Sunday morning. Drinking coffee. Burning incense. Blogging. All have been relevant to my life for a long time now. A routine, somewhat regular- in that I have a (mostly) steady once-a-month-post statistic, but a goal, more so, is 2 postings. The coffee tastes the same (dark French), but the difference in zip code hints at a different flavor. Gone are the Sunday morning Büyükdere apartment scenes. Replacement came- a quickie on my timeline. Communique now originates from:
BTW, the Frankincense incense got replaced with Nag Champa- temporarily. I'm actually looking for another scent perhaps more akin to this environment, as in like pine, or high-mountain flowers/grasses? We'll see what I can come up with. Suggestions greatly appreciated, BTW.
Timeless, really. Walking downtown Mariposa, Ca. (where one goes to procure groceries, generally), is a trip. Excluding tourists heading into/outta Yosemite NP, there is something familiar about residents. Something just...small-town west coast American, I guess. I'm starting to get into a Saturday morning routine as such: head into Mariposa early (a 45-minute leisurely drive from the door (el portal: 'door' in Spanish) of Yosemite Valley to the foothills of Mariposa ('butterfly' in Spanish), of which they are known in the stories and lore of the area.
There is a beautiful graffiti wall upon entering Mariposa of many of the different butterfly species of the area- sprayed in a delicate style akin to in Darwin's time of drawing illustrations for his Origin of Species (1859) , and more properly known as: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Anyway, it's a nice greeting to see as I enter/exit.
But I digress; back to routines. So I hit up this yoga class after a very meditative 45-minute drive. I mean, it's early enough that not many people (locals or tourists) are on the road, so there is plenty time for slowpoke (me) to cruise and enjoy the scenery, elevation swings, wild Merced River tangling it's way down into the San Joaquin River. I've started to spy the various local stop-off points for a quick jump in :) The river is still running so swiftly this year though, which inhibits hanging out in swimming holes except in areas where the current isn't so swift.
The valley walls are still so close and tall- even in the El Portal area. I feel like I am ejecting myself out of El Portal and into another dimension- yes, it's true :) There is a maybe 1-mile spot on Hwy 140 nearby to home where eastbound road (going into valley) had a huge rock-slide. I'm not sure how long ago it happened. Traffic is only 1-way at a time and a stoplight is in place directing traffic to stop/go. I have never been there, yet, where I had the green light immediately. It reminds me of Maui in many ways here, on the east & backside of the island). Meaning... that there is always time to sit and enjoy the majestic, strangely, fascinatingly, oddly, ethereally beautiful moving picture show. It is such a foreign beauty to me. I approach it cautiously in a sense (mountain lions, snakes and bears- on my!)- right? I'm new at this stuff :) Also reminiscent is my time on Big Island. When I first arrived there, I could feel the intense vibe of the island, even after a few years already spent on Maui. 'Walk lightly upon the soil', is what the land was telling me then. Similarly now, yet more subtle- the vibe.
Continuing on; some more reflections about transitions.
I've been noticing my thoughts on entering America this year specifically. Maybe it's different because I finally understood the realization that I am here for an entire six months. I suppose that is why I notice... things... more that I usually would.
Sometimes, back in Turkey, you could just 'tune out', even in a crowd of people, and feel solo or just aware yet unassuming. You can't really do that in your own country. For (my) example I think about a small group of people and someone is talking (in English). You can't 'tune out' as it's generally assumed that all in this small gathering are following train of thought. I keep forgetting that I'm among all native English speakers here- so far anyway.
Also, I'm noticing how strong of a Japanese accent my yoga teacher has, and how she speaks and it's just interesting to hear another foreign language learner's English accent.
At a thrift store yesterday, I was talking to a local girl, born and raised in the area. She was giving me tips on dealing with rattlesnakes, and the other 2 people in the shop started telling their stories. It was so interesting and beautiful, and communicative, and is the reason why I love exploring this beautiful planet. I learned a lot. Storytelling. Telling stories.
So yea, I drive to Mariposa for morning yoga class; I cruise around to the thrift shops; I explore. My current thrifting favorites; the thrift store at the Habitat for Humanity site, the SPCA thrift store (both out on Hwy. 41), and Consignment A, right in downtown Mariposa off Hwy 140. I've been also hitting up museums- to soak up the historical context of Mariposa- on the Gold Trail (Hwy 49, or the Gold Rush Trail). Always. From here I explore around. Always, always end up at Pioneer Market for groceries. What a gem. Perhaps it's also the weird feeling of being back in America in a supermarket. Definitely a more 'village' feel, but a grocery store no less which carries Ben and Jerry's ice cream, and Talenti gelato, etc.
I finally did it. After 3 Pioneer Market experiences, I finally broke down and bought a pint of Talenti gelato and devoured it in one sitting. I feel like I've broken through the cultural barrier here. In essence, I'm home... Good thing I'm leaving again in January... :) Yea, too much food I'm so very familiar with here, that I don't really delve into (if even available) in other countries.
Another Mariposa indulgence that I finally succumbed to yesterday: Mexican food. The taco truck was parked neaby Pioneer Market. Grocerie bag loaded in my car (thanks Johnny!), I turn back in the direction of the taco-mobile... Yes. Today is the day. Two small carne asado corn-tortilla tacos later, I'm on my back, inbound into the Valley...
My next hike is Hite Cove- nearby.
Yea, I guess you could say I've been grooving in the foothills of Yosemite, rather than the valley floor itself, or topside. Remember, I'm a beach-girl. Baby steps with the mountain-girl thing. Babysteps that are thrilling I might add. I did get a beach chair at a thrift store, so I'm river-ready and have my 'to-go' spot nearby to Cranberry Gulch.
I explained this place to someone recently, on a dark, moonless night here. Starry scene splashed against the black backdrop. Upon closer inspection, the silhouette of the surrounding foothills was competing to remain relevant. Such beauty, this landscape. I am taking delight in reading local accounts of this area. Most notably:
Indians of the Yosemite by Galen Clark
The Pinion Pine A Natural and Cultural History by Ronald Lanner
A Collection of Ethnographical Articles on the California Indians, No. 7 of Ballena Press Publications in Archaeology, Ethnology and History.
Legends of the Yosemite Miwok by Frank La Pena and Craig Bates, with beautiful illustrations by Harry Fonseca.
INTERRUPTION: I'm listening to...
Newton S Cradle
Album : New Lore (2017)
Label : Anti
...from my new, favorite internet radio station (Thanks Megane for that). Ah the French art of atmospheric-dream-like-state(s)-of-conciousness-creation I'm digging on currently. Upon much experimentation, their autour du groove genre is my go-to (Denise, you especially would enjoy), but their autour du reggae also ranks quite high.
I've interrupted this post so many times today that it's probably best to just end it here. After all, it's past 11 am now... I've gotten nothing accomplished this morning outside of making coffee & writing this post. Time to seize the day, which is supposedly to get VERY high- thermometer- wise. I think 100º is expected.
Bye; stay sexy, and DON'T get murdered (any 'My Favorite Murder' podcast aficionado will appreciate this :)