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And now for something completely different. — Christopher Trace*

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Parisian posting for something completely different. Being the writer of this post, I should know what it is. But I’m not really sure. Is this about blogging? Photography? Intersections? Ego? Gratitude? Two things are for sure; an email I received prompted this post and there won’t be a lot of photos. I hope you’ll read it anyway.

Nearly two years ago, I wrote this blog post. I have no idea how many people have read it. I probably should know and I have some statistics somewhere (of course I do!) but that’s not the point. I know of two people who have read it, for sure; Avery and Jack. Both Avery and Jack reached out to me because of it.

It’s about blogging

That’s the really cool thing about blogging. You never know, really, how far and wide your words and photos will go. Perhaps only your friends and family will see it. Perhaps a Hollywood movie producer will see it and propel you to stardom because they want to make a movie out of it (wait, I think that’s ego). Perhaps a fellow traveler, doing research on places to visit, will read it. A historian, perhaps? Really, the possibilities are endless. Or as endless as a google search, anyway.

Oh wait. The bots! The bots know your blog posts are there. I have deleted a gazillion comments that are actually sales pitches for erectile dysfunction products. Yeah, those are relevant to my posts.

I have been an on/off blogger for many years and the reality is that my impact on the world is minuscule. I have no illusions of grandeur here. I fully expect, most of the time, that I’m writing for myself. But it’s hard to know, because without feedback, how would you know? Thank you Avery and Jack and Janet, for the feedback!

It’s about photography

As a photographer, and a photographer in the digital age with eleventy billion photos (I love that number, not as much as Euler’s, but still), there is always the question of “What do I do with all of these photos?” That IS the e question. Sharing is probably the main answer to that. Who doesn’t love an “oooh!” and an “aaahh!” now and then?

Sure, I can make digital and physical albums, but that’s not the world we live in today. It’s all about the Facebook and the Instagram and whatever awesome new app is out there. Or…there’s blogging.

Since I’m not a shoot-it-and-post-it kind of person, the slooooowwww task of processing my photos and developing a bit of a story around them is more my speed. Every time I process a set of photos, I automatically build a narrative in my head. I don’t know why. It’s a reflex. Photos are worth a thousand words, right? It was a natural progression to just go ahead and type it out somewhere.

It’s about intersections

Ron and I drove the Mattole Road Loop. If you read my blog post, you’ll know we are two of only about 30 people to ever do so. Yes, I made that number up. But that’s what driving the loop feels like. Like maybe you’re the first person to discover this place. It’s so isolated and wild and stunningly beautiful and I shouldn’t even talk about it, because then more people will go there. It would be a shame really if suddenly there were more people there than cows.

Avery and Jack. They’re not random people, they are people who live in and know the area I wrote about far better than I do. I don’t know if they know each other, but it would be awesome if they did. Maybe it would be more awesome if they don’t, and somehow my blog post will introduce them to each other.

Ron, me, Avery and Jack. We intersect because we were all there. And we all love it despite how wild and rural and bumpy it is.

It’s about ego

So maybe it’s a little about ego. Both Avery and Jack were impressed with my words and photos and say that I described the Mattole Loop perfectly. Coming from locals, that’s quite a compliment. I admit I love the “ooohs” and “aaahhs”.

Avery reached out to me first. Avery is a writer, and wow, do I love getting emails from her! She’s articulate and funny and descriptive and no matter what she writes about, I can SEE it. Avery found my blog post, most likely doing research for her book and thought one of my photos would be perfect for her book cover. We made a deal. My photo is on her book cover.

Back Roads, a book by Avery Milieu

I just received my book from Avery and I haven’t even had a chance to read it yet. I’m here, in Paris. My book is at home, in Mariposa. But I decided I couldn’t wait to read it, so I purchased the Kindle Edition this morning and I’m going to read it while the rain keeps me indoors for the next couple of days.

Jack reached out to me just today. Or yesterday. Time zones make nailing that down a little difficult. It was yesterday for him, it was today for me. I think. Jack sent me a quick email to say that he loved my blog post – the pictures and the writing, and he said, “The pictures and the words totally captured the beauty and the essence of making the ”Loop”!” Jack also mentioned that he has a long family history in the area and is now fortunate to live there on one of the original homesteads. His email came with an invitation to visit!

It’s about gratitude

I started blogging as a way to document and share with family and friends our 2011 extended visit to Paris, but it became more than that. It became all of the above and more. It’s esoteric, hard to describe. There’s something about traveling; seeing and discovering new places, visiting places I have only read about or something… I don’t know what it is. It’s a warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s awe, and wonder and joy. And I feel compelled to share it.

Gratitude isn’t something I had in mind when I started blogging, then started blogging again, and then started blogging yet again. But when people take the time to reach out to me because my words and photos gave them a moment of joy or happiness or warm fuzzy feelings, or even just a moment of recognition, I am grateful. I am grateful that my words and photos found them. I am grateful that Avery and Jack reached out and I am grateful that Janet reaches out regularly.

I am grateful that Avery thought my photo would be perfect for her book. I am grateful that Jack extended an invitation to visit, and I truly hope to take him up on that invitation in the not too distant future.

I have met Janet. Janet is a fellow photographer and blogger. We live in the same town. Well, not right now, but normally. Janet shares her hiking adventures and she’s a great storyteller too! You can check out her blog here.

I am grateful for having “met” Avery and Jack and I want to meet both of them face-to-face. I want to spend hours chatting with them both about their lives and experiences and history in that fabulously wonderful little corner of California.

So go already

I know my readership is extremely small, so I feel safe in saying you really, really should go drive the Mattole Road Loop. Give yourself a whole day. Pack food and water, your camera, your hiking shoes and your joy for experiencing something wild and natural and beautiful. But don’t tell anyone about it! 😉

*This phrase is credited to Christopher Trace, a presenter of the children’s program Blue Peter. If you know it though, you probably know it from John Cleese and Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

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