An Emu Laying in the Grass

an Emu laying in the grass


Gives his weight to the earth

his body lies on the soft green grass of spring

it is this complete giving of himself: to the moment, the grass

the just born spring

that captures my imagination

so that I think of him

remind myself to sink like this

into each moment.

Grab fleeting greenness like spring

and rest in the everyday beauty of my life

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge © 2017

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Hana Sunrise

Hana Sunrise

Hana meditation

Birds an expansion

Of sound

Breeze saturates

Your skin      a calm

Hana morning

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge 2017

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Mystery of Cats

daisy 1luna 1 luna 4 lila 2


Who can know the mind of a cat?

Trying, we watch them.

Do their eyes give a clue?

Intent, they notice us. Eyes

slanted or open wide, do they,

witch like, alter reality?


Or are their eyes simply

masterful art?

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge © 2017


Meet Daisy, Luna and Lila.  Photographs by Janice DeRuiter Eskridge, Jack Eskridge and Quinn DeRuiter  Daisy came to the family first and picked up drinking from a glass courtesy of B.J.  Then Lila arrived.  It is her job to look gorgeous and posed at every opportunity. Last to join the group was Luna who has established herself as the Queen of the House.  This post is dedicated to the memory of B.J., half Siamese half tiger cat, and to Blue, Luna’s sister.

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An Interrupted Journey

Life traveled on in its normal daily path until one day it didn’t.  One minute I was in the emergency room for abdominal pain.  The next minute I had surgery.  I woke up in a hospital room a few days later.  (I’ve been told about the first two days.  I’ll take the testimony of excellent witnesses.)

I woke up but I had no brain or rather the one I had refused to work in its usual creative ways.  Worse It didn’t occur to me that I could read or write.  I watched mindless TV, avoided all things political and fell asleep while people talked to me.

About a week later my brain started to wake up.  I remember things more clearly.  However, any creative brain cells remained stubbornly silent.  One morning I realized that I had a really large window in my room.  My brain said ‘Tweet.’  I did.  I toke pictures.  I wrote.  I read a book again on my Kindle.

Below are the photographs and Tweets that tracked my journey from hospital vegetable to a poet who happened to be hospitalized.

A Tweeted Journal of a Hospital Poet


When life hands you a really big blow, have friend, family and fun therapy. Love, clouds after rain/a shaft of sun/hugs

Jan & ontourage

I miss the breathing of trees/2weeks/hospital/I remember green gold lite/breathing white clean
Light of a new day/spreads watercolor over blue sky/Mt Diablo adds perspective/solid earth permanence/to the painting of today

first win. pic

Window to the world/Mt Diablo &/the new days joy

window 2

And the sun shouts/over Mt Diablo/clear speaking of day/to my hospital room


At Home

Trying to rain/CA autumn day/through the window/color flies to my eyes/feeds my soul

home window view

The First Walk

Evening sky bowl/color dances in the sky/trees darken into night/peace floods the air

first outing

Janice Eskridge©2017

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Bay Bridge Oakland to San Franciso and Back Again-A Study through the Windshield

new bay bridge distance


float in air

inside a suspended tent



bay bridge 2

the old bridge diminished


it anchors travelers to earth

bay bridge near home

Shot with an  iphone 4s

afternoon shadows lead us back

wind clear air creates a fairy path

over the bay to the hills of home


Night, a vaulted


of light

bridge night up 3bridge night up 2bridge night 1new bay bridge nite.6shot with an iphone 6 s

Janice Eskridge © 2016


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Through the Windshield- A Skystudy

Lime Ridge, Walnut Creek iphone 4s


a vast bowl


a drift of images




freeway sunset dark

Freeway iphone 4s


trapped in time

yet freed

when the bowl

shakes and winter

crowds into summer

lime ridge storm

Lime Ridge iphone 6s

rain paves a silver path

to a vault of shinning wonder

Lime Ridge iphone 6

and time

turns timeless

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge© 2016

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A Tale of Two RV Trips-Trip #2-A Class C Motorhome

Much time has passed since I posted the first tale.  This trip was taken in April.  Like the first it began with visiting family.  We then took off on our own with a trip up HWY 70 to Twain, CA in Plumas National Forest.

