A Return to Lassen County

Smoke veils the late afternoon view of Reading Peak and Mount Lassen on September 2, 2020.

The invitation to spend eight days at a dear friend’s cabin near Lassen Volcanic National Park could not have come at a better time for me and my dog, Stella. Daily bouts of anxiety, depression, and disappointment were beginning to adversely affect my well being, my relationships, and my ability to joyfully create meaningful art for myself, and my patrons.

Daku stands guard while Stella excavates for lizards.

Since I would be spending the first four days at the cabin alone, Sandy agreed to let me take her dog, Daku, with me. Having his big dog energy was reassuring to both Stella and I, and we genuinely love him.

Hiking the trail to Devil’s Kitchen in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Rarely do I leave the property once I have arrived but a Saturday morning hike to Devil’s Kitchen with my husband would afford my friend a day of solitude at the cabin. I applauded his willingness to give the 4.2 mile hike a go despite the discomfort that would likely result from him walking the distance in mismatched boots! Impressive, on a couple of levels.

George on the boardwalk, discomfort from his mismatched boots not yet impairing his gait.
We yield the path to a Drakesbad Guest Ranch trail guide as we make our ascent.

Drakesbad Guest Ranch, located within the park, offers trail rides to a number of geothermal sites. The guide said “Looking out across the broad meadow, you can almost imagine the Cartwright brothers from the TV show Bonanza to ride into view.” Different mountain range, I thought to myself as I snapped the cowboy’s picture.

One of the many fumeroles viewable from the Devil’s Kitchen loop trail.
Volcanic gas escapes into the atmosphere below a Pine and Incense Cedar tree lined ridge.

Steam vents, boiling springs, and bubbling mudpots are indicators that the volcanic center still smolders. And such has been the rhythm of my creative flow. It smolders. Slowly. Steadily. Although there is no way to predict when the next eruption will occur, we know that it will.

Be well, stay safe.

T.

© 2020, Theresa Mae Funk. All rights reserved.

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.

While You Were Away: Passing Shots of Georgia

While you were away, I traveled to Atlanta, Athens, Appling, and then home again by plane.

Athens Garden Mural
I snapped a passing shot of A mural in Athens, Georgia for you, and call it Untitled, painted by an artist un-named. A bride and groom were married later the same day.

Tall pines and the lush greenery of the landscape was my daily meditation on humidity.

I read pages from Basquiat’s Unknown Notebooks at the High Museum of Art in my own Neoexpressionist style, then hatch-marked my heart to Vik Muniz’s sleeve.

Passing Shot Vik Muniz May 11 2016

 

© 2016.  Theresa Mae Funk, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

American Ninja Terrier: Big Adventures of a Little Dog

Stella will be four years old on Valentines Day, according to the date of birth that is listed on her Circle of Hope K-9 Rescue adoption papers.  Bianca, (her former name) was one of five puppies that were left in a box near the Rescue’s kennels.  At least whomever abandoned the baby dogs had the sense to leave them in a location where they knew they would be cared for.

baby stella

How could I not give this dog a home?

Also noted on Stella’s adoption papers was her breed.  Rat Terrier/Pomeranian mix.   Pomeranian?  Highly unlikely. She is an American Ninja Terrier through and through I thought, as I looked at the photos of the litter that had been sent to me.  Adorable? Absolutely. Garden guard dog potential?  Possible.  Knick knack, paddy-whack, give the dog a home?  Definitely.  And so her journey from Milan, Tennessee to Middlebury, Vermont began.

Stella Transit

Yoda?

I adopted Stella in March, but had to wait until June to receive her. The adoption fee includes spaying and neutering, first round immunizations, complete health assessments, and transportation fees.  Once given a clean bill of health, the adopted begin their journey to their new home.

Stella transit 2

Stella and her litter mates share a crate for the journey.

1,200 miles later, Stella and her fellow travelers arrive safely to their destination in New Hampshire where they are released to their adoptive families, or foster home volunteers.   It is an amazing network of compassionate people that willingly give of themselves to make these types of programs work.

Stella and T

A shy Stella and her human are united.

I’ll be making Stella a special batch of her favorite dog treats for her birthday next week, and will be making a donation to the Circle of Hope to express our gratitude and support.  The little dog, I think, approves.

Stella

 © 2015 Theresa Mae Funk. All rights reserved.

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.

Poetry for Guitar: Picture Postcard Lullabys

I went travelling down a long paved road

listening to the radio playing

I heard a song about a white winged dove singing.

There were shore lined miles of open sky

A picture postcard lullaby

the mocking bird just could not sing

so I was trying.

I watched the golden hills roll by me

A speed limit sign read forty-five

But I felt

like I was flying.

© 2011 Theresa Funk, all rights reserved.

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Sacramento County: A Passing Shot

Passing Shot

This photo was taken with my mobile device while travelling through Sacramento County California at sixty miles per hour from the passenger seat of a car.  I like to take Passing shots between site locations for my Conservation Art series to help inform color, composition, and brush selection. Rain is in the forecast for the next two days, so I am prepared for strokes of burnt umbra between each downpour.

© 2014 Theresa Funk, all rights reserved.

Ellis Island: A Poem for Guitar

Ellis Island

I spent an afternoon on Ellis Island a few years ago and was deeply moved by the experience.  Millions of individuals arrived and were processed on the nearly 28 acre island between 1892 and 1954, each with a unique circumstance and history.  Truly astounding when you think about the scope of it.
The Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation has a free searchable online database that you might find interesting and informative.   More remarkable is a visit to the Island.   It certainly changed my perception and attitude about feeling inconvenienced by travel delays.  Chances are, I’m going to arrive at my destination alive (many people died en-route to America) and it isn’t going to take me a month or more to get there.  Think about that the next time you feel yourself getting annoyed because your train is late, or you are stuck in traffic.

An untitled poem that I wrote in 2001 was penned as part of a writing exercise for a dream workshop I had taken at Middlebury College.   Our task was to piece something together from the collective sharing of words and phrases that we derived from the dream recitations of class participants.   I didn’t know what the poem was about or that it had a title until I stepped through the doors of the Great Hall that day in March of 2009.

Ellis Island 

© 2001 Theresa Funk

There were photographs in black and white,
and fingerprints.

Lines infused with a memory,
and I am skating through a strangers dream.

Sixteen lines,
half of them are disconnected.
But a theme was tied by the threads
of celluloid on paper.

I see you standing in a drove of noiseless people.

You are waiting on a line while
on the other side,
my skate-shoes glide.

~T.