Love, magic, and how to really change the world.

Many harvested sunflowers.
Abundant sunflowers.

With love and (what seems) magic we can actually change the entire world. I’m absolutely serious.

Here’s a very short story I wrote a couple months ago. It seems to affect people deeply.  I’m going to reblog the story just this once.  Perhaps you might enjoy reading it. The story is titled An Unexpected Sunflower. Simply click the link. As you will see, you can truly change the world.

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White whale glimpsed from deck of world’s oldest sailing ship.

San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts begins the Moby Dick Marathon Reading on the poop deck of the Star of India.
San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts begins the Moby Dick Marathon Reading on the poop deck of the Star of India.

The Star of India is the world’s oldest ship that sails. It’s docked in San Diego Bay. Yesterday, from the barque’s 150 year old deck, a rare white whale was glimpsed like a snowy hill in the air, far, far away. The whale was just visible, a dim revelation, at the edge of human sight.

Mysterious and sublime, the elusive Moby Dick was seen by a fortunate few in the imagination’s eye, as readers took turns speaking words on pages that were written over a century ago by the great American author Herman Melville.

The wonderful Moby Dick Marathon Reading commenced at noon, and continued far into the dark night. The event was put on by the Maritime Museum of San Diego and Write Out Loud. I swung on by a few times, breathed in the mood, the salt air. I love the novel. It might be my favorite. I love the idea of reading atop the swelling sea, about a bright phantom moving darkly below, down in the unfathomable depths.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego and Write Out Loud created a cool event that hopefully becomes a yearly tradition.
The Maritime Museum of San Diego and Write Out Loud created a cool event that hopefully becomes a yearly tradition.
Diagram of Bark Star of India, launched as Euterpe on November 14, 1863 at Ramsey, Isle of Man. The world's oldest active sailing ship and oldest merchantman afloat.
Diagram of Bark Star of India, launched as Euterpe on November 14, 1863 at Ramsey, Isle of Man. The world’s oldest active sailing ship and oldest merchantman afloat.
An ageless volume of classic literature, published in 1851, shortly before the construction of this ship, was shared by many readers, many voices.
An ageless volume of classic literature, published in 1851, shortly before the construction of this ship, was brought to life by many readers.
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail...
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail…
Listeners follow Melville's words with their own beloved books, or gaze out at the water on a fine summer day on San Diego's Embarcadero.
Listeners follow Melville’s words with their own beloved books, or gaze out at the water on a fine summer day on San Diego’s Embarcadero.
Kids walk up onto Star of India's high poop deck. Perhaps the eyes of youth, probing the horizon, can discern the strange wonder of Moby Dick.
Kids walk up onto Star of India’s high poop deck. Perhaps the eyes of youth, probing the horizon, can discern the strange wonder of Moby Dick.
Or age with its wisdom, staring into thin pages, might glimpse the white whale.
Or age with its collected wisdom, staring into thin pages, might glimpse the white whale.
White sails, yards, shrouds, ropes and blue sky.
White sails, yards, shrouds, ropes and open blue sky.
Illustration on plaque found on main deck, showing a Pull on the Lee ForeBraces. The sails must be kept to the wind.
Illustration on plaque found on main deck, showing a Pull on the Lee ForeBraces. The sails must be kept to the wind.
Passionate reader turns the pages of Moby Dick. Melville describes many large cetaceans in the oceans of the world, but only one great white whale, nemesis of Captain Ahab.
Passionate reader turns the pages of Moby Dick. Melville describes many large cetaceans in the oceans of the world, but only one great white whale, nemesis of Captain Ahab.
