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  • Writer's pictureAlyce Bender

Monthly Review: July 2019

July was filled with highs and lows. Bouncing between Monterey and Las Vegas has taken much of my time this past month, leading to days where I would face a 50 or more degree change in temperature. It is kind of crazy to know that this country has such a wide array of environments that one can be in a temperate coastal marine location before driving several hours and being in the middle of the desert.

Monterey has certainly been a change from the southwestern deserts I have become accustom to over the past year. The cool, fog-shrouded mornings may or may not give way to sunshine by mid day. The ocean breeze that brings the marine layer to shore each morning also keeps the area cool year round. With highs in the 60s most of the year, summer and winter, Monterey Bay is taking some getting use to for this heat loving photographer.

Another form of ups and downs comes from the very ocean itself. Having gone out on several whale watching expeditions at this point I have seen the ocean as smooth as glass, or heaving with motion much like a roller coaster. Yet most days, it is fairly calm with a slight chop, belying the deep currents that funnel the nutrients along these shores and propel the underwater ecosystem.

But even with all these new sights and experiences, I have to come clean with you all. Some of this month's trials have come as the ebb and flow of my inspiration. All artists face this at some point or another. For me, I think its a bit of post-travel blues. Coming off the road in the RV and settling back into a brick and mortar lifestyle with travel scattered about the calendar makes for some adjustment. There isn't the everyday adventures or the thrill of being able to just up and move when I want or even the convenience of having hiking trails at my door in the morning. For some reason, the process of getting in the car before heading out now seems a bit unappealing. Then again, maybe its just the Californian traffic!

Either way, this "slump" of creativity was compounded when Rusty's (my ever-faithful and ever-adventurous canine travel companion) cancer came back viciously. He went from his happy-go-lucky self, to being lethargic and unstable on his remaining three legs almost overnight. After an all-nighter at the emergency vet, we were able to see a specialist the following day. X-rays confirmed that the cancer had come back throughout his lungs, spleen, and spine (what was causing mobility issues).

With no options other than to either watch him suffer or have him humanely helped across the Rainbow Bridge, we decided we did not want him to continue to get worse and suffer more than he had the last few days. It was a heart-breakingly hard decision that I will carry with me the remainder of my years.

I tell you this because so many of you reached out and supported me when he was first diagnosed, so I wanted to make sure we finished the story so he didn't just fade away. He was so much more to me than just my pet and he will always be sorely missed on all my future adventures.

But the adventures must continue, now more than ever, as I find Nature to be the most healing place. I have a range of upcoming events, workshops, and tours that I am greatly looking forward to, as well as more exploring of the Central Californian coast. So be sure to check out my Photo Adventure page over the next week to see what is new or subscribe to my newsletter to be the first to find out about upcoming events!

Until next month, cheers!

In loving memory of Rusty...

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