This time we experimented with a class C motorhome rented from  Cruise America in Richmond, CA.  The coach was 30 ft. long.  Its power was provided by a Ford V-10 engine.  These are basic coaches.  No slide outs but the  coach has plenty of room even for our large dog.  There’s a walk around queen bed.  The coach has adequate storage and kitchen facilities.  For someone with pain, the Ford was not a pleasant experience but it  handled the mountain roads well both up and down.  We can thoroughly recommend Cruise America for their professionalism and ease of rental.  Our service dealer in Richmond, CA was excellent.  The coach was cleaned and well maintained.  The renter receives plenty of information both written and video to feel comfortable in their motorized rented home.

Now for the trip.

First stop Chico, CA.  We stayed at the Almond Grove RV park.  Well maintained and the spaces are laid out with thought given to privacy.  There is a lawn area to run dogs and a pool located by a recreation room.

Motor home Almond Tree

From Chico, we made our way to Hwy 70 and the town of Twain, CA in Plumas National Forest.  We stopped for lunch along the highway discovering the ease of bathroom usage in a motorhome.  This photo was taken in Yankee Hill.

hwy 70 view Yankee Hill, CA

The views along Hwy 70 make for a delightful trip.  We were frustrated by the overhang of the Class C motorhome.  But I managed to get some pictures from the front window.  This is the Feather River glimpsed from the road.

feather river drive

The rock formations stun the eye.  I grabbed my phone for a word picture.  Finally remembered to actually take a photograph.

slabs of granite

climb to the sun

painted gold

with sunset light

granite slabs

Before going to the RV park, we drove up to Quincy which is large enough that we knew  they would have gas and our guzzler was getting low.  We didn’t intend to leave once we were parked and hooked up.  Next on our itinerary was the R & R RV park and Hot Springs on the Feather River.  We had a hunch this spot would be an adventure.  The reviews were mixed but the setting spectacular.  AND it had the train that seemed to follow us wherever we camped.  This one rattled along a high track across the river from us.  Thankfully trains, it appears, do not bother our sleep.

front emtrance RR

This is the entrance.  To find the park you had to see the red truck out front visible from the road.  We only drove past once!  To the right of these signs was a brown cabin with a sign saying office.  I carefully treaded over the river rock path and knocked on the door.  I rang the bell.  I called “Hello.”   Nothing, no one, not a sound.  Rang the bell once more.  Carefully treaded the river rock path back to the motorhome.  We drove in and picked a spot that was empty.  The last one in the row and closest to the river.  A woman we never saw again called, “Good spot.”  Jack backed the trailer in and looked for hook ups.  The enchanting sound of the river was right there and so were the hook ups.

site hook up RR

more hook up

Buried in the wild lilacs was a wooden reserved side sitting on the bit of concrete that was there.  Life was good.  We were level, the picnic table was in good shape and the view amazing.  (The next morning it took Jack a good half hour to track down someone to pay.  Even then visiting seemed more urgent than receiving pay for services.)

We had earned ourselves a Happy Hour at our wonderful picnic table.  Served was for me a wine spritzer, for Jack a coke and to eat caramel popcorn.  It was what we had.


The next morning was to be our one morning with sunshine according to the weather report.  Yes, sun arrived.  I moved my chair to the river side.  Got water and a good book, tied Moishe on a long lead to a near by tree and relaxed into river sound and sun.  From my chair, a view of the Feather River in a calmer moment.

calm river site

River Rapids from our site.

river from site

river song over rocks

a bird obligato in the trees

and the grass sings

us into spring

Moishe enjoying the sun.  He got too warm and dug up the wet ground to lay on.  Yes, I took a picture.

Our motor home nestled in the trees.

motorhome R&R RV

As predicted the sun went away and dark clouds arrived.  But the expected rain was a prizzle and didn’t stop us from exploring the RV park.


The hot springs were the best maintained park of the park.  We didn’t drag along our suits but the water was warm and filled with sulfur.  As you can see the spot was peaceful.  Note during daylight hours bathing suits must be worn.

