“He really was an enchanting person. In some way he was like the spiritual father of everybody…. It is hard to imagine Central Park without Charles Kennedy.” Marie Winn, author of Red-tails in Love, and close friend of Charles, remembering him after his death in October 2004

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pale Male Soars in the Bay Area!!

From this tiny, remote corner of the big cyber room, let me begin with this: Thank you, thank you, people of the Bay Area! The press and the filmgoers were delighted with “The Legend of Pale Male” and they let us know it. “Us’ in this case is Frederic Lilien, the filmmaker, Deb and me. From San Francisco to Berkeley to San Rafael the first West Coast weekend of “The Legend” was uplifting. The old red-tailed master of the New York skyline, Pale Male, found a new bunch of fans out on the western edge. 
The film-related duties were lighter in CA than in NYC so Deb and I––and Frederic––had opportunities to be tourists in and around San Francisco, and we met up with friends and family who live in the area.  So packed was the itinerary that I didn’t have a minute to blog even a morsel while in San Francisco. Deb’s pedometer let us know that between little jaunts on cable cars, trains, busses, and trolleys, we walked 9-10 miles per day for four days.

Wandered the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. Got to City Lights Books along the way and picked up some Beat poetry books. Jack Kerouac was a fine haiku writer. He and Charles could have a had a mad, wild haiku time of it. From Kerouac's Book of Haiku:

Deb near City Lights Bookstore
Arms folded
to the moon,
Among the cows

Missing a kick
At the icebox door
It closed anyway

This July evening
A large frog
On my door sill

And the quiet cat
Sitting by the post
Perceives the moon

In his haiku book, Kerouac, like Charles, pays homage to haiku masters Buson, Basho, Issa. I love these circles, these touchstones. 

We spent Sunday with Frederic exploring the Muir Beach, Point Reyes area––walking the trails from the beach to the tops of the cliffs. Magical. Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks were kiting in the thermals. Turkey Vultures plied their macabre opportunism, ignored by the wading birds and scrub birds busy with their own rounds.
Deb and Frederic in Sausalito
With Frederic at Muir Beach   
Charles didn’t need a formal invitation to accompany us on this trip, he is always along, whatever the adventure. On Sunday he seemed to be very present––Deb, Frederic, me, and the ghost of Charles. When it came time to settle up for lunch at a fun little café in Stinson Beach, Frederic and I began a stubbornness game that Charles loved (and most often won), the “I’m paying and you have nothing to say about it but ‘thank you’” game.  On the plane home that evening the seed of a poem came down the aisle and I caught a little draft of it.

In Which My Late Uncle Buys Us Lunch

The ghost of Charles bought our lunch
on a beach he never saw–
until today.
Because he wants us to be strong
to keep the pale bird aloft,
to shine the warm light into more corners:

The hawk on the screen
Charles in my dreams
projected in a million pixels
through a box of ashes.

The ghost of Charles bought our lunch
where the vultures float the cliffs
in vain.
Because there’s nothing for them here
we have nothing for them here


Billie Jo said...

Loved this blog. The vultures will have nothing here today, either. Michael is being prepped for heart bypass surgery right now.

On my way home yesterday after a full day of surgical readiness, I encountered not one, but two bald eagles. Nature does send strong, supportive messages.

Glad Charles is buying you lunch and shining through pixels. Magical and wonderful, and still somehow very sad.

Nothing for the vultures today, my friend.

Steve Kennedy said...

Here, here, BJ. All the best to Michael and you and the family.

Annie said...

Charles "bought" us all a feast indeed..one for our eyes that will last all our lifetimes in our hearts and his books . . . and for those of us lucky enough to have them, prints of some of his photos. And Fredder & Co., putting the whole story on film so the world can feast too.
I don't think I'd have stuck around for much more hawk watching in 1996 had he not had the "first" scope, a small (relative to what would come later) Nikon, set up to look through at the bench.
At first glance it was apparent why my boyfriend had been MIA for weeks...."It's just a bird..haven't you seen it enough already??" Little did I know what was to come....
I immediately commandeered the little scope and when beckoned all who passed by to have a look for years to come!!! Charles was so impressed with my zeal, that it made me all the more animated and eager to get people to STOP and take a LOOK. I still feel sad for all those that never did.
But Charles didn't stop there, he got us shots from high places ...Dr. Fischer's balcony... as well as low places ... his butterfly garden near the boathouse by day and by night the cicadas, the spiders, the winter owls -- three of which I spied at dusk when looking at a pine tree near the boathouse...I remember saying to Ben, "look at those big pine cones!!" ; 0 I'll never our discovering that they weren't pine cones!!!
Yep, Charles, Pale Male and the gang at the bench all opened my eyes to little bites of beauty forever. So grateful!

Judy said...

Just saw your b.d. wishes to Kay then followed the FB links to your blog. Good to see your picture and read your posts (haven't read them all yet). I notice your employment says UNC - what are you doing there? Miss you - I'm about the only one of the old gang still left in the office. So are you 14 years old now :)