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.

Next Year’s Peck of Peppers

pup and pepper seeds

I’m not entirely certain where some of these Bell Pepper seeds are going to land in next year’s garden, but I insist that we make room for some of them.  Peppers of all varieties are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid and fiber. The seeds from one pepper, if germinated successfully, could yield us a peck if only we had enough acreage to accommodate them.

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: Lower American River Watershed

Passing Shots:  Lower American River Watershed

American River water is generally characterized as high quality surface water that is low in alkalinity, mineral content, and organic contamination. It is also a source of artistic inspiration for many Sacramento area artists. This moment was captured on my mobile device during a post-rain storm walk along the river, and continues to be reinterpreted as part of my Conservation Art series works on paper.

© 2014, Theresa Funk, all rights reserved.

Vermont’s Connection to a Green California: The Clean Energy States Alliance

California and Vermont seem to be blessed with the largest per-capita population of creative, experienced policy makers and green practitioners in the nation.  A good friend from Vermont coordinated this year’s Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) National Membership Meeting in Sacramento earlier this week, so I was able to connect with her between the events hosted by the California Energy Commission and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.  

 CESA’s mission supports state and local leadership to promote the use of existing and emerging clean energy technologies. The Alliance’s analysis and studies are designed to accelerate clean energy deployment.  They are a nationwide network of leaders at the state and local level working together to catalyze a low-carbon energy economy, and I feel privileged for having the opportunity to be in the presence of such good intended thought leaders. State policies and programs will determine the progress of renewable energy implementation and standards in America.  Did you know that since 1998, $3.4 billion of state clean energy funds support has driven the construction of over 130,000 renewable energy projects representing a total investment of nearly $16 billion? 

 

I’m interested to see these projects continue to succeed and expand in the coming years, and will continue to do my part in supporting the initiatives.

~T.

Watersheds Light in the Morning

Watersheds Light in the Morning

I enjoy my early morning walks along the American River Parkway, a 30 mile greenbelt that runs from the Nimbus Dam to the confluence of the Sacramento River. The Lower American River Watershed is a major source of inspiration for my Conservation Art series.
Tomorrow’s trip to Merced California will afford me the opportunity to explore a major tributary of the San Joaquin River, and produce a few more studies for my works on paper.

© 2014, all rights reserved.