Iphoneography-A Gift of Being Slow

While my spouse throws balls for our busy herder, I walk around the park and enjoy the gifts that nature creates for my phone handy camera.

Early Spring and Cow Talk

Late Spring-A Tree Frames a Meadow


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Hana Rain

Purple skies at moonrise

Plum near to dark

Rain clear floating 

Grapes on water

Drenched in laughter

Walk to room through

New sprung rivers

In Hana nothing matters

But green rioting all day

Weather that paints the sky

And love, only love. 

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge © October 2017

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The Long Lapse or How an Imagination Took a Leave of Absence

Several things made my imagination go awry.  At the beginning of the lapse, my mind was consumed by the events that seemed to have America on a strange and sliding path.   I felt I had a front row seat to the demise of America. For those of you who love President Trump, I apologize for any hurt feelings I may cause.    Under Trump, the truth became trapped in a constantly shifting maze. We were bombarded with daily news from the White House that was often not completely true or truth one day was not the truth for the next day.  The staff and new laws survived at the pleasure of the revolving door of the President’s mind. The America I knew was disappearing to a world where immigration was frowned on.  Admittedly Mexico,  points south and Muslims from certain countries took the brunt of the heat.  We are a country of immigrants nobody is a native and those who truly are Native Americans saw their rights slipping away.  Up rose the ugly head of racism, never completely gone, but now made more blatant and freed from constraints.  The presidential tweets and caustic remarks had my mind whirling on a merry go round. I was left in a constant state of disbelief.

Just when I thought I might be capable of poetry again, the doctor’s who never used to want to deal with my disappearing leg strength and the burning pain in my feet, all of a sudden stood collectively up and gasped.  From the moment the MRI of my hip revealed that I had been walking on a injured hip for years, my complaints of pain and difficulty were taken seriously.  It is tempting to go through the long story of my world on the way to diagnosis.  But I won’t-probably boring. Forget writing.  My husband drove me from specialist to specialist.  Finally the last doctor, only because he diagnosed the problem, ordered an EMG.  He had found a severely pinched nerve in the lower left of my spine.  At the end of the EMG, I asked when I would know the diagnosis.  He made it clear he could tell me now.  The nerve damage in my left calf from the pinched nerve was so severe that my calf had atrophied.  Furthermore I had dead or dying nerves all over the place from a poly neuropathy.  Since I didn’t have diabetes nobody knew where it was coming from.  Tests were run.  No source found except plain bad luck and genetics.  It seems I have severe denervation of both my sensory and motor nerves in my extremities.  As if I hadn’t lost enough time, all doctors felt I must be falling, I don’t.  Physical therapy was ordered for motor stability because, obviously, anybody with an atrophied calf must be unstable.  It took me five weeks and severe pain in my legs and spine, but the therapists were finally convinced I was stable.  (In motor function that is.  Nobody said anything about the brain.)  

I now have a nerve pain medication that lets me sleep most nights without dreaming of walking into burning houses.  I can’t take it during the day.  That stuff messes with your brain!  I’d rather burn and tingle than go into day time brain death.  

The following are the only images my pain filled brain could come up with after one really horrible night.

March 2, 2018

My caged feet push the molten gold across the floor.

It tightens, burns, slows me.

I tingle, burn inside the cage.

The hot gold moves up.

Distance grows.

That’s it.  I wrote about pain when I was first diagnosed with arthritis in my 30’s.  I’m done with it.  There is a wonderful and beautiful life all around me and that I will write about.  

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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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