doing the necessary homey-dos. Time for a leisurely, late breakfast with my son - not the usual hurried bowl of cereal before we dash out the door to our respective schools. Time for researching new art ideas and find a few new app toys to play with.

One plan for the day included a hike up a desert creek in the lower desert with a friend and our dogs. But, a phone call announcing the park had just reopened after a day of closure due to the snow spun me in a new direction. Finally! Snowshoeing in my beloved np! So I thought.... A quick turn of events found me packing up my snowshoe gear and meeting up with a couple of local hiking pals with hopes of trekking up some snowy trails for the afternoon. I keep forgetting how quickly the snows come and fall, they can just as soon disappear in the desert. So, while no snowshoeing occurred, not enough snow left, the afternoon was very pleasantly shared with a short walk slogging down a muddy trail followed by a drive to Keys' View and back. There was a delicious wet earth smell, fresh and clean. The air was clear. We could see all the way to the Salton Sea and beyond. Not bad for a no-particular-plans-for-the-day kind of day...

The beginning of the storm that invoked hopes of breaking out the snowshoes for desert trails...

The stowaway....

Enough to slog along through, not enough to don the snowshoes...

Still life...

Still life 2...

Trekkers and tracks before us...

All iPhone polaroid images / 2012 © Diana Shay Diehl

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 46

Long day today - sub shortage which meant no prep time for me. Women's restroom backed up into a small pond of sewage on the floor meant crossing the legs for a longer period of time than usual. Inclement weather schedule meant no breaks and staying indoors. All this followed by a 3 hour association board meeting before I was allowed to go home...

All in all, my students and I managed to have some fun. I wish I had taken pictures of my students' work from this afternoon's impromptu art/writing activity - a tear art project showing what 'snow-people' dream of doing/being.... Some were surfing; some roasting marshmallows; a few were NBA stars; one was a teacher; a couple were "rich", counting their mountain of dollar bills; one was a Sea World trainer; one was throwing snowballs at humans; another was "dancing with the stars", complete with two disco balls.... You'd have to see it in person to get the humor in it. We laughed a lot today. It pays to be flexible and live in the moment. Had it been a "normal" day....I would have missed all this.

One quick remnant shot - leftover this morning from yesterday's snow event..... Gone before noon.

© Diana Shay Diehl - 'Snow Still Life'

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 45

Silence. Is anything ever devoid of sound? However, there are moments when the absence of racket is pleasantly noticeable - so much so, the ears ring with it. When it snows, the blanket of white muffles what we are accustomed to constantly being bombarded with. So, so nice....

Tonight, as the rain mixed with snow, then turned to only snow, then mixed with rain, then just rain fell again - I sat in silence and watched it envelop the desert. Even if just for a moment. Who knows what I'll see in the morning. Perhaps not a trace. Perhaps so much I can't back out of my driveway. Either way, I had a few moments of peace. Away from duties. Away from mouthy, thankless teenage sons. Away from everyday demands. Enough to fill the gaps with silent wonder and offer a moment of rest.

Thank God for that.

2012 © Diana Shay Diehl w/iPhone4 camera

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 44

Happy Valentine's Day! A day more happily anticipated than Christmas, almost, if you are 8-9 years old. I watched my tribe of 30 open and read each and every Valentine received - followed by giggles and lots of happy chatter. They take their Valentine selections very seriously. Can't send the wrong message. Need to make sure your favorite friends get the 'right' one.  They even spoiled me today.  Small boxes of chocolates, specially picked out cards, stuffed critters (the dancing sock money was my fav - he wasn't out yet when I took the pic, but he's in that green bag to the right...) and hand-drawn pictures with sincere messages. All given in friendship and sweetness. Why doesn't that sentiment stay on as we grow older? When did many of us become so cynical and closed.....

Valentine's Day....from the hearts of children......  

Hope yours was filled with love, warmth, and friendship.  Mine was. xoxo

 2012 © Diana Shay Diehl

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 43

My favorite shades of rust and red. Made richer over time by the desert sun, occasional rain, and mineral deposits. And, no. Those handles are not new at all. They are as old as the car. And, no. No one has been around to polish them either. What was once broken down junk remnants to someone has become treasured relics for the rest of us - reflections of our past.

