Monday, May 21, 2012

Some Photographs From Recent Walks

Winter over, spring over half over I find myself needing to be out and about much more, the apartment just to closed in for the energy screaming for, camera in hand I go for walks, some of them short, others longer, and some days even see me getting in my car in need of a grander adventure than a walk in our small hamlet.  Below are a few of my recent pictures.

The Bridge

There is a small red bridge out behind the old abandoned school here in our does not really go anywhere, the proverbial bridge to nowhere, crossing a creek that one could cross barefoot on any summers night. That said, it is a quaint bridge nestled under some trees, the creek and the critters surrounding it serenading visitors who might happen to stop by on a starlit night.   It's a bridge I tend to frequent, climbing the five steps to a have a seat and think as I stare skyward, thinking to myself its the perfect place for a picnic, but would not be so if the bridge did not adorn the space, it's beauty and simplicity completing Mother Nature's masterpiece.

Most of the time the bridge finds itself alone, few bothering the time to leave the sidewalk and meander back to where it sits.  On the nights I sit and ponder I often wonder which of us is keeping the other company.  Standing up I make my way to the bridge's center, looking down at water as it rushes by, always in a hurry to get to wherever it is going, rocks with moss, much like the bridge staying in place, offering seats to anyone who might happen to be walking by.  

I make my way to the other side, sit on the opposite steps looking down as I take off my shoes, the urge to dip my feet in the water too great a temptation to ignore.  I place first one, then the other shoe on the bottom step and let my feet touch the sand as I find my way to the water's edge, feel the coolness like a blanket wrapping itself around my ankles as I bend down to roll up my pant legs so that I can wade out and sit on one of the rocks covered in moss, so that I can sit and admire the bridge from another angle, smiling as the stars wink at me from the sky above.

The Rain

It was a rainy night
More like a deluge
Yet still a rainy night
Like other rainy nights
Or so it seemed

I in my apartment
Lights turned low
Watching it rain
Playing on my computer
Wanting for some coffee

Peering out my window
Saw a chicken
Carrying an umbrella
Unopened, feathers soaked
Odd I thought

I grabbed my slicker
Ran down my hall
Out the door
Into the rain
Slicker under my arm

I followed the chicken
A neighbor soon following me
Both of us curious
Wondering what was about
With the chicken in the rain

Soon our three
Grew to seven then ten
A parade in the rain
All of us following
A chicken with an umbrella

We marched out of the hamlet
Down the road around the bend
Our ten now twenty or so
All of us soaking wet
Murmuring back and forth

Where is he going
Why is his umbrella not open
Can you believe this rain
Questions back and forth
No answers to be had

The chicken walked for hours
Some gave up
Went back home
But a few of us brave souls
Continued following

Suddenly the chicken
Wet to the wishbone
Opened his umbrella
Turned around

Good evening all
I hope you are having fun
I just love walking in the rain
Apparently so do you
Enjoy your walk
I'm home now..Goodnight

With that he turned off the road
Heading toward a barn
Chagrined we turned
Put on our rain gear
Started the long walk home

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Some Pictures From Afternoon Walk

Find myself taking a lot more pictures these days. Went out today to see if I could get another shot of the Baltimore Orioles that I snapped last a few I liked, and thought I would share that and a few other pictures that I snapped today on my afternoon walk.  Most of these still need cropped and played with, but was a good day to be out in the woods.

Not sure why, but have always loved birch trees, tend to always take a picture or two of them when they come into sight.  There are several clumps along the path I walked today, there along the edge of what some call a lake, but I see it more as a medium sized pond myself.  It's a great area to do a little bit of bird watching, though I seem to be better spotting them with my naked eye than capturing them through my lens.  Saw a beautiful male hummingbird (Ruby Throat-ed) in this birch, but alas he was far quicker than I, and was unable to get a picture, though would have loved too.
I enjoy this picture of cattails, the layers of leaves, the contrasting colors of water, last years long dead leaves, and the lush green as again the plant lifts itself up out of the wetlands, a cattail following sometime in late June or early July.  I know, pretty standard fare, the same kinds of picture a lot of us who enjoy being out in nature take, but this, much like the birch above is a great way to get started with my day, let the camera once again settle into my hand as I try to find my eye.

This next shot I really like...its simple singular statement speaks to me, the one stalk all alone, its curled top so graceful that you cannot help but notice it, which I obvious did.  Like the way the tree line blurred out of focus, the almost surreal feel of the water.  I would frame and mount this one, perhaps put it in my bathroom, or somewhere in the hall on a small wall.  Needs to be cropped though.

