Jun 24, 2015

Double Nickel

I love my iphone. I think one of the best features it has is when you are texting another iphone user and the little 'thought bubble' appears... there is such anticipation held in those three little dots, what will they say.... I am filled with fun. Unfortunately this is also the worst feature, as just as quick, the dots and bubble disappear, leaving you with nothing but 'what where they going to say?' A 'I don't want to tell you what I was going to say' moment leaving you wondering why. On a day which should be/ used to be so special of a celebration for me, that is allot.

Jun 11, 2015

Missed steps

Here you will find an image that I spoke of in a blog post a short bit ago Losing the Red ...the one where I mentioned the blooming Blue Bells. Above is the finished dissected from the whole, cropped adjusted, clean up (photography speak for photoshopped) one that I present to you. Isn't that a lovely word... present. Like a gift.

As mentioned before, this image is one that I was 'compelled' to find while passing through where  my home is and finding my favorite flower, the Virginia Bluebell in bloom. Mentioned before in another past post (Little Blue Smiles    2014), here it is again and I am happy to share.

It is a perfect example of finding the gem, the little thing, the part of the whole that will speak to your eye. I believe this act is part your natural vision in what appeals to you and part in training, to be able to look for and recognize something out there that works for you. When I first saw these, I started a visual scan, partly with a 'vision' in my mind of what  was 'looking for' and part to see what would 'catch' my eye. I drove past a few areas where these we sprouting, while trying to keep an eye on the road, but was also looking for areas where the light was 'right' as after all, that is what photography is all about...light... and when I came up through the woods out of the little town of Salford across the creek, I spotted this roadside patch with the garden shed, found a safe(er) spot to pull off and made a go of it.

These flowers to me are hard to shoot as they are so delicate, they droop and separate, turn brown quickly and have a scattered form and I have to usually really work with them if I am to be even somewhat satisfied. Getting down onto the ground with this bunch, I liked the way the light that was filtering around these blooms contrasted with the dark wood and stone of the shed. Using only my iphone 5s, I made a few "exposures", as you can only do so much with it, but came away happy.

As I mentioned in the other post, as with most images, it is a small part of a larger scene and like a painter, it is fun and challenging to select what you want to 'see' and 'present' out of the whole. Below is an image showing just that, the unadulterated area complete with a trash pile behind the building, an old archers target, road side gravel, red drinking cup, etc... all of it in view and minimized or excluded from the chosen angle, etc... Rarely does a spot offer such beauty that one would gasp upon encountering it. These are usually areas found in National parks or refuges that are specifically designed to protect and highlight such beauty. Everyone knows them and when I have been to them, it seems everyone else is there too. The images are 'preset'. almost like a wonderful sunset, which is so striking that to take a great photo of it, one could do it blindly. When in such circumstances, I try and find something unique, something personal to me to capture, making it an experience that only I have partaken in. It is almost like seeing qualities of beauty of a person that no one else seems to recognize, but you alone...those hidden, little things that quietly speak to your heart somehow. It is a special and isolated experience. Finding that same individual vision that you alone can see around you and capturing it into a lens where it can be shared is also a very special thing for me. Something that enlivens the shooter when someone else 'get's it' and in the process they share a connection. I had always found it fascinating when participating in photographic workshops, how completely varied ones view point and 'eye' could be, even when standing right next to each other. Maybe the image above when it resonates with the viewer, it brings with it a memory of some other place and time or experience or something they project from within. One friend who saw it said they thought of Switzerland. Who would have thought of this in the rural Philadelphia area!

Anyway, I hope that perhaps it, and my words would resonate with you today. Maybe it doesn't and you just think it might be pretty, or maybe I might have inspired you to look for and find beauty where it is not so obvious. A hidden little thing... Either way, I hope you have enjoyed it today. 

