The decision to take action with our lives and trajectories was intended to:
1 - allow us to freely travel
2 - give us time to focus on our business
3 - give us time to focus on us and get hitched
4 - meet new people, have new experiences
5 - feel uncomfortable feelings and grow from them
6 - grant us perspective to show us what we want from our lives

We succeeded in all of these hopes.

Our last volunteering jaunt led us to Ojai, where we met up with some fantastic folks from the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy. Tania & Tobias welcomed us into their home before even meeting us (wow) and gave us the space we needed to feel comfortable. We are grateful for their generosity, kindness, advice, and laughs - and special thanks to Topa for being adorably friendly with us.

We hiked the trails of Ojai and got a sense of the interdependent community there. While on a walk one day, we met a South African gentleman who served in WWII, worked on secret military projects in Southern California, and ended up retiring in Ojai. We met another kind man who worked in Hollywood for many years, eventually settling for a different lifestyle and pace in the Los Padres mountains. Everyone had a story, with a little lucky, that landed them in their version of paradise. They all care deeply about protecting the land, there. Developments are shameful, and the preservation of hiking trails is a virtue. The recent fire, though frightening and disheartening, was seen as a chance to grow anew. There is a lot to learn from the folks of Ojai.

Leaving Ojai for Berkeley, we decided to take highway 33 through the Los Padres up to the 5. When I was growing up in Fillmore, I'd look to the mountains and imagine how deep they go. I'd try to picture their ups & downs, their flats and peaks, and the animals roaming them. I was intimidated by their wildness, and curious if I'd ever have the courage to find out. Taking the highway through them finally resolved that curiosity for me. I saw the land from behind my home, reconciling unfinished memories of my youth. It was wild, it was empty, it was vast - but more importantly, it existed beyond my imagination.

After a work trip to visit a client in San Diego, Brendan and I realized we wanted to move back there. This was the perspective we gained. While only gone for 6 months, we felt something pulling us back. We had done so much in 6 months that we felt successful. It wasn't anything specific pulling us back to SD, but rather, an amalgamation of sensations, memories, and logistics. The sea, air, desert, pace, people, layout, diversity, food, affordability, neighborhoods, sunshine, hiking, whimsy, history... there's so much to this place that makes it feel like home.

I began looking for jobs in San Diego. While our business is doing fine, to move back we knew we needed additional income. I didn't have to wait long - a position perfect for what I needed (a challenge) and what I could provide (creativity, artistic perspective, fundamental digital cultural understanding, and more) opened up. We quickly ran down to meet them, and after a couple days of interviewing, I was hired as a Senior Content Specialist at Red Door Interactive. It's a bright, independent agency in downtown San Diego. Two months in and they've invited One Apparatus to work as a vendor! I'm proud to embrace business-Caryn. I fought against the concept of surrendering to capitalism for a long time. During our hiatus, I realized how to work with the system rather than against it - to surreptitiously change it from within. To change something, you must first embody it, become it; see how it digests and morphs and eats and excretes to know how you could change the process.

The balance is remembering to be here now. I've been doing lots of thought-experiments to help me better understand how the instance of life falls into place, and how to gently nurture it through action. If I go here now, I'll be there later. It's all here and now; the sheets of particle interaction are ruffling into place each Planck-time instant. Here. Here. Here. Now. Now. Now. Folded into existence by all the instances before it. Each Planck moment contains all others before it.

Small-town Caryn is floored at where she ended up in life - with my husband, my art, my music, my professional life, and my philosophy - and all versions of past me feel that this is right.

I feel whole. I am challenged. I feel my brain activating in ways it hadn't for a long time. I feel enlivened, and welcome the spectrum of sensations that come with growth - including disappointment, fear, and stress. We don't build homes if it doesn't rain.

Here are some photos from Ojai, the San Diego Bay, and Berkeley.


Seventeen

Great Blue Heron Wingspan

Black Skinners in Flight

Seaside Sunset

Black Skinner Reflection

Willet Sandpiper

Great Blue Heron

Jonas

Pink Window

Tree Shelter

Cormorant_IX7

Berkeley Marina Rower Rowin

Spotted Manky Mallard

Wet Berkeley Mornings

Magnolia

Temporary Home

Berkeley Squirrel

Rocky Ojai Landscape

Unidentified Plant

Hiking Up Luci's Trail

Topa

Burnt Ojai

Strands in the Multiverse

Pocket Gopher

Sunset in Ojai

History of a Fire - Ojai

Eucalyptus Peeling

Hiking Valley View Preserve

Wild Asparagus

Sunset on burned trees

Cranes in the Meadow

Running Luci's Trail

Hwy 33 Above Ojai

Brendan and a familiar riverbed

Brendan in the Badlands

Los Padres Badlands

Ojai Symmetry Portrait


This winter was a longer season of change, given the rate of new experiences, new friends, and near constant growth.

