Frio de Ausencia

‘Cold of Absence’. That is the direct translation. Is sounds prettier in Spanish, perhaps alluringly exotic. In reality, it is a sad song of unrequited love, composed by Gali Galeano of Columbia in 1981. I knew none of that until I looked it up online a moment ago. I knew ‘Frio de Ausencia’ only as the name of a tired old Chevrolet on a farm I worked on after I graduated high school.

No one knows why it was named ‘Frio de Ausencia’. I asked. The name was painted in black letters across the front of the gray hood. It makes no more sense to me all these years later than it did then. I do miss it though. It was such a simple and somehow stylish old pickup, at a time when contemporary vehicles innately lacked such qualities. It did anything we needed it to do.

I went off to college and never saw Frio de Ausencia again. A young man whom I worked with, who was a few years older than I was at the time, took it with him when he relocated to Gilroy. Everyone else I worked with there that summer is now deceased. The farm was developed into a tract of homes, where many more people are now enjoying their respective place and time.

In this place and time, here and now, absence is something we often notice. It is not necessarily cold though. Over the years, some of us have relocated for employment or more comfortable domestic situations. Some of us who are still here are too busy with resumption of careers and domestic lifestyles to socialize like we did when we lacked to some degree in such obligations.

As much as we might miss our friends, and notice their absence, it is gratifying to know that they are generally much happier and healthier than they were before improving their respective situations. Such absence is a tolerable consequence of progress. As silly as it might seem to those unfamiliar with our society, we would rather notice their absence than enjoy their presence.

Apologies for the delay of posting an article this week. It became necessary to postpone the topic I started writing about.

Rainy Season

The first storm since spring left more than an inch and a half of rain by the time the sun came up on Wednesday morning. Rain that started with the second storm that arrived this morning, and is still falling as I write this, is expected to continue through Monday, followed by showers through the foreseeable forecast. The dry summer is over. It is now officially the rainy season.

Are we concerned about those lacking adequate shelter? Well, of course we are. It is terribly uncomfortable and potentially dangerous to be out in the weather when the weather is like this. Those who live out in forested areas are vulnerable to falling limbs and trees, as well as potential flooding. While cold and wet, it is more difficult to recover from illness, or just avoid illness.

However, the situation is not as bad as it could be, or as bad as it was years ago, when there were many more of us without homes, and lacking resources. This season, there are fewer of us lacking shelter than there have been in a very long time. The same resources that have always been available are still there for those who need them. More of us have resources of our own.

We must still watch out for each other. This is just the beginning of what will become a more difficult rainy season. When it does not rain, it will likely be cold. That is just how weather works. At least we happen to live in a relatively temperate climate. It does not get as rainy as Western Washington, or as cold as Minnesota. We will get through it as well as we somehow always do.

Perhaps, this year, we will get through the rainy season even better than we typically do.

Thesaurus

Those of us who write sometime find a thesaurus to be useful for suggesting synonyms, euphemisms or similar alternatives to words that we are trying to avoid the use of. Synonyms might be useful to avert the redundancy of using a particular prominent word a few times in a single paragraph. Euphemisms might be less objectionable synonymous options to unpleasant words.

A thesaurus does not directly define words like a dictionary does, but by providing words of similar meanings, a thesaurus indirectly demonstrates how words are perceived by society. Such perceptions may be significantly different from actual definitions. Some may be completely inaccurate. Some synonyms, whether accurate or not, are potentially objectionable dysphemisms.

A comment in one of the newspapers I work for in Southern California described those who lived in homes destroyed by the Getty Fire as ‘outside the gates’. It took me a while to determine that this is a polite way of saying that they are homeless. To me, it seems to be more exclusionary than polite, but I have never tried the phrase. It prompted me to inquire with a thesaurus.

‘Homeless’ was the basic word I inquired the thesaurus about. Some alternatives are actually phrases that are too cumbersome to substitute for a single word.

“houseless, unhoused, displaced, unplaced, unestablished, unsettled” are simple euphemisms. Some of us are familiar with the first few.

“wandering, itinerant, vagabond, vagrant” are words that describe those who are transient, so do not apply to any of us who live here.