Painting of Star of India under sail by marine artist Frederick Wetzel. The historic three-masted bark is shown clearing Point Loma during a festive event back in 1984.
Painting of Star of India under sail by marine artist Frederick Wetzel. The historic three-masted bark is shown clearing Point Loma during a festive event back in 1984.
Steering wheel and binnacle, instruments of navigation used by generations of restless, active seafaring men.
Steering wheel and binnacle, instruments of navigation used by generations of restless, active seafaring men.
The stern of our beautiful Star of India. A large American flag billows in the sea breeze.
The stern of our beautiful Star of India. A gigantic American flag billows in the sea breeze.
A reader awaits his turn. Ishmael recalls his strange voyage side by side with varied characters, representatives of the human race. Including a humane cannibal and a tyrannical captain.
A reader awaits his turn. Ishmael recalls his strange voyage side by side with varied characters, representatives of the human race, including a humane cannibal and a tyrannical captain.
The sun's horizontal rays turn gold as day nears an end.
The sun’s horizontal rays splash sails with gold as another day nears an end.
Ahab addresses Starbuck and crew: ...it was Moby Dick that dismasted me...I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn..and round perdition’s flames before I give him up...
Ahab addresses Starbuck and crew: …it was Moby Dick that dismasted me…I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn..and round perdition’s flames before I give him up…
Vengeance on a dumb brute! cried Starbuck, that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous...
Vengeance on a dumb brute! cried Starbuck, that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous…
Photo taken from wooden bench, over a skylight which provides filtered daylight for the ship's elegant cabin below.
Photo taken from wooden bench, over a skylight which provides filtered daylight for the ship’s elegant saloon below.
Reading on into the twilight. Once begun, the great novel drives onward, pulling readers into its tragic quest for an unpredictable, dangerous unknown.
Reading on into the twilight. Once begun, the great novel drives forward, pulling readers into its tragic quest for an unpredictable, dangerous unknown.
Shadow moves across the deep.
Shadow moves across the deep.
As the sun sets, by sheer chance it seems, Chapter 37 of Moby Dick is read, which is titled Sunset.
As the sun sets, by sheer chance it seems, Chapter 37 of Moby Dick is begun, titled Sunset.
Light shines from behind the figurehead of the beautiful Star of India, a favorite attraction on San Diego Bay.
Light shines from behind the figurehead of the beautiful Star of India, a favorite attraction on San Diego Bay.
Is that lone bird an albatross flown from Melville's great novel. No, just a gull in the dying light.
Is that lone bird an albatross flown from Melville’s great novel? No, just a common gull in the dying light.
The sky through ship's rigging is tinged orange, red, purple and gold.
The sky through ship’s rigging is tinged orange, red, purple and gold.
Night comes on. Melville has already referenced the blackness of darkness. He now speaks about the whiteness of the whale, and the majestic, pure, terrifying color white.
Night comes on. Melville has already referenced the blackness of darkness. He now speaks about the whiteness of the whale, and the majestic, pure, terrifying color white.
It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me.
It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me.
Before inevitable night falls and stars emerge, glowing color paints the world.
Before inevitable night falls and stars emerge, glowing color paints the world.
Masts of tall ship Californian, of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and a brilliant sunset. Unlike a fictional whale, these beautiful things are quite easily seen.
Masts of tall ship Californian, of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and a brilliant sunset. Unlike a fictional whale, these profoundly beautiful things are quite easily seen.