The red winged blackbird shot just reminds me of how much I really need a far more powerful lens than the one I have.  Wish I could find a serious lens for my Canon used, or perhaps at an auction where it would perhaps be in my price range...the detail is almost, but not quite there, and that at times frustrates me.  OK, I admit frustrates me MOST OF THE TIME.

I got some shots I really like today of this bird...this is just one of them.  There is another one I am fond of as well, and will see if I can find it and share it as well.  I like the one flying as I RARELY get one like that...I know, suffering from a very bad case of LENS ENVY, but one of these days, shall have a chance to go out shooting with a far more powerful lens that is more appropriate for taking bird photographs, a lens that would give me the kinds of shots I see when looking through my binoculars.

Just a couple more for the day...enjoy!  Click on any picture to view the entire set in slide show mode.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stuff...Saying Goodbye

For several summers in a row now have spent my time from April through until October at a seasonal campgrounds down the road from where I now live.  For reasons that don't really matter much, I will not be able to spend my summers there, the last few weeks once the decision was made spent cleaning out the camper that was home, throwing away and getting rid of the stuff that had accumulated there over years...

Getting rid of things, parting with ones stuff is a hard is not so much the stuff in and of itself that creates the heartbreak, but rather the memories associated with your things, the memories that those items helped to make over years.  

There was the Tiki bar, just a small four foot assembly of wood with two shelves, and two bar stools that matched.  The first few years the bar was outside, an umbrella shading my guests during the heat of the day, providing just enough cover to sit at the bar during rainstorms having a Jack and Coke with friends.  In later years as the campsite grew, a deck with a screened in room was the bar's new home, along with other additions including a table with four chairs and a small color TV on which to watch the Yankee's play.  It would have been nice to have one final farewell weekend at camp this season, but that was not too be.  There were no friends there to help say goodbye, no last night sitting around a campfire, no patrons at my little self serve bar to send it off to the trash heap in proper form.  The little Tiki bar served me well, that simple little four foot space where friends gathered leaving behind a lifetime of memories, but caressing its aged wood, remembering all those times shared around its simple shape saw me shedding more than a few tears as it was tossed into the dumpster, soon disappearing under a pile of more stuff suffering the same fate.

The camper...a nice 40 foot long home on wheels will be hauled down the hill this coming week, sold for a pittance of what it was purchased for years ago.  Devoid of stuff, cleaned and scrubbed it looked much the same as it did the day it was bought...I remember that day, remember looking at the camper, then driving up to see the campgrounds, choosing a site and becoming a "seasonal camper". At that time, the beautiful interior seemed almost grand, but over the year as tables, wine glasses, pillows and other items from home made their way to camp, the camper took on personality, became cozy, inviting and was also home for the better part of six months each year.

Packing dishes each meal shared on them remembered in bittersweet recollections of a time that was/is now officially over.  Silly little items that had been bought just for camp, decorative little things, or functional in an antique kind of way...each having a story, a memory, as if each piece within the whole that is stuff was special, magically imbued with the ability to make me recall in perfect clarity as if looking at a photograph each of the special times that item had played a part.

Today, all the stuff is gone...some of it packed in boxes sitting in my apartment, other things packed up and sent down to Peekskill where they sit in Pina's house, each of us with our own tears to be shed when those boxes are unpacked, the things put away.   I closed the door to the camper for the last time at just after two this afternoon and said goodbye.  Standing there alone, I knew that an important chapter in the story that is my life was officially over.   Taking one last drive through the campgrounds, perhaps it was fitting there was no one there to witness the tears as they streamed down my cheeks, proper that no one was there to ask me what was wrong.  How do you tell one you are crying over stuff, how do you tell someone you are crying over the fact you know you will never be coming back.

I over time will not really miss the stuff...have more than enough stuff as it is, and need to get rid of some if not a lot of it.  I will though miss the memories that stuff helped to form, will miss the fact that with the letting go of that stuff, a family I had been a part of for so many years will be moving on, and as days and weeks move into month, no longer a member of that family, I will too quickly become a distant memory seldom if ever remembered and recalled.

Saying goodbye to Skyway today in some ways was almost like a mini death, a foretelling of a death we all one day shall have to endure, and looking at this one, the one down the road some day is not going to be an experience I will enjoy.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Life, Dreams, Memories

Life is about seeing dreams into reality, making memories with friends and those you love. If you are not accomplishing these two simple things, you are slowly dying from the inside out.  In some ways, feel as if I have been slowly dying of late, dreams being worked on destroyed, gone with the seven winds, life's cold realities, distances created for reasons out of my control see making memories with good friends and those I love all but impossible in the here and now.

