Piercy, CA

I mailed this to a friend who had the recently-planted tree in front of his house mowed down by a drunk driver. He was caught when video footage from a nearby gas station captured a vehicle with branches sticking out of it.

(Don’t worry, I’ll have more to say about carving gift shops and automobile tunnels into California redwoods in future posts)

Camp Curry, Yosemite National Park

I thought I was working through a packet of waterfall postcards, but here is a fall not of water but of fire. Burning embers were pushed off a cliff at 9:00 nightly during the summer, the capstone of a pageant that took place in the camp below. It took place from 1872 to 1968, interrupted by business failures, war, and environmental concerns. It was halted for good during the Nixon administration. The director of the National Park Service at the time said the spectacle was as appropriate as horns on a rabbit.

This card was mailed in July, 1930 from someone named Lollis to her Aunt Nellie in New York City. I can’t say I’ve heard this name before, but an internet search reveals some examples. Lollis described the sight as beautiful.

Yosemite National Park, CA

I am entered in something called the California Orienteering Festival, which consists of 12 races in 14 days in various sites in the central part of the state. It was canceled for 2020, rescheduled for 2021, and I’m still cautiously optimistic it will happen. If it does, I will absolutely make the effort to take an extra day and visit this quartet.

Nevada Falls, Yosemite National Park, CA

So named because of its snowy appearance resulting from the high volume of mist it generates. Nevada means snowy in Spanish and I am embarrassed to say that I never appreciated that fact before. Even knowing that the Italian word is nevoso, I never made the connection. When I think of the state of Nevada, I do not think of snow. The one time I was there, for a winter wedding, it was quite hot. People like to joke about how Greenland is misleadingly named, but I’ve never heard say the same for Nevada.

Yosemite National Park, CA

I don’t know if I’ve said this already, but for me these postcards represent my travel for this year, both in space and time. Today I imagine myself emerging from the nearly-mile long Wawona Tunnel, where I am greeted by El Capitan to the left, Half Dome in the distance, and Bridal Veil falls straight ahead. Incredibly, the parking lot is entirely empty. I ease my 1937 Packard Super Eight to a halt and take in the view, making small talk with a couple of hikers.

Vernal Falls, Yosemite National Park, CA

I am about to send this card to my neighbor to thank her for giving us a few dozen tulip bulbs. When I look out the window to my left, I can see her house. I could hand-deliver it, but instead I’m going to spend the 35 cents and send it on a multi-day journey. It will get put on the morning ferry, driven to a local post office, then routed to the regional processing plant. An optical scanner will read the address – I tend to print in all capital letters, so I think the scanners can handle my penmanship – and print a bar code across the bottom. This often makes the last line of text unreadable, which is why I try to avoid using black ink. I could always leave some space at the bottom of the postcard, but I tend to use all the space I have. The postcard will then get sent back to the local post office, with the zip code flagging it for island delivery. It will go on the morning mail boat, get picked up at the dock, and delivered to the room with all the island post office boxes. My neighbor will have to pass my house in order to pick it up. All so vastly inefficient!