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Letters home from troops: love, loss, reflection.

War Comes Home: The Legacy. A collection of letters written by veterans and their families.
War Comes Home: The Legacy. A collection of letters written by veterans and their families.

A poignant exhibit is now on public display at San Diego’s downtown Central Library. It’s titled War Comes Home: The Legacy. Through a number of emotionally charged letters to and from troops abroad, one can begin to feel how war changes lives. Included is personal correspondence, including email, from almost every major conflict in United States history. This exhibition is put on in partnership with Cal Humanities, and its stated purpose is to promote greater understanding of our veterans and explore the impact of war on communities.

The exhibit can be found on the first floor of the library and will run through August 16.

I'm coming home! I'm looking forward to seeing you again...but I'm in no hurry to see the expressions on your faces when you see me. You might even ask me for proof that I'm your son.
I’m coming home! I’m looking forward to seeing you again…but I’m in no hurry to see the expressions on your faces when you see me. You might even ask me for proof that I’m your son.
U.S. wars are mostly fought abroad, allowing many Americans distance from the personal implications. The war experience, however, remains with veterans for the rest of their lives.
U.S. wars are mostly fought abroad, allowing many Americans distance from the personal implications. The war experience, however, remains with veterans for the rest of their lives.
Now that it is all over, what is there to look back upon? The fifteen months in France have been like a book with strange chapters...
Now that it is all over, what is there to look back upon? The fifteen months in France have been like a book with strange chapters…
Although most people think that they are War Conscious, are they really? So far removed from the battle fronts, can they be?
Although most people think that they are War Conscious, are they really? So far removed from the battle fronts, can they be?
Those of us coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan are not looking for sympathy. We might be reluctant at first to talk about what we've been through, good or bad...
Those of us coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan are not looking for sympathy. We might be reluctant at first to talk about what we’ve been through, good or bad…
You cannot imagine, I believe, what thoughts came over me as I thought of all those who stood there on that day--and what it was all for, and what would come of it...
You cannot imagine, I believe, what thoughts came over me as I thought of all those who stood there on that day–and what it was all for, and what would come of it…
Not a day goes by that I don't think of you. I never know that love could hurt so much.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. I never know that love could hurt so much.
Enduring Loss: The Costs of War.
Enduring Loss: The Costs of War.
The things that I am going to say in this letter are about twenty years and a whole lifetime late, but maybe that won't matter once they've been said.
The things that I am going to say in this letter are about twenty years and a whole lifetime late, but maybe that won’t matter once they’ve been said.
Coming home to normal life from a war zone can be a jarring experience for many troops.
Coming home to “normal” life from a war zone can be a jarring experience for many troops.
Ultimately, your loved one should start to feel normal after about five to six months--just in time to be deployed again.
Ultimately, your loved one should start to feel “normal” after about five to six months–just in time to be deployed again.
Let me be the first to tell you that we have a rough road ahead of us, kiddo. The life of a soldier isn't an easy one.
Let me be the first to tell you that we have a rough road ahead of us, kiddo. The life of a soldier isn’t an easy one.
My son: you are missed in our home. There is a silence and a sadness because of your absence.
My son: you are missed in our home. There is a silence and a sadness because of your absence.
Hearing grown men speak with wavering voices, some shedding tears, was more than I could bear.
Hearing grown men speak with wavering voices, some shedding tears, was more than I could bear.
You ask if the boys have changed much. Some, having had experience enough for a lifetime, are older...and yet, they have a greater zest for life...
You ask if the boys have changed much. Some, having had experience enough for a lifetime, are older…and yet, they have a greater zest for life…
Sketch of servicemember in military hospital with amputated leg, reading or writing a letter.
Sketch of servicemember in military hospital with amputated leg, reading or writing a letter.

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Sculpture of Mark Twain reading book on bench.

Sculpture of Mark Twain sitting on a bench at Fenton Marketplace in Mission Valley.
Bronze sculpture of Mark Twain sitting on a bench at Fenton Marketplace in Mission Valley.

A very famous author is known to hang out in San Diego.  He’s usually seen just off Friars Road in Mission Valley. He likes to sit on a bench at Fenton Marketplace in front of the International House of Pancakes!

Who is this celebrated writer of American literature? That prolific master of humor and satire, Mark Twain!

According to my research on the internet, Mr. Samuel Clemens seems to get around. He’s been seen in the same pose in numerous cities. That’s because the bronze sculpture, by artist Gary Lee Price, is practically mass-produced!

Samuel Clemens gazes up from his book.
Samuel Clemens gazes up dreamily from his book.
Mark Twain is reading his own classic American novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Mark Twain is reading his own classic American novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Famous author sits on bench by fountain in front of IHOP.
Famous author with biting wit sits on bench by fountain in front of IHOP.

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A look inside new San Diego Central Library!

Front desk and spacious entrance of new downtown San Diego Central Library.
Front desk and spacious entrance of new downtown San Diego Central Library.

Here are some interior pics of San Diego’s brand new downtown public library! It’s been open for only one week!

The first photo is what you’ll likely see upon entering the new building. It’s the front desk and lobby area, containing escalators, a view of three floors, helpful librarians and lots of library patrons!

a look inside the new san diego central library shop

The beautiful library shop is just steps from the main entrance. It’s full of great library-related gifts!

votes for women exhibit at san diego central library

As I meandered about the first floor, I discovered this historical exhibit in the middle of rows of bookshelves. It explains how women, after a hard fight, earned the right to vote in California in 1911.

the cat in the hat on san diego central library wall

On the first floor you’ll find the children’s section of the library. The walls are painted with characters and scenes taken from Dr. Seuss’s popular picture books. Check out the Cat in the Hat! As many San Diego residents know, Dr. Seuss’s real name was Theodor Geisel, and he was a resident of La Jolla just up the coast.

reading room of san diego central library offers city views

Check out the reading room on the eighth floor of the new Central Library! It’s roomy, filled with light and lots of comfy chairs. The immense view toward South Bay is awesome!

looking upward in reading room of san diego central library

Here we’re looking upward toward the ceiling of the big reading room. That’s the interior of the Central Library’s iconic steel lattice dome!

display of baseball history in san diego central library

There’s a cool baseball history archive and exhibit right next to the reading room. Check out the silvery statue of a baseball player, and all the nostalgic photos on the wall! The exhibit is made possible by the San Diego Ted Williams chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research.

A couple more pics I took during a later visit…

Outside view of upper dome structure and nearby building from 9th floor of San Diego downtown library.
Outside view of upper dome structure and nearby building from 9th floor of San Diego downtown library.
Library patron in reading room creates cool graffiti art with the aid of research materials.
Library patron in reading room creates cool graffiti art with the aid of research materials.