The park is host to music events in the summer.  We never found the venue spot or it wasn’t obvious.  The rest of the park was in dis-repair but quaint.  If you like perfection, this is not your spot.  But if funk and beauty is your thing, enjoy.  For me it gave me the remembered joy of river rafting and camping but with a roof.

One of the cabins we found.  It was in such a state, I can’t imagine it’s used anymore.

old cabin RR

This is the fruit tree stand near the road.  The nursery seemed to be out of business but there were remnants of it left behind.

fruit tree sale

We all enjoyed our peaceful stay.  Nothing broke down.  Even the bad weather, wasn’t.  Moishe gave it his seal of approval.


On our last night, the sun made a last curtain call.

last evening

As we started down the highway the next day, the sky opened up to commensurate with us on leaving this wooded haven.

snow rain hwy


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A Tale of Two RV Trips-Trip #1-a travel trailer

Ready to leave

For this first experimental RV trip we rented a Pacific Coachworks 18RBS Mighty Lite from a local trailer rental company. Hopefully our experience is not representative of the trailer.  Read further to see what happened.  I do comment on the various campgrounds we went to.  They were the good part of the trip!

Day One- El Charro Regional Park San Luis Obispo, CA.


We got to El Charro just before dark. Found #4 Ramoildo.   Amazing Jack backed in on the first try. We hooked up electric and water to cricket song.  We did not want to unhitch trailer in the dark so Jack fixed one of his refrigerator meals which turned into a quesadilla with hot dog cheese for dinner.

El Charro Tree

Day Two-

El Charro Regional Park is an absolutely wonderful place and campground.  We woke up to shafts of sun on one of ‘our’ trees.  Ate breakfast outside and watched a ‘wild’ black and white cat walk silently past us.  Our big dog seemed to bring out the silent jungle beast in the cat.  There was a peaceful and large dog park as part of this very well crafted regional park.  We took Moishe, our Belgian Tervuren Shepherd,  for a run.  He loved it and the local dogs got a workout from our herder who gathered them into a group and ran them in circles.  Happy owners with worn out dogs-Moishe was a hit!  When we went to leave, the RV lights wouldn’t work. We finally got them reconnected and Jack had to go through our  Ford Expedition’s checklist. Our SUV was trailer ready with heavy duty hitch and break set up.  Very picky and careful system it turned out to be.  But worked very well.  Little did we know this was but the beginning of our camping trip with Murphy’s Law.

sky mt.el charro

View Leaving El Charro Campground

We left late from San Luis Obispo.  We had a long ride ahead of us to get to the Los Angeles Area.  But Solvang beckoned so we got my son and his family cookies.  By this time we were realizing the problems  with our rented trailer.  So we took precious time to look at Airstreams at the local dealer.


Solvang CA

Arrived at Soledad RV and Camping Resort in Acton, CA.  It is part of the Thousand Trails system but we got one of their individual sites.  Discovered reviews weren’t kidding when they spoke of train noise.  The loud whistle blowing train went right by our campsite.  However, didn’t bother our sleep.  Quickly became background noise and quite colorful to look at in the day time.  Friendly Engineers waved back.
We set up in dark. My son and his wife arrived with car headlights and strong flashlights.  We left the car attached just did electrical.  Our campsite had no grass but near the dog run.  We were in B 105. Dinner at 49er bar and restaurant – quaint place, food decent,  music not quite to our taste.

Day Three-

Murphy arrives with out mistake.  Jack tried to complete set up.   Water was easy.  Jack couldn’t find the sewer hose.  Fortunately the camp store had one.  The ‘missing’ sewer hose was in the bumper but missing a part.  Glad we bought one!   It was pouring rain.  He had to get on ground lying on a plastic garbage bag and a towel. He did it and it worked.  Next the propane tank was loose. Got it undone. Filled it and attached it.    We have heat.

