PD reporters share stories of trees, poetry and running in North Bay

Editor’s Note: These reflections offer insight into life in Sonoma County. Short essays written by Press Democrat staff are accompanied by photos submitted by our readers.

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Saturday September 24

Hockey season is coming

Everyone is interested in the NFL (Go Niners!), but for me the best part about the start of the football season is that the hockey season is only a few weeks away.

In fact, in some places it has already begun. A few weeks ago I joined a league at Snoopy’s Home Ice, where you’ll find me on Thursday nights defending for Seal Team Stix. (Sometimes those Thursday nights turn into Friday mornings, depending on how many beers were drunk in the parking lot, but don’t tell my boss.)

I started playing when I was 40 because my wife really likes hockey players and I thought she would like me better. The jury is still out. I’m not a very good player, but it’s a good group of guys, and we’re having fun.

And the best part is, win or lose, we always drink.

— John D’Anna, Democrat of the Press

Friday September 23

The Pomo Tale of the Frog Woman

It’s the 55th Native American Day in California, a holiday that celebrates indigenous peoples, their culture and their resilience.

As a child, my father told me about Navajo traditions. Although these are myths, I believe that passing on these stories is an important part of who we are as Native Americans. So I would like to share a folklore that I learned recently.

If you drive north on Highway 101 just past the Sonoma-Mendocino county line, you will see a large rock formation towering over the Russian River.

This rock is called Maatha kawao qhabe, which translates to frog woman rock.

According to Pomo tradition, the Frog Woman was the intelligent and powerful wife of Coyote, who lived near the rock. Her human face was beautiful, but she had the body of a frog that allowed her to jump 100 feet to eat men.

I recently took a drive and stopped at the rock to pay my respects to the frog lady. I thought I heard “ribbit” at some point. It was probably just a passing car. But maybe …

— Alana Minkler, Democrat of the Press

Thursday September 22

Autumn Equinox Celebration

It’s the first day of autumn and I can smell the harvest from my house.

By dawn, the sweet, damp scent of freshly crushed cold fruit had caught its breath in the wind and flowed east over the redwoods – settling under my nose with intimate familiarity.

My husband says I’m crazy. But I don’t mind. The American Psychological Association calls my sensory experience “Proust’s phenomenon” or “the sudden, involuntary evocation of an autobiographical memory, including a range of related sensory and emotional expressions.”

I breathe in, remembering the harvests of years past—sticky hands sorting grapes, tubs of whole-bunch syrah evoking black pepper, curing back pain with cold beer and tired laughter.

It’s the first day of autumn and I can smell the harvest from my house. My husband says I’m crazy. But I don’t mind.

— Sarah Doyle, Democrat of the Press

Wednesday September 21

Turn to poetry to soothe my worries

Late summer is the time of year when I like to go to the coast and spend time cooling off by the waves. My partner has this wonderful habit of reading poetry by the sea, and with Poet Laureate Ada Limon of Sonoma, it’s a good time to pull out your favorite book of poetry, maybe even “The Hurting Kind” from Silt.

The world is a pretty crazy place right now, and as a poet myself, I often turn to reading and writing to deal with rising extremism, climate change and worry for the future of my children. There’s something soothing and cathartic about a good poem, and we could all use a little more of it these days.

—Tom Sepulveda, Democrat of the Press

Tuesday, September 20

A little motivation before dawn

I run almost every morning. When I say “course”, I’m being quite generous with myself.

After years there, on the same route for several days, I see the same faces. I recognize the gaits and gears, those running with dogs and those running with buddies. We all greet each other and offer each other a warm hello.

It’s an almost anonymous team before dawn and I’m a proud member of it.

One day this week I saw a guy I hadn’t seen in a while. I know him a bit, so when I said my “Hey”, he said he had a rough morning. He had been gone for a while and he didn’t feel it.

So I told him what I sometimes have to tell myself. ” You are here. That’s what it’s all about and that’s where it starts. »

Every day is where it starts.

— Kerry Benefield, Democrat of the Press

Monday, September 19

Spotted: Tangled trees in Fort Bragg

I recently spent a weekend on the Mendocino coast after too many years of not spending too much time on this stretch of landscape and was reminded of what a rugged and magical place it is – so different from its southern sister!

One find was this area of ​​huge, gnarled, gnarled trees of what I believe to be Bishop Pine in Jug Handle State Nature Reserve, where the wind had stunted the limbs but the trees continued to grow in curls of meandering tree trunks or thick limbs – hard to say which – with no beginning or end, creating cave-like spaces that were super cool. I had kind of missed them the last time I went was years ago. So many choices nearby on this rocky, wooded coast. Ready to go!

— Mary Callahan, Democrat of the Press

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