May 21, 2015

A Private World

This evening, I made a small field trip to check out some ducks with my duck... with hopes of a little time to sit and eat and rest and enjoy the evening. Being a somewhat chilly night following  a very grey day with a late work schedule, I arrived much later than I thought I would and as the light was already fading, the occasion was more suited to wearing a jacket than summer attire. Not many people and even less ducks were out at all. In sitting and 'reflecting' though, I thought to take a few phone photos as ideas to put to canvas. I have always loved this barn and it's awesome color scheme along the water and so I tried to capture a few images to review tonight as potential scenes that I would like to get into paint. 

I have always wanted to paint and over the years have made some feeble attempts at it, but never with great success or compete canvas to show. To date, my only finished work is the small square canvas shown below of a loving father giraffe leaning into his daughter that I did as a birthday present to my own daughter this past year. She loves giraffes and I was delighted later to find it is now a treasured possession to her. Anyway, tonight got me thinking again about another.

The thing that I always liked about painting was that you could literally create you own reality, your own version of life, a private world so to speak... as seen through your eyes. Photography has a similar appeal, but before widespread use of photoshop and with a few exceptions in the advertising world, what you got was what was actually there. With painting, you could perceive anything... any way you wanted... and your hand, pigment and brushes where the only limitations to bringing it out into actual reality for someone else to see and make it theirs too. In the above scene, the first thing to go would be the fence post and telephone pole for sure. You see? In painting, I don't have to 'remove' it as I was tempted to do in the image above, but I can just chose what to put down in paint. There is wonderful freedom.  After taking the photo, I saw someone doing something in the window and I immediately wanted to get closer to see them, what they were doing, to see the detail of this distant figure. I was no more than 200' away, but with out a bridge, it was impossible.

So, having a day off tomorrow, I will try again and go back there in the late afternoon, with pallet, easel and paints in hand to see what I can come up with as the light shifts from sunny to sunset. Painting for me is definitely a hands on activity (which I am usually pretty good at) and certainly a learning process... one where I will try to create a reality that I already see in my head. I think I will leave the duck at home this time. I don't think he will mind.

May 17, 2015

Time and Tide

A quote shared with me decades ago as I paid a last visit to a former neighbor, who was soon to die from cancer. It was a sad visit, as we both knew it was our last, one where he had invited me to his home in an effort to convince me to take his beloved car... a 1957 Plymouth 4 door sedan as a gift. Having had two cars already in my driveway at the time, I had no need nor space for this car that I had long admired along with the loving care that he had put into it since her purchased it new. For the first ten years of my life we were next door neighbors and I played with his children and shared many meals around their table, but what I remember mostly about him was his dry sense of humor and the way he would faithfully wash and wax that car seemingly every week, even though he took a bus to work, it was garage kept and he only drove it 3 miles to church on Sunday. It broke both of our hearts I think that I had to turn him down, but in the end was a delight for his long standing mechanic, who took it eagerly off of his hands into his own collection. I remember our conversation and it has always stuck with me the above quote that he gave to me. It is true... regardless of myself, circumstances, dreams or fears, the tides in time relentlessly march on.

As you might discern from the re-posted entry below that I had originally placed here on 5/24/2010, today it has been five years since my mother left this earth, a painful reminder of the passage of time. So many things have transpired since then, some wonderful which I would have loved to share with her... many I am glad she was not here to witness. In truth, I wouldn't want her to see me the way I am now. There are many things since her passing that I have lost that are so meaningful to me...life changing things, people and places that are now also gone from me, some by mistake, some intentionally taken away and some pulled away under their own power... but still somehow leaving me. I miss all of them dearly and I live daily in that some have left a familiar, unfulfillable hole as described below, one that I felt that day. So, today, I reaffirm the title and words that I shared long ago fresh anew. I wish I could just turn back the clock.

The image above I took recently with my phone off of my balcony of a full  blooming Magnolia tree next door. A tree similar to one that still stands in the front yard of my childhood home 40 years later. It was the only one my Mom allowed us to climb when I was young... that is... until we broke a major branch and then were moved the the riskier, but more sturdy Apple tree in the back. In another post to come, I think I might have included it in a photo of that house, while I stopped to take a peek when in that area with Hayden.