A day after the wedding, Brendan and I drove down to Logan, Utah, to offer our creative services to the Utah Rivers Council. There, we documented Temple Fork, an area of the river that is under review to become a dam. The URC is fighting to preserve this part of the river, as it feeds into the already dwindling Salt Lakes. Back in the wilderness, we shared two days with a camp of hunters, their nearby echoing shots reminding us we weren't entirely alone.

We captured images of another area, a Boy Scout camp next to the Bear River, that is under similar scrutiny. There is an old wooden bridge that crosses the river to get to the camp, which I unfortunately did not photograph (damnit, Caryn). We made friends with a ranch dog that ran across a field, seemingly from the ether, to greet us. She would drop a stick at our feet and wait patiently for us to toss it for her, though this proved to be difficult with cameras in hand. She didn't seem to understand that we weren't also dogs.

After a couple nights in Logan - a sleepy, picturesque, Mormon-haven in the mountains, we made our way to the mosquito conference that is the Bear River Bird Migratory Refuge. It is a wide, oblong valley patterned by channels of water. Aptly named, birds on their way across the world use this as a rest stop, and boy they sure do have a fully stocked insect vending machine. We were wholly unprepared for the onslaught of bugs (duh, Caryn), fleeing for the car when we realized our pants were no longer visible under the sea of legs. We found a Walmart and bought face suits, gloves, and intense repellents. With our newly adorned protective gear, we were able to tackle the marsh roads and take some unique images of the plains. Unfortunately, there were few birds for us to photograph - perhaps they were already back on the road to their winter home.

We then drove through Utah and Nevada to head back to San Diego, where we would be temporarily moving some of our stuff up to Berkeley for a few months. We stopped at the Bonneville Salt Flats off the 80 and stood in awe at the ~3-4 inches of water gently waving in the simple breeze. A woman walked out, seemingly walking on water, and I regret not also doing so.

After a jaunt with a rental van up the 5, we were back in the Bay for a few months. In Berkeley, we are working on documentary videos to assist in the reduction of cannabis stigma, as well as a few other amazing projects, like a practical-effect influenced music video for our good friend and incredible artist, Graffick. We are planning a trip to Death Valley for the shoot and absolutely cannot wait to show everyone the final product. We are really giving it our all.

I'm enjoying the proximity to the redwood forest. Less than 10 miles away is a deep forest of ancient trees, ferns, and streams with endless trails to lose myself on. I love the damp darkness of the forest floor... knowing that I'm only one gnarly hill away from views of the city to the West and Mt. Diablo to the East.

We're excited to move back to San Diego very soon, while making regular trips to the Bay for our documentary work.

In order of appearance: Idaho & Idaho wedding photos, Utah photos, and a few from our return to California.
Next post will be coverage of our expedition to Ojai to photograph landscape for the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, and some images from our oddly luxurious trip to San Diego for work with CV Sciences!
Hugs.


Caryn as a bride

Brendan & Caryn Wedding

Brendan & Caryn Wedding Party

_Lake Lowell

_Lowell Dam

Afternoon Boating Lake Lowell

Agricultural Canals in Nampa

Fishing at Lake Lowell

_Lake Lowell Water

Crescent Junction

Crescent Juncion Lookout

Notes of Previous Establishments

Rabbit Brush

Utah Hills

Cloud Shadows

Elk Hunters' Camp

Logan Utah at Dusk

University at Dusk

Bear River Bird Migratory Refuge

Brendan at the Bird Migratory Refuge

Bear River Bird Migratory Refuge Marshes 2

Bear River Bird Migratory Refuge Marshes

Bird Refuge Road - Bear River Bird Migratory Refuge

Walking on Water

Rock Plate of Salt

Cut & Paste

Winter Bonneville Salt Flats

Redwood Regional Park Path

Losing One in the Forest

Feet of the Redwoods

Test Shoot in Redwood Regional

Stack of Fallen Trees

Graffick