Impermanence and Change

Cassandra Tondro, "Beauty in Decomposition," abstract painting

Hi Friends,

The holidays are upon us, and I don’t even know what I’m doing for Thanksgiving yet!

With my father’s recent passing, my mother’s continuing evacuation from the fires, and all of the other chaos that’s going on, I find that I’m experiencing a lot of emotion.

Last week I was awakened at 3:30 one morning by helicopters flying very low, back and forth over my house, and I knew what it meant — another fire. They were flying to the community park to refill with water, and dumping it on a fire nearby.

Fortunately it wasn’t windy, and the fire didn’t spread very far. But my fear kicked in big time, and I started to prepare for possible evacuation — again.

I had the fleeting thought that it’s not safe to live here anymore. Is anyone else feeling that way? Or have these disasters maybe strenghtened your resolve to stay?

All of these changes give us an opportunity to examine and maybe redefine our lives. Who are you now? Where do you want to live? What do you want to do? Who do you want to do it with? What brings you the most joy?

There are several places I could go for Thanksgiving, and I have to negotiate the difficult terrain of figuring out what I want to do complicated by what others want me to do. A low-key holiday sounds good to me right now — time to gather my thoughts and regroup.

Here’s something that I’d like to know. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving, in whatever way you choose to celebrate. Right now I’m thankful that I still have a home! I’m also thankful that you take the time to read my words and sometimes share your thoughts with me. It means a lot, and I so appreciate your kindness and generosity.

I’ve been looking at the painting at the top of this message a lot this week. It hangs in my bedroom, and it’s so beautiful in its subtlety. It speaks to accepting things as they are rather than struggling against change.

Impermanence,” 30 x 24 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas. Click here for more information about this piece.

With love and appreciation,



  1. Re your question about where I really want to live – I am so lucky, I live exactly where I want to live, and hope to live here for the rest of my life. It’s not a large house but I live here on my own, and have plenty of room for my sewing (dressmaking and patchwork/ quilting) and my “messing around” with paints. I live in the south of England, near Windsor, with a moderate climate, and, thank goodness, no high risk of fires, hurricanes, red tides or anything of that nature. We sometimes get a bit of snow, but rarely much, we get rain, but far more sun. My best friend, who is also my husband, lives a few doors away, my son and his family live a few miles away. I am so lucky, and I am so grateful to the Universe for everything I have. I just wish everybody could be as lucky as I am.

  2. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan doesn’t have earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, fires or much crime. But the winters have a few zero degree days and a few feet of snow that stays all season, therefore I’ll likely go south for the winter. The U.P. is a bit backward and slow, but the nature is nice. I’ve dreamed of New Zealand, but alas, it seems too far.

    1. Have you been to New Zealand, Gil? I haven’t been, but I’ve also heard that it’s beautiful. One thing I like about California is the people. Mostly open-minded and accepting here.

  3. Hi Cassie. “What” I miss since moving from CA are the people, the intellectual and personal curiosity and Topanga Canyon Gallery! After reading “Cadillac Desert” I knew that our future was never going to get better and we could never afford a decent sized house or have a life-style which provided the mobility I felt we needed to stay in SoCal. I located to NE Ohio after several years of contemplating MA, and CT because the bulk of my family was in that area. What attracted me to Ohio was the light. A strange statement, I know, but it was confirmed by another artist who also lives here. AND THE RAIN!!!!!!!!!!!! I did not realize how much I missed the rain. My son and I used to stand in the garage when it rained and just look at it; smell it; love it. People here complain that we do not get enough sun but it could rain every day in my book. Cleveland has a very lively art scene and is the second largest theater district in the country. It has an entire neighborhood devoted to helping artists purchase their abodes to keep the developers from buying them out of the upscale places they create. Global warming is evident here but in a much more manageable way. This area is largely agricultural but there is a huge movement to locavore eating and Cleveland is a big part of that. Cleveland is a great food city, also. There is also wine here. Our county has been called the Napa of the East. it is very different than SoCal and if I’m honest, it was a huge adjustment. I am closer to family and we do see each other more often and when I look out to the river and up to the massive trees, I know I am home. (The Cleveland Museum of Natural History purchased all the land across from us as an example of pristine river woodland.)

    1. That does sound like a big adjustment, Meredith. But made easier by having family there. I would love to see some rain! It has become so scarce here, and that’s worrisome. I’m glad you found a place that you’ve come to love. It sounds really nice!

  4. Hi Cssandra, I live in rural New Zealand and having travelled all over most of the world I wouldnt care to live anywhere else.Yes the cost of living can be high especially in the main cities. But that dependson what your needs are. Mine are simple and I manage to keep my living expenses very low. I live near Thames on the Coromandel Peninsula which is a spectacular part of NZ.

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