May 24th, 2010
Today, it has been one week and a handful of hours since my mom, Joan Knott suddenly passed away. After a vibrant active life, she is just gone, along with her warm smile, encouraging words (she always left comments for me here...anonymously....but I could tell it was her) and loving care for my growing family and I.

I knew after it happened that honoring her life somehow would be my next post, but I really struggled with an image and what to say. I didn't want to use a photo I already had, (although she had her favorites of mine) and knew I had to create something new, but had no clue as to what. Then I thought about just posting a photo of her, but realized that after more than a quarter century of making photographs, I had never taken a personal 'portrait' of her. I guess it never occurred to me to do so as I never thought she wouldn't be here. Now it is too late..... lesson learned.

The image today is one I made yesterday from her funeral flowers. She liked yellow and the unique, bending form of the Calla Lily was attractive to me, so I set up a small arrangement out by our pond and you see the results.

I wanted this post to reflect on her life, but now realize that anything I could possibly say here is woefully in-sufficient to begin to adequately describe the person she was to many and what she meant to me. In spite of the evidence before me, I cannot in my mind really believe that the edges of her life have now been set. The heavy hole that at times takes over my chest now is all the description I need and for some moments it is as if a deep well of tears has sprung from within me, robbing me of my thoughts for a time.

This second small photo that I have included is one that a friend of hers took while they were in a bush plane flying over Mt.McKinley in Alaska. If an image can contain a thousand words as it is said, then this loudly witnesses to her adventurous spirit and the sense of joy she had in living every day complete.

In short, she was a wonderful, cherished and inspirational human being who was greatly admired. Many have testified over this past week to our family what a huge impact she had on their lives. In spite of this tremendous loss I am thankfully left with a lifetime of memories and a wonderful family to comfort me and I know the sadness will someday turn to joy in seeing her again, but as of today, I really, really miss her and just want to turn back the clock.

May 8, 2015

Losing the Red

I struggled a bit with the title of this post, as if it is really anything that matters in the scope of life, but as I try and take time to be witty, or poignant, or meaningful to make someone think, maybe in some small way it does. In this one, it had me on a mind chase into these little rogue red parts of my body that are working against me, seeking to destroy me....clearly a sign of my over-wound imagination at work. In reality, this red.. for me... is my red blood cells and the marrow which seems to want to produced way too many of them anymore. These cells, a very good thing in a normal world, are dead set to populate so many of them selves, that unless I and the people who help me keep them in ranks, do so, they would kill me. Which brings me back to losing them. As terms of my I am told very rare condition , disease or whatever category you would want to place it in, I need to have regular and sometimes not so regular treatments to take these little travelers of my arteries away and let my blood vessels and other bits of my circulatory system rest for a spell. Today was one of those days... blood letting day I call it. These types of days seem to be getting more frequent which causes me concern, but in truth there could be a number of factors involved as to how much liquid I drink, to my exertion levels, to stress to just being that it is about summer time, but even with all of these unknowns involved. I don't like it.

Some people say "be thankful... it could be worse", but as it is me sitting in the comfy chair with the big needle in my arm, not them, I could easily say, "it could be better". It makes me wonder whether they think it is as if happiness is some scale and rich people have no right to be sad, nor the poor to be happy. Like saying to the downtrodden, be sad, it could be better. The truth is things of one sort or the other could always be better or worse on some cosmic scale if we graded life that way, which most people do. When I check in for these little sessions with the nurse, I am always given one of these little scales of pain shown below to fill in. I think it is silly for they do nothing different regardless of what I put down anyway. Any pain to me seems to fall to the far right, so what are we measuring? I have heard some people proudly profess, "I have a high pain tolerance". I guess they assume everyone feels the same pain and they are just tougher, or better than those who might complain. I wonder whether they ever thought of the other, 'maybe you feel it more than I do... maybe my senses are not as acute and aware as yours?' I do. I wonder what is the 'Worst pain possible' stated at the end? How would you know there could never be more? Clearly this is a guide to the physical...could emotional pain surpass this chart?