How could I forget the broken awning. I was on the right side.  Jack on the left.  My side worked perfecting but the left side screws pulled out of RV when we went to raise it. Thousand trails campgrounds have their own maintenance men so two came by.  Tied the awning on with bungee cords and remarked that this rental wasn’t well maintained at all.  Really!?  I manned the phone.   Made calls to local RV service and to the rental company, Family RV.  Their maintenance guy found a mobile service that serviced Acton.  That hero fixed the awning while we left to go visit the kids.  That was supposed to be the focus of the visit.  But instead we were getting a crash course in all that go wrong with a travel trailer that’s not well cared for.
Our daughter-in-law was ready with food and a fire and out grandson visited from college. It was 37 when we got back to the trailer. We hadn’t left heat on to save propane.  Sigh.

The men at Soledad

Trailer and Car at Soldad RV Park

Day Four-

Sun and a shouting blue sky, crisp tingling air, but Jack missed a problem so he knocked my open coffee cup to the floor. I got clothes out of the wardrobe to warm them up. I woke excited to all this air and earth like river camping with walls.

Day  Five-

Sun but cold on the day we were to leave. Lining up hitch and ball took forever. Over an hour. With all my vision problems I couldn’t tell when they were lined up.  I tried sticks.  I tried tape.  I tried feeling. My hero Jack did it with the back up camera. Thank goodness we made a video of hooking up the trailer before leaving rental lot. The stabilizers were a pain to get right. Chains etc. easy. Uncoupling lines not bad. Levelers up. Finally left at 3:30. On the road, it took me over an hour to find a campground that would work. We ended up near Bakersfield in a campground near Hwy. 58.   Orange Grove RV park was beautiful. Each space had an orange tree or two. They had orange pickers you could borrow so Jack picked fresh oranges for dinner/breakfast. All sites were pull through.  The campground was near the Hwy and the train.  Truly a good thing we like trains.  Stayed hitched and the hook ups were not bad.

Leaving orange

Trailer and Car at Orange Grove RV Park 

Day Six-Finally the real going home day-

I packed what I could, cleaned what I could while Jack took Moishe to dog park.  Note:  in an orange grove RV park don’t use orange balls. Leaving was easy since we never unhitched.  In car ready to leave 10:47.  Took a tour of park and hit the road. Going home 99.

Orange tree out window

“Our Orange Tree” from the trailer door

Despite all the crazy stuff we loved the experience.  Each campground had its own feel.  Opening your door to the outdoors all around was such a treat.  We now have quite a list of things we want in a travel trailer.  As Jack said if you ask God for information, be careful.  We got a lot of information.

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Camera Comparison-iphone6s vs. Fujifilm x-m1

I’m enjoying the pictures my iphone 6s takes.  I also own a Fujifilm X-m1.  I have pictures of the north coastal area of The Sea Ranch, CA on both cameras.  I couldn’t resist comparing the two.


iphone 6s 4.15mm f2.2 iso25  1/2282


iphone 6s iso 25 4mm f2.2  1/2742


iphone 6s iso25   f 2.2  1/3205

srsouthin jan.-7602 copy

Fujifilm x-m1 iso400 21.4mm f.13  1/250


Fujifilm x-m1 iso400 22.3 mm f.11  1/30

srout to sea -7597 copy

iso200 18mm f.13  1/750

Janice Eskridge © 2016

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At Peace in Cypress Tree Sanctuary

8ballmeadow copy

Surrounded by cypress, the old dog lay.

Surrounded by cypress the old dog gazed

at the circles of branches in the sky.

Surrounded by cypress the old dog knew

it as his last time in the ancient circle of trees.


cypresssky-8020 copy

Surrounded by cypress the old dog watched

his mistress crippled by pain sitting on a

stump safe in the circle with him.

Surrounded by cypress they shared together

the quiet moments of sea, wind , sky and grove.

Surrounded by cypress, the old dog knew

he would always be here near the cypress,

on the rock at sunset near her as she
listened to the sweet song of tree and root,

of rock and grass, of small quiet moments in spring.


meadow stump-8010 copy

Surrounded by cypress the old dog rested into the soft

earth and grass renewed to trudge up the hill

to the home that stood there singing of peace and love.

In Memory of 8-Ball my quiet companion 

who shared for 14 years my meditations

of sea, rock and tree.  Janice DeRuiter Eskridge 2016

Posted in Dogs, Photography, Poetry, Skies and Sea, Trees and Meadows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment