bittersweet, these days are

my mortality… it stares at me everyday… i often hear, “your life has been blessed, you’ve done so much”… but i am restless, where has my youth gone… often my body says “no i can’t do that anymore”, but my dreams are defiant, i cannot let them rust… my summers in Alaska are bittersweet… i want so much more… will i regret these days passively watching this coast with these mountains drift by… ah, these dreams, are they curses or my tomorrows…

it’s 3 in the morning,
but it could just as well be noon
for my dreams are restless,
restless as this ship drifts
through a maze of time,
are we northbound or southbound
hell, does really doesn’t matter
for this restlessness is devouring me
while i’m chasing dreams…
and of time
well it doesn’t stand still in this void,
no, no it’s stealing my precious years,
time that i need to chase my dreams….
dreams that are taken from memories worn thin
from the many lonely moments…
moments that became my thoughts
thoughts that once again fade into new dreams….
my boots sit tossed in a closet
restless for a path to wander,
they cry to be muddied, and washed in sweat
instead of the dust that slowly covers
a face that also cries for more time….

i regretfully finish yet another book…
i cling to its essence
i cry “why must you end, my friend”..
a book that stirred more dreams than time will allow
and of the books that still await my hands
are they too filled with dreams…
and i ponder
are these books filled with curses
curses rather than dreams…
the curses caused by my fading years,
journeys that will never be taken…
and it’s then that i hear my spirit screams
its restless in these empty hours that pass
and as i sit and watch this canvas painted
painted with mountains that i can’t touch
i can almost feel the tranquility of its forest
being wrapped in that cocoon of green
ah my essence cries in restless desperation….
and time passes slowly by

my summers
yes they are bittersweet
i do love the sea
for as Dana spoke
“nothing will compare with the early breaking of day upon the wide ocean”
i love the taste of the salt in the air
a wind and sea that are alive
but my heart cries as i stand watch
and a coastline silently passes
i want my kayak days back again…
i did not walk this coastline
for it is not a part of my memory of time
and of time
well it’s 3 in the morning
but it could just as well be noon
for my dreams are restless,
restless as this ship drifts
drifts through a maze of time
tess julianna 8/29/16

i just don’t know how to say goodbye

his journey has ended… one never knows when this time must be, it just happens, and all we can do is cry… do my tears make his departure any easier, no… not really… but i like to think that my carpet of tears is just a symbol of the love and bond that was between us…. and what hurts me the most is that i wasn’t by his side to kiss him goodbye and tell him it’s alright, i understood…. i will always regret that i wasn’t there for him, at the time he needed me the most, for he was always there for me…
and i cry, how will my broken heart mend…. i don’t think it ever really does, i think each of my departed companions takes another piece of my heart with them… but that’s alright, as Joshua left me a treasure chest of memories that i can carry with me…..
and when i return home, i will hold his collar and leash, trying to capture his scent, his essence, but it will be gone, only my memory to bring back his essence…
the emptiness of our house, the spot we kept his kennel is empty… his toys, always scattered about, now are gone…. no longer will i look for my missing socks or shoes, always knowing he would have taken them to his pillow…. my hands will miss his touch, he loved his ears rubbed and always a game of “pull” with his now favorite toy… Joshua was our shadow, never far from our side, never out of our sight….. and how i will miss the sound of his name, and with that sound he always came, prancing, waiting for my hand to pet him…
and i cry, i cry because i can’t find the words to express my pain, my aching heart and the realization that he is gone forever… i cry for time that i will never have with him again…. i do anything to have our “tranquility days” back again….. to take our daily walks….. just to have him by my side, please God just one more time…
man’s best friend… they are the perfect example of unconditional love… they give to you so much joy and it hurts like hell when they leave… you swear never again… but could i ever live without their presence

2/14/2014 “written for josie as her journey ended”
how do you say goodbye… is it even possible…. for 16 years she blessed us everyday with her love… she was always there… yet as i look around the house, all her favorite little spots… now they are empty… the house feels empty… i feel empty…. and i hurt….. i would do anything just to feel her one more time….. i wonder will this pain ever go away… do i want it to leave…. no, for then, will i no longer feel her loss
my mind races through memories…. i try to recreate all the joy we had because of her…. i look at her little red bowl…her favorite pillow in her later years, her toys…. emptiness… pain… the house is filled with empty shadows… i’m afraid to call her name because i know only silence will follow
she trusted me…. did i fail her in the end… i have to believe i did what was best for her….. for she gave me everything…. she trusted my love

when we walked away… we left her there lying… she looked so peaceful… she was beautiful…. even though her poor little body showed her age and her fading health… i’ll carry that picture of her always in my heart…
i’ll miss you always Josie…

Josie was the sixth dog that left us…….. they all were special and added to our joy… and each brought their own pain….
i wrote this long ago after i lost Denali, once again his journey was far too short…..

lying on that table
and only a shadow of what once was…
the look you gave
said you didn’t understand
but my touch you trusted
i was there for your pain
but did you understand.

i had to let you go
say good-bye
and walk away
yet i just don’t know how to say good-bye.

our time was short
and my memories are many
yet as i search the house through and through
only to find your fading scent…
and to call your name now
and to hear only an empty echo
a part of me is gone.

i had to let you go
say good-bye
and walk away
yet i just don’t know how to say good-bye.

the days have past and gone
and by my feet he sleeps…
he gently took your shadows place
and touched my sadden heart..
for this was your final gift to me.

i had to let you go
say good-bye
and walk away
yet i just don’t know how to say good-bye.

and i’ll never forgive myself that i wasn’t there for Joshua.. and i don’t even have that final image to carry in my heart
and i curse that i had to let you go,
that i wasn’t there for you
to hold you just one more time
to say good-bye
God, i just don’t know how to say good-bye.
tess julianna 5/30/17

A Prayer to John Muir

i wish i could remember when i first spoke his name or picked up a book filled with his words, but i can’t… i know though that he touched my soul and changed my world, and i guess i slowly became a disciple of his teachings…. slowly his books filled my shelves as i read and reread these books…. in knew Yosemite was his garden and i also knew i eventually would have to experience his world for myself…. my first journey to Yosemite will always be remembered, it was early June and there was still snow in the high country… Yosemite Valley with it’s sheer walls of granite held me in a dream-like world…. after a week in the backcountry i headed down to Yosemite Valley to send a few days before i journeyed home… these words were taken from my journal written during that trip….

a prayer to John Muir.

i like to think it was he who led me down this path……other destinations i had in mind, yet no other would have moved me so, -for upon this path that i did journey a granite boulder with a bronze plaque did i find….”Climb the mountains and get their glad tidings…”hymns of praise that Muir spoke,f from this spot, John built and lived in a cabin for several years…. even though the cabin no longer stands, i’m sure his door and porch faced the falls of Yosemite…. i’ve tried to stand as he would of and admire this creation…. and from my many travels i stood at other places that John had stood, along the hot and dusty trail that boldly descends a canyon… there sits a lonely shelter, he had also taken refuge from the heat of the relentless sun and talked with a friend, yet when i sat there not even his spirit could i feel… yet as i now stood and threw my head upwards to admire the heavenly waters of the falls, i felt john with me… if we now took a walk through his backyard would a tear of happiness or sorrow appear, i wonder…
now the soft valley meadows of his garden have been harden by the paths of man… where there is a conflict between restoration, preservation and development… is the development and restoration for its preservation or is it all just an ugly exploitation… John, this valley that you walked and loved is slowly being torn apart and i fear for it’s future… they all come as we did though, for to admire this creation yet their admiration is of a different beat and slowly the valley changes… but fear not John, for a day’s walk into the woods, and a good day’s walk it must be, one can find your spirit with every voyager who wanders the trails…. stop to feel the bark on a tree…. take the time to count the rings of a fallen tree…. to step around so as not to crush a newly formed flower…. to sit upon the granite and feel the polished surface, the warmth from a hot afternoon sun…. or to feel the silent coolness of the coming of the night… to stand in a silence admire a creek, the pebbles an assortment of colors and shapes that sparkle in the cool and clear bronze waters…. John you would of loved the Merced this time of year, for it ran with such a force and beauty that you could not help but be hypnotize by it’s power…. and John i too sat by the fire at night, like often you did and became absorbed in this display of colors, for the flames were not just oranges and blues but laced with every color of the rainbow… John i sat upon the ground often to do nothing but to feel it’s comfort… i would read and even write of it’s beauty… how many pine cones did i touch, the sap still sticky to the touch… John, Yosemite is still in the back country, and yes it’s well-traveled but the caretakers all are of your spirit, after all John, if not for you our paths may never have crossed in this garden… so as i prepare to leave with the rising sun and though my feelings are mixed as to the pictures that were painted before me in this valley, i’ll choose to remember a distant river that flowed with your wild spirit downward from the snow covered peaks, through canyons carved in granite, cascading yet flowing so proudly…. i’ll see the granite domes with the fading sun setting low in the summer sky… the tall pines reaching upwards to the heavens while fallen warriors are now waiting out their last years….. and that special silent spot…. from where you stood countless times, the magic of Yosemite Falls…. thank you John
jtalarico 6/9/91

