By Andrew Tonkovich
May gray and June gloom predominate in the flatlands, but gorgeous clear mornings cheer canyonites and inspire, with daily dog walker, musician, photographer, and roadside documentarian Dion Sorrell sharing excellent micro-portraits of Modjeska Canyon taken on the slow, deliberate go as he chaperones the hounds in his care. Photos of man, beast, flora and fauna present a vivid calm of natural abundance before whatever firestorm arrives when our greenery goes brown. Cradling his iconic kendo martial arts shine sword-stick, Sorrell’s “accidental photography,” as he modestly describes his lovely pics --- recently of intrepid tadpoles wriggling in shallow Modjeska Creek --- may perhaps be only accidentally brilliant, but Dion walks the walk, after all, as many drive by too fast to notice, much less capture these reassuring scenes, posted on Facebook.
Local pride: “Bonny” indeed
The lucky buyer who ends up in Bonnie Smith’s Modjeska Canyon cottage garden home inherits a strong dose of good canyon community karma along with the deed to a 2,000 sq. ft., four-bedroom creekside house with a picture window-perfect yard designed by the professional landscape designer-contractor (Bonnie’s Gardens), featuring apricot and other trees, drought-tolerant plants, and plenty of visiting hummingbirds and butterflies.
The longtime canyon resident relocates soon after 35 years, leaving her small part of our world even better than when Smith, a young 67, arrived with then-husband Ron, co-founder of a landscaping business and participant in community life, famous for her bunco nights, book club and “ladies-only” holiday white elephant wing-dings. The couple had a first date in Modjeska, a field trip leading to build-ing a house adjacent to Harding Truck Trail, marriage, and raising three kids together, along the way working with Silverado Elementary PTA, donating original landscaping to the Children’s Center, and volunteering with Fire Watch.
Divorced now and grandmother of four, Smith organized garden tours to benefit the Modjeska House across the street from her digs. Bonnie’s grateful for friendships, and the care received from neighbors during her convalescence from a 2011 hip injury, including a fundraiser which helped this gregarious and always-active independent businesswoman stay afloat when she could not work.
Bonnie voyage, friend.
Give a hoot
Tucker Sanctuary Director Marcella Gilchrist unveils a sadly instructive visual aid accompany-ing her latest cautionary eco-tale, a non-mystery story featuring her dead animal collection permit, one ex-owl, and rat poison. The victim, a Great Horned found in Ladd Canyon, finds its permanent home in the facility’s nature diorama after a local taxidermist worked his magic. But the formerly healthy bird (now “specimen”) arrives with a further lesson to offer as helpful teaching display: when canyon residents use poison to murderize vermin, the unhappy collateral consequence is dead wild birds and beasts.
If you’ve joined town hall telephone meetings organized by Congresswoman Mimi Walters’ staff, you know that she takes darn good direction. Regardless of callers’ questions, or even modest challenges to her positions, our 45th District Rep enthusiastically reads whatever lines are prepared for her. As phone calls with relatives who go on and on about their health, a voter could easily set down the phone, wash his dishes and return having missed not a thing. Perhaps not surprising then that Walters, among a select(ed) group of seven Republicans, hit her line spot-on perfect, voting recently, as coached, against an amendment upholding executive orders barring discrimination against LGBT employees by religious organizations contracting with federal agencies. Un-fun fact: in the most recent election, fewer than half of registered voters cast ballots for U.S. representative.
Senior canyonites enjoy hot meals on Thursdays, noon, at the Community Center with guest speakers, such as local musician and teacher Buddy Lang, who recently presented a talk on Civil War music and instruments. Complete schedule of activities, classes, governance is posted at smrpd.org.
Silverado Branch Library welcomes new librarian Laurie McIntyre from Foothill Ranch, with 35 years’ experience in Children’s Services. Laurie joins Ruth, Daniel and Lucy in hosting the annual summer reading program, June 27 – Aug. 1, with games and crafts Wednesday evenings, 7 p.m. Pre-school story time continues Thursday mornings at 10.
This month’s locally-themed reading suggestion is anything by Ann Stanford (1916-1987), esteemed OC-born and raised American poet whose centennial year this is. Vigorous nature lovers might start with her “The Bulldozer,” from The White Bird (1940):
The deer, coyote, and the snake/Slowly retreat up higher chaparral/(I saw three deer stand by the road to graze; They watched the hills cut off like wedding cake.)
Brown blood of clot trickles into the gorge./Bulldozer terraces hills’ wooded breasts./Flags blazoned salesrooms where, by death of oaks/And mountainous labor, level lots emerge.
Forerunning suburbs, thunderous of power/Ruthless ambassador, the scything blade/Admits no wilderness it cannot change,/Nor any altitude it cannot lower.
Pictures, pals, politicians and poets