Anyway, as I lay there, trying to make small talk with the lady in the smock who cares for me, my mind goes to all kinds of places and I try to make it do so. This morning as a mini flood of unseen red donuts drained away from my arm, I thought about my drive on the way to the hospital. As I crossed over the Perkiomen creek near my house, I got my first glimpse this season of the Virginia Bluebells that are for the briefest period.... in bloom. As soon as I saw them. I started a visual search for a spot to get a photo and as I passed through the sleepy town of Salford, I saw an opportunity and took it. Along the edge of the road, was a small bunch and with iphone in hand, I stopped, got out and down on the ground and made a few 'exposures'. I texted one of them to a friend. They immediately remarked how pretty the photo was, not knowing the circumstances around it, so I stepped back to show the whole scene, complete with a worn garden shed, a pile of trash, plastic cup, etc...etc... and sent that. Their remark was surprise in "I would have never seen those flowers at all I think from the road." Exactly I thought.

While laying there with my needle, I was thinking that people look for the obvious, the exposed, the easy.... when looking around at life and it is the small hidden things, the special, the inward heart, that gets ignored, passed over and driven by. I realized that my illness is just that. It is something that to me is now solitary, quiet, unnoticed to anyone but me... but to me... it is still very much alive and ever so slowly working against me. As it has been well over a year since anyone... anyone... has inquired about the state of my body, I once again was reminded how alone I really am. I began to think about this 'small thing' that I was able to find on the way in and wished I had a table to bring a bouquet to. I thought about all the missed little moments in my day and thought to document the elements around me right then on my way back out to the car. The title image of the atrium room and these below are a sampling of what I found. The images of the blooms will be presented in another post.

Jan 7, 2015

Finding Philly

A weekend on the town...well, actually a couple of short trips over a weekend to be exact, but a little time spent together with my son to explore our nearest city. I really like Philadelphia, it's relatively compact size, the opportunity of things to do and see, certainly it's history and the great variety of ethnic cultures that have endured generations, thriving inside it's boundaries.

Here is a 'skyline' view that I took from the restaurant near the top of the city's tallest building, the Comcast center on a previous trip.

After having dropped my daughter off to the airport for her trip back to college, he and I sought out some fun things to do on a pretty much zero budget on a Friday night. Finding our areas premium skate park to try out his new skateboard, we found it challenging, perhaps a bit sketchy in appearance, but a place where everyone was friendly and accommodating to a beginner. The artwork displayed and the rounded 'bowls' and curves were really interesting and visually fun and it was awesome to see him trying out moves on his new ride within it's flowing walls.

 Afterwards, a short trip to a couple of Philly landmarks... (cheesesteak ground zero) and a taste test comparison between Pat's (King of Steaks) and Geno's, which is conveniently located right across the street. After sharing one of each, Hayden firmly placed his vote and taste buds into the Geno's camp and myself, being less of a cheesesteak connoisseur, agreed to agree with him. If a block long difference in the waiting lines were an indicator of public opinion, we were correct. For me, the winner of the night though was the small pastry shop next door, where the Canolli served was the freshest I have ever had...ever.

Early Sunday morning found us first perusing the awesomely delicious and inexpensive pastries at K.C.'s in Chinatown for their little 'heart' buns with creme filling. As words cannot describe the softness, the sweetness, the aroma captured in these little delights, the look on Hayden's face did.

After a short walk through this interesting area, we enjoyed a very fun breakfast at Profi's Creperie inside the Reading Market in center city, always a favorite destination. It was fun to sit and watch the Crepe' maker prepare our meal for us as I put on some french bistro music and we pretended we were in Paris for the moment. (One can only wish...right?).

