Category Archives: California

Autumn Journey 1: Unbroken Circle

Notable silkscreen printer Earl Newman moved to Oregon around the time I did. Our journeys were within a West Coast diaspora, fleeing the Golden State in the early 1970s. Over 40 years later, we caught up with each other in September at his country home.
On The Wall  My first place was near the Pacific in Long Beach, CA. Setting the scene in the living room was an emblematic SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee)
poster by Earl Newman. Reed-walk-up-LB-1967-to-Newman-SNCCReed-place-LB-1967-Newman-SNCCA young Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Jackson Browne walked up those steps for dinner and music above a garage. Google now shows that address with barred doors and windows, greenery gone to concrete.
SoCal Business  In the late 1960s I was part of a successful business in Long Beach. Tour buses stopped at our large mercantile. Earl Newman prints sold there. A buying trip to Venice meant savoring boho spirit and his distinctive, creative expertise in his productive canal studio.
Connecting  Five years ago I found Earl at his print booth during one of my rare Oregon Country Fair visits. We shared our past and exodus from southern California decades ago. Earl-Newman-print-studio-entrance-Sept2015My 2014 online order of Newman prints arrived with his kind note. A year later, I took him up on an invitation to visit. I found my way through the Oregon backwoods to his home studio where he’s been for 43 years. The trip seemed an abiding pursuit and unbroken circle of community.

Impressions from Where: a story

Returned to the homeland’s Yosemite granite to find paths of Ansel Adams. Over five decades disappeared since being there. Heard en route from Oregon were stories near and across the border. Hearsay along the way: foreign interests of the Pacific Rim are commercially scaled pot growers up north and others are buying up wine country. Ambiance of an earlier time is disappearing. Driving south, KCHO-FM out of Chico aired a Radio Lab’s story, The Montreal Screwjob, about the fiction of pro wrestling. The audio told of our need to search for and find the “authentic moment” as epitomized in the spectacle of pro wrestling. The 17th century novel Don Quixote was described to be about our desire for balancing between reality and fantasy. Listen, whether in or out of a car:

Off the freeway for a gas station stop, street-worn young men approached our car asking for its gas. They offered to get us the bathroom key, others loitered at cars nearby. We high-tailed eastbound on Hwy 108. Adios meth heads. Continuing through Oakdale, traffic stopped and sirens wailed for an overturned Harley and motionless rider on the asphalt, people hovered over him. On down the road a tidy farm store was our pitstop at last. A petite elder lady wearing a crucifix greeted us with fruit smoothy samples. We bought nuts. East in Groveland, lunch with cider was in California’s oldest saloon, the Iron Door, built in 1852.

Rare snow fell in the high country a week before we arrived. Water flowed for our visit, and likely won’t this summer. Western drought persists. About our decreasing vital resource, listen to Oregon Public Broadcasting interview with professor Aaron Wolf:


Yosemite-w-c-Merced-River-at-Happy-Isles-051315-1Time at The Ahwanhee was a must before and after hiking Mirror Lake, Vernal Falls, off trail along the Merced River, and meditating at Happy Isles. The architect who designed The Ahwanhee, Gilbert Stanley Underwood, later designed Oregon’s great Timberline Lodge.

Into the Park everyday, one morning was fueled by Jimi Hendrix. His sound matched the scale of the landscape, all windows down. Smooth cruise into tunnels and out the other side into ancient granite grandeur on this 150 year of Yosemite National Park. My experienced travel partner and “possibilatarian” described our journey as “epic”. At 6,000 ft elevation, just kiss the sky.

I always found in myself a dread of west and a love of east . . .
It may be that the birth and death of the day had some part in my feeling . . .
— John Steinbeck, EAST OF EDEN

FreeBirdprofile-MirrorLake-HalfDome   PacificDogwood-blooming-May2015   LupineHappyIslesYosemiteMay2015

Sketches and photos, CReed

Look for more this summer.