©Diana Shay Diehl / JTNP Desert Queen Ranch
Looks cool printed on metallic paper. This shot graces the walls of a couple of collectors...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 42

Cities have odd juxtapositions of life..... Well, I guess anywhere can have them. 

Here are a few scenes to contemplate. What do you notice?

©Diana Shay Diehl / Santa Monica, CA

Here is another one.....

©Diana Shay Diehl / Santa Monica Pier, CA

And one more......I should have included the bikini clad young people who were just to the right of this frame, sitting on the grass, playing guitars. Quite a contrast to the gentleman waiting for the bus... But they weren't too friendly about my camera lens pointing their way. The gentleman didn't seem to mind. He even gave me a little half 'smile'....

   ©Diana Shay Diehl / Santa Monica, CA

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 41

Washes. My favorite places to wander in. Interesting artifacts can be found there, especially after a rain. Old tortoise shells. Pottery shards. Remnants of animal bones. And, if you are lucky, hints of gold.  Then, you have the treat of rock sculptures from eons of extreme weather chiseling away the patina of the boulders. Or find metate-like dimples from years of grinding acorns on flatter parts of the granite surfaces. I try to imagine the activity at those locations - which are scattered around the park - almost always near a source of scrub oaks by a wash that could have supplied more constant water way back then. What kinds of things would the women be discussing as they ground away to make flour for their meals? The quiet is calming. Smaller animals skitter from creosote to juniper to cats claw. The tracks they leave are interesting patterns to peruse along the trail. The air is heavy with the scent of sage and creosote and juniper...even more so after a rain. When it has been super dry, as it has been of late, cup your hands gently around a leafed branch. Huff your breath on the leaves and take a whiff. Mmmmm. We have lots of varieties of smells to tickle your nose (if your allergies can handle it....).  Many types of sage. Desert lavender. Cheese bush. (Yes. It smells like cheese!) And the ever cleansing, pungent, signature smell of the many purposed creosote bush. The wonder plant of the desert. Did you know their life span can be up to 100 years or more? There is one estimated to be 12,000 years old! If they could tell stories.... 

Hopefully, tomorrow, my energy level is back up from this bloody flu to at least enjoy a few miles, out of the winds, seeking the scented warmth of the desert....

©Diana Shay Diehl / JTNP

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 40

Just a simple post today. Any takers on where this might be? Rather Lord of the Ring-ish, no?

(2010©Diana Shay Diehl)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 39

Well, this should be Day 40. I just couldn't bring it upon myself to post yesterday. And today is seeing me with chills, aches, coughing fits, and a fever. Yep. The flu. 6 of my students were absent today. 2 more left by lunch. One was hanging her head in tears on the way to be picked up at the end of the day. When I asked her what was the matter, she tearfully replied she wasn't feeling well. Good grief. I haven't had such rampant illness in one fell swoop in - maybe never? Oh, I can't forget about 2 nurse office visits - one who cut his finger while working on a project. The other, a nose bleed. So, that about makes 1/3 my class falling by the wayside. Will anyone be there tomorrow, I wonder....

So, this photo is about comfort and food. Yet, it's way more than that. This shot represents a 2 hour span of time that raised a little over $2000 for our local American Food Bank. Community members came from all corners of our basin to share a home cooked meal, take home a hand made pottery bowl, and give some time to those in need. Some made the bowls. Some made the soup. Some made bread. Others served. Most pitched in to clean afterwards. The rest gave their time and a few spare bucks. Take a little. Give some. Win-win that day.

This event represented shared energy and giving and no one cared what your zip code was. Not always so up here as a certain community of folks have lifted their pedestal of self importance over cause importance a bit higher than the rest as we seek to find balanced growth and living in this fragile oasis of our desert. Once everyone topples off their self proclaimed savior status and stops wasting their time pointing fingers at those they claim 'could care less' (some of us have jobs and homes and families to run...), they'll see we all pretty much stand on the same dirt - and what hurts one of us, will hurt all of us.