 I love walking through this historic and fascinating marketplace, taking in the sights, the people, the beautiful displays and lovely, enticing  scents mixing with each other as we strolled along. From the photos, you can see a small portion of the incredible variety of locally and internationally sourced, fresh foods available. 

Satisfied with his crepe' experience,  smoked Gouda cheese purchase and other special finds, Hayden said, marvelling at it all as we were heading out the door "This is really the place where you want to come when getting ingredients to make a special dinner for a wonderful date", I would certainly agree.

A last stop at the Art Museum, for a tour of the Paul Strand photography exhibit... a fine retrospective on this pioneering photographer, to learn of his simple techniques and seeing the interesting results of a life long career and passion. Having long ago worked with a man who also knew Paul, it was very special for me to see and helped to bring some perspective on my own eye. While there, Hayden was also enthused to see the Arms and Armor display, which every boy, young and old always enjoys. Before we had to go, time was taken to tour the Asian Art wing and the varied displays that range from small ancient pieces to whole reconstructed temple rooms and an awesome area that houses an entire Japanese tea house...which has always been a favorite spot of mine. A few of Paul's works and other things that caught my eye, like these swords that seem to be dancing in the display case. 

All in all, no ground breaking photos (I only took my phone), but of much more importance as you can see, intimate time spent together...eating, walking, talking, meeting people...exploring together...just having fun. He is such a treasure to me and I could not ask for a better son. His light... God's light... that he contains and willingly shares is a wellspring of life for me. I love being with him...and I love doing these sort of things... getting out to new places, new foods, new sights with others. In this time of my life, having been pushed away  from pretty much everything familiar and cherished, this is something that is far too rare and very, very much needed.

Jan 4, 2015

For the buds

And yet another...

In an effort to eat healthier this new year, more purposefully and intentionally for both myself and my primary cooking audience... my son Hayden, I am reaching back to generations before me and to the recipes that were created and shared when I was a boy. Since we started spending a couple of nights a week cooking and dining together, it has been very important to me and a blessing to have healthy, flavorful and meaningful meals with him and this is my effort to do so. Good food shared together with others always, always will be important and can at a minimum, do much more than just bring joy with time together for cooking, eating or even doing the dishes side by side together creates valuable time for conversation and can form a bond not found with other activities. 

As I pull menu sources from a variety of places...friends, old family recipes and internet sites, I seek for our times together to always be different and tasty, economical and fun. In addition, as I will be traveling towards some warmth and much needed relaxation this month, I also want to trim down/tone up slightly with a goal to perhaps run a 5k with an old friend while there. Something I haven't done since I ran cross country in high school.  So... with the Christmas cookies behind me (actually not that many this year), it is a start to perhaps a better me. 

I am not promising great photos, although I will try, but as I am winging it with a spoon in one hand and my iphone in the other to make images in a very tiny and not very well equipt kitchen, don't expect great results. Food creativity is the key here, along with whatever foods I have on hand and within a small budget. I am hoping to use a new Christmas gift....a crockpot, in addition to more traditional methods as well as explore more alternative menus in my effort. It is not meant as a photo blog, but just me sharing what comes out of the kitchen. I hope you enjoy. Above, a quick shot of some milk being prepared for a latte' next to some windowsill herbs. Have a peek. http://woodspatula.blogspot.com/


Dec 30, 2014

Of Latitudes and Longitudes

Loneliness...       40° 14' 11.7168"    -75° 35' 37.8384"
Coordinates of an old mill...a tiny spec on a world map, fashioned from imaginzary lines. As you can see from the autumn image above taken from my bedroom, as a physical space, it is no more or less lonely than anywhere else on earth I suppose, but for a heart that lives daily choked in grief, separation and loneliness it is a place like none other. A quieted soul, static, amid steel wheels riding steel rails and rocks are reduced to pebbles, where unseen atoms are unleashed into great power. In the midst of this noise that breaks the air from man working this earth, sits the silence of a heart torn, one that remains beating for regrets and worries and sorrows...knowing there is no one who truly cares for or about it, except those that were born from it and Him who created it. In this isolation, there is no honest hug found when coming in the door to bring a smile and peace...no love waiting to take hold of in a warm hand, no care to grow in, enjoy and rest in...all things I want to wantonly give back in honest, sincere, deep relationship. The abscence of certain things... the sounds of children playing, the softness of the meadow in the sun, time spent in fun with friends, kind smiles and bright, cheerful hellos... speaks volumes to where I am and to whom I must have become...what people now believe of me. I am told from people who say they know God's will that it is what I deserve and where I must belong.

