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.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Shared From Mountaindale After Dark...Should Have Been Here From Start

After The Storm...a Couple Photographs

This week it has been more like winter here in Downtown Mountaindale, the temperatures today warmer, but still a bit nippy.  A lot of times (read that to mean most of the time) I have my Canon Rebel digital camera beside me in the car when I go out to run errands, and the other day was no exception.  One never knows when something or another will catch your eye, and sometimes lady luck shines on your camera and the results are a photograph or two worth sharing. 
Sitting here in my apartment trying to stay warm this afternoon I downloaded images from my camera, and a couple pictures I happen to really like and thought I would share them here for everyone to enjoy.
As you leave the "Town of Fallsburgh" heading toward the Shop Rite in Thompson, New York you'll see these power poles off to your left about two miles out of town.  It had stopped snowing, but there was a misting rain in the air, the sheen of ice could still be seen on many of the trees branches along the drive, and the road conditions saw me moving along slower than most days.  I've passed these power poles numerous times, and they just not not shout out to me, but on this day, the poles in unison just seemed to speak out in unison, "Take our picture".
I so covet these lens!
Seeing the results, very happy that this was a day when my camera was with me in the car, and that I happened to have my 55-250mm Zoom lens on the box.    For the money, you just cannot beat the Canon Rebel EOS, though, if I win the lottery, would love to have a full set of their top of the Zoom Lens with all the bells and whistles on them.  For that matter, I would love just being able to shoot with these lens for say one week...especially if I could pick any location in the world for that one week.  Wondering if Canon has any need for a product tester in Sullivan County NY?  I will work for free if I get to keep anything I test...can I give you a wish list?  Anything on this page I would so die for...OK, not die, but drool over in a covetous fashion...did I mention my birthday was last week?  Of course, thinking if I got that incredible EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM   or the EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM  I would need to invest in a new box for such incredible lens.
Another couple of pictures I snapped were at the entrance to our own "Rails to Trails" here in Mountaindale, including one of the Train Garden in the proverbial dead of winter.    This one is not as spectacular as the one above, but still liked it, perhaps because I spent so much of this past summer working on the trail during the installation of our "Train Garden".    I also just have an affinity for pictures that just seem to fade into infinity, almost always stop when I see a road or path that seems to present a feeling of great depth.  Streams are another one of those  subject matters that quickly catches my attention for the very same reason.
Sure for those of us who spent our summer working on the train garden will find this winter shot of our sculptural interpretation fun.  Waiting for spring so we can see how many of our garden perennials survived after the drubbing they took in last year's hurricane.  The garden is definitely going to need some TLC this spring, as is the portion of the trail just up from it that was all but washed out.  Of course, looking at how hard some of our neighboring communities were hit by Hurricane Irene, we here in Mountaindale can count ourselves very lucky.
For those of you who have gotten this far, just a reminder that Sunday March 10th, 2012 will  see Rock Hill hosting the Second Annual Rock Hill Saint Patrick's Day Parade beginning at 12 Noon.
Also on March 10th, the Sullivan Renaissance Annual Conference, which officially kicks off this years Sullivan Renaissance Project season.  Applications for the 2012 Sullivan Renaissance Program are available online, and due in their office no later than 5 PM on March 21, 2012.