So, on this particular day, it was not only refreshing but reassuring that people can set aside their egos, give with their hearts, and be nourished themselves.

When I feel better, I'll share more of this soulful venture. It's pretty sweet - and, I believe, may become an annual event.....

Until then, enjoy this heart warming bowl of curried vegetable stew served up with much love in a beautiful hand thrown bowl....

2011©Diana Shay Diehl / Empty Bowls event: Morongo Basin

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 38

Energy. There is a lot of it in these photographs. Last September, we had a series of powerful thunderstorms come through the area over the course of several days. The photos people all over our desert basin captured were absolutely stunning. My daughter and I lay in our cul de sac, on our bellies, trying to time our photos just right to capture the action. Can't tell you how many times the shutter would click (long exposures of about 20-30 seconds) and then there would be this fabulous display of  a lightning frenzy.... Ah well. At least I managed to capture a few interesting ones. What's on 'film' is far more than my eyes could see when all the action was going on.

I didn't realize, until after reviewing these shots a few times, that there is more than one energy source illuminated in the frames. Can you figure out how many there are? At first, I only saw two different ones until a friend pointed out five or so more.

Capturing the energy....

(©Diana Shay Diehl)

What can I say....girls, just having a bit of fun. The energy is catchy...

(©Diana Shay Diehl)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 37

Home. For somebody. It always amazes me how desert dwellers manage to eek out shelter and where one finds it. Is that snow or sand, you think? No, this is part of the salt flats just before the community of Amboy as one heads northeast of 29 Palms.... The structure was, most probably, a shelter for workers harvesting the salt. If one is headed to Las Vegas 'the back way' from my end of the desert, this is a common site / sight. It is also part of the history and lore of Route 66. My daughter and I stopped to explore on our return trip from Zion. The quiet hurt my ears. Not one car passed us on that hot, hot June day. Hard to imagine living there on such a day so very long ago..... I love my solitude but I don't think that scene is for me.

Imagine this next time you use your table salt.....

(©Diana Shay Diehl - Amboy salt flats)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day 36

We've had some phenomenal winter weather of late....low to mid 60's, sunny with spots of warmth. Even the 50ish days are quite pleasant to be out in so there have been many hiking activities several times a week. The plants are confused. On my hike today, I saw many buds ready to erupt into tiny blossoms. The desert is always ready to leap into life when conditions are prime. We actually seem to have several 'blooming periods' centered around warmth and moisture. We've had the warmth, just no moisture other than high forming clouds now and again.

Still, I'm not ready for spring. Roughly this time last year, we had snow right about now - more like President's Day weekend, mid February. I haven't had enough snuggle in, settle down, and nurture my creative muse time yet. The desert is truly magical under a fresh blanket of snow. Not to mention, my snowshoes need a work out this winter yet.

Longing for cold, wintry days snuggled in by the fire....

©Diana Shay Diehl

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 35

I've been in kind of a black and white mood of late.  Without all the distractions of color, one can see shapes and form a little more clearly.  At least to me, that is true...

Another view of my magical landscape.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 34

Not just another rock pile. The winds, water, and temp extremes create some amazing sculptures in 'my neck of the woods' - well, okay, desert. This stand of granite boulders edges a wide, ambling wash. It's Friday and I am looking forward to ambling among the boulders myself.

There is something very grounding about doing so....

(©Diana Shay Diehl  JTNP)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 33

As my mind begins to wander towards taking to the open road (or skies) very soon, I am reminded of a wonderful trip to Alaska with my middle son. Overcast, cool, and drizzly 99% of our 2 weeks there. Amazing place if you are a lover of the wild, open spaces. This was about as opposite of where I live as you could get sans tropical rainforest. Other than cooler climes, Alaska holds its own with outrageous foliage. Has to be as the growing season is so short. Of course, daylight for 20+ hours a day helps....

I want to go back.

These blossoms were waist high in early August.
(Copyright Diana Shay Diehl. Seward, AK)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 32

Keeping it simple today. I love how the desert surprises you with something unexpected....

(Copyright Diana Shay Diehl JTNP)