Within this world, it would seem a lovely place, one with a quietly stream meandering down into a powerful river, the deep beauty of the wood to behold, but with out the joy of heart only found in fellowship and love, it is still only a place to just be...not to truly live. A place to take in air, be sustained, but not truly breathe...for a heart to somehow still remain beating, but not to bring life. I think next to feeling rejection, loneliness is the worst emotion of life. 

I wish for a place, it doesn't matter where, where once again I would be seen for my heart, for it to be found and opened in love... for it now feels dismissed, discounted and pushed aside by those who had laid claim to such emotions for me. I wish for life again, I wish that smiles and music would fill my heart with peace and my soul would blossom with singing...expression to be given away. I wish my heart would rise out of these good things, to be found a blessing and inspiration, to be wanted and cherished, rather than silently fall...beating, alone. A world of vast importance to me has purposefully lost me here and as pretty as it can be to see the sun glide over the river, silent as the passing water, perhaps my soul has always left me expecting more from the sunrise, that this earth would be more alive as only when seen with another's eyes in mine. There seems to be so much wanting inside, so many good things stored away...silent, waiting and asking to be heard in another, allowing it to fill their being too. I yearn for it...long for such a day and wait for such a place that I know is possible, but seems not so, for I cannot find it now in the winds that surround me.

"I do not wish to be found empty and alone when I find one foot standing at the grave, but ask that I may make this leap with a heart full of love spent, given and then filled from another to carry me peacefully there." 

Dec 7, 2014

A Tree and Me

The Giving Tree... a favorite book of mine and one that I used to read to my children often, is a wonderful illustration of love. As you know if you have read this blog before, I like trees... I like their beautiful forms, I like the nature of the roots, I like the resources they offer both as they live and after they are gone. I love all the things they supply to my hands and to my soul. I like them

The image here is of a tree in my area that I have photographed on a few occasions in various seasons. Some of new growth peeking out as the field is sprouting, ones of the fall colors being revealed (that are always there in fact, but hidden by the green of summer) and now this shot, recently... in the trials of winter. 

 This particular tree to me, in a season of newness and youth, uniquely has been like a joyful beacon, giving to me hope and strength and encouragement as it welcomes in the spring. Like the one in the children's book, I have wanted to be like it, offering these things to people around me...people I love. In the autumn, it has offered beauty to me, it's peace... vision...as it's colorful tones have contrasted with a blue sky on a sunlit fall day. Attributes I also want to share with others. But now, it seems to speak to me most in it's starkness and isolation, lonely on this hill. In seeing it today, I think of the winter before me, I feel it's twisting and bending in the cold winds without protection around it...fellowship. It's bark worn and tired, it's branches stretched and breaking, reaching into nothing in the massive negative space that surrounds it. Nutrients...like love...that once carried it even in the dark, are absent from it, shrinking as water pulling it's life, sheds away from it's feet. It's roots having been cut for the growing field around it and the time to provide shade and rest is no more. All it has to give is unwelcome and put away now in this season of natural death.

I hope that this particular tree will reach spring and find itself a refuge once again for the birds that will seek it's branches, that it will sprout with strength and renewed hope, bringing with it peace and quiet joy to those that come to it to find shelter and rest...to lie beneath it's canopy. That it's roots once again will find water, like words of affection, to carry it. I too hope for these things, but winter can be long and cold and harsh and too quiet.