Packing for a Journey

the task of packing

the journey, or the trip has now been decided on… a starting point was determined and usually a destination is in mind, although that is usually open for discussion, such as how successful is the trip proceeding, a sudden change in the itinerary ….. yet regardless of the journey, every journey has a task that must be preformed, and most of the time, one dreads this process, but still it must be done…. that is packing for your journey…
depending on your journey, sometimes the packing is very basic, very little thought has to be put into it, while other times your basic survival will depend on whether you packed the required items…. for years i did a lot of ocean kayaking along the coast of California de Sur or what is better known as Baja, Mexico… some trips ran up to 2 weeks long and was along a rather isolated coast with very few villages within walking distance from the shore….. planning exactly how much fresh water would be consumed daily was vital, as one cannot drink salt water…. then how many days before a reliable water source would be encountered….. this determined the amount of water i had to store plus i always brought a little extra for that fresh water shower that i cherished so dearly…. then there may be a hundred mile backpack trip in which i would carry a heavy pack… how many calories of food did i have to consume daily and then how many pounds of food would i have to carry…. could i form several food caches and then these caches would have to be established even before i began the journey…… with a high alpine trip my clothing became crucial, as i had to be prepared for all the possible weather situation…. and the list goes on..

over the years i made this task a little simpler as i accumulated dozens of packing list for various trips and each years these list were modified by either adding or deleting items… i still use many of these list as the needs of some of these trips really hasn’t changed over the years…
but this was the easy part of packing, now comes the hard part… what book or books would accompany me on this journey, and this doesn’t means what books i had on my iPhone….. i’m sorry, when i’m on a journey my hands need the feel, the smell and the comfort of a real book, something that had pages i had to turn and i could fold the corner of pages to mark points i must return to, often at times if necessary, as those words held a special magic to me….
often times the journey will influence the selection of books that are taken… on a two week hike of the Grand Canyon, Colin Flecter’s, A man who Walked trough Time and Edward Abbey’s Monkey Wrench Gang were chosen….. on a cruise around South America i took Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast and Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle……. often the words of Henry David Thoreau would accompany me just so various pages could be reread again and again, they were marked by folded corners that have been worn over the years…. and my list could go on and on….. if one was to look at the shelves in my library there are small piles of books that were pulled out and waiting for the journey that would include them… and often when i’m browsing the shelves of used books stores, and i love a used book, as it just has a certain feel that a new book has yet to attain….. and often while randomly reading the titles i often find a book that i know who be perfect if i took a given journey, so now that book must find a place in my library……
and of this journey, my bags are slowly being packed… but the hardest task still remains, what books will make this journey with me…

tess julianna 5/3/17

regarding books

they’re everywhere…… stacks and piles, on shelves, coffee tables, and a lot of times in my hands….. i can remember when i was in 6th grade and the mobile book library rolled into Stratford… i bought two books, Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast and Herman Melville’s Billy Budd… i bought them i think because of the  illustrations on the covers…. they sat in book shelves for years… were transported from state to state as we moved… and they moved from one book shelf to another…. i never read them for over 30 years but i knew someday i would and eventually i did… and after reading them i wonder what took me so long….. you see i have a thing about books… i love to have them around… i have shelves of books that i still haven’t read… did i buy them because i knew i would read them or i just wanted them around like a good friend… i just wanted them on shelves because i could always find them in the future …..i love bookstores…. to wander from shelf to shelf, always finding books that i would love to read… how many great books were found this way…. how often now do i go online to find books but problems usually arise which causes more books to be added as i’m usually referred to “other books that people have bought”  and how many great books were found this way…..

