A Light at the Tunnel’s End

The historic Donner Pass Train Tunnel Trail in Norden California, September 2020.

In the 90 plus days since my last post, much has happened in our world, and to each other. A seemingly unending global pandemic continues to rage as we mourn the loss of lives, of loves, and belief in the certainty that “everything is going to be alright” because “this too shall pass”. But there really is a light at the end of every dark tunnel and we can step into it if we just keep walking.

An easterly external view of the historic tunnel. Smoke from the numerous wildfires obscures the autumn sky.

We walked four of the nearly six mile hike, stopping frequently to marvel at some of the graffiti and mural work of various artists. I pondered the treacherous labor involved in the making of the tunnels and laying track that many Chinese immigrants endured leading up to its completion in 1867, and wondered what they might think of the artform.

Urban artists tagging a section of Tunnel 6.

We turned back after walking through the most inky darkness I have ever experienced. I was unnerved by the complete absence of light and shuddered in the cold eeriness of the moment. Rather than turn on a headlamp to dispel the fear tingling the hair on the back of my neck, I let myself feel the fear and kept walking forward. Ten steps letter, we spotted the first thin slice of light which then multiplied into twenty. Then into the light at the end of the tunnel.

For more complete information about hiking the Donner Tunnels and other historical places, I highly recommend checking out a few of my favorite resources for recreational activities in the Tahoe region:

https://www.calexplornia.com/
https://tahoetrailguide.com/hiking-the-historic-donner-pass-train-tunnels-in-truckee-ca/
https://www.parks.ca.gov/

Special thanks and gratitude to those who continue to support the work of artists. It is at times such as these that we are most needed to bring more light into the world.

Be well, stay safe.

~T.

© 2020 Theresa Mae Funk, all rights reserved.

My Plum Gig: Harvesting Nature’s Candy

The Plum tree in the back yard has been steadily ripening for the last two weeks, yielding enough fruit to, so far, make two batches of sauce and three small jars of preserves. Today’s harvest will be the last for the season.

The moring’s harvest, freshly washed and ready for processing.

I referred to The California Native Plant Society’s Website to help me identify the type of candy we’ve been growing and discovered that Sierra plums are supposedly a good source of vitamins C and A and fiber. It is likely that Sierra plums were a part of the diets of Native American tribes in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains.

And so with my newly gained knowledge about this season’s candy harvest, the mess and tedium of prepping today’s harvest for the next batch of tastiness will be met with aplomb.

Be well, stay joyful.

~T.

Passing Shot: Lake Tahoe in June

While you were away, I went hiking in the Sierra Nevada’s and filled my lungs full of pure and fine air .  I let my feet fall wherever my intuition led me, and took great care to tread lightly on the ancient sacred trails.

Lake Tahoe in June

© 2016, Theresa Mae Funk.  All rights reserved.

Passing Shots: Folsom Lake

Located about twenty five miles northeast of Sacramento is what remains of Folsom Lake.

Folsom Lake

Walking through the stark landscape of what was once the reservoir’s lake bed saddened me, but also inspired me to spend time this week studying color theory.

What will be the formula that re-creates these shades of blue for my next work on paper?

Folsom Lake 2

Folsom Lake 3

© 2015, Theresa Mae Funk. All rights reserved.

Passing Shot

© 2015 TheresaMaeFunk. All rights reserved.

© 2015 TheresaMaeFunk. All rights reserved.

Snapping photographs with my mobile device from the passenger seat of a car usually requires a bit of editing before I publish it to my creative diary.   This endearing image was taken during a recent visit to Valley Springs, California.

Passing Shots: Monterey, California

I had the good fortune of receiving an unexpected invitation to go on a Monterey Bay whale watch last week which I graciously accepted.  Seeing a whale in its natural environment was number five on my list of 101 things to do before I die, so I was ecstatic that the universe conspired to turn my wish into a reality.

Before boarding the Sea Wolf II for our 10:00 a.m. trip with the Monterey Bay Whale Watch, we walked around the Old Fisherman’s Wharf and soaked in the January morning’s bright sunlight.  An emboldened seagull posed for pictures, but refused my request for an autograph.   Very disappointing considering that Birdman won accolades at this year’s Screen Actors Guild awards.

Bird

A Seagull stands his ground on the Old Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, California.

© 2015, Theresa Mae Funk.  All rights reserved.

97, 717 Acres of Ash

post fire

This photograph, courtesy of the Incident Information System Website, provides a glimpse of the senseless devastation caused by the September 13th King Fire in El Dorado County, California.

97, 717 acres of forest and wildlife habitat have been destroyed or permanently altered beyond repair.

NASA fire

A passing shot from the International Space Station taken on the fire’s second day gives perspective on the scope of the destruction.
A few good days of reasonable precipitation would do these woods good.

© 2014. Theresa Mae Funk.  All rights reserved. Photographs courtesy of NASA and IIS.

Passing Shot: King Fire Still Burns in El Dorado County, California

king fire 2

© 2014, Theresa Mae Funk, all rights reserved.

We first noticed the hell fire cloud on Sunday, September 14th during our final round of the Gold Pan Open Disc Golf Tournament at Pioneer Park in Somerset, located approximately 15 miles to the south of Pollock Pines, California.   The Sierra Nevada foothills are a tinder box of heavy timber and steep terrain, something that the jack-ass arsonist who deliberately set this fire knew would make containment nearly impossible.  The latest update indicates that the 73, 184 acre fire is 10% contained.

king fire 1

As we made the 57 mile drive home to Sacramento County, I kept looking back at the huge plume of smoke, silently praying for a miracle deluge of rain that still, has not arrived.

King's Fire

Twenty minutes and 30 miles later, the hell fire cloud ominously looms over the landscape that inspires much of my original works on paper,

King's Fire 2

and I take one last passing shot of this day’s fiery grief.

© 2014, Theresa Mae Funk, all rights reserved.