Karen and I slipped away to Yosemite for a brief vacation. In the old days, I used to shlep an SLR and half a dozen lenses. Now I just use my iPhone. The truth is the best camera is the one you use and my iPhone, for better or worse, is always there like an extra limb.
When we were first married in 1977, Karen and I used to go camping and indulge in some hair-raising rock climbing. But now our idea of roughing it is staying in the Ahwahnee, a luxury hotel in the heart of Yosemite Valley.
Karen and I could not believe how smoothly the hotel was run. Afterall, Yosemite is a National Park. Is it possible, we asked ourselves, that the federal government is capable of running an efficient and profitable business? Were our Conservative ideals about to be shattered?
Of course not.
Karen did some googling and discovered that the Ahwahnee and all the finely run Yosemite concessions are outsourced to Deleware North Companies, a private corporation.
Which, I suppose, is a great big duh.
On the drive up to Yosemite we pulled into a rest stop where this politically incorrect Indian statue stood at the entrance to a souvenir shop.
Here’s a view of the Ahwahnee’s inner courtyard. I’d get up at 5 in the morning, sit at one of the tables, and sip coffee while writing. After determining that there was little chance of a pogrom, I put on my yarmulke. One morning a young couple approached and said: “We are Christian and we want you to know that we support Israel and the true Jewish people.” I kind of stumbled, embarrassed but deeply touched. I thanked them for their kindness. “G-d bless,” they said. I thought to myself: Only in America.
Okay, you can’t go to Yosemite and not take more than a few landscape shots. But after Ansel Adams why bother? Thus, Karen’s sculptural hat in the foreground of El Cap.
On the Sentinel Dome trail, previous hikers built elegant little monuments that play with weight and gravity. In Biblical times they were cult altars. Now they are viewed as art.
This is a sign that’s posted in the lobby of the Ahwahnee. Karen and I looked at it and smiled.
What can I tell you? I really like Karen’s hat. The mountains are, y’know, okay.
Driving home we pulled into a gas station where I came across a rusting truck. I confess my eye is more quickly drawn to this than to nature shots.
Karen and I wish all our friends and relatives a lovely and inspirational Shabbat.