our community library, a great library but very seldom will you find me wandering the aisles…. i would rather buy the book, it becomes mine when i buy the book… another friend that i do not have to ever part from…..

while reading a book recently , it was a biography on an individual who even more so than i, always had books in his hands… while reading one book it would lead him towards another book and the pattern would just keep repeating itself….. i find that happening with me a lot of times and slowly the shelves get filled and eventually there are stacks of books in front of the books lining the shelves… books that will be read eventually but what i found interesting was that this individual referred to his books as “his library”….. i never thought of my shelves of books as “my library”… but as i look around my room its actually a library…. i have the shelves filled with books on whales, fish and fish management, my wilderness philosophers, travels and travelers and the list goes on… i guess you could even consider me a “book collector”as i have been known to think that i would love to have this book or that for my collection on let’s say evolutionary processes, maritime history or even biographies… i’m actually very proud of “my library”… look at the titles and you can probably get a good idea of the person i am or definitely the ideas that interest me…

reading an article in Smithsonian magazine, “The Paper Chase” which was about how Robert Fair de Graff changed the way and the amount that people read by introducing an American innovation, the “paperback book”…reducing the cost of reading material but also making books smaller and easier to use…..  add the much earlier invention of the printing press and look at the volumes of books now readily available for us to use and also to fill the shelves of my book cases…. but paperbacks, being much smaller can be stacked in piles on my shelves actually taking up so much less space… good for now i have room for even more books… then add just in the last decade or so the smartphones and ipad-like devices with the app “ibook” i can now download literally thousands of books that i never knew existed and best of all i have a traveling library with me where ever i travel….. recently cruising around Cape Horn in South America i was able to read my favorite chapters from Two Years Before the Mast while following Darwin’s voyage and selecting chapters from Voyage of the Beagle…. these electronic books are great as i have included in my library so many great literary works that i could of never afforded to purchase prior…. the words and thoughts of some of the greatest philosophers are now mine to enjoy or journey with…… and then they didn’t take up any more space on my bookshelves…. but its just not the same as having a hardcover book in your hand… the weight, even a musty smell from a very old friend, and then what do i do with all the bookmarks that i have accumulated through the years….. a favorite photo, a ticket from a museum in Florence, a business card, or all those postcards i collected in my travels…
and all those book sales that i’m drawn to like a magnet……books that were discarded in garage sales…. no longer were their pages handled, corners turned over….. maybe even a thought or comment added…… i love to read footnotes some else took the time to write down, what were their thoughts at that moment…. a bookmark left behind… my eyes always search for even more titles included in the book’s jacket, authors comments, some authors familiar many unheard of…. my hands constantly touching….. soon i look down and my cart or bag may have a dozen or more treasures to be added to my library…. and when i get home and sit in my favorite chair the bag or box of new books on the floor, one by one i slowly explore the adventure or journey they may lead me on… many of these books will sit unread for years but they now have hope that their words will be felt by another set of eager and curious eyes… and now a place must be found for them to spend their days….. i rearrange some books possibly some may need to find a new home….
and i haven’t even begun to discuss all the magazines that i have accumulated and just can’t discard because of an article or two…… but now i just rip out the articles only to have filing cabinets of articles filed to be used or reread later….. i am thankful because at least all this additional reading material hasn’t taken up any more space on the shelves…
i can remember back in the 80’s when researching topics for my degree, the hours i spent looking through periodicals for a given paper….. today i just sit at my desk with my computer and log on to our local library and log into countless data banks to continue researching topics of interest….. i could just electronically file these papers on my computer but usually i will print them out because its that touching and holding the literary work, but once again, i have even more papers to file away….

