Friday, January 4, 2019

Cold Shoulder

With the clear and oh-so-cold mountain air we welcomed in the New Year at Lake Tahoe. 

“It is a vast oval, and one would have to use up eighty or a hundred good miles in traveling around it. As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole world affords.” 
Mark Twain, describing Lake Tahoe

On road trips Judith is our book-on-tape — on this drive to South Lake Tahoe she was reading aloud The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New Years Eve while out on a tear we happened upon our new-old-friend Mark Twain commemorating his many adventures in these here parts. Richard sat down with Twain to talk things over.



With Judith's sister Janis and brother-in-law Paul we wiled away some relaxing and cozy hours by the fire. Richard enjoying Consilience by E.O. Wilson and Judith working the first of our puzzles that are hot off the press. Partnering with Ocean Recovery Alliance in Hong Kong we will be offering in 2019 jigsaw puzzles in two styles that we intend to sell in museums and gift stores. 
“Littoral” — in situ images of plastic pollution in the environment 
“Buffet” — colorful, eye-dazzling artistic arrangements of plastic
Promoted as a stimulating opportunity for education, awareness building, and fun, each puzzle set is either 99 pieces for youth (5 and older) or 500 pieces for those who would like to be challenged with the plastic puzzle that literally and littorally impacts our global community. Challenge indeed — 99 pieces was fairly easy to complete, giving that weird sense of accomplishment when a piece fits into place. 



A brisk walk to the Tallac Historic Site had us all shivering from the cold and blistering wind coming off the lake, but not too cold for Janis who, always on the case, has a keen eye for trash.



and Judith who found one of those pesky fruit labels 



As we headed for Fallen Leaf Lake we spied a huge pile of colorful pieces of plastic at the bottom of a sledding hill — a mound of broken saucer sleds and plastic toboggans remnants of fun and crashes.




The pile of broken fragments should have been warning enough but Janis stood stalwart as "Safety Dog" warning us to be careful on the slick ice until she took a tumble that landed her in the emergency room with a broken humerus — that was not funny.

So as to not end with such a catastrophe we turn to the way Janis has transformed the catastrophe of the tinniest pieces of plastic into a beautiful revery on snow flakes. An avid Instagrammer, along with her great pics, she writes long informative posts. 





Here in the Bay Area, we know little about cold (excepting in the summery fog), but as Poet Antonio Machado says, "The cold is a good advisor, but it is cold." And...quoting something attributed to Twain but uncorroborated is the coolest thing he never said, "The coldest winter I ever saw ..."

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