“destitute, estranged, desolate” could be accurate for some of us, although not contingent of homelessness. The last one seems . . . odd.

“derelict” seems to be more relevant to a carcass of an old Pontiac.

“disinherited, dispossessed” are more relevant to relationships with family and friends than a domestic situation.

“exiled, banished, outcast”?! We are not political refugees! (Okay, one of us is.)

“unwelcome, forsaken, friendless, uncared-for”?! How are these words even relevant to our respective domestic situations? Furthermore, how can any homeless (or houseless or unhoused or displaced or . . . ) person experience any of this here in our remarkably welcoming and caring Community of friends in Felton?!

Chili Cook Off

The Sixth Annual San Lorenzo Valley Chili Cook Off yesterday at Felton Covered Bridge Park was a fund raiser hosted by Felton Library Friends to benefit the new Felton Library and Nature Discovery Park. That is why tasting kits that were needed to participate were sold for $5. All of those $5 charges were collectively the funds that the fund raiser raised.

Of course, there was much more to it than that. No one would have attended if it was just about collecting funds. It was about a good time, with food, beverages and live music. A dozen or so chili chefs competed for prizes. Local business donated even more prizes for a raffle later in the day.

Contestants, volunteers and just about everyone who attends such events knows how to have a good time. $5 is a trivial charge to participate. Not many who pay put much though into it as contribution to fund raising. Procurement of resources for the Felton Library and Nature Discovery Park is very important, but so is doing the event right.

For several, doing the event right entailed including those who had neither the intention of participating, nor the minimal resources to do so. They delivered several and various bowls of chili to a few of us who were gathered at the picnic table closest to the parking lot. That is being seriously Community oriented!

I know this is not the best picture of a bunch of empty bowls and a few that I snatched from those who were still eating out of them, but it shows the variety of the chili. These were not contributed by one chef who wanted to lighten his load of leftovers, but from at least six different chefs. There were more empty bowls that had already been discarded.

Workday Update from October 19

Finally! The flowering crabapple in front of Felton Presbyterian Church is properly pruned! It is a bit early in autumn for such pruning, and the pruning is a bit more severe than it should have been, but it is finally done! The tree should bloom well in spring, and grow normally through summer. It is what I concentrated on, but is really only one of several workday projects.

Most of the work involved maintenance and cleaning of the facilities, which must be done even when all goes well in the minimal landscape. A big refrigerator from Taylor Hall was brought outside where it was defrosted and cleaned. Cobwebs were brought down. Debris from the trees was blown and removed. A skylight was repaired. There were quite a few chores on the list.

The most unusual task, which was added to the original list, was the cleaning of the darkened dusty spots on the insulated ceiling of Taylor Hall. No one really knows how they got there, or what to do about them, or even what the strange insulation of the ceiling consists of. Ultimately, after washing was found to be impractical, a distinctly dusty patch was effectively vacuumed.

The few remaining cypress trees between the north boundary of the parking lot and A&W still need significant work. It would not be practical to prune them completely, since they will likely be removed as they succumb to disease within the next few years. However, lower growth that is either obtrusive to adjacent parking spaces, or just plain unsightly, should be pruned away.

It is a significant project that I could use some help with during the next workday.

The next work day has not yet been scheduled. I hope to be informed about it soon enough to write about it here.

Workday – October 19, 2019

Saturday – October 19 – 9:00 a.m. to noon – Felton Presbyterian Church – WORKDAY

This is no venue for social networking, and it is unlikely that more than a few of us will see this post prior to Saturday anyway, but I want to at least briefly mention the workday cited above. I would have mentioned it sooner, but was just informed of it a few hours ago. It is only for three hours, but we always get quite a bit done before noon.

Although it is still early in the season, I intend to FINALLY prune the flowering crabapple out front, so could use some help to drag brush. Otherwise, the big cypress trees north of the parking lot, near A&W, need some major grooming. That is a big job that can not be finished before noon, but it would be nice to remove the lower growth that is encroaching into parking spaces. Of course, there is plenty of other work that needs to be done.