and finally all those little black journals… all of them handwritten…. thoughts from journeys taken years ago… in them are the lessons i learned from each journey, lessons i carry with me each and everyday’’’’
and finally..remember that old episode on the TV show “The Outer Limits”.. an individual who loved to read and after a world-wide holocaust being the only survivor but happy as a clam as he can read now forever, undisturbed…and then he breaks his glasses… is this why i keep several pairs of readers with me when i travel… in case i break my eyeglasses

i think i’ll sit awhile now and read as another friend await its turn

tess julianna    12/12/13

(a portion of my library)IMG_5895 - 2017-04-23 at 16-30-33.jpg



in some point of time, every journey must have a beginning, and at this point the journey is usually just a vague idea, such as i want to go hike Mt. Rainer or i want to go to Italy….. the journey at this point may be an idea, a hope, a wish or a promise that we can carry with us for years or we put into place immediately… my current journey i carried with me literally my whole life…. …. i remember as a child, i would spin a globe and randomly place my finger at a given place and stop the globe…. where my finger rested was where my journey would take me…. today many of those places are actually alive in my memory as i did journey to those far off places… many of my journeys were due to a book i read…. some books that i read i carried that dream with me for a lifetime…. Two Years Before the Mast, a book i first bought as a young child and i knew i too one day would sail Round the Horn (Cape Horn)…. yes i must admit i did not battle the wind and waves in a small sailboat but instead i was on a Princess cruise i was working…. the size of the boat wasn’t as important as just physically seeing “the Rock” and knowing i was there, that i experienced the thrill and excitement of everyday as that dream materialized….

in the next stage of a Journey, the Journey will start to develop with a starting point and yes a final destination…. the final destination is only the physical end of that journey, as what is gained by that journey we can carry with us for the rest of our life, and now i am not talking about that so called destination but the emotional or mental growth that we found during that journey… that is gained by the day to day experience, not the destination… on my wrist i wear a bracelet, a gift, and on this bracelet is engraved the words “Embrace the Journey”….. with my current journey this is my bible, to embrace everyday, every minute, for i really do not know where this destination will actually be or when i will reach it…. the destination is nothing more than a distraction, i must focus on everyday, every sunrise and sunset, every emotion from every minute….
as an Alaskan Naturalist for Princess Cruises i tell this to every passenger i meet…. do not focus on that destination but embrace everyday of this journey because it’s those memories we will carry with us for the rest of our life… it’s those memories that will bring you back to Alaska again….
my good friend Michael, an incredibly gifted photographer has seen the natural world through the lens of his camera…. his photographs are a testimony to how he embraced every minute of a particular journey… i never saw a photograph of his final destination, as to him that probably just marked and end he probably didn’t want to happen…
remember, your journeys are out there waiting for you… journeys have no boundaries, only the limits of your dreams or imagination… and always remember, “Embrace your Journey”

April 15

yesterday i bought a decorative sign to hang in my den, it reads:
Live your life with intention.
Live the life you’ve always dreamed of;
the life you have always imagined living.
and i think of my Journey…. my Journey’s intention is to do exactly that…. that is what i want to obtain from my Journey… it sounds so easy… “to live the life you have always imagined living”… where is the part explaining the tears that you must still shed, the pain you will feel…. the lessons that you have to learn… each of these can be a pitfall that can obstruct my vision, cause me to wander from the path… Journeys can take one to places they may not have intended to go, places they would of avoided, and in times like that it’s hard to find your star to lead you back to the path…..
one lesson i have learned from my Journey called “Life”, is that the harder an individual Journey the rewards are usually so much greater, the lessons learned, so much more valuable…. this Journey i take now is the hardest i’ve ever faced…. the pitfalls are many and there has been many tears…. most of the time i needed support to get me just to the next day….. i never needed that before… before i could climb the highest of mountains, today i can’t, i need help….. one of my lessons this Journey is giving me is the “value of friendship”, the giving and receiving….. it’s hard for me to give as i feel i need to receive more, i’m learning… it’s hard…
many days my Journey takes me to places where i can’t see my guiding star… i have to rely on “faith”, faith now becomes my compass…. the “life i’ve always imagined living” can’t be felt and i get lost… my compass can’t find it’s star…. it happens and it will probably again… but today i’m walking through a beautiful field…. it’s flowers are my friends, the friends that cared, that i needed…. and my vision is clear… and guess what… i can see clearly “that life i’ve always imagined”….. i feel happiness i’ve never felt before… and i love “her” more than i ever imagined i could… i’m excited and i want to run but these are the times one must stop often and smell the flowers in your journey….
i know i have many miles yet to travel…. it’s alright, Journeys are never short