On the Cusp of Fall

Namu Farm in the San Francisco Bay Area, California (photo: P.M. Lydon, Final Straw | cc by-sa)

Namu Farm in the San Francisco Bay Area, California (photo: P.M. Lydon, Final Straw | cc by-sa)

The nights are becoming slowly cooler, and clouds are starting to replace the solid blue skys here; we even had a few sprinkles of much needed rain grace the dry yellow hills which border the Eastern side of the Santa Clara Valley.

Oak trees at Coyote Valley Nature Preserve in California (photo: P.M. Lydon, Final Straw | cc by-sa)

Oak trees at Coyote Valley Nature Preserve in California (photo: P.M. Lydon, Final Straw | cc by-sa)

Since I can remember — and in fact long before I was born — there has always been a strong presence of socially and ecologically progressive movements in Northern California. The preservation of the nature in this area of the country was sparked by figures such as John Muir, David Brower, and so many others who we count today as the founders of the modern day environmental movement — and when you see what nature offers here, it’s easy to see why.

Speaking of Mr. Brower, the David Brower Center recently collected one of Patrick’s artworks, “What is Food: Burger and Cabbage” is now a permanent fixture of the Brower Center complex.

While much of our own work in these few weeks has been in editing, writing, and organizing for the film, Suhee and I have ventured out to engage with the natural surroundings, as well as a few local organizations and institutions, and we’ll be doing a lot more of it in the weeks to come.

Henry Cowell Redwoods, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California (photo: P.M. Lydon, Final Straw | cc by-sa)

Henry Cowell Redwoods, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California (photo: P.M. Lydon, Final Straw | cc by-sa)

During our first week, we took to the redwoods. While Suhee was really taken by the cool, damp forest and towering trees — some of which were well over a thousand years old — it was a three year old named Brexton who seemed most enthralled by the trees, climbing inside a hole in the one picture above and inviting us into what he called his ‘home’.

Namu Farm in the San Francisco Bay Area, California (photo: Suhee Kang, Final Straw | cc by-sa)

Namu Farm in the San Francisco Bay Area, California (photo: Suhee Kang, Final Straw | cc by-sa)

The local farmer’s markets in the area have  also provided a bounty of deliciousness, including a squash from Namu Farm, some sweet little tomatoes from Shumei Farm (both are natural farms) and dozens of unique California fruits. Preparation has been courtesy of Nini’s Oasis.

Fresh local food in California (photo: P.M. Lydon, Final Straw | cc by-sa)

Fresh local food from Nini’s Kitchen in California (photo: P.M. Lydon, Final Straw | cc by-sa)

We were also invited to give lectures (they really turned out to be more like fun mini talk-shows) at San Jose State University’s School of Art and Design. Here, we showed bits of the film and other related projects, and had a chat with classes of undergrad and grad students of Professor Robin Lasser in the school’s Photography department. Robin is a great mentor to me and one of my favorite socially and ecologically conscious artists working with installation and image-making. It was a pleasure for Suhee and I to talk with her classes about the project!

Screening scenes from Final Straw at San Jose State University

Screening scenes from Final Straw at San Jose State University

Just this past weekend, we were also happy to visit a new ‘open space’ preserve in the Coyote Valley, just south of where we are staying in San Jose. This beautiful piece of land was purchased by the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, with dual purpose of preserving critical pieces of the valley’s landscape and allowing visitors to connect with it on foot. The organization held a harvest festival, gathering local nonprofits, farmers, and some great music and performance groups. The star of the event, however, had to be the oak trees.

Oak trees at Coyote Valley Nature Preserve in California (photo: P.M. Lydon, Final Straw | cc by-sa)

Oak trees at Coyote Valley Nature Preserve in California (photo: P.M. Lydon, Final Straw | cc by-sa)

Well that’s what I can think to share from the last few weeks. More coming as we gear up for some activities … and recording of the film’s soundtrack just down the road with our wonderful friends from WindSync!

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