Sitting here looking out my window, Main Street silent; even almost desolate as the sun slowly settles into the west a hint of rain tinging the air, two nuthatches perched on the overhead wire singing as if they are both without a worry in the world.  Wish they would go and find some place else too perch.  I feel a need for silence, sense that I want to be still for awhile in the hopes of hearing my own inner voice say something that I suspect I need to hear.  

I seem to care less these days about the greater concerns of the world that used too see me off tilting at windmills, those greater wrongs needing righted not seeming so much my business any it that I am growing selfish, no longer willing to be so selfless in my pursuits? Perhaps growing older, or old does that to a soul.  More than ever before, sense a shortness of time, or perhaps as if my own time is far too fast running through the hour glass. 

If I am honest, yearn for a simpler life...a small cottage nestled into the woods, maybe a meadow in which to go lounge and read a book, taking joy on those days I ride around on a small old John Deere as the smell of fresh mowed grass pleases the senses, reveling in a gulp of ice water taken from an old mason jar I keep in the fridge.   Work does not really interest me...well, not the 9-5 variety any way.  Would rather be up at six, taking my coffee out to a small patch of vegetables, smiling as I bend down to pull up weeds. I want to drink lemonade or a glass of wine on the front porch swing of an evening, watching as the stars come out in the evening sky, but don't want to be sitting there all alone.

It's odd...

I have my dreams, know what it is that I want with the life I have left in this just all right now seems just out of my grasp, and in that reality is a great deal of frustration mixed with a dash of sadness as I sit here on a Sunday night pondering the what if's and could have been's of this life.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Two Words...Used to

Perhaps the two most often spoken melancholy words in the English language are, "used to".  Past actions, realities, dreams, truths that have vanished as our lives and circumstances change over time.  There are simple "used to"'s that remind us of things we would just as soon forget..."These pants used to fit me".  The mere utterance of the statement reminding us that we have put on 25 or 30 pounds, our bodies not the way they used to be.  That one dovetails nicely with, "I used to go out for a walk almost every day, but not any more" which leads to questions like "Why?" and "When did it all change?" both questions often times requiring a introspective review of ourselves we would just as soon avoid as we eat another donut, pour ourselves a second or even third cup of coffee.  "Pass the cream and sugar please".

There are the harder "used to" sentences that bring tears to our eyes, instant statements of truth we either hate to admit, or wish we did not have to like "I used to be young", "I used to be happy" and a host of others that speak to a life on a downward spiral as we approach those end of life years wondering where it all went astray, or why we are still around while all of our friends pass away from this ailment and that as we become more intimately aware of death, realizing with each passing day that our time on this earth is closer to the end than it used to be, that since of immortality we used to have gone, replaced by wrinkles, aches and pains.  

Remember when life used to be so simple?  Do I have too answer that, or can I plead the fifth?  I ponder; was life ever really simple, or instead since birth has it always been complicated for some of us?  As I grow older, it seems as if the answers I used to know have slipped away, supposed truths now falsehoods, dreams that I thought I could attain in my life gone as the drive and desire I used to have, the boundless energy I used to have both dried up, replaced by a since of tiredness I cannot seem to escape as the complexities of every day life overwhelm me...I think to myself, "I used to be so alive, so full of energy".

There are some good "used to's" we speak, but even those seem to be filled with a certain taint, a tinge of sadness or regret.  "I used to smoke...then my Dad died of cancer" or "I used to be fat...till the doctor told me I was going to die if I did not lose some weight."  I used to be healthy...then I just stopped caring.  I used to be in an abusive marriage...then I got out.  I used to be a drug addict...then I found help, and have been clean for three years.

There are those "used to's" spoken by others that cut us to the quick, either individually or collectively. Is there anything sadder than hearing someone say, "I used to care", "I used to love you" or in a fit of anger someone saying things like, "I used to think you were handsome" or "what happened to you, you used to be so thin and now you have just let yourself go"...does not matter what "used to" is spoken to you, the chances are it is going to hurt.  America used to be great...yes, I know.

It's a beautiful sunny day here in Mountaindale, the temperatures near 60, the roof tops raining as the snow melts yet I find myself sitting inside thinking sad thoughts, and wondering just what the rest of my life holds for me.  I used to think I'd found a home here, and now I am not so's complicated, but it did not used to be so.  Both dreams and reality change, and the hopes and aspirations we used to have must change as well, but at my age coming to grips with that change is not as easy as it used to be.  Change is blowing in the wind and I know that my own life is about to change, has to change and that scares me far more than it used to, but that fear will not stop those changes from occurring.  

Perhaps the best thing I can do is sit quietly...not something I do easily...perhaps in that space of silence my own way forward can be deciphered, and with that forward vision the chaos that is now can end.   When I was much younger and faced with major life choices and decisions that approach used to work.