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Cool pics of San Diego’s new downtown library!

The new central library as seen from the intersection of K Street and 11th Avenue.
The new central library has become a dazzling landmark in San Diego’s East Village.

Here are a few more cool pics of San Diego’s brand new Central Library! I took these photographs today after the ceremony celebrating the grand opening. Check out the modern, inventive architecture of this truly eye-popping downtown landmark!

The first photo is from 11th Avenue and K Street, in the heart of East Village, facing roughly northeast. This is the way you’d likely go if walking from Petco Park. What you see is just a fraction of the cool sight to come…

view of new san diego library from south

Here’s a photograph from almost due south. Wow! Beautiful landscaping and palm trees complement the distinctive building, which features a metal lattice dome and a gigantic, airy reading room. Other features include an auditorium, community meeting rooms, a sculpture garden . . . even a downtown high school occupying two floors!

photo of new san diego library and trolley

Now we’re looking toward the northwest. Here comes a red San Diego trolley! Views from the trolley are very cool. You can peer up and into the lower windows of the new library. During the past couple months, riding the trolley, I watched as shelves of books slowly appeared as if by magic throughout the spacious building. Our old downtown library was less than half the size, ugly, and lacked many amenities.

wise words on exterior of san diego library

From the trolley and nearby sidewalk you can also see a handful of wise quotes engraved in the library’s concrete exterior. Here’s a pic of the following inscription: WE WILL BE KNOWN FOREVER BY THE TRACKS WE LEAVE.

UPDATE!

I walked around the now “relatively new” library in early November 2014 and took more pics…

Looking up into the modern library from the southwest corner.
Looking up into the very large library from the southwest corner.
Reflection in west side windows shows colorful building across the street.
Reflection in west side windows shows colorful building across the street.
Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat walks along a north window.
Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat walks along a north window.
Angled glass windows along passage on Park Boulevard side of complex building.
Angled glass windows along passage on Park Boulevard side of complex building.
Closer exterior look at intricate dome around library's huge reading room.
Closer exterior look at intricate dome around library’s huge reading room.
New San Diego Public Library in East Village shines in sunlight.
The distinctive San Diego Public Library in East Village shines in the sunlight.

San Diego’s new library has a grand opening!

people arrive for san diego library celebration

Check out these photos of the new San Diego Central Library’s grand opening! Located in East Village, one block from Petco Park, the new downtown library is a state-of-the-art multi-use facility containing a high school, job training center, auditorium, art gallery, sculpture courtyard, terraces with amazing city and bay views, roof gardens, and half a dozen community meeting rooms. Thirty years in the making, it’s enormous, beautiful and really amazing!

At the “Celebration and Sneak Peek” event, held late this morning, dignitaries, local politicians and benefactors gathered on an outdoor stage to dedicate the new library. A large crowd gathered to watch and applaud, showing great enthusiasm for San Diego’s new urban landmark.

The first photo, above, shows the festive arch through which many attendees arrived. On it are the words: THE STORY BEGINS. DISCOVER YOUR NEXT CHAPTER. The various colorful condos and office buildings you see are located in San Diego’s thriving East Village neighborhood.

navy band arrives for new library dedication

The second photo shows members of the regional Navy Band assembling by some tents not far from the stage. They would perform during the historic ceremony. The yellowish-orange building on the right is a tiny glimpse of Petco Park.

san diego gay men's chorus performs

The next photo shows the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus performing while dignitaries gather on the stage. The diverse crowd has become quite large and enthusiastic.

colorful people in crowd at library opening

A variety of costumed people could be spotted in the audience, and among the large crowds surrounding the library. They looked like roving characters from a Shakespeare Festival!

presentation of colors at library grand opening

Everyone here is watching the presentation of colors, just before the speeches begin. The kids in front of the stage are the San Diego Children’s Choir, who sang their hearts out. At the podium stands interim San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

big crowd at san diego library grand opening

Here’s a wider photograph of the ceremony, taken while the requisite speeches were underway. The unique open metal dome of the new San Diego Central Library shines brilliantly in the sun!

kids have fun at san diego library celebration

Lastly, here’s a pic taken on 11th Avenue beside our fantastic, functional new downtown library. Numerous booths were attracting a stream of curious people. Information concerning community services, activities, educational opportunities, and all sorts of interesting stuff was made available to the public. This booth encouraged young kids to sing and create their own art.

The new library opens to the public for its first full day this coming Monday!