Sep 19, 2014

String Theory

A special post today with a specific purpose... No image as I no longer have ready, easy access to mine, but thoughts anyway.

Recently, a friend called and told me his Mother had passed away. It is always sad news to hear of a friend's loved one passing and this too was very sad news to receive...but in reflecting on it, the first thought I had of her at that moment was of was her smile as I remembered it from my youth. Growing up with them living across the street from me, she was the neighborhood 'Mom', complete with a large family, always welcoming more into her home where I was found to be a frequent visitor. She was always a fun parent and someone who really cared for us, but now I think of her mostly for her smile. Even though I have not seen her now for several years as she has lived a great distance from me, these memories of her bright spirit still brings a small measure of cheer to me, even within this news.

In thinking on this today, many years ago, I had a visual thought about the nature of our lives... our time here on earth... seen as a series of 'strings'. The vision was each of us as a piece of string, or thread, being thin or thick, always changing colors depending on where we are at the moment, but something of the sort that travels along in space with a specific length, defining us and the days we spend here on earth. Along the way on this journey, others strings (people) join in, wrapping around us and binding to us for a time. In times of great personal joy, love and community fellowship, this connection builds and builds together and might become like a great, brightly colored ship's rope, but during other times when find ourselves in isolation and loneliness, we become like the slightest of threads...grey...afraid the smallest tension will just break us apart. Of these others who either by choice or compulsion or in love are twisted with us, some of them are quite loose and very fleeting, dancing with us, others long lasting and very tightly wound around us, giving both of us support and strength. Still some few others, are even more, bound so tightly that our fibers intertwine to become one, fueling an energetic and fulfilling life together for a time. But no matter how tightly those significant few are, they too someday will unwind from us and slip away, out of relationship temporarily or permanently, even sometimes into death, having reached the end of themselves. Depending on how tightly there were integrated and how it was when they had pulled away, there will always be some damage of some sort left behind...torn fibers as it were. Sometimes we can heal from this, finding those other strings to support us and blend with our own, but other times finding peace with it all seems impossible and everlasting and we just have to endure. Life...and it seems... the very air we breath, is different...changed...forever. I am sure everyone who reads this has lost someone dear to them in some way and has felt unwound...understands and knows what I am saying here.

When I heard this news from my friend, I wished I could somehow give them my heart of comfort and share with them a hug and peace with it, as I always want to do when hearing this kind of news. It is so important to do, to know we are there for each other, but as they too are not physically close to me anymore, my words alone will have to suffice.

Having lost her own husband early in her life, my friend's Mom certainly must have understood this pain of unravelling, but still managed to give joy to me when I saw her. She was always glad to see me. It was a blessing to me...she was a blessing to me. I know her 'string' had a relatively short amount of time with mine in the scope of each of our lives, but I am grateful to have known her, enjoyed her wit, her warm smile, her honest laughter and that in that period, what she left behind in me was good and something to be remembered with joy. Thank you Mrs. S.

Jun 17, 2014

au revoir

As much as this has been an important part of me as an outlet, both for images old and new and thoughts that spill from me, as I contemplated recently, perhaps it is time to say goodbye for a while.

I don't know that I will be back....you never know...for the creativity and thoughts to share still push to come out and I write and write and write, but for now, it will be better to hold them tight to my chest for I really don't know that anyone is honestly interested in hearing any of them. Maybe I am not either as the silence is too loud and the words in my head are not that kind to me anymore.

I hope in anything though, that today you might enjoy looking back into some past time and in the previously posted images find perhaps some inspiration there...something to brighten your day in some way. I hope so. If you want something more, go to the Webpage link within my profile. Either way, it's just me. Yeah...that's all. 

May 29, 2014

Getting my Hands Dirty

 I had a burial in the woods today... a time of letting go of a set of small things that were such a part of me, so meaningful, that by doing so it was as if I was placing a piece of myself into the soil. This form of expression, now quietly at rest and starting on it's journey in the process of being captured in the ground is where it now belongs, for I know they were never something that was mine in the beginning, nor something now to keep or hold on to...but only meant as a vehicle of expression to be shared and loved beyond my own heart and hands. 

Creativity, , certainly mine, whether it be expressed in photography, or woodworking, or words, or with love, has worth really only when it gets its roots from the heart and is given away for another's benefit. Every fascinating image, every hand hewn project, every thoughtfully engaging encouragement or honest "I love you" has the same origin... and if it is sincere and true, is born from within deep in the soul. When it is done... mute, rejected, there is no longer any purpose for it and it needs to be disposed of. I guess not many people would take the steps that I would to do so... to get their hands dirty... but it is a fitting and symbolic way for me to place it aside. When we as humans each find the end of our biological line, in one form or another, we return to dust... scripture promises us that. Simple objects of wood, words on paper, many things... even our very hearts are no different and will meet the same end ultimately whether they are burned, or melted away, or as in this case, placed into the ground.

When a form of creativity is shut down, refused and returned, it is no less real of a loss as a piece of your heart itself, something to hold, something... that is gone and deserves only to be put 'back into the earth' from which it came. I did just that today. It was hard and sad and very painful to think that I had reached this place, come to such a task, but it was something that needed to be done and my soul could not do otherwise.  I kept a small part of one to keep with me, to fashion it into something else that I can occasionally wear, a reminder of that part of me... a part that has been purposefully set aside, a part which made me complete in so many ways. Perhaps someday, it will have the opportunity to live again, have a place in my world, but it is unlikely.

As time and the earth and environment takes it toll on these things, so too will it take it's toll on the parts of me I left there. It will be unavoidable... it already has. Perhaps someday, long into the future, someone will find them, be puzzled and maybe find inspiration in their own creative way, maybe not, but either way they will return to the earth...the soil...from which they came. Quietly mute.

Above, a stylized portrait and below a straight shot of my favorite shovel, if one is allowed to play favorites with such a simple instrument.

May 28, 2014

Peace... Man.

A phrase that was popular when I was a kid and used in a variety of ways, such as 'be cool' to ' let's end this war', etc... , but it was something I remember hearing allot.

Today I saw a fleeting smile...it was bright and beautiful and turned my way and it turned my heart into thoughts as it has done so many times. Thoughts of times of peace and contentment and joy. I sat just where I was and began to reflect on this past weekend, for after nearly two years without, our family was once again united in our 'shore' home for a time of fellowship... fun. Having been built in the 1940's, for me it has always naturally been a spot of refuge, respite and calm from the world. Upon arriving there and taking a traditional walk to the edge of the dock to survey the bay, that particular spot is always a home to memories for me.... of learning to swim just yards away, to powering a boat across the bay to watch and count how many 4th of July displays explode like carnations in the sky before me each year. Times of fun playing games late at night with family or friends while warm breezes float in the window, of building massive sandcastles on the beach complete with fluted towers, of harvesting delicious meals from the crabs caught off the dock, or of reading a good book in the early morning light on the deck of the boat... these are all very special and a deep parts of the things that make up 'me'.

In the fall of 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the ocean just miles from our home, bringing with it  wall of water that settled inside our walls and upturned the life that we had there. Friends helped move out the old and after two years of renovation, it is back to a place of welcome again, smiles and joy....peace. Boat rides, crabbing, fishing, swimming and just plain relaxing were all on the menu for the heart along with the good food prepared for the body. It was nice to be at my traditional summer 'home'... nice to be with extended family and the warm and loving bond I share with my brother's family, father, nieces and nephew along with my own and all of their new friends.

I like it there... allot....as you can see, and I only hope to have many, many more times there, times to rejuvenate the soul and help me reflect upon the past and future alike. Times to enjoy other's company and grow together in peace and in joy.

Today's images are just a few that I took on this mini holiday of our activities and some other 'small things' I observed. I hope that wherever you are, you might have the feeling I found, if but for